The Maine state bird will remain the chickadee – not the boreal chickadee or the black-capped chickadee or any other specific species of chickadee, just “the chickadee.”

A bill brought to the Maine Legislature by fourth-graders at Margaret Chase Smith School in Skowhegan that would have clearly identified which species of chickadee is Maine’s state bird was killed Wednesday by the Legislature’s Joint Standing Committee on State and Local Government in its work session by a unanimous 10-0 vote.

A 1927 state statute lists only the generic “chickadee” as the Maine state bird, but it is believed that lawmakers at the time intended the black-capped chickadee, which adorns the regular license plate on Maine passenger vehicles. The boreal chickadee lives in the deep woods of Maine and is less common.

Only two members of the public testified in favor of the bill, including Nick Lund of Maine Audubon, who asked that the committee consider giving Maine its own state bird rather than have people assume it shares the black-capped chickadee with Massachusetts.

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