Tag Archives: chickadee

This hat sees a lot of action

I was quietly working, when there was a bird-window thump, on the north window.  No one ever flies into the only, small, north window, and it’s not shielded.  Not a terrible, dire, sickening thump, but I thought I should check, anyways.

There was a chickadee under the window, motionless, wings splayed awkwardly, beak and eyes open, feet clutching a chunk of the brown leaves that it fell on.

It went straight into the hat.  All birds in trouble around here get the hat treatment.

I know from watching them recover that they are quite helpless for several minutes, and they can get all their functions back, but they come back in stages.  The best thing to do with a stunned bird is put it somewhere warm, dark, and safe for 20-30 minutes, then give it the opportunity to fly away.

I couldn’t help peeking.  Feeling better?

It seemed to perk up, righted itself, moved around in the hat, but I was determined to give it a full 20 minutes and sat beside it, waiting.

It had other plans.  I saw the hat move, right next to me, but before I could even react, the bird came shooting out, apparently in flight even before leaving the hat.  It flew upstairs.


I opened all the doors.  It was collapsed in a windowsill, panting. Not quite as well as it thought it was.

It let me pick it up, and we went outside, and I set it on the railing.  Still having a hard time

After a little bit it fluttered around my head and lit on the clothesline.  Good spot.   It did a bunch of heavy blinking and lots of staring at me, ceased panting, and eventually, flew to perch in a tree.  Moments after that, it appeared to get its bop back.  Happy ending.

Winter is knocking

The feeder’s been loaded for two hours, and four chickadees are here, scrapping for primacy.It’s another frozen day, so while it seems a little early,  I’m starting to feed them.  It’s nice to see the chickadees again.  They keep to themselves all summer, but clearly, they keep an eye on me.The Family has a new spot to lounge.  I’ve been clearing buckthorn, and they love it.  They want to hang out in this alder, fine.Time for a relaxed groom.

The water was frozen in Silkieland.  This is what happened when I broke it. We were thirsty! She’s got a corn cob!  And a jean jacket.

Time to feed the birds!

It snowed last night, so it’s time to put out a birdfeeder for winter (I’ve cast some seeds out before on the cold November days, but now I’ll maintain this food source so the birds may become dependent).

This means, what’s in the recycling right now I can make a feeder from?  Rather than walking all the way to the shop for the one I made last year.

It’s always fun to see how long it takes for the birds to find it.  Under an hour for a full banditry of chickadees to show up.  Then song sparrows and a purple finch, just like that.

A troupe of Eastern Grosbeaks comes through periodically, every 3-4 days in the winter.  They must be making a circuit of local food sources.

Chickadee tragedy (?)

I snuck over to peek at the chickadee nest, and, the horror!  The dead tree was snapped off right through the nest!


So much for super secure :(  The chickadee’s nest excavations, that made the wall of the tree 3/16” thin on one side, must have weakened the tree too much.  We’ve had some wet and windy days.

I studied the scene and found no trace of violent death from the tree snapping or predators later.  Not a feather, nor shells, on the ground. The top of the tree was lying next to the base.

One tiny poop and one wet feather in the nest- it seems improbable that she raised her young slyly enough for us not to notice comings and goings and they got out in time, but I can hold out hope.

The nest is almost wholly built out of my hair and fibres I recognize from our Icelandic wool blanket and our fleece sheets.  Incredible.  Basically he felted together a little bowl.  I’m glad they benefited from our intrusion here, then.

IMGP7008Once I saw him on the ground outside the camper door, gathering a few hairs and a tuft of wool that’d been swept outside.  He was really working at it, trying to tug the little tangle loose from where it was stuck on twigs and dirt.  Each yank and he’d emit a little “eep”.  The hairs were good and stuck and it looked frustrating.  “Eep, eep, eep, EEP!”  Something I wouldn’t even see- a few brown hairs on the ground- and that little bird spied it.

By the barn, the robin is very sly while feeding her chicks- HW has often worried that she hasn’t been around, but she clearly has been around, enough to rear up clutch #2 to a full feathered trio.  Clutch #1.  They’ll be out of the nest any day.  I should have taken a picture on the day I discovered the little pink wigglers with bruise blue eye bulges.  There were only two, sharing the nest with the third blue egg,  and I assumed that the remaining egg was a dud.  But no, it must have been the day they were born, and the third had not yet hatched.  They barely fit in the nest now, overflowing it.


Chickadee mama

IMGP6600We’ve been scrupulously avoiding the chickadee nest to not put her off, but we haven’t seen chickadees in the area for ages.  So when H.W. asked “can we go look in the nest yet?” I agreed because I was dying to know too.  It’s been about three weeks so I was assuming they had abandoned it because of us.  We tiptoed over and peeked in.  She’s in there!  At least eight inches down in a cylindrical hole smaller than a pop can, I saw the top of her little black cap and her beak, looking around.  Yay!  We didn’t put her off; she’s busy making some more tiny chickadees.  What a super-secure little silo of a nest.  No wonder chickadees seem pretty reproductively successful.


The daily birdsong here is breathtaking.  Constant, loud, varied.  Several kinds of woodpeckers, and other birds I don’t recognize beyond their type-wrens, juncos, finches.  The songbird life is rich.

In particular the chickadees seem to have no concern about having us as neighbours.  There’s one or two always chatting in a tree right over my head, or flitting by, or bouncing on a branch nearby.  One’s around me so often I feel like I’m being followed.  H.W. says they are not following him.  I think chickadees are endlessly adorable with their fast, perky energy.

It turned out we parked the camper right by a chickadee nest in the making- two, but it seemed to choose one over the other after a couple days.  It was hollowing out a dead tree started by a woodpecker.  In the first tree the hole was only deep enough for half the little bird body, so I could see the tail bobbing – what is it doing in there?  Then it would back out, fly to a nearby branch, and pfft, spit out a beakful of sawdust.  Repeat.  It seemed to choose the second tree and give up on the first, though.  This hole is lower to the ground but smaller, and the tree is only about 4” diameter.  We looked in and the cavity is about a foot deep!

Impressive for such a tiny bird, one mouthful at a time.  I haven’t seen him working on the excavation for a couple of days, so I suspect and hope that this means she’s setting on her eggs now.

*I guess he was gone courtin’;  he brought back a nice lady!  We were lucky enough to catch her inspecting the nest, and she must have approved of it, because then they both danced an excited little shimmy dance, and mated!  Proving the shimmy is universal.  So now she will be laying, and then setting.