chickadee

Blank white sky. The woods are quiet except for an occasional chickadee. From over at the neighbors’, the labored putting of an old engine.

Cool and humid. A chickadee and bluebird perch side by side in the walnut tree before flying down into their respective holes in the stump.

The decrepit stump next to my porch now houses a second nest: chickadees have moved into the hole below the bluebirds. Sun. A distant raven.

Overcast and cool. A chickadee lands on a dead rose bush and sings his minor-key song with a caterpillar dangling from his beak.

Two chickadees inspect the old cherry stump for potential nest holes, tapping, exploring its hollow core. Up on the ridge, a turkey gobbles.

Sunny and warm. A rabbit emerges from its burrow to graze on dead grass. Chickadees singing “fee-bee” are interrupted by an actual phoebe.

In an interval between cold rain showers, the sky brightens, until the remnant snowbanks begin to glow. A chickadee pivots atop a stump.

A fresh dusting of snow. I close my eyes to listen the birds: song sparrow, bluebird, chickadee, a white-throated sparrow’s wavering song.

A cold, gray morning. Up in the woods, a chickadee’s two-note song prompts a cardinal to join in. The sun’s hiding place begins to glow.

Christmas Bird Count! Crow, junco, white-throated sparrow. Three chickadees, two nuthatches and a cardinal. Nothing in the damn pear tree.

A nuthatch and chickadee gadding about together, poking into everything. Nuthatch flies past my nose; chickadee balks and circles the house.

A foraging chickadee gives the lilac twigs a thorough grooming. I shut my eyes against the sun and see its white prints all over my retina.

Fresh from drinking out of the cold stream, a chickadee swipes its bill rapidly against a twig, then goes to join the others in the birches.