Skip to content

Chickadees in the garden

While picking peas, I’ve been subject to vocal commentary by various avians.

Anna’s Hummingbird: Scritchy scritchy complain scritchy… BzzzzzzPINGk!

Black Phoebe: Pfee pfee. (Wag tail.) Pfee.

Western Scrub-jay: (Insert loud, rasping squawk of choice.)

…And: Chichichi chichi chichi hyeenhyeenh! Hyeenh hyeenh! (Repeat.) Chestnut-backed Chickadees have become our neighbors.

Chestnut-backed chickadee taking a bathChestnut-backed chickadee during a bath: “Hey! I haff not yet coiffed my feathères.”

A couple years ago Simon gave me a birdhouse for small wren-like birds, which he mounted on the backroom wall, near the apricot tree. Nobody visited, until last Summer, when I heard a hammering sound coming from the backroom. The neighbors next door were remodeling, so I nearly shrugged it off. I went outside to see a Nuttall’s Woodpecker widening the birdhouse’s entry hole. Unfortunately, the woodpecker lost interest and never nested there.

Last month as I was staring at the apricot blossoms, and heard a couple of chickadees calling to each other, with beaks full of blossoms and grass. They flew in the direction of the birdhouse, perhaps scoping it out.

For the next several weeks I’ve continued to hear chickadee chatter. Tenants at last? Yes, especially when any of the jays or mockingbirds come nearby. Oh boy, do they raise a(n auditory) stink when either human or bird come near the apricot tree, and therefore their domicile.

disapproving chickadeeChickadee loudly expressing disapproval, with a beak full o’ tasty crunchies.

Two weeks ago I started hearing a high pitched Peepeepeepeeeee. Chickalets! The parents remain quite defensive of their foraging grounds, yelling in that incongruously giggling voice. It sounds like there are at least two youngins. They’re gradually developing that chattery giggle their parents have. (Checheche che che che.)

Just yesterday we saw one of the kids for the first time, poking its head out of the b-house. Like most young birds, its mouth has this amusing “scrowling” expression, made noticeable with a contrasting yellow beak (unlike their parents’, which are black). It’s a sign that they don’t have full plumage, or adult coloring. But they do have enough feathers to make me wonder if they’ll fledge soon. I will upload more photos to the creatures album.

gawking scrowlie chickadeeScrowlie gawking…staring… photo by Simon Fraser.

Submit a comment

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked with a red diamond, .