March 11, 2005

09: Chickadee

Image Hosted by
Chickadees seem like the happiest birds on earth. Chipper. Noisy. Tame. Adorable. They never stop moving. And they seem content to hang out in any temperature nature can throw at 'em – even here in Manitoba. At the Oak Hammock Marsh Interpretive Centre where I work, the winters can get pretty bleak, especially from New Year's until the end of March. On warmer days I sometimes head over to the willow bluff south of the building, where a small band of determined birdies survive off a feeder stocked by Centre staff. The gang consists mostly of snow buntings and common and hoary redpolls, down from the Arctic for our comparatively balmy winter. Occasionally a single downy woodpecker shows up. And there's the chickadees.

In a couple of weeks (maybe more, it's been a rough winter), a goose might arrive. Then more. Then some ducks, coots and blackbirds. By the end of April, killdeers and more ducks. The ground squirrels will be out of their holes, quarrelling and getting their freak on. In May, legions of sandpipers come through, along with bright, cheery warblers. By then I'll be riding my bike at lunchtime again, dive-bombed by black terns who mistake me for a coyote. Then I'll be checking for wood ticks before going back to work.

For now though, I have chickadees. Just drawing this fella on Tuesday night made me feel good. I used a photo in my copy of the Audobon Encyclopedia of North American Birds as reference. My mom gave it to me for a Christmas present when I was ten years old.


Allan L. said...

That's dope, man. It takes me back to when we were at Mulvey School. Your skills were rather advanced even back then!

Melissa said...

What a beautiful birdie! I love Chickadees. When I was growing up my uncle was a birdwatcher, and he used to talk me along with him. I had all those bird field guides and I used to try drawing them. Once I drew this Great Blue Heron, and I think that was the only one that actually looked like the picture I used. :-)

You're just a Chickadee magnet!