Nature’s Fearless Fluff-ball

I like chickadees.

That’s right,  I said “chickadees” — those impossibly cute, roly-poly little black and white birds that seem as if they were dreamed up in a laboratory somewhere simply to grace the covers of a thousand schmaltzy greeting cards.

Now I realize that, on the surface, that may not appear to be the most macho statement that has ever crossed my lips. But hear me out on this.

When I go out in the morning to restock our bird feeders, a general panic ensues. The bigger birds — blue jays, mourning doves, cardinals and such — scatter. The crows don’t even wait for me to get outside. The instant I appear in the window they take off like they’d been asked to sit through a  screening of Transformers 2.

But not the chickadees. They stand their ground, flitting from bush to bush sometimes no more than an arms length away from me, completely without fear of the human 100 times their size. Often they are calling to each other as they watch me put more food out. You can say I’m paranoid if you like, but I swear they’re talking about me; about how slow I am at refilling the feeder and how I need to get my rear in gear and get out of their way so they can get back to eating. Their attitude far outstrips the reality of their size.

So don’t sell the chickadee short simply because of its size and cutsie, cartoonish appeal. In actuality, they are totally cool and hardcore.

* A special thanks to Stephanie Wolf, of PPL’s Brunner Island power plant,  for the photo!

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