Been Chickadeed

After the season’s last snow event in April, while pushing snow out of the path from the house to the shed, my attention was taken by several black-capped chickadees frolicking among the branches of the beech and maple trees straddling the wild blueberry patch.  My path goes through the patch, between those two trees.

black-capped chickadee e-bird site 200x150

Black-capped Chickadee, Poecile atricapillus. Click the picture for the full screen image at, with their report on its natural history, sounds, habits, etc.

I had been dragging my feet, frustrated with something on my mind that I can’t remember now.  Doing “snow moving meditation” (or “snow clearing yoga”) was helpful, as usual, but this time it was challenged by weariness that slowed me down and made the frustration worse.

I took a break to watch these winged, chatty attention snatchers.  I rested one arm on top of the snow shovel handle, my hand extended away from me.  One of the birds flew close by.  I waited to see if they would grace me with a closer visit, having heard they will sometimes land on a person.  It never happened to me in all the times I spent with chickadees.

Soon, one landed on my glove and looked for something good in my eye.  Then, a second one landed on the bill of my cap, its tiny tail flicking just barely within sight.  I held more perfectly still than I knew I could.  The second bird said to the first one, “You’re right.  He’s okay.”

Black-capped chickadee song audio:

I whispered hello.  Just before returning to the trees, they replied.  I’m not sure I’m translating it entirely right, but it goes something like this:  “Just when you think you’ve lost your grip on the good, the true and the beautiful, you get chickadeed.  So, chik-a-dee-dee to you!”  It’s as if they knew I was not as lost as I felt.

In other words, wake up to the reality you live in, not just the one that lives in your head.

Does this have anything to do with the chickadee’s head-to-body size ratio?  Just a silly thought that came up while observing its head.

Black-capped chickadee calls audio:

Chickadees are known to be friendly and curious.  I have been surrounded by them often, investigating me from nearby tree branches.  On one occasion, there were at least a dozen of them giggling among the branches of a big old apple tree found on a bushwhack off the south side of Taylor Pond.  It was the first time I was immersed in so many of them so near my head.

Black-capped chickadee alarm call audio (the number of syllables and their variations in pitch and volume indicate different meanings, even different types of threat, truly a language using sound similar to the way humans do):

This snow-shoveling intermission visit in April was the first time they deemed me as worthy as the branch of a tree to land on.  They were not there the next day, or any day since.  Of course they are all over these woods, but not waiting for me on that particular path.  This fact is a reminder to stay immersed in the perceivable present realities of nature rather than go looking for ones that are no longer evident.

Copyright 2021 TheBalsamean 150pxSo be careful who you call a bird-brain like me.  That’s BIG-HEADED bird brain to you!

If you want to find out how much more interesting this bird’s conversations are than you would have imagined, check this out.  Even the first few minutes will take you a long way:

YouTube Video: 8 Black-capped Chickadee Calls EXPLAINED (10 minutes) by Lesley the Bird Nerd:

Ways you can support Lesley’s work:
– Merchandise
– Merchandise, including garments dedicated to the chickadee!

Speaking of music …

Did you know that Nat King Cole’s 1947 song Nature Boy was written by someone who helped inspire the Hippie movement?  Of course not.  Who the heck would know such a thing?

… Someone does.  From Wikipedia:

Nature Boy is a song first recorded by American jazz singer Nat King Cole. It was released on March 29, 1948, as a single by Capitol Records, and later appeared on the album, The Nat King Cole Story. The song was written in 1947 by Eden Ahbez and is partly autobiographical. It is a tribute to Ahbez’s mentor Bill Pester, who had originally introduced him to Naturmensch and Lebensreform philosophies, which Ahbez practiced. When Cole was performing in 1947 at the Lincoln Theater, Ahbez wanted to present the song to him, but was ignored. He left the copy with Cole’s valet, and from him the singer came to know of “Nature Boy”. After receiving appreciation for his performance of the song, Cole wanted to record it but needed consent from the writer. Eventually, he tracked down Ahbez.


Lebensreform (“life reform”) was a social movement in the late 19th-century and early 20th-century German Empire and Switzerland that propagated a back-to-nature lifestyle, emphasizing health food/raw food/organic food, vegetarianism, nudism, sexual liberation, alternative medicine, and religious reform, and at the same time promoted abstention from alcohol, tobacco, drugs, and vaccines.[1][2]

Important Lebensreform proponents were Sebastian Kneipp, Louis Kuhne, Rudolf Steiner, Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach, Fidus (Hugo Höppener), Gustav Gräser, and Adolf Just. Some practitioners of Lebensreform such as Bill Pester, Benedict Lust, and Arnold Ehret emigrated to California in the late 19th or first half of the 20th century and directly influenced the later hippie movement.[1][2] One group, called the “Nature Boys”, settled in the California desert. One member of this group, Eden Ahbez, wrote a hit song called Nature Boy (recorded in 1947 by Nat King Cole), popularizing the homegrown back-to-nature movement to mainstream America. Eventually, a few of these Nature Boys, including Gypsy Boots, made their way to Northern California in 1967, just in time for the Summer of Love in San Francisco.[1]

One noticeable legacy of Lebensreform in Germany today are the Reformhaus (“reform house”), retail stores that sell organic food and naturopathic medicine.[3]

So now you know.
Everything is connected.
Have a great knowing day.

And for fun and peace-giving, here’s one of my favorite Native American sing-along songs, by Joanne Shenandoah and Lawrence Laughing on their Orenda album.  Try tooling down the highway with this playing loud and see if you can avoid singing along.

8 thoughts on “Been Chickadeed

  1. Fascinating about the chickadees and their calls! I have seen chickadees, but the sightings have been few and far between over the years.


    • A nice thing about them is that they stay year-round. I hear them every day. I usually identify birds more by sound than sight. So I appreciate my Android “BirdNet” app from Cornell Lab of Ornithology. I can record a bird in the wild and save it. When I get back onto wifi at home, it tells me what bird I recorded. (Could do it with cell web data but there’s no cell signal here or in most places I go.)


  2. I haven’t seen a chickadee since I lived in Montana in the 1970s. Their range doesn’t extend to southern Arizona. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get your cell posts to play, but I did hear the one you posted from YouTube.
    How perfect that they were waiting for you on the day you most needed them.


    • Hi Em. Glad to hear from you. Sorry you had trouble with the audio tracks. If I recall, you usually use your phone for this stuff.

      I’ve now tried the audio tracks on all my devices in 3 browsers. The only place I ran into a little glitch was on my phone in Chrome (Android 7.1.1). Unlike the audio player bar in all the other cases, it has a three-dot menu icon at the far right end of the audio player bar. When I tried to play the track, it did not work until I first clicked the menu and chose download. It asked me to grant file access rights to Chrome. Then the player worked for all three recordings in the post, and continued working after exiting the tab, the app, and restarting the phone.

      Did not have that 3-dot menu in Chrome on my tablet, Chromebook or PC. The audio player bar looked “normal,” i.e., same as in Firefox and DuckDuckGo browsers.

      I found that my Chrome app was not updated on the phone. After updating, it still had a different-looking audio player bar (still has the 3-dot menu) than the same version of Chrome on my tablet with the same version of Android. Therefore, the technical answer is WTF???

      If anybody else reads this they can probably tell me what I’m overlooking. Otherwise, if this has not confused you, WOW! you’re amazing.

      See if whatever browser you’re using is updated.

      Otherwise, try it while you are standing on one foot and holding your breath while on hold with tech support. That can make a huge difference in anything!

      I normally use Firefox on my PC when creating posts. Some day I’ll learn to test posts on all my devices and browsers before posting them.

      I’m sure there’s some little bird in AZ that can give you the same effect as being “chickadeed.” Hey … maybe that’s all your phone needs.


      • I use my iPad and I don’t have Firefox on it. Just Apple’s Safari. And that is probably the problem. It was really nice to see you post some thing.


        • Wu-duh on me. I should’ve just asked you what you’re using. Sorry I don’t have an Apple device to test on. I might be able to figure it out. But I guess this makes you my Safari tester! I won’t ask why you prefer an Apple device, because the last three people I asked said it was because someone gave it to them for free.

          I suppose it is possible that AZ is under the influence of special radiation from Unidentified Aerial Phenomena. That could explain some things about its political place in the news these days.

          Thank you for the warm welcome back to the blogosphere.

          Stay safe out there.

          Liked by 1 person

          • You stay safe also. I was thinking about you a week or so ago and hoping you were well. It bothers me when people I “know” disappear.


            • Disappearing is one of the super-powers I use when flying around in my red cape saving the world. Seeing how so many things are getting worse, maybe it’s me.


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