Tuesday, May 30, 2006

My Little Chickadees

Chickadees. How cute are they, eh? Soooooooooo, cute!

They can bite like the dickens, though. Try taking one out of a mist net prior to banding. At least the Carolina Chickadees that seem to be expanding their range here in Central Florida.

I am guessing that the Black-capped and Chestnut-backed versions in Washington would pack a similar vise-like grip.
Those two species were high on my list as we headed out to the West. Managed to peg them both on different days.

The first would be the Black-capped Chickadees. They were found on that wrong turn day I mentioned in a previous post where I ended up in Belfair. Managed to end up at the entrance to a trail, so I stepped out for a breath of fresh air and a scan of the trees.

Black-capped Chickadee

Not far above me was a family of Chickadees busily chasing one another through the nearly bursting buds on many trees that I couldn't quickly identify. The Chickadees would fly out in little bursts, sometimes zipping high and sometimes tracking lower to land nearly above my head.

It was the first time I had heard that clear "Chick-a-dee-dee-dee" call so clearly. The Florida birds tend to alter their calls a bit from the norm.

A little past the tree party, near a large group of neglected and empty bird feeders, was a couple more birds interested more in preening and relaxing than chasing one another. I managed to creep in close enough to get a nice shot through the branches. This bird didn't seem to mind me leaning in to say 'Hi'.

Black-capped Chickadee

It took longer than I had hoped to find the Chestnut-backed Chickadees. I had read that they frequented the woods near the beach at Dungeness but I couldn't find any. Not saying they weren't there, but I didn't find them. The rain probably kept them, literally, high-and-dry.

The first ones showed up when I bought that bird feeder near the end of the trip. That entry is detailed here.

The action was fast and furious that morning and we had to move along but having a couple of OK shots to bring home was nice. Every so often, a curious bird would land beneath the feeder and stare down next to the steps to see if it was worth the trip.

Chestnut-backed Chickadee

The next time we are out there the task will be to get a more natural looking photo. Maybe I can find them nearer to the coast, then. A bigger camera rig would probably make a difference, too.

So would actually trying to get a shot instead of being blinded by their cuteness.

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