You know how parents do not have a favorite child?
Well, I do not have a favorite bird. I love them all equally.
Except . . . well, I may have a little extra love for the chickadee.
My mother nicknamed me Dee when I was born, and the name seriously stuck. Not only do all of the friends I grew up with still call me Dee, but all of the kids I work with at the nature center know me as “Ms. Dee”.
And you kind of have to love a bird that calls your name:
In addition to this obviously superlative call, chickadees are also incredibly brave little birds, a trait that I both admire and aspire to.
At just 4.5 and 5.5 inches from beak to tail, respectively – we get both Carolina chickadees (Poecile carolinensis) and black-capped chickadees (Poecile atricapillus) here and I’ve spent exactly zero time learning to tell them apart, which I’m surprisingly okay with – they are among the smallest of the common songbirds. So, you might expect them to be shy or timid, but the opposite is true.
They’re often first to the backyard feeder, happy to claim their place among the bigger birds and, seemingly, much less bothered by humans.
On my recent owling walk with the NRV bird club, chickadees nearly surrounded us along the length of the Deerfield Trail. They sat boldly on low branches, checking out our oddly large eyes (read: binoculars) with friendly curiosity.
They must have confidence in their rapid wing beats and acrobatic flight. They can afford to be brave and inquisitive because they know they can be gone in a heartbeat if they sense danger.
I love to watch them in my backyard, flitting back and forth from our yellow birch tree to the hanging feeder, cracking one big black oil sunflower seed at a time with their little, determined beaks.
Just thinking of them makes me smile.
This has been another #10minwri on the Common 10. To learn more about Common 10 animals, check out: