The dynamics of a wintering population of Black-capped Chickadees (Parus atricapillus) were studied from 1958-1983 using capture-recapture methods. The Jolly-Seber model was used to obtain annual estimates of population size, survival rate, and recruitment. The average estimated population size over this period was ?160 birds. The average estimated number of new birds entering the population each year and alive at the time of sampling was ?57. The arithmetic mean annual survival rate estimate was ?0.59. We tested hypothesis about possible relationships between these population parameters and (1) the natural introduction of Tufted Titmice (Parus bicolor) to the area, (2) the clear-cutting of portions of nearby red pine (Pinus resinosa) plantations, and (3) natural variations in winter temperatures. The chickadee population exhibited a substantial short-term decline following titmouse establishment, produced by decreases in both survival rate and number of new recruits. Survival rate decline somewhat after the initiation of the pine clear-cutting, but population size was very similar before and after clear-cutting. Weighted least squares analyses provided no evidence of a relationship between survival rate and either of two winter temperature variables.
Additional publication details
Dynamics of a black-capped chickadee population, 1958-1983