It was around 0°F this morning, but that didn’t stop a trio of chickadees from exploring some maple branches that were broken off in a recent storm. Rapidly moving from place to place, this chickadee kept tapping the bark repeatedly, searching for…what? Chickadees search the under bark for dormant insects, but also to seek out places to hide bits of food—and they’re very good at remembering where they put it! A 600mm lens was able to help me get close enough to the chickadees for these portraits.
Like all birds, Chickadees are warm-blooded and maintain a daytime body temperature of about 105°F, so they need plenty of calories in the winter—hence the early morning exploration in the cold. Luckily, they can help keep themselves warm by fluffing out their feathers to create insulating air pockets, as this chickadee is doing. Despite the cold weather, chickadees seem pretty content, happily flying and hopping around, curious and singing.
In his book Wandering Through Winter, naturalist Edwin Way Teale wrote, “On the roughest days of winter, when life seems overwhelmed by storm and cold, watch a chickadee, observe its good cheer and take heart.”