Monday, January 21, 2008

When Chickadees Attack!

We put out a LOT of food for our wild birds. When the winter weather is cold as it has been thus far in 2008, we struggle to keep the feeders stocked. We might fill the feeders in the morning, and again at 3 pm and STILL the food disappears by dark.

On really cold mornings we've often got a crowd of birds hanging out all around the feeders, staring crossly at our kitchen window. Like a surly gang of teenagers waiting for the Slurpee machine to get refilled at a 7-Eleven, our birds are hungry and p-o'd that we're not out there filling the feeders RIGHT NOW!

Once in a while a male eastern bluebird will perch just outside the deck window and wave his wings at us. It's the same move he uses to impress the "ladies" in the spring when he's showing off the nest boxes in his territory. But he's not trying to encourage us to mate with him (at least we hope not). He's letting us know that we're failing to keep the feeders full of mealworms and suet dough. Yesterday he tapped his bill lightly on the upstairs bedroom window to remind Julie that he and his azure flock were ready to eat. The un-anthropomorphic among us might say he was merely fighting his reflection (sorry, the window was covered in frost) or nabbing an insect (it was 4-degrees out! there WERE no insects).

Nope he was communicating with us. Reminding us of our responsibility as feeding station operators.

Then there's the Carolina chickadee (one of about 40 that we have around the farm feeders). He got so mad at the tiny amount of suet in the suet feeder that he threw a fit. I managed to document his latest fit in photos. See below....

Carolina chickadee: "Let me say this again, s-l-o-w-l-y so you can understand it. WE NEED MORE #@*%$# SUET!!!"


Do we understand each other?

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At 6:47 PM, Blogger Dea said...

Hilarious, Bill. I laughed out loud.

Now back to studying.

At 7:13 PM, Blogger The Zen Birdfeeder said...

Love it!

At 9:36 PM, Blogger AndrĂ©e said...

Not hilarious! This is my first feeder winter and they have not begun this stuff yet. But if they do, they'll be joining the cats, dogs, with their food demands and I'll be deranged. What did I get myself into???

At 10:19 PM, Blogger Sara said...

Your birds have real moxie, I was impressed when the chickadees here sat on the empty window feeder and only stared in at me. Thanks for a good laugh !

At 6:42 AM, Blogger Jayne said...

LOLOL Bill! My birds here behave like spoiled brats too when the feeders get low. It's so funny to watch them.

At 2:11 PM, Blogger Trixie said...

That is one mean looking Carolina Chickadee!

At 5:52 PM, Anonymous akeeyu said...

We had a similar event with jays last year. One morning we woke up to the most horrific shrieking--honestly, I thought a cat or a crow had gone after a nest or something, but no.

The massive bird emergency turned out to be that the local jays had brought their newly fledged offspring to their favorite restaurant (our porch) only to discover that it was closed. After that, they yelled for breakfast every single morning until all the kids left home.

At 8:12 PM, Blogger Mary said...

Laughing out loud here... The birds at my feeders get a little militant also. While I'm filling their feeders they stare me down and get quite vocal but I've never had one tap on the window. How cool!

You have 7-Elevens in Ohio? I've only seen them in MD. Loved the Slurpees!

At 9:02 PM, Blogger Sassy1 said...

Loved this one, I've looked at it two days in a row just for laughs!

At 12:52 AM, Blogger NW Nature Nut said...

It's that 'Zick's Suet Dough'...I made a batch with a friend and the birds LOVE it, even in Oregon. Cute posting.

At 6:32 AM, Blogger KatDoc said...

When I got back Sunday after being gone 10 days, of course, the feeders were empty. A Downy Woodpecker was clinging to the trunk of a red maple tree next to my driveway, watching for my return. When he saw me, he swooped off to find his friends. Soon, a WB Nuthatch was hanging upside down on the (empty) peanut feeder while a Carolina Chickadee scolded me from thre top of an apple tree.

Of course, filling the feeders was a priority task, after watering the horses, but before unpacking the suitcases (a task still unfinished.)

Even the birdies were happy to see me come home!



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