Chickadees And Squirrels: Part 1

I like chickadees. They’ve got balls.

They’re the toughest little buggers out there. Few creatures are as plucky and cheerful as the half ounce of concentrated indomitable moxie that is a chickadee. Deep wilderness or urban backyard? It doesn’t matter to a chickadee. I’ve seen ’em in swamps, mountains, forests, hedgerows, mall parking lots, tall trees, short bushes, canoe gunnels, and hunting blinds.

Where they really shine is cold weather. When I’m in the deep forest freezing my balls off in a miserable snowstorm, there’s a good chance a chickadee is nearby; happily flitting around looking for six calories to make it another hour. Brutal cold ‘aint no thang to a chickadee. Eagles will flake and run where a chickadee will fluff up and sit on a spruce bough like it doesn’t give a shit. You know why? Because they don’t. Pound for pound a chickadee has courage the likes of which killer whales and grizzly bears couldn’t muster. Chickadees might die but they’re never subdued:

“I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself. A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough without ever feeling sorry for itself.” – D. H. Lawrence

I’ve got a soft spot in my heart for the little bastards. I even put up feeders. My feeders attract all sorts of more exotic songbirds too. I could ohhh and ahhh over them but who cares about flowery little chickenshits that run south at the first flake of snow? The feeders are for my chickadees; who, quite frankly, don’t need my help.

One feeder in particular is a gift to myself. I was cruising down a rural backroad when I saw a cute little farmhouse with a “for sale” sign and eleventy zillion feeders and birdhouses. Someone had made them, hung them up, put up the sign, and was selling them from his yard. Who knows how many he sold? Some of them were pretty elaborate and others were plain. I pictured some sweet retired old coot with a tastefully appointed woodshop churning out dozens of these things; each one lovingly crafted while he played Sinatra on his garage radio and smoked a pipe. (I’ve got an active imagination.)

Each one had a price tag. It was my birthday so I picked a plain Jane version, stuffed the price (with an extra $5, just ’cause) in a little ornamented wood box he’d left out, tossed the feeder in my truck, and drove off. Never met the guy. I hope he sells them all.

About Adaptive Curmudgeon

I will neither confirm nor deny that I actually exist.
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4 Responses to Chickadees And Squirrels: Part 1

  1. ZerCool says:

    I also have a spot for chickadees. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been out hunting and had one land on a branch next to me, or on the barrel of my gun, or (once) on my knee long enough to give me a sideways glance that says, “You really aren’t doing such a great job impersonating a tree, bub.”

    • I had one show up while I was gutting a deer. It was freezing cold and I was half hypothermic with my arms buried, rooting around in the body cavity, and swearing. (Field dressing is a nasty business!) The chickadee was having a great day; happily flitting around pecking at deer fat I’d cut away from the carcass and tossed aside. The little bugger had deer for dinner long before I’d field dressed it and dragged it out of the forest.

  2. Tennessee Budd says:

    Sinatra, the original rapper? I call him that ’cause he didn’t so much sing as talk melodically. Then again, you’re up there, & lots of Northeners like him for some unfathomable reason.
    Hell, Mudge, I didn’t even know you were Italian, let alone that you were in…well, Your Thing. You know, that Family business. One learns something new.
    No, I think building birdhouses would require less Old Country & more old country & western. Hawkshaw, Jimmy Dean, Stonewall, Luke the Drifter. After the pipe gets going, some Dead, Band, Gram–oh, I’m describing me. Oops. And that’s just with tobacco in my pipe.
    Then again, I can’t build birdhouses. I could; I’m a good cabinetmaker. It’s just that with my cats, birdhouses would be like a baited field.

    • I can like Sinatra without being in the organization. At least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

      As far as garage music it’s usually the shit on FM which is awful but it seems to mesh with power tools OK. If I’m working with metal / tractor engines I prefer hard rock. I know the tractor likes country and that’s probably why I can’t keep it running. In my book, country is for wood working. Except I prefer bluegrass myself and I’m no better at woodworking than I am at tractor repair so it’s really “construction” when I’m doing it. I’ve tried to monitor shortwave but seems like SW needs babysitting and too much French or Spanish distracts me so I can’t cut straight. My best reception is NPR on FM but if I leave that on I realize nothing matters and “I didn’t build that” and it’s really someone else’s job to do that hard work anyway and I should just demand it be delivered to me for free. NPR in the garage is pretty much death to civilization.

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