Chickadee Highlight - UPDATE November 30, 2019

Chickadee on Lynns Hand 12-3-10

The big highlight today was hungry chickadees after a slow start. About noon, I stepped out the door to see if any chickadees would respond to a handful of sunflower seed hearts. None were in sight. Then there were 5, 10, and around 15 when I lost count, but they were checking the usual places where I put food. None came to me. After 5 or 10 minutes, I moved to one of those places. A couple landed. Then more landed. After a few minutes of the others getting comfortable with me, 12 landed one after the other in one minute and 32 in 3 minutes. I suspect some of these were repeats because it usually takes only a couple minutes to eat a seed.

I can’t remember a flurry of landings like that, although I did have 17 pine siskins on my head, shoulders, arms, and hands at once, but I cheated on that one by standing where they had been flocking to a manikin just moments before. Most of the chickadees today seemed to be learning for the first time, and learning faster than I would have thought. Then I put out lots of seed in several spots to last them and the red squirrels the rest of the day. I think this flock got educated today for the rest of the winter. We’ll see as we go. But none are as educated as some of the chickadees people see on the behind-the-scenes tours at the Bear Center. They come very close to anyone who walks up there, and if you hold out your hand, they immediately land on it just to check. The picture is not from today, but it is the same hand and the same place back on December 3, 2010 in the year when so many of us first bonded together.

I heard a nice thing today when one of you told me how soothing it is to watch Ted sleeping comfortably in his chalet. I believe he turns 23 in a month and a half.

Thank you for all you do.
Lynn Rogers, Biologist, Wildlife Research Institute and North American Bear Center