Take a Lesson from the Chickadee

Even the cat is sick of winter.  Snapped this pic of him through the kitchen window as he was watching the chickadees at the feeder.  Unfortunately I never managed to get a good chickadee pic yet.

Even the cat is sick of winter. Snapped this pic of him through the kitchen window as he was watching the chickadees at the feeder. Unfortunately I never managed to get a good chickadee pic yet.

It’s been a long and rather cold winter all ready, though the sun is starting to come a little bit sooner and stay a little bit longer every day.  It’s easy to get discontent with winter and it’s piles of snow, darkness, cold temperatures and extra work to do just about everything from walking to dressing, to driving.  Just about everyone I hear, excepting the odd ones like my husband, grumbles about how long it’s been and how they are sick Sick SICK of winter.

I can’t say I’m much different, especially on the dull gray cold days or the snowy blowy cold days, or the clear crisp freeze-your-nose-off cold days . . . However on one of those nasty cold blowy days as I was struggling do my chores, slogging through knee deep fresh snow and having my face chapped by biting winds, I looked up to see two little chickadees flitting around my bird feeder.  The feeder was swinging wildly in the wind and the top had come loose and seed was flying everywhere, but the chickadees were rather joyfully going about their task of collecting seeds.  I say joyfully because as of yet have I to come across a grumpy chickadee.  I’ve seen miserable magpies and spiteful waxwings and dowdy sparrows, but never a non-perky chickadee.

I went inside and from my kitchen sink window I could continue to watch the birds from my snug and warm house and marvel at how happily they were flying about.  Seriously it was COLD out!  Didn’t they know that they had the right to be miserable? To complain? To grump?  I mean they certainly didn’t have a warm house to retreat to.  Or warm clothes to layer on thick when the temperatures dropped. They didn’t have much of anything to be thankful for from what I could see.

Come on little chickadees where do you get that sparkle in your eye?  Where does it come from?

And then I remembered the words of Jesus, “Look at the birds flying about! They neither plant nor harvest, nor do they gather food into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they are? Can any of you by worrying add a single hour to his life?” (Matthew 6:26-27 CJB)

The chickadees live joyfully and carefree because of the One who created them, how can we do no different knowing we are so valued in the eyes of the One who created us?  Forget about what you are wearing, no one will notice if your smile is genuine.  Forget not having lots of food and be thankful that you have something to eat.  Forget that your house may not be big enough.  Be thankful you have one.  Forget that winter seems like it’s taking forever.  It won’t.  Live in the moment, thankful for each and every day’s gifts.  Today I am warm.  Today my belly is full.  Today I have much to smile about!

Now I look at the dapper little chickadees flying about in the cold and smile as they remind me to live “careless in the care of God”.

The chickadee I just had to draw after watching them that blustery morning.

The chickadee I just had to draw after watching them that blustery morning.

A Few Notable Facts about the Black-Capped Chickadee:

  1. Chickadees can lower their body temperature and metabolism on cold wintery nights to save on energy.  They can drop their body temperature 10-12 degrees from their normal body temperature of 42C.  This is called Daily Torpor.  (Similar to hibernation but can last for as long as a day or up to weeks but is not dependent on being seasonal).
  2. Chickadees have good Memory of where they have cached seeds or insects for up to 28 days, with a memory of about a day of exactly what they have stored away.  They can remember thousands of hiding places.
  3. Chickadees can fly up to 20 km/hr
  4. Chickadees can be bold enough to feed from a person’s hand.  Usually this happens in winter when seed is being offered in the hand.
  5. Seeds and Berries, insect egg and larvae are on the chickadee diet.  They especially like black-oil sunflower seeds.  They will snag a seed and fly to a safe location, usually deep in a dense thicket of branches and proceed to punch a hole through the shell with their beak so they can eat the meaty interior.  Chickadees even with their delicate looking beaks can punch through hazelnuts and acorns.
  6. Chickadees calls are very complex.  It’s most recognizable one is the chickadee-dee-dee.  It is said that the more dee notes in this call, means the higher the threat level.
  7. Every fall it is said Chickadees change their brains.  They replace their old brain neurons with new ones so they can adept to changes in environment or their social flocks.
  8. Chickadees almost always sleep by themselves in their own hollowed out bark holes or nests.
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