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A Nest Divided: Maine’s Great Chickadee Debate

The black-capped chickadee. Credit Wikimedia Commons

The black-capped chickadee. Credit Wikimedia Commons

There’s a big debate simmering in the Legislature, and it’s certain to split Maine residents into two groups. No, not Democrats and Republicans. The debate is about birds — chickadees specifically. And there’s now a bill that would require lawmakers to choose which particular kind of chickadee is the official state bird.

Brian Olsen, an associate professor of biology and ecology at the University of Maine, refuses to take sides in the great chickadee debate, but he does want state lawmakers to know there are big differences between the boreal chickadee and the black-capped chickadee, which are both found in Maine. He says the black-capped has a song in the springtime, which he demonstrated for the State and Local Government Committee.

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