Construction Projects Update
The proposed crosswalk and Charcoal Road bridge are still in the running.
By Sterling Abram

Some of you are wondering, no doubt, what has happened to two projects that were to be done in 2015. The construction phase of two projects, the TE (Transportation Enhancement) and SRTS (Safe Routes to School) were combined in order to generate more interest by contractors who are qualified to do them. The federal money for the SRTS project became unavailable for a period of time, and that, along with other regulatory delays, placed the bidding window in a poor time of year, and invitations to bid were ignored.

School Crossing

That made it necessary to prepare new documents for a new invitation to bid, as well as a repackaging of the project from an engineering standpoint to be submitted to NHDOT for approval; and those are only a few of the obstacles faced.

We were informed previously, and passed on to the citizens of the town, that the projects had to be completed by the end of September 2015, and that there would be no money available after that date.

Our understanding was revised when NHDOT informed us that the September date was when they at NHDOT would make their final decision regarding all pending statewide projects in these programs, and assign all the money that was left. That means that the projects can be completed next year, but there will be no adjustment to the funding provided by these programs, and any overrun of expenses of our projects would have to be borne by the Town of Dublin.

This revised information made it necessary to repackage the bid to identify some portions that could be pulled out to save money, should the bids be too high. This work of repackaging has been done, and the application to put them out to bid again is with NHDOT. If this is approved in a timely manner, bidding should happen in January, which is a favorable time of year to advertise for projects of this nature.

The Board of Selectmen, by majority vote, has continued to advance these projects every time there have been decisions to make, in accordance with the will of the town expressed in several Town Meeting votes. The risks involved continue to mount, should the bids come in higher than estimated, but at this time there is reason to expect that both projects can be accomplished successfully and according to plan in 2016.

Of interest as well is the upcoming project to replace the Charcoal Road bridge over Charcoal Brook.

BridgeThe engineering phase has been taking place for the last five years, and the contract for construction will be awarded within days. The successful bid was slightly lower than the estimate by the engineers, which was good news. The construction will take place over the summer of 2016, at which time Charcoal Road will be closed to traffic for several months in the area of the bridge.

When my term as selectman expired, I offered to continue to monitor these projects, since I had been involved with them for so long. The new Board accepted my offer and appointed me to represent them in tracking progress and reporting to them. I will be glad to share any information that I am able to about these construction projects, and remain hopeful for a successful conclusion.

Sterling Abram, a former selectmen who is monitoring these long-term projects, respectfully submitted this article to the Advocate.


Throw open the doors to welcome 2016, and remember to wipe your shoes…WelcomeNewYear

[Advertisement correction: The date for the Peterborough Folk Music Society’s performance by Christine Lavin & Don White should have read Friday, January 22, at 8 pm. The Advocate apologizes for the error, which appeared on p. 5.]

Answers to December’s Christmas Carols Quiz:
1-C; 2-G; 3-F; 4-J; 5-D; 6-H; 7-E; 8-A; 9-B; 10-I
Source: Stories behind Christmas, Ace Collins


Dublin Public Library

Mark those new calendars! Wednesday mornings from 9:30 to 10:30 plan to come to Family Story Time at the DPL. We will start off 2016 by reading the book Tell Me the Day Backwards by Albert Lamb. The children will want to share their holiday memories and this will be a great introduction.

Did you know there are at least a million colors? We’ll paint with the primary colors and try some mixing. We’ve heard of kids who prefer the box to the gift, and reading The Nowhere Box by Sam Zuppardi might give you some new creative ideas.

We all have a conception of who is courageous, but you might be surprised to find out that even toddlers can have courage. Programs are January 6, 13, 20, and 27. We offer a different craft each week as well as refreshments.

With long winter nights ahead, how about trying a new author with continuing characters. The library will feature the first book in a series in different genres: mystery, adventure, intrigue, family, and romance. It is fun to connect to characters in books; if you get tired of them, just close the book, but if you want to continue to build a relationship, read the next book in the series.

Rosemary by K.C. Larson
Stars of Fortune by N. Roberts
The Muralist by B.A. Shapiro
Tricky Twenty-two by J. Evanovich
The Mare by M. Gaitskill
The Guilty by D. Baldacci

New books by or about politicians
Destiny and Power — George Bush by J. Meacham
The Essential Bernie Sanders and his Vision for America by J. Tasini
A More Perfect Union by B. Carson
Crippled America by D. Trump

FDPL Notes

And more on books: The Water is Wide by Jack Conroy is our selection for the Reading Group in January. We will discuss our December book, Wandering Star, on January 21 at 6:30 pm, and copies of The Water is Wide will be handed out. Please come. There are cookies afterwards!

Don’t forget the museum passes — fun for vacation.


FDPL: Escape from Belgium 1940

The FDPL is pleased to host an illustrated talk by Dr. Francis de Marneffe at its Annual Meeting on January 23, from 10 am to 12, when we will hear his amazing story.Francis Alone

In the Spring of 1940, the German war machine raced across Europe. Amid the chaos and destruction, one young man, like many others, answered the call of his government and his conscience.

Sixteen-year-old Francis de Marneffe left his home in Brussels that May, and headed for France on his bicycle with 500 francs in his pocket. As he waved goodbye to his family, he had no idea that five long years of war would pass before he saw them again.

Francis’ recent book, Last Boat from Bordeaux, is an engaging history, one that not only recounts one young man’s escape across Europe during the early days of World War II, but offers a personal glimpse into what times were like for the millions of people whose lives were turned upside down by the most desperate and important conflict of the 20th century. Francis’ story, from émigré English schoolboy to RAF pilot to post-war U.S. citizenship, exemplifies the turmoil, tragedy, and triumph of his generation.

De Marneffe book cover

Dr. de Marneffe, General Director Emeritus of McLean Hospital, a division of Massachusetts General Hospital, and long-time resident of Dublin, will deliver an illustrated lecture based on his book describing his gripping story. The story is a remarkable tale of persistence and courage.

Illustrated and autographed copies of his book will be available after the lecture.


Town of Dublin Public Notice: Filing Period for Town Offices

Residents interested in declaring their candidacy for the following town offices may do so at the town clerk’s office beginning Wednesday, January 20, 2016, and ending on Friday, January 29, 2016. For those residents wishing to file for office on January 29, the clerk’s office will be open from 3 pm to 5 pm.

Selectman 1 position 3 years
Supervisor of the Checklist 1 position 6 years
Library Trustee 2 positions 3 years
Water Commissioner 1 position 3 years
Budget Committee 2 position 3 years
Cemetery Trustees 1 position 3 years
Planning Board 2 positions 3 years
Trustee of Trust Funds 1 position 3 years

Jeannine Dunne is Town Clerk/Tax Collector. She can be reached at PO Box 62, Dublin, NH 03444; (603) 563-8859, Fax (603) 563-9221.


New ConVal District Rep Needed

The term for the Town of Dublin’s representative to the ConVal School District (SAU1) expires in 2016. It is one position, and the term shall last three years. Candidates for School District Office shall file their declaration of candidacy with Brenda Marschok in the Office of the Superintendent of Schools, 106 Hancock Rd., Peterborough, NH, not earlier than Wednesday,
January 20, 2016, or later than 4 pm, Friday, January 29, 2016. Questions, call 934-3336 or visit


David R. Elder


The Monadnock United Way Campaign
By Bill Goodwin

As mentioned in the December issue, the Monadnock United Way provides significant funding for about 45 human service agencies and programs in the Monadnock Region. Our goal for the 2015-16 campaign is to raise $2,019,912 through personal donations and support provided by the businesses in area.

By the end of November, we raised $1,471,023 or 73% of our goal. We still need to raise another $548,889 to meet goal.

Please remember that in Dublin, more than 300 services were used during the first six months of 2015. If you are one of those who rely on these programs, think what would happen if the agency or program were suddenly not available to you. This is why the campaign is so important to all of us.

We need your financial support. You can mail your tax-deductible donation to the Monadnock United Way, 23 Center St, Keene, NH 03431 or call 352-4209 for assistance.

For more information about the Monadnock United Way, we invite you to go to their website at If you click on the “Campaign” tab at the top of the site and then click on “Real Needs, Real Impact,” you will see the many ways that the United Way impacts the people of the Monadnock Region.

Bill Goodwin is Division Chair for the Peterborough campaign this year.


Chief Vanderbilt to Talk about Fire Prevention at DubHub

On Saturday, January 9, at 2 pm, the Dublin Community Center will host Dublin Fire Chief Tom Vanderbilt who will give a presentation on preventing fires. All residents are invited to this free presentation.

We all need reminders about fire safety, especially in the winter months when we use our woodstoves, fireplaces, and electric appliances to stay warm. Chief Vanderbilt will go over common mistakes and show us ways to make a home safety checklist.


Brown Performs in ‘Little Women’ at KSC

Abbie Brown performed in the musical, Little Women, based on the Louisa May Alcott novel that chronicles the adventures of the four March sisters, presented November 18 to 21 by the Keene State College Department of Theatre and Dance.

Brown, a senior dance performance and choreography major (who graduated from ConVal in 2010), choreographed a dance for the 40th anniversary of An Evening of Dance 2014. She has performed in many other performances at Keene State.

For more information about the Theatre and Dance Department, visit or call 358-2162.


Solar Forum Well Attended
Speakers focus on options for homeowners.
By Nancy Nolan

On a sunny, unseasonably warm December Sunday afternoon, more than 25 people gathered at the Hub to hear experts talk about the latest in alternative energy and energy policy.

Here Rep. Marge Shepardson of Marlborough is speaking to the crowd gathered at the Hub. The other two speakers were Greg Blake of South Pack Solar and Kim Bergeron of KE Mechanical Systems of Dublin. Photo by David Wolpe.
Here Rep. Marge Shepardson of Marlborough is speaking to the crowd gathered at the Hub. The other two speakers were Greg Blake of South Pack Solar and Kim Bergeron of KE Mechanical Systems of Dublin. Photo by David Wolpe.

Three locals, Kim Bergeron of Dublin, owner of KE Mechanical Systems; Greg Blake, owner of South Pack Solar in Peterborough; and Rep. Marge Shepardson of Marlborough, a member of the State Science, Technology and Energy Committee, explained how they could install solar panels, use the excess electricity from the panels to power efficient air-source heat pumps, and what lies ahead for the future of these technologies in our state.

Greg Blake has installed a few solar arrays in Dublin, on rooftops as well as free-standing arrays. He described how he visits the home with tools that assess the viability of solar, and how solar panels provide electricity from the sun. He outlined the costs and life expectancy of the panels.

Kim Bergeron presented information about air-source heat pumps, a technology that has come a long way in the last decade. They are an energy-efficient way to provide heat and A/C to a home or business. If used in conjunction with solar panels, they provide fossil-free heat and cooling. Kim has two decades of experience with this technology and is very enthusiastic about the Mitsubishi brand of air-source heat pumps.

The audience was very interested in Rep. Shepardson’s review of State energy policies. She explained the benefits of the RGGI (Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative) in the Northeastern U.S. Although some NH politicians have attempted to remove NH from the RGGI, we remain part of it and have reaped millions for energy efficiency and rebates to ratepayers. There is much more that can happen on a state level to encourage energy efficiency and alternative energy. Rep. Shepardson urged the audience to stay tuned in 2016 and to reach out to our representatives when crucial bills arise.

It was clear that the audience was very interested in the subject. Many were wearing buttons saying “No Pipeline” and spoke of the need for alternatives to fossil fuels in order to prevent the need for more fossil-fuel infrastructure.

Nancy Nolan, Hub board member, lives on Burpee Road and enjoys a 6KW solar system, which powers her home, hot water, heat, A/C, and plug-in electric vehicle.


Dance into the New Year with Zumba Fitness

Beginning January 4, 2016, join Deb in the DubHub for a new eight-week session of Zumba Fitness. Classes meet Mondays from 5:30 to 6:30 pm.

If you enjoy dancing and are looking to burn off holiday calories, give Zumba a try. Latin and World rhythms with an occasional Top 40 song and/or line dance get participants dancing, singing, and sweating for an hour of calorie-burning fun.

Zumba Fitness is effective because it’s enjoyable, motivating, and students look forward to doing it on a regular basis. The cost for the eight-week session (Jan. 4 – Feb. 29) is $35. If you are new to Zumba Fitness, come try a class for free. All participants are asked to bring clean shoes to change into. Come join the party!

Any questions, please call Deb Giaimo at 563-8648.


HCS Wellness Clinic at the Hub

Home Healthcare, Hospice and Community Services (HCS) is offering a Nurse Is In wellness clinic at the Dublin Community Center on Tuesday, January 19, from 12 pm to 1 pm. Our HCS wellness nurse will check blood pressures and be available to answer questions about home care and any health concerns you may have. This screening is open to residents of all area towns and is offered free of charge. No appointment is necessary.

Nurse Is In clinics are sponsored by Home Healthcare, Hospice & Community Services, a Monadnock United Way agency. For a complete list of clinics or for more information, visit or call 352-2253.


Make Origami Boxes at the HubOrigami box

Linda Singer, of Harrisville, will present two classes on making Origami Boxes at the Dublin Community Center on January 11 and 18, Mondays, from 1 to 2:30 pm. All are welcome to join. A $5 donation is requested for supplies. Please call 563-8021 to sign up.


Margaret McMahon to Show Her Art at the Hub

The work of mixed media artist Margaret McMahon of Keene will be featured at the Dublin Community Center during the month of January.

McMahonMargaret combines her love of sewing and bright, clear colors in her large portraits. She uses her sewing machine to “draw” the contours of figures and incorporates fabric and acrylic paint in her evocative compositions. An opening reception for the artist will be held at the Community Center on Saturday, January 9, from 4 to 6 pm.

Igor V. Bella
A Memorial Service will held for Igor V. Bella on January 30, 2016, at All Saints Episcopal Church
on 51 Concord St. in Peterborough at 11 am. Reverend Jamie Hamilton will
share the pulpit with a Lutheran Minister, as Igor was a Lutheran minister.
All are invited to attend.

CASA Receives Grant

The Hearst Foundation, Inc. has awarded Court Appointed Special Advocates a $50,000 grant to support CASA’s mission to protect the rights of New Hampshire’s abused and neglected children to grow up in a safe and loving home. Since 1989, CASA of New Hampshire has served nearly 10,000 children. Apply to become an advocate at For information, please call 800-626-0622 or email


Grave Options in Town
By Kim Allis

My husband’s uncle once told us that he thought it was a terrible waste of space to bury people in elaborate cemetery plots in even more elaborate cemeteries. Frankly I had never given any thought to the subject, except to think that since I would be dead, I wouldn’t care!

Since then, of course, I have been introduced to body disposal ideas that are more “green” in nature, and I acknowledge that we must think of the future generations who will run out of space if we don’t do something. Such options include giving your body to medicine (more complicated than you’d think); donating it to an organization that will somehow adhere your remains to a reef somewhere to build it up; the “pod” approach in which your body is placed along with a sapling tree in a dedicated grove-to-be so that it may nourish the sapling. And that doesn’t even include that idea that was going to shoot your body up into space where it could forever orbit the earth (or maybe it was just a capsule with the ashes). At any rate, this is not such a good idea, what with the amount of “space debris” up there already.

My husband wants to be buried in the backyard.

An Internet search of NH Government websites, plus a little research, has elicited the following information:

It seems my husband may have his wish: burial on private property is allowed in our Live-Free-or-Die state. All that is required is that a death certificate be issued within 36 hours and reported to the cemetery head. Also, a note must be attached to the deed of the property indicating that there is a burial site. Creating your own family cemetery plot requires special permits and may not be allowed. And for those who die when the ground is too hard to dig, refrigeration until spring is not outlawed. And, by the way, no state law requires routine embalming although there are extenuating circumstances where someone must be embalmed.

Cremation would seem a tidy solution for the space problem, if it weren’t so dependent upon fossil fuels. According to one website, it takes from two to four hours at 1400 to 2000 degrees Fahrenheit to burn a body to ashes, which is roughly the equivalent of driving 4,800 miles across the country and halfway back. Ultimately, alas, not such a green solution!

But speaking of ashes, there is surprising latitude for their disposition. The state website recommends that “…people simply proceed as they wish, letting their best judgment be their guide.” Scattering ashes in a park may be problematic as each national park has regulations. The law is surprisingly persnickety about waterways and such (don’t do it) and the EPA weighs in with requirements as to scattering ashes at sea. The Federal Clean Water Act governs scattering ashes in inland waters. Sometimes permits may be had.

Being of a different generation, the uncle mentioned above probably was more concerned with saving space rather than fuel. However, those of us striving to lighten the energy footprint on the earth might be interested, after all, in one of those pods with the tree. And those of us who live in the live free AND die free state have some options to consider.

Kim Allis is on the staff of the Advocate.

From the Town’s Cemetery Superintendent: The Town of Dublin regulations, approved by the Dublin Cemetery Trustees, requires that full burial remains in the cemetery must be enclosed in a concrete, stone, or other permanent vault that fully surrounds the burial casket. The same is true for cremation burials. Contact Hank Campbell, Dublin Cemetery Superintendent, with any questions.

RSAs to know about: A discussion with Julie Thibault, new owner of Jellison Funeral Home in Peterborough, brought to the Advocate’s attention the important RSAs that pertain to these matters, indicated below:

Title XXX. Occupations and Professions, Chapter 325 Embalmers and Funeral Directors. Section 325:40-a, concerning embalming requirement.

Title XXVI. Cemeteries; Burials; Dead Bodies, Chapter 289 Cemeteries Section 289:3, concerning location of burial grounds (I-IV). Section 289:5, concerning cemetery records, tax maps, etc. Section 289:14, Right of Way to private burial ground.

Laws are very specific and there is not much wiggle room, so be informed before proceeding. The Table of Contents for the State of NH’s RSAs:          -Ed.


News from the Dublin Consolidated School
By Nicole Pease

The month of December raced by and ended with the wonderful Holiday Concert on December 11. A huge thank you to the Dublin Fire Department for always making a visit from Santa Claus possible! Santa visited just as the Holiday Concert came to a close.

DCS concert

It was a tremendous show that included first- and second-year band performances, sword dancing, and singing from everyone. An especially big thank you to Joe Sangermano who coordinated the gift distribution for all the kids. Joe ensured the kids all had a chance to meet Santa. Thank you to Santa himself who is so patient and kind!

It was such an honor to be part of the festivities and I am so thankful for this tradition.

Now that it is January, we will all have to work hard to get the students and ourselves back into the groove of school. It will be nice to have a stretch with fewer interruptions.

The ski program starts January 7; the DCS Ski Club will take many of our students to Crotched Mountain Ski Area each of five Thursday afternoons for a lesson and free ski. Those students who choose to stay at school will have some extra sledding and snowshoe time, so please hope for lots of snow.

We hope everyone had a wonderful holiday, filled with family, friends, and fun! We wish you all the best for 2016.

Nicole Pease, M.Ed., is Dublin Consolidated School Principal and the Math Coach for SAU1.


Upcoming Events at The River Center

For our 8th consecutive year, free help is available from IRS certified tax preparers. We will be accepting tax appointments for low- and moderate-income families/individuals beginning January 13.

An Introduction to Computers training will meet you where you are and teach you the basics: January 13 from 2 pm to 3:30 pm at the New Ipswich Library. This is a free program.

If your 11-14 year old is interested in babysitting, our Safe Sitter training teaches life-saving skills so they are safe when home alone or watching younger children: January 18 from 9 am to 4 pm. Scholarships for this program are available through the Jaffrey Recreation Department.

Wendy Hill, Parent Educator, will be facilitating Building Your Child’s Self Image: Setting Limits, Structure, Expectations and Family Time (ages birth to six years) on Wednesdays from January 6 to 27. This is the 1st module of a series. Sign-up for one module or all of them. Childcare available. To register, call 924-6800 or email us at


Thorne-Sagendorph Art Gallery: Biennial Exhibition
January 22 to March 27, 2016; Public opening, January 21, 5-8 pm.

Keene State College Art Faculty present art, design, and hybrid forms — painting, digital printing, video, drawing, photography, installation, audio, printmaking, collage, conceptual works — that reveal the wide-ranging interests and approaches of the college’s studio art and graphic design faculty. Faculty will participate in clusters of public talks, screenings, demonstrations, and other events. Visit the gallery web page for information.

Thorne-Sagendorph Art Gallery is on the campus of Keene State College, Wyman Way, Keene, NH 03431; (603) 358-2720;;

March 12, 2016 – 6 pm
Men Who Cook – in Keene
Zorn Dining Commons at Keene State
Additional details to come
Sponsored by Monadnock Family Services


Thanks for Tree Lighting

The Town of Dublin voices a special thank you to Fire Chief Tom Vanderbilt, the Dublin Christian Academy choir, the Dublin Community Center, and the Dublin General Store for helping put together, in time and generous donations, the Christmas Tree Lighting held December 4 in the Yankee parking lot.

Town Tree 2015All their assistance and generous donations are greatly appreciated. Also, a very special thank you to Santa!


DCA in Robotics Competition
By Heather Fletcher

The Skeeterbytes, DCA’s robotics team, have had a great season. Last November, they competed at the regional tournament where they received 1st place on the robot table with the highest score for the day.

DCA Skeeterbytes 2015

They also received 2nd place in robot design and advanced to compete in the state tournament in Nashua on December 5th. Competing against the 50 best teams in New Hampshire, Skeeterbytes came in 9th overall. Job well done, Skeeterbytes!

Every Thursday in January from 8 am to 3 pm is Take-A-Look Thursday, where Dublin Christian Academy’s Admissions process allows for a Free Educational Consultation with our Head of School so parents can decide if DCA is the right fit for their family. Call the school office at 603-563-8505 or visit for more information.

Heather Fletcher is an elementary teacher at DCA, which is located at 106 Page Road.


A Champion in Our Midst

Abby Levene of Dublin and Boulder, Colorado, picked up her second national title of the year at the 2015 Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championship, held in November in Clermont, Florida.

Abby Levene (eyes) 2015USATChamps_APL_onbike1 2015USATChamps_APL_Run1

A graduate student at the University of Colorado, Abby competed in a field of 80 women in the draft-legal 750-meter swim, 20-kilometer bike, 5-kilometer run event. She also earned the overall title at USA Triathlon Olympic-Distance Nationals held in Milwaukee in August 2015.

For the official details, go to

In the (12/14) edition of Sports Illustrated, there’s a short blurb about Abby on the “Faces in the Crowd” page.


Peterborough Players’ Arts on Screen Series

Sunday, January 10, 1 pm: The National Theater Live HD Production of Jane Eyre. Almost 170 years on, Charlotte Brontë’s story of the trailblazing Jane is as inspiring as ever. This bold and dynamic production uncovers one woman’s fight for freedom and fulfillment on her own terms. From her beginnings as a destitute orphan, Jane Eyre’s spirited heroine faces life’s obstacles head-on, surviving poverty, injustice and the discovery of bitter betrayal before taking the ultimate decision to follow her heart.

Saturday, January 16, 1 pm: The Met Opera in HD Les Pecheurs de Perles. Bizet’s gorgeous opera of lust and longing set in the Far East returns to the Met stage for the first time in 100 years. Soprano Diana Damrau stars as Leïla, the beautiful Hindu priestess pursued by rival pearl divers competing for her hand. Her suitors are tenor Matthew Polenzani and baritone Mariusz Kwiecien, who sing the lilting duet “Au fond du temple saint,” which opera fans know and adore.

Sunday January 24, 1 pm: The Bolshoi Ballet The Taming of the Shrew. French choreographer Jean-Christophe Maillot, music by Dmitri Shostakovich. Many suitors dream of marrying the lovely and docile Bianca, including Lucentio. However her father will not let anyone marry her before her elder sister, the ill-tempered shrew Katharina, is married. This adaptation of Shakespeare’s comedy is tailored specifically to the Bolshoi dancers.

Saturday, January 30, 1 pm: The Met Opera in HD Turandot by Puccini. Christine Goerke, Lise Lindstrom, and Nina Stemme, three of opera’s greatest dramatic sopranos, take turns in the title role of the proud princess of ancient China, whose riddles doom every suitor who seeks her hand. Tenors Marcelo Álvarez and Marco Berti are Calàf, the brave prince who sings “Nessun dorma” and wins her love.

Contact the Peterborough Players for ticket details at 924-7585.


The Black-capped Chickadee
By Tom Warren

The Black-capped Chickadee is one of the most widely recognized birds in North America found in the northern two-thirds of the United States and Canada. In its genetics, it is most similar to the Mountain Chickadee of the American West. As Edward Forbush, renowned ornithologist and author, said, “it is the embodiment of cheerfulness, verve, and courage.”

Chickadees are residents throughout their range and have some unusual adaptations to winter’s short days and cold temperatures: they lower their body temperature at night and with regulated hypothermia, dropping their body temperature 12 degrees C, save considerable amounts of energy on cold nights. They also have the ability to store food and use exceptional spatial memory to find it as much as a month later, an example of superior intelligence.

Chickadees are most commonly seen in winter when visiting feeders in flocks of regulars and floaters.

“…the embodiment of cheerfulness…”
“…the embodiment of cheerfulness…”

If a regular flock member disappears, s/he is replaced by a floater who immediately pairs with the mate of the absent bird. Like eagles, chickadees mate for life, but only mourn for a few minutes.

There are many species of chickadees, but we only occasionally see a Boreal Chickadee, with a brown head, from regions to our north. They often travel with their cousins, the Nuthatches and Titmice.

In the winter, chickadees prefer sunflower seeds, suet, and peanut butter. They are especially active during snowstorms, so far absent in our early mild winter here in Dublin. Its eating capacity in winter is enormous and its physiology allows for rapid digestion of food.

Chickadees nest in hollow trees and bird houses and use moss, rabbit fur, and other insulating materials. Between six to eight eggs are laid, which hatch in 12 to 13 days. The young fledge on average in 14 days. The adults care for the young three to four weeks after which they disperse and are on their own to form the winter flocks that come to our feeders.

Feeders increase the winter survival of chickadees, especially during extreme cold. Chickadees are non-migratory, so the chickadee you see at your feeder will be around for the rest of its life.

Tom Warren is Dublin’s resident ornithologist, and serves as a trustee of both the Harris Center and the Audubon Society.


January 2016