[Tweeters] Chickadee with a tick, suet eating creeper

J. Acker owler at sounddsl.com
Fri Dec 27 16:41:25 PST 2019

Hey Tweeters,

Early yesterday morning I noticed a chestnut-backed chickadee fixed to the
side of the sunflower seed dispenser. It was all puffed up and resembled a
ping-pong ball in shape. It was cold out, but I thought it a bit odd, as
the other chickadees were happily buzzing around doing their early morning
parade at the suet and sunflower seed feeder and were not puffed up. I
walked out to the feeder, and the bird didn't move or even look at me when I
got up close. I noticed a mass between the base of the beak and the right
eye. I was able to grab the bird with my hand, and then brought it into the
house for inspection. My thought was it was a tick, but that seemed
unlikely. My wife was of the opinion it was a growth. In either event, it
was beyond my ability to treat, so I took the bird to the West Sound
Wildlife Shelter where it was promptly admitted and received a patient
number. Two hours later, Fawn called to tell me I could pick the bird up
for release. Upon release at home, the bird made a bee line to the suet
feeder and devoured quite a bit of suet. It was presently joined by the
other members of its troop, and the flock raided the sunflower seed feeder
before moving on. I like stories with happy endings..though I do wonder how
a tick came in contact with a chickadee.

I have also had a Brown Creeper for the past month eating suet regularly
from the suet feeder. When it arrived in November, it was very timid and
would readily startle and leave the suet. Now, it is almost like a bushtit
in aggressiveness- it will often feed with chickadees, nuthatches, or juncos
at the feeder. I did miss my photo op when the Townsend's Warbler was on
one side of the suet and the creeper was on the other.

Happy Holidays to all.


J. Acker

<mailto:owler at sounddsl.com> owler at sounddsl.com

Bainbridge Island, WA

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