Program Details: Open to the public

Boulder Chickadee Study

Black-capped and mountain chickadees are closely-related species that co-occur in Boulder County but occupy different habitats based on elevation. The Boulder Chickadee Study leverages an extensive network of nest boxes from Boulder up the Mountain Research Station to look at how cities are changing the interactions between these two species from both genomic and field-based perspectives. We pair field studies with cutting-edge genomic tools to characterize the species barrier between these inquisitive & industrious birds.

We are broadly interested in understanding how human-modified spaces are impacting the interactions between these two species. We currently have the following on-going projects:

--Assessing the degree of hybridization between the two species
--Quantifying nest parasites along mountain slopes
--Characterizing the feather patterning of the two species

Folks that are interested in participating in the Boulder Chickadee Study must live within the City of Boulder limits or along Sugarloaf Rd. By participating, you will host chickadee nest boxes on your property, assist in monitoring these boxes throughout the breeding season, and submit your nest box observations to CU researchers using an online submission platform. All types of participants are welcome, regardless of bird knowledge or yard type.

We are currently recruiting participants for the 2020 chickadee breeding season which runs from Mid-April through the beginning of June.

This is a public program. For more information, please visit the program website.


In Colorado

  • Boulder

Program Partners

Supporting This Program

  • Currently, we work with several groups in the Boulder Community including the Colorado Field Ornithologists, Dharma's gardens, Long's Iris Fram, & the BeeChicas but we welcome any groups interested in hosting & monitoring nest boxes, including homeschool groups, scouts, & birding clubs.

Sponsoring Units

Arts & Sciences, College of

  • Ecology & Evolutionary Biology (EBIO), Department of

Program Contact

Kathryn Grabenstein
Graduate Student
(303) 492-4860

Program Categories


  • Biological Sciences
  • Climate Change
  • Data Analysis
  • Natural Sciences
  • Science
  • STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)

Program Types:

  • Citizen Science
  • Community Research


  • Alumni/Parents/Friends
  • Children & Youth (outside school)
  • Families
  • General Public
  • Senior Citizens
  • Students - High School
  • Students - Homeschooled
  • Students - Middle School
  • Teachers - Elementary School
  • Teachers - High School
  • Teachers - Middle School
  • Urban Communities

We do our best to accurately represent CU Boulder’s outreach programs and services, but they are subject to change and may no longer be active in a community. Please contact the program directly for current information.