Sea Blue Lens

So Long, Chickadee


There will be lilacs!

There will be lilacs!

It’s official, spring has sprung. But my walk this week has me thinking back to last fall.



In my bird book, I noted my first sighting of a Mountain Chickadee on September 19, 2012. At first there was just one, but soon we had small flocks in residence, hanging out with the house finches and white crowned sparrows.


Mind If I Join You?

Then I began hearing an odd little tapping noise. What on earth? Oh, I see! A chickadee would pluck a hard, round seed pod (they are actually tiny cones) off the big arborvita at the corner of the house, carry it to a crape myrtle or pine branch, and hold it between his feet while pecking it open with his beak, tap-tap-tap-tap-tap.  Over the next few weeks, they stripped every seed off that tree. Only then did they join the other birds at the feeders.

One day I caught a glimpse of a bird I couldn’t identify. It looked a lot like a chickadee, but its beak was twice as long. A day or so later, I spotted another one, got a better look at it, and had to laugh–it wasn’t another species, it was just one of my little chickadees with a sunflower seed in his beak. Unlike the house finches, who crack and eat the seeds right at the feeder, the chickadees carry away one seed at a time, again finding a branch on which to peck it open.

They’re rather gregarious little birds, often chattering and scolding from a nearby branch as I sat on my patio or cleaned and refilled the bird bath. But my picture-taking efforts were frustrating. I couldn’t get very close with the camera, and they move quicker than I can aim and focus. I’ve taken dozens of images and deleted most of them.


Please, stop wiggling!

A few days ago, I was walking around the yard with my camera, taking photos of the spring buds and blossoms that are beginning to appear, when a chickadee alighted on a branch right next to me. He watched me turn and raise the camera, and sat quietly while I took eight precious, perfect shots.




Then — gone.


Two days later, they were ALL gone. Every. Single. One.

God speed and fare thee well, my little friends. Thank you for your gracious parting gift. I hope to see you again come fall!

I’m linking with Lissa for Walk and Click Wednesday. This was a short walk–I didn’t even get out of my own front yard. I haven’t forgotten that I promised to take you the rest of the way home from the mail box . . . the long way . . . so we’ll do that next week.
laf Custom Designs

20 thoughts on “So Long, Chickadee

  1. What a wonderful gift to get those clear shots of the Chickadee. We have them around year round here, but they look a bit different than yours.

  2. What sweet little ones, and the lilac is just gorgeous!

  3. What a cute little bird mom! Thanks for sharing the pictures and the story!

  4. Beautiful nature photography of such gems ~ lovely post ~ thanks ^_^

  5. Wonderful shots! Great depth of field and I love how the branches framed the bird. It’s always so satisfying when you can capture one of those moments.

  6. Lovely to see spring coming to you – hopefully, it won’t be far behind here in Ohio. Wow! such fantastic shots – a beautiful send-off to your chickadee friends.

  7. Your chickadee photos are way past fabulous!!! Amazing even. I have tried and tried to get chickadees – I have a camera on a tripd aimed out the window at the feeder and still I get smudgy pictures – they are so fast. I loved your descriptions of them too. And I especially like the way the green of the leaves sets them off. The only time I’ve gotten really good shots was when they were nesting in our back yard – our two grandsons and I sat right near the little birdhouse they were nesting in – and soon they came in and out and I got some great shots – had to discard a lot of the shots even then. I don’t think any of us breathed at all while were getting the photos – the grandsons loved it. Yours might have been a short walk – but it was a great one. i think all your chickadees came over here. Our youngest grandson calls them chickeNees.

  8. I love your first photo. Wonderful focus and I love the lovely light. The chickadee images are amazing! I know how they flit around so fast! I know you were thrilled to get these!

  9. Those are lovely, but you’re still my favorite chickadee. Come back soon! We misses you! ❤

  10. Beautiful little Chickadees, Lee. Thanks so much for taking me on your short adventure past and present. Thanks for visiting Walk and Click Wednesday! Good to see you again. ;->

  11. Hey Friend….I don’t do birds much, but chickadee is one I know (crow, pidgeon, blue jay and I just like saying “tufted titmouse” because it cracks me up). Glad you had a visitor in the tree. I also like the one with falling snow? or rain? lines.
    Hope they return next year for you. Happy spring. Send some, would ya?

  12. Thank you for sharing the bird bath with our feathered friends! It has been alot of years that I have had the opportunity to see this.

  13. Lovely, we don’t get these birds in the UK I love their colouring….visiting from Walk and Click

  14. Great shots, Lee! Those chicadees are such sweet little birds — I just want to cradle one in my hands. Wonder who will be visiting the bird feeder next?

  15. I love the photo-story combination here: six months of enjoying the chicadees’ antics and getting to know their habits and, of course, becoming frustrated about trying to photograph them. I’m so glad they rewarded your patience with a few terrific shots.

  16. Hi! Spring has come. Beautiful captures! I like the first one very much.

  17. Oh… such a beaiutiful post, and wonderful photos, the birds are so precious…

  18. Beautiful photos! These birds are so delicate looking close-up – and fascinating to watch their behaviour!

  19. Wonderful set of shots. I’ve been looking forward to your Walk and Click Wednesday!

  20. Such a sweet parting gift! Beautiful shots!

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