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Another encounter with a Chickadee

January 5, 2011

Do you remember my first encounter with a Chickadee? (How could you forget, Beloved Birdy Readers? The Chickadee ate out of my hand! I was flabbergasted, impressed and slightly horrified all at once.) Yesterday, I was flipping through one of my favorite books of poems, Apparatus, by Don McKay, and came across this exquisite retelling of exactly what I felt the day I met about 50 Chickadees at Cranberry Marsh in Whitby.

They were so chatty and desperate for communication that they nearly flew into my car! I had never seen such garrulous birds before. Here’s Don McKay’s brilliant rendition:

Chickadee Encounter

ok ok ok ok
here they come, the tidbits, the uppers,
animating the bramble,
whetting details. Hi,
I always say, I may be glum or dozy, still
hi, how’s it going, every time they zip —
drawing that crisp invisible lilt from point to point — up
to check me out: ok: it’s practically pauseless,
but as though some big machine —
domestication maybe — hiccuped,
a glitch through which the oceanic
thirsts of poetry pour: o
zippers, quicklings,
may you inherit earth, may you
perch at the edge of the shipwreck of state,
on the scragged uneconomical alders,
and chat.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. January 5, 2011 9:00 pm

    Lovely! I once read two or three Don McKay collections in a row, and that night, I dreamt in Don-speak. I remember not a word, but I was mightily impressed with my brain for being such a fun copy-cat.

  2. January 5, 2011 9:53 pm

    We received a birdfeeder for Christmas, with seed, and chickadees have been the only bird we’ve been able to check off in our bird book. Which is okay, because we like them. Practically pauseless indeed.

  3. January 7, 2011 10:51 pm

    Here is a place to get an urban bird feeder for free: http://www.birds.cornell.edu/celebration/GettingStarted/kit

  4. January 9, 2011 10:14 pm

    As Kerry said above, chickadees are sometimes the only birds at our feeder in winter. I love them. They cheer me up. But they sure are picky eaters. I spent HUGE $$$ on a squireel proof bird feeder from Lee Valley. Then the chickadees come along and toss most of the seed onto the ground, which the squirrel then comes a long and eats. Futile. This year there has been the occasional blue jay and fewer chickadees, which probably isn’t coincidence, and an occasional pileated woodpecker who trys and fails at the feeder, then tries to drill a hole or two in the side of our house before we shoo him off.

    • January 9, 2011 11:05 pm

      I’d kill for a woodpecker on my feeder! Don’t seem to get many of those here in North York!

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