Mountain chickadees return to their post-natal dispersal settlements following long-term captivity

in Behaviour
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There is little work investigating the relationship between environmental changes and associated hippocampal effects on animal homing. We took advantage of previous studies in which wild, non-migratory mountain chickadees spent six months in captivity prior to being released. Over the following three years, 45.8% of the birds were resighted, and in all cases birds were identified less than 300 m from their initial capture locations at their respective elevation, despite previous studies documenting ca 30% captivity-related reduction of the hippocampus. Reproductive success of birds that spent six months in captivity did not differ from control birds that did not experience captivity. Our findings suggest that chickadees are highly site faithful and can return to their original capture location after spending time in captivity. Our results also have important implications for animal welfare practices as birds held in captivity bred successfully and may not need to be sacrificed following captivity.

Mountain chickadees return to their post-natal dispersal settlements following long-term captivity

in Behaviour



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    Map of Sagehen Experimental Forest study sites created using Google Earth V 7.1.5. Black markers represent high elevation feeder sites and white markers represent low elevation feeder sites where birds were trapped for both studies reported in this article. L, low-elevation sites; H, high-elevation sites. Markers labelled “Release Site” indicate where all birds were released in a single year after being in captivity for 6 months. This figure is published in colour in the online edition of this journal, which can be accessed via

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    Map of Sagehen Experimental Forest study sites created using Google Earth V 7.1.5. (a) Low elevation sites and (b) high elevation sites showing where the 12 birds from 2014 were originally trapped (e.g., 1T) and where they were resighted (e.g., 1R). Yellow pin drops indicate (a) original tapping location (T) and resighting location (R) for birds 1–7 and (b) original tapping location (T) and resighting location (R) for birds 1–5. All other birds depicted were from 2013 and, therefore, only have resighting locations (R). All birds listed on these maps were resighted at feeders, except (a) 8R, 9R and 13R, and (b) 7R and 8R, which were resighted at nestboxes. Arrows connect each bird’s original capture location and their resighting location. This figure is published in colour in the online edition of this journal, which can be accessed via


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