Winter residents: Mountain and Black-capped Chickadees
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A Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus) watches one of the bird feeders from a perch in the boughs of one of the evergreens in the backyard. The Chickadees are particularly curious and when I’m out on the deck photographing they flyby to see what’s going on. Following the storm, the next day was beautiful and the birds flew in close when I went outside for a little while. While the lone Grosbeak was aloof, the smaller birds were chattering nearby and landing in the branches a few feet away.
Here a Mountain Chickadee (Poecile gambeli) flits around in the same tree scavenging for edible bits. Note the white stripe above the eye that distinguishes them from their Black-capped cousins.
While the little birds are still finding seeds and other things to eat in the forest, winter is at the doorstep so I returned our bird feeders to service a few days before the snow flew. I wanted to let the resident Nuthatches and Chickadees return to the winter feeding pattern before the weather threw them a winter curveball. Within a day there were a couple of birds who found the feeders and by the storm we were happy to see much of the congregation flying around the backyard again.
It was a sunny morning today so I spent some time photographing the Black-capped chickadees that live in our backyard. There are several of them that share the bird seed we put out with a large flock of Common redpolls and a few Red-breasted nuthatch through the winter.
As from a couple of weeks ago with their redpoll cousins, the chickadees were elusive to capture nicely in flight. But it was a very nice time with my backyard neighbours.
A couple from the morning.
I like my backyard, it’s a cool place.
Playing with chickadees
The Inglewood Bird Sanctuary is well-known for living up to its name and being one of Calgary’s finest locations for birding. I consider the paths through the forest that connect the viewpoints along the Bow River to be just as exciting as the shoreline. There are Great-horned owls in the trees, a couple have been spotted recently but I could not find them, as well as deer, coyotes, woodpeckers, magpies and the list of animals grows considerably in the warmer months. Easily the most interactive members of the community are the Black-capped chickadees. Easily seen along the pathways, they are curious and like to come very close. One precocious little bird perched on my camera and the day before another one had landed on my friend’s head. It is great fun watching them flit through the brambles and chirp at one another.