Came across the unusually fuzzy looking Black-capped Chickadee at the MacTaggard Sanctuary the other day. This chickadee looked bedraggled and mottled , like it was having a bad hair feather day. I have my suspicions that’s perhaps it could bear a juvenile, but I have not been able to find any conclusive information supporting my theory. During the winter the chickadees were very abundant and as soon as one would arrive at the trail, the chickadees would greet you, probably hoping for a treat. During the summer the situation is quite different. While one can hear their song in the forest they keep to them selves and rarely accost unsuspecting humans. This disheveled looking chickadee, however, came down to check me out. It did not stray long. Once it was clear that I was not offering any treats it took off and vanished in the shrubbery again.
This picture was taken by my son when he first put his hands on our new Canon PowerShot SX70 HS. He took this image in the low light conditions of the understory with full zoom at 1365 mm (35 mm equivalent) at ISO 800. I like how the picture shows the “fluffiness” of the Black-capped Chickadee, which helps to keep them warm in the winter. It also shows a rarely seen phenomenon…, a Black-capped Chickadee sitting still for more than a blink of an eye. These small nonmigratory songbirds seem to be in perpetual motion even during the coldest of winter days. We saw an abundance of Black-capped Chickadees flittering around in the understory during the recent February cold-spell even when temperatures dropped to below -40 °C. It is remarkable how well-adapted these birds are to our harsh climate. To conserve energy on cold nights, they have the ability to go into a state of torpor by lower their body temperature by as much as 10 to 12 °C (their normal body temperature is 42 °C). They may be small, but what they lack in size they make up for in sheer feistiness and awesome attitude. They are constant companions on our nature walk along the creek and are always checking if we bring any treats.
May the curiosity be with you. This is from “The Birds are Calling” blog (www.thebirdsarecalling). Copyright Mario Pineda.