Monday, January 21, 2008

When Chickadees Attack!

Monday, January 21, 2008
We put out a LOT of food for our wild birds. When the winter weather is cold as it has been thus far in 2008, we struggle to keep the feeders stocked. We might fill the feeders in the morning, and again at 3 pm and STILL the food disappears by dark.

On really cold mornings we've often got a crowd of birds hanging out all around the feeders, staring crossly at our kitchen window. Like a surly gang of teenagers waiting for the Slurpee machine to get refilled at a 7-Eleven, our birds are hungry and p-o'd that we're not out there filling the feeders RIGHT NOW!

Once in a while a male eastern bluebird will perch just outside the deck window and wave his wings at us. It's the same move he uses to impress the "ladies" in the spring when he's showing off the nest boxes in his territory. But he's not trying to encourage us to mate with him (at least we hope not). He's letting us know that we're failing to keep the feeders full of mealworms and suet dough. Yesterday he tapped his bill lightly on the upstairs bedroom window to remind Julie that he and his azure flock were ready to eat. The un-anthropomorphic among us might say he was merely fighting his reflection (sorry, the window was covered in frost) or nabbing an insect (it was 4-degrees out! there WERE no insects).

Nope he was communicating with us. Reminding us of our responsibility as feeding station operators.

Then there's the Carolina chickadee (one of about 40 that we have around the farm feeders). He got so mad at the tiny amount of suet in the suet feeder that he threw a fit. I managed to document his latest fit in photos. See below....

Carolina chickadee: "Let me say this again, s-l-o-w-l-y so you can understand it. WE NEED MORE #@*%$# SUET!!!"


Do we understand each other?


On January 21, 2008 at 6:47 PM Dea said...

Hilarious, Bill. I laughed out loud.

Now back to studying.

On January 21, 2008 at 9:36 PM AndrĂ©e said...

Not hilarious! This is my first feeder winter and they have not begun this stuff yet. But if they do, they'll be joining the cats, dogs, with their food demands and I'll be deranged. What did I get myself into???

On January 21, 2008 at 10:19 PM Heron said...

Your birds have real moxie, I was impressed when the chickadees here sat on the empty window feeder and only stared in at me. Thanks for a good laugh !

On January 22, 2008 at 6:42 AM Jayne said...

LOLOL Bill! My birds here behave like spoiled brats too when the feeders get low. It's so funny to watch them.

On January 22, 2008 at 2:11 PM Trixie said...

That is one mean looking Carolina Chickadee!

On January 22, 2008 at 5:52 PM akeeyu said...

We had a similar event with jays last year. One morning we woke up to the most horrific shrieking--honestly, I thought a cat or a crow had gone after a nest or something, but no.

The massive bird emergency turned out to be that the local jays had brought their newly fledged offspring to their favorite restaurant (our porch) only to discover that it was closed. After that, they yelled for breakfast every single morning until all the kids left home.

On January 22, 2008 at 8:12 PM Mary said...

Laughing out loud here... The birds at my feeders get a little militant also. While I'm filling their feeders they stare me down and get quite vocal but I've never had one tap on the window. How cool!

You have 7-Elevens in Ohio? I've only seen them in MD. Loved the Slurpees!

On January 23, 2008 at 9:02 PM Sassy1 said...

Loved this one, I've looked at it two days in a row just for laughs!

On January 24, 2008 at 12:52 AM NW Nature Nut said...

It's that 'Zick's Suet Dough'...I made a batch with a friend and the birds LOVE it, even in Oregon. Cute posting.

On January 28, 2008 at 6:32 AM KatDoc said...

When I got back Sunday after being gone 10 days, of course, the feeders were empty. A Downy Woodpecker was clinging to the trunk of a red maple tree next to my driveway, watching for my return. When he saw me, he swooped off to find his friends. Soon, a WB Nuthatch was hanging upside down on the (empty) peanut feeder while a Carolina Chickadee scolded me from thre top of an apple tree.

Of course, filling the feeders was a priority task, after watering the horses, but before unpacking the suitcases (a task still unfinished.)

Even the birdies were happy to see me come home!


On September 11, 2009 at 5:03 AM Laura said...

Has anyone heard of chickadees pecking cats? I left my cat on the balcony for several hours on a warm late summer day last week, and afterward I noticed that she had a tiny raw spot on the bridge (furry part) of her nose. A pair of excitable chickadees has been visiting the seed feeder there recently. She is old and slow, so I wasn't worried about her attacking the birds, but I hadn't considered the opposite possibility! (Other visitors in the past have included great tits, blue tits, green finches and blackbirds. I live in Berlin, Germany. Hooded crows occasionally caw to express their displeasure if they spot a cat, but they would have done a lot more damage, I think.)