Cuss of the Chickadee

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Filed under Outdoor Notes

January 4, 2011

The incomparable Julie Zickefoose, who, according to my calculations feeds 64.8% of the winter perching birds in Ohio (south of Hwy 70), refers to that daily task as “slopping the juncos.”

Black-capped Chickadee

Cussing Chickadee

I have been familiar with that pre-dawn chore for several years. However, for a variety of reasons this year, I am not feeding the local birds. Interestingly enough, that does not seem to have reduced the bird population in our back yard in the least. Primarily, we have troops of small birds: titmice, creepers, Downy woodpeckers, nuthatches, kinglets, and a whole pile of chickadees.

The chickadees can be bold, but they are usually stand-offish. Today, however, they took it into their bird brains to seriously object to the presence of my small dog.

They usually ignore her completely, but today they fluttered and made low passes and cussed. They cussed that little dog from her bug eyes to her bob tail.

Carolina Wren

Carolina Wren

I have no idea what was so offensive about her today any more than other days, but the chickadees knew–and they objected. And that, of course, drew in my local Carolina Wrens, for there is no bird that likes to cuss like a wren.

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