Almost everyone must be familiar with Chickadees. They are one of the most widespread birds in North America. Nothing depicts the winter scene better than a Chickadee on a pine branch.. The Chickadee is a familiar and nostalgic sight on Christmas cards.
They were just as common back in Wisconsin, on the farm, as they are here on the Lewis River. What may not be so well known, is that there are three different kinds in this area. Of course the Black-Capped Chickadee is the most common. All you need to do is put out a few sunflower seeds and you can depend on them coming to your feeder. They are great at taking the seeds and hiding them in the trees for later.
It may be a little longer before a Chestnut-Backed Chickadee shows up. They are less common but much tamer. On more than one occasion I have had them take sunflower seeds from my hand. What I do is wait until the seeds are all gone on the feeder, then I put a few on my hand when I know the Chestnut-Backed is close by. They will come right down and sit on your hand. It is a real thrill. You can feel their heart beating real fast. They seem so light and fragile, however, they make it through the ice and snow of winter when a lot of other birds go south.
The third variety is the Mountain Chickadee. It is easy to distinguish the first two as the name describes their characteristics. Black Cap and Chestnut Back. It is easy to confuse the Mountain Chickadee with the Red-Breasted Nuthatch, as they both have a white streak above their eyes and are pretty close to the same size. If you look real close though. you will notice the distinct shape of the Chickadee.
A Black Capped pair raised two broods in our bird house by the river bank. It was so much fun watching the babies, at the feeders, when they first learned how to fly.