Black Caps

Black-capped chickadees are getting more & more common around here this summer. Usually I see them in the spring, but by midsummer they’ve all gone to another place. This summer though, they like to hang around my bird feeder, eating the seeds. But only when there aren’t any other birds around – they’re much smaller then the house sparrows, & more timid. They do like to gather in bunches of 2 or 3 in the trees though, & even if they are hard to spot, it’s always easy to hear their loud CHICKA-DEE-DEE-DEE. They also have several other calls though, for different occasions.

Song birds

"A brown creeper."

Today I saw a brown creeper. They are related to white-breasted & red-breasted nuthatches & they look & act quite a lot like them. They are white underneath, & they have a mottled brown back, unlike the nuthatches gray one. From a distance, they are easy to mistake for a nuthatch, as they climb up & down trees in the same way. Or, from a distance, you probably wouldn’t see them at all, because their feathers match tree bark so perfectly.  

There are a bunch of american robins in my front yard, hunting for worms. They stand still, cocking their head to one side, listening for an earthworm under the ground. When they zero in on one, they stretch out their necks really fast & pull it from the dirt. They can catch huge worms, but sometimes you can see that they are really struggling to yank the worm out of the earth. Robins are quite bold; you can often walk up very close to them (I can get about 6 ft. away fairly easily) before they hop away. And they do hop. They are ground birds – they seem more comfortable on the ground than in the air or in a tree. If they have a choice, they would rather hop than fly.

Black-capped chickadees are migrating back to MN. Everything I’ve read says that chickadees don’t migrate, but I never see them in the winter, & they’re fairly abundant in the summer, so it would seem like they do, at least where I live. They have many different calls: one of the most common ones is the one that sounds like “chicka DEE-DEE-DEE-DEE”. (Which would appear to be how they got their name.) They also have other musical warblings.