[Tweeters] FOY: Chickadee

Rob Sandelin nwnature1 at gmail.com
Fri Jan 4 08:35:06 PST 2013

I live at the edge of a forest and so it not surprising that the first bird
of the year is a chickadee. Both black-capped and chestnut backed attend
the feeder and they own the yard. They are the bird that is always there,
and I find as I step out my door I pause to listen to hear where they might
be. The coldest and rainiest day of January can not dampen the enthusiasm of
this bird. I love how they hold a constant running conversation of their
chirps and beeps as they dance about the yard. Three birds, are joined by
several more and they cover every square inch of the shrubbery, dangling
from branch tips like animated holiday ornaments. And they have a place of
respect in the community of birds in my yard. They have a wide variety of
calls including a special call for hawks and several times they have
alerted the neighborhood to take cover moments before the hawk patrol zooms

Once while banding with students we caught a chickadee, banded it and then
let a student hold it and release it. The feisty little bird did not fly
very far away, but perched just overhead and told us, in no uncertain terms
what he thought about his new ring. I do not believe it's a coincidence that
The 7th grade student who held that bird went on to do graduate work in
ornithology. May the happy spirit of the chickadee touch you in this year
and bring light when the gray skies of life start to close in.

Rob Sandelin

Naturalist, Writer, Teacher

Snohomish County

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