Each bird I see has something in its beak: wren—a streamer of dried grass, chickadee—a seed, towhee—a bundle of stalks, grackle—a millipede.
A chickadee lands on the cherry snag and chitters till his mate emerges from the hole. He gives her a bit of food and they fly off together.
A catbird mews from within the crabapple’s scandalous maroon. It starts to rain. A chickadee carries a worm into its hole in the stump.
A chickadee carries a piece of gray down into their hole in the tree; its mate follows it in. A minute later it carries the down back out.
The chickadee hears squirrels chattering alarm at a hawk and freezes in the mouth of her half-finished hole, dark eyes darting all about.
Only the tail-tip of the chickadee now protrudes from the dead cherry tree, and I can barely hear it hammering at the rotten heartwood.
While one chickadee digs out their den, pecking at the rotten cherry wood, its mate waits atop the stump, grooming its pale breast feathers.
Back from migration, a Louisiana waterthrush sings above the trickle of a stream. Chickadees excavate a den hole in the dead cherry stump.
Chickadees are geniuses at staying busy. I watch the usual flock of five investigate the lilac as if they’d never seen it in their lives.
Sun shining through a flurry. Two chickadees weave madly through a barberry bush, the pursued bird trying to enlist the thorns on its side.
Chickadees scold something hidden in the treetops. I can’t stop looking at a dried bromegrass leaf—its ornate curlicues against the snow.
A low drone of traffic from over the ridge. Half-blinded by the sun, I see the backlit wings of small birds as sudden flowers opening.
A chickadee in the walnut tree flits from twig to twig, swiping its bill twice against each, then drops into the creek for a quick drink.
The lilac is alive with chickadees, sparrows, and a Carolina wren stropping his bill on a twig. He flits to a high perch and begins to sing.
Mid-morning. The sun slowly fades behind thickening clouds. Chickadees and titmice flit among the dried goldenrod heads, arguing loudly.
The witch hazel beside the house is yellow with old leaves and new flowers. Chickadees forage along the woods’ edge—wistful two-note songs.