Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

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

No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
The full text of this article is not currently available.

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this article

+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites
You must be logged in to use this functionality

image of Behaviour

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.

Affiliations: 1: bEcology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology Graduate Program, University of Nevada, Reno, 1664 N. Virginia Street, Reno NV 89554, USA ; 2: aDepartment of Biology, University of Nevada, Reno, 1664 N. Virginia Street, Reno, NV 89554, USA

*Corresponding author’s e-mail address:

Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

1. Bates D., Maechler M., Bolker B., Walker S. (2015). _lme4: linear mixed-effects models using Eigen and S4. — R package version 1.1-8, available online at
2. Benvenuti S., Ioale P. (1980). "Homing experiments with birds displaced from their wintering ground". — J. Ornithol. Vol 121: 281-286. [Crossref]
3. Bingman V.P., Mench J.A. (1990). "Homing behavior of hippocampus and parahippocampus lesioned pigeons following short-distance releases". — Behav. Brain Res. Vol 40: 227-238. [Crossref]
4. Bingman V.P., Yates G. (1992). "Hippocampal lesions impair navigational learning in experienced homing pigeons". — Behav. Neurosci. Vol 106: 229-232. [Crossref]
5. Branch C.L., Kozlovsky D.Y., Pravosudov V.V. (2015a). "Elevation related differences in female mate preferences in mountain chickadees) are smart chickadees choosier?" — Anim. Behav. Vol 99: 89-94. [Crossref]
6. Branch C.L., Kozlovsky D.Y., Pravosudov V.V. (2015b). "Elevation related variation in aggressive response to mirror image in mountain chickadees". — Behaviour Vol 152: 667-676. [Crossref]
7. Branch C.L., Pravosudov V.V. (2015). "Mountain chickadees from different elevations sing different dialects) acoustic adaptation, temporal drift, or signal of local adaptation?" — Roy. Soc. Open Sci. Vol 2: 150019.
8. Brooke M. de L. (1979). "Differences in the quality of territories held by wheatears (Oenanthe oenanthe)". — J. Anim. Ecol. Vol 48: 21-32. [Crossref]
9. Bulmer M.G. (1973). "Inbreeding in the great tit". — Heredity Vol 30: 313-325. [Crossref]
10. Catchpole C.K. (1972). "A comparative study of territory in the reed warbler (Acrocephalus scirpaceus) and sedge warbler (A. schoenobaenus)". — J. Zool. Lond. Vol 166: 213-231. [Crossref]
11. Croston R., Branch C.I., Kozlowsky D.Y., Dukas R., Pravosudov V.V. (2015). "Heritability and the evolution of cognitive traits". — Behav. Ecol. Vol 26: 1447-1459. [Crossref]
12. Davies N.B., Krebs J.R., West S.A. (2012). An introduction to behavioural ecology. — Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford.
13. Day L.B., Guerra M., Schlinger B.A., Rothstein S.I. (2008). "Sex differences in the effects of captivity on hippocampus size in brown-headed cowbirds (Molothrus ater obscurus)". — Behav. Neurosci. Vol 122: 527-534. [Crossref]
14. Dhondt A.A., Huble J. (1968). "Fledging date and sex in relation to dispersal in young tits". — Bird Stud. Vol 15: 127-134. [Crossref]
15. Ekman J. (1989). "Ecology of non-breeding social systems of parus". — Wilson Bull. Vol 101: 263-288.
16. Freas C.A., LaDage L.D., Roth T.C. II, Pravosudov V.V. (2012). "Elevation-related differences in memory and the hippocampus in mountain chickadees, Poecile gambeli". — Anim. Behav. Vol 84: 121-127. [Crossref]
17. Freas C.A., Bingman K., LaDage L.D., Pravosudov V.V. (2013). "Untangling elevation related differences in the hippocampus in food caching mountain chickadees: the effect of a uniform captive environment". — Brain Behav. Evol. Vol 82: 199-209. [Crossref]
18. Gagliardo A., Ioale P., Bingman V.P. (1999). "Homing in pigeons: the role of the hippocampal formation in the representation of landmarks used for navigation". — J. Neurosci. Vol 19: 311-315.
19. Google Earth V (2015). Sagehen Experimental Forest, California. 39°25′54.08″N, 120°14′29.45″W, Eye alt 8.64 km. — DigitalGlobe, 2016, available online at (accessed 1 March 2016).
20. Greenwood P.J., Harvey P.H., Perins C.M. (1979). "The role of dispersal in the great tit (Parus major): the causes consequences and heritability of natal dispersal". — J. Anim. Ecol. Vol 48: 123-142. [Crossref]
21. Greenwood P.J., Harvey P.H. (1982). "The natal and breeding dispersal of birds". — Annu. Rev. Ecol. Syst. Vol 13: 1-21. [Crossref]
22. Hampton R.R., Shettleworth S.J. (1996). "Hippocampal lesions impair memory for location but not color in passerine birds". — Behav. Neurosci. Vol 110: 831-835. [Crossref]
23. Harrap S., Quinn D. (1995). Chickadees, nuthatches and treecreepers. — Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ.
24. Harvey P.H., Greenwood P.J., Perins C.M. (1979). "Breeding area fidelity of the great tit (Parus major)". — J. Anim. Ecol. Vol 48: 305-313. [Crossref]
25. Herculano-Houzel S. (2011). "Brains matter, bodies maybe not: the case for examining neuron numbers irrespective of body size". — Ann. NY Acad. Sci. Vol 1225: 191-199. [Crossref]
26. Hinde R.A. (1956). "The biological significance of the territories of birds". — Ibis Vol 98: 340-369. [Crossref]
27. Hoover J.P. (2003). "Decision rules for site fidelity in a migratory bird, the prothonotary warbler". — Ecology Vol 84: 416-430. [Crossref]
28. Keiser J.T., Ziegenfus C.W.S., Cristol D.A. (2005). "Homing success of migrant versus nonmigrant dark-eyed juncos (Junco hyemalis)". — Auk Vol 122: 608-617. [Crossref]
29. Kozlovsky D.Y., Branch C.L., Freas C.A., Pravosudov V.V. (2014). "Elevation related differences in novel environment exploration and social dominance in food caching mountain chickadees". — Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. Vol 68: 1871-1881. [Crossref]
30. Kozlovsky D.Y., Branch C.L., Pravosudov V.V. (2015a). "Problem-solving ability and response to novelty in mountain chickadees (Poecile gambeli) from different elevations". — Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. Vol 69: 635-643. [Crossref]
31. Kozlovsky D.Y., Branch C.L., Pravosudov V.V. (2015b). "Elevation-related differences in parental risk-taking behavior are associated with cognitive variation in mountain chickadees". — Ethology Vol 1(20): 1-12.
32. Kristin A., Hoi H., Valera F., Hoi C. (2007). "Philopatry, dispersal patterns and nest-site reuse in lesser grey shrikes (Lanius minor)". — Biodiv. Conserv. Vol 16: 987-995. [Crossref]
33. Kuznetsova A., Brockhoff P.B., Christensen R.H.B. (2015). lmerTest: tests in linear mixed effects models. — R package version 2.0-25, available online at
34. LaDage L.D., Roth T.C. II, Fox R.A., Pravosudov V.V. (2009). "Effects of captivity and memory-based experiences on the hippocampus in mountain chickadees". — Behav. Neurosci. Vol 123: 284-291. [Crossref]
35. LaDage L.D., Roth T.C. II, Fox R.A., Pravosudov V.V. (2010). "Ecologically relevant memory use modulates hippocampal neurogenesis". — Proc. Roy. Soc. Lond. B: Biol. Sci. Vol 277: 1071-1079. [Crossref]
36. McCallum D.A., Grundel R., Dahlsten D.L. (1999). Mountain chickadee (Poecile gambeli), The birds of North America online (A. Poole, ed.). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY. — Retrieved from the birds of North America online, available onine at
37. Mettke-Hofmann C., Gwinner E. (2003). "Long-term memory for a life on the move". — Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA Vol 100: 5863-5866. [Crossref]
38. Newton I., Marquiss M. (1982). "Fidelity to breeding area and mate in the sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus". — J. Anim. Ecol. Vol 51: 327-341. [Crossref]
39. Paton P.W.C., Edwards T.C. Jr. (1996). "Factors affecting interannual movements of snowy plovers". — Auk Vol 113: 534-543. [Crossref]
40. Pravosudov V.V., Kitaysky A.S., Omanska A. (2006). "The relationship between migratory behaviour, memory and the hippocampus: an intraspecific comparison". — Proc. Roy. Soc. Lond. B: Biol. Sci. Vol 273: 2641-2649. [Crossref]
41. Pravosudov V.V., Roth T.C. II (2013). "Cognitive ecology of food hoarding: the evolution of spatial memory and the hippocampus". — Annu. Rev. Ecol. Evol. Syst. Vol 44: 173-193. [Crossref]
42. R Core Team (2013). R: a language and environment for statistical computing. — R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna. Available online at
43. Ralph C.J., Mewaldt L.R. (1976). "Homing success in wintering sparrows". — Auk Vol 93: 1-14. [Crossref]
44. Roth T.C., LaDage L.D., Freas C., Pravosudov V.V. (2012). "Variation in memory and the hippocampus across populations from different climates: a common garden approach". — Proc. Roy. Soc. Lond. B: Biol. Sci. Vol 279: 402-410. [Crossref]
45. Schmidt-Koenig K., Schlichte H.J. (1972). "Homing in pigeons with impaired vision". — Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA Vol 69: 2446-2447. [Crossref]
46. Schubert K.A., Mennill D.J., Ramsay S.M., Otter K.A., Ratcliffe L.M., Kraus C. (2008). "Between-year survival and rank transitions in male black-capped chickadees (Poecile atricapillus) a multistate modeling approach". — Auk Vol 125: 629-636. [Crossref]
47. Schwagmeyer P.L. (1994). "Competitive mate searching in thirteen-lined ground squirrels (Mammalia, Sciuridae): potential roles of spatial memory". — Ethology Vol 98: 265-276. [Crossref]
48. Sedgwick J.A. (2004). "Site fidelity, territory fidelity, and natal philopatry in willow flycatchers (Empidonax traillii)". — Auk Vol 121: 1103-1121. [Crossref]
49. Sherry D.F. (2006). "Neuroecology". — Annu. Rev. Psychol. Vol 57: 167-197. [Crossref]
50. Smulders T.V., Casto J.M., Nolan V. Jr., Ketterson E.D., De Voogd T.J. (2000). "Effects of captivity and testosterone on the volumes of four brain regions in the dark-eyed junco (Junco hyemalis)". — J. Neurobiol. Vol 43: 244-253. [Crossref]
51. Sniegowski P.D., Ketterson E.D., Nolan V. Jr. (1988). "Can experience alter the avian annual cycle? Results of migration experiments with indigo buntings". — Ethology Vol 79: 333-341. [Crossref]
52. Spritzer M.D., Meikle D.B., Solomon N.G. (2004). "The relationship between dominance rank and spatial ability among male meadow voles (Microtus pennsylvanicus)". — J. Comp. Psychol. Vol 118: 332-339. [Crossref]
53. Wallraff H.G. (2005). Avian navigation: pigeon homing as a paradigm. — Springer, Berlin.

Article metrics loading...



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to ToC alert
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    Behaviour — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation