Saturday, July 3, 2010

Unexpected guest

Summer was slow to arrive here this year. One evening, in mid-June, I sat at the kitchen table, sketching birds as they came to our feeders. I was pleasantly surprised to see a Chestnut-backed chickadee fly furtively to a platform feeder and eat some millet or sunflower seeds. Like the oak titmice that are frequent fliers in our yard, the chickadee grabs a seed, places it between it's toes and stabs with it's beak until the seed breaks open. This is a much different method of shelling the seeds than the California towhees, house finches, house sparrows, mourning doves and rock pigeons all of whom use their stout beaks to break open the seeds.

Chickadees eat mostly insects and I can only surmise that the insect population was still low because of the cool weather. I haven't seen a chickadee at the feeder or anywhere else since that day.

For more about Chickadees visit All About Birds.


  1. Nice chickadee sketches!... and your post reminds me of watching a black-capped chickadee sitting on a telephone wire while he hammered away on a seed. Pretty soon he was upside down and still hammering away.

    They are one of my favorite birds.

  2. What great captures! Colored pencil is perfect for these lovely little birds. Loved reading your description too.

    Elva's comment brought a smile to my face :)

  3. Very nice drawings Debbie. I also very much like the ground squirrels from last post.