Posted by: atowhee | May 3, 2022


My primitive telepathy tells me the chickadee had spoken.  I was on my garden kneeling pad, digging out the first young blackberry sprouts of the season.  Eyes on the ground, thick gloves protecting my indelicate fingers.  I sensed sudden nearness.  I glance up.  At my arm’s length there sits a Chestnut-backed Chickadee.  He’s on the lowest transverse of the nearest trellis.  Sunflower chip in his toes.

This bird and its mate are in my garden daily, multiple times.  I presume this is the female, extra hungry now as she is making eggs.  She says, “You the seed man.  I seed bird. Good.”

I dimly comprehend that chickadees don’t use verbs.  Each one IS itself a verb.  To fly, to flutter, to feed, to forage, to hurry, to hide, to hover, to hunger. Action, motion, another new notion, emotion, coupled devotion, contortion when gleaning, self-absorption  Seed bird, indeed.

Each sunflower chip (maybe a third of the original seed) is too large for the tiny chickadee throat and gullet so each chip has to be beakfully chipped away into tinier chiplets.

In the third image above you see a bit of seed cover, chaff, being dropped.
Notice how the toes are used on this thin metal rod. Just the large central toes wraps around.

Two morals to this story.
1) Chickadees know how slow you are.
2) Never go outside without your camera.  Prevent regret.

CLICK HERE–RELEASE OF FIRST CONDORS IN NOR CAL IN OVER A CENTURY! All through the restoration efforts of the Yurok Tribe and their campaign to remove lead shot from the environment. Congrats!

954 Ratcliff Drive SE, Marion, Oregon, US
May 3, 2022
14 species

Canada Goose  2
Wild Turkey 2
Eurasian Collared-Dove  1
Mourning Dove  X
Downy Woodpecker  1
California Scrub-Jay  X
American Crow  X
Chestnut-backed Chickadee  2
Bushtit  1
Bewick’s Wren 1 singing
European Starling  X
House Sparrow X
House Finch  1
Dark-eyed Junco  1


  1. I’m lucky to have a pair of chestnut backed chickadees visiting a black oil sunflower seed feeder too.

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