Monday, June 22, 2009

First Day

I think I'm going to start my next five posts with, "Moving is tougher and longer than I remember." :) Unbelievably, my husband wanted to move us in himself, maybe with a little help from the kids. Thankfully, he gave in to my teases about after-move hospital bills. It was hard enough watching the movers!

The first real day at my place, I got a glimpse of some of my new noisy neighbors. There was a huge chirping commotion outside the window, and lo and behold, there were about 3-4 chestnut backed chickadees in the pine tree right off the balcony.



They made the cutest, strangest call. One of my birding books describes it as a "buzzing" noise, which is fairly accurate, but the buzzing is accompanied by little, quick high notes.


Originally, I thought the buzzing sound was somehow made by the rapid flapping of their little wings, but I was wrong.


I also thought that maybe a parent was feeding a fledgling, but through some internet searching, it seems that this behavior might be a courtship ritual. One of the birds, presumably the female or baby, just sat on a branch and screamed at another bird that would fly out and bring back food. The bird being waited on hand and foot would focus their call directly at the foraging bird. The very specific direction of the calling, or screaming if you prefer, was what made me think it might have been a fledgling-parent relationship. The jury's still out on that, but if anyone knows for certain, give us the scoop!



20 comments:

Driver said...

Wonderful pictures of the little birds. I particularly like the ones with their beaks in circle like they're singing. The smallest are always the noisiest, it seems

Ginnymo said...

These are the cutest pictures Rene!! I love how you caught them with their mouths open..Ha!

worldphotos said...

At my age my mind thinks it can do more than my body can. Glad you save him some pain with the movers. Super photos. I see you San Francisco on the labels. Did you move across the bay?

Rene said...

@Driver - Yes, it is always the smallest, isn't it? We once heard this super loud high pitched whistling song, only to discover that it came from a little Junco that weighed less than an ounce!

@Ginny - Thanks!

@Steve - I didn't move to SF, but I ran across an article about the growth of the chestnut-backed chickadee population in SFBay Area, so I included it in the tags. I should probably be more specific, but Blogger has character limits.

crazy57bus said...

I'm back and testing the comments section.

My v-word was ingrate. Seriously.

crazy57bus said...

Working fine for wordpress ids

AZ said...

Oh heck, everybody from Driver's blog is over here so I had to come over too! Enjoyed your pictures, and I have to agree it's always the little bird with the big voices, a couple of months ago I had a mated pair of verdins in my back yard, I always knew when they were there because of the loud calls.

Rajesh said...

Fantastic snaps. The sequence and the narration is excellent.

daffy said...

I tried to comment from work today and I got an error. I think I'm jinxed... I'll try again though! I never give in without a darn good battle!
:o)
Nice birds.

Rene said...

Driver - Glad it works!

AZ - Thanks for giving in to curiosity, or peer pressure. :)

Rajesh - Thanks!

Daffy - Weird. Yes, please try again. Maybe a firewall?

the Baitlady said...

WOW.. beautiful chickadee pictures. I know they aren't easy to photograph because they are so flitty. Is flitty a word? Maybe it's flighty... whatever. Great job on capturing them!

Shellmo said...

These are fantastic!! Loved the one w/ the mouth wide open!! All beautiful!!

Jose's World said...

Thank you for visiting my website. Yes, it is amazing how birds are adapting to living among humans but as they loose their habitat they have to adapt.

Now the third photo from the bottom of the blog shows a bird that does not look like a chestnut-backed chickadee. It lacks the white cheeks.

Do you know what it is?

Dubs said...

Nice pictures. We don't get the chestnut chickadees around here in Indiana. It sounds like a parent-youngin' thing to me. I'm no expert, but thats my vote.

Ratty said...

I really like the look of their chubby little faces. You got great shots of them. It must have been fun to watch them.

Rene said...

theBaitLady - Yes, flitty is a word. Unstable; fluttering. And thank you!

Shellmo - Thanks!

Jose - I think the 3rd photo from the bottom shows white cheeks coming from the bill toward the back of its head. However, I do agree that it looks different from the other chickadees. It's not a round ball of feathers, but it has all the correct field markings, as far as I can tell. That's part of the reason why I thought maybe it was a parent-chick relationship.

Dubs - Thanks for your vote!

Ratty - Yes, they were very cute to watch, and thanks!

Mother Goose said...

These are fantastic pictures.

Kelly said...

Oh!! What a wonderful post. I love their cute little faces. It looks like they are whistling! I hope you have recovered from your move!

Andor Marton said...

Very nice series with some very cute birds. The singing bird - #3 - is excellent.

Ingrid said...

Rene, it looks like the yellow on the beak of the alleged fledgling does make it fledgling. Adults have black beaks. I love watching that whole "feed me" routine. (We did have adult female goldfinches at our thistle feeder, doing that same thing with the males feeding them. I never knew about that courtship ritual until I saw it this year.)