Sunday, January 11, 2015

A Bright Spot

"Black-capped Chickadee"
photograph - © Bruce A. Morrison
(click on image for a larger view)

We don't get many Chickadees here on the acreage as we are somewhat removed from the timber that stands in the valley below to our SE.  We did have a pair or two when we first moved here in 2002 but West Nile disease had made its appearance in NW Iowa a year or two earlier and swept through the populations of certain birds...curiously, the Chickadees were one of those affected. (Crows and Blue Jays were other known victims) 

Occasionally through recent years we might have one in the yard for a few days, but they inevitably leave.  I presumed we didn't keep them because their numbers were down and they were likely seeking other Chickadees to associate with.

Black-capped Chickadee numbers have rebounded significantly in NW Iowa now and we're lucky again this winter to hear their cheery songs...its one bird I can imitate and talk to, and Chickadees are actually one of the songbirds that are not terribly skittish around people.  

I remember years ago on the north shore of Lake Superior at our small cabin, walking the paths we grubbed out to the lake shore...being followed by a small group of Black-capped Chickadees.  They seemed most curious about me and flitted along with me as I walked - all within arm's reach.  It was mesmerizing and quite uplifting!  I talked with them and they seemed fascinated by this "Big" bird on two legs, talking back to me as well.  

We're very lucky to have a pair of Chickadees this winter here.  On mornings when its well below zero and even with a stiff breeze - there is always one bird song cheering us all on - our Black-capped Chickadees!


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