They’re Back

After pondering for weeks what had become of our little birds they suddenly appeared in numbers today, picking berries and splashing about in the bird bath.

The boreal chickadee, pictured above, is the shyest of the three. I was surprised to see them in the company of the other two species who are much bossier.

The photos are not as clear as I would have liked as I took them through the kitchen window. (I would have washed it had I known we were having company.)

The juncos spent most of their time between the bird bath and drying off in the lilac bush.

Junco after his bath

Not-yet-ripe saskatoons went to the black-capped chickadees. Such antics as they tackled the berries. No pies for us this summer.

Black capped chickadee

Once the juncos departed the bird bath the normally shy boreals moved right in. They certainly enjoyed the dip.

Boreal chickadee

Black caps and juncos are familiar to many but boreals much less so. They truly are a bird of the boreal forest and are found mostly in Canada’s northern woods. You can learn more about this secretive little bird here, including a recording of its voice — described as a black-capped chickadee with a cold. 🙂


Black-capped chickadee    Poecile atricapillus
Boreal chickadee   Poecile hudsonicus
Junco  Junco hyemalis

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6 thoughts on “They’re Back

  1. It’s interesting how the birds come and go. November is the time around here when the woods go absolutely silent, and no one comes to the bird feeders. One explanation is the abundance of natural food, of course, but I do wonder at times if they haven’t gone off for a group vacation, just to recover from having to entertain the humans all summer long.

    I love the photo of the chickadee and the berry. It’s fun to watch them feed on fruit — except when they’re eating the figs I wanted to harvest.

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    1. A group vacation? I hadn’t entertained that idea! Sounds like a lot of feathery fun. Our concern about these little birds is that they are usually with us all the time — yet we saw nothing of them for months. I’d occasionally hear one or other of the chickadees in the woods but never a sign of one in the yard. Completely out of character for them in the 2+ decades we’ve been here.

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  2. Great piece Sally!
    The link you provided to http://www.borealbirds.org/boreal-birds is very instructive:
    “Given existing and proposed development in virtually every Canadian province and territory, the future of the boreal ecosystem and the birds that breed there will be largely determined over the next 5 to 10 years.”
    That is something worth thinking, then doing something, about.
    Tom

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    1. Yup, scary thoughts. Many of our little birds completely disappeared this year. We hadn’t seen any of them — chickadees, juncos, nuthatches et al — for months. This is completely out of character. (We don’t feed the birds because it attracts the bears. We don’t mind bears but worry about them becoming too accustomed to “tame” humans, then walking into someone’s yard who responds with something lethal.) So tho’ the birds don’t come for food they always came to drink and bathe and eat natural stuff (bugs, insects etc). Changing times , Tom.

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    1. Terry this disappearance was a complete change after more than 2 decades of regular visits to drink and bathe. It’s good to see them back but what prompted such a radical departure, not just of one species but of them all? Unsolved mysteries become worrisome in these days of rapid climatic change.

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