Chestnut-Backed Chickadee

A chestnut-backed chickadee sings at the top of its lungs while perched on a bush stem
A chestnut-backed chickadee sings at the top of its lungs while perched on a bush stem

Recently I found this chestnut-backed chickadee foraging in and around a large ornamental bush growing along a walking path. These chickadees seem to mostly travel alone, and are difficult to photograph because they are small and very fast. Usually they’ll perch on a twig just long enough for me to find it in my viewfinder before it zips off to another location, leaving me with yet another picture of an empty twig.

A chestnut-backed chickadee plucks a small dead leaf from its branch in order to create a better place to perch
A chestnut-backed chickadee plucks a small dead leaf from its branch in order to create a better place to perch

True to form, this little guy was jumping from one spot to another, leaving me with nothing but my normal frustration. Suddenly, he lighted on a narrow branch right in front of me. After surveying his spot for a few seconds, he plucked a small dead leaf in order to clear a spot, and launched into a beautiful song. He seemed occupied in his song, and completely unconcerned with my presence, allowing my to click away.

A chestnut-backed chickadee perches on a thin bush stem
A chestnut-backed chickadee perches on a thin bush stem

After about 30 seconds of singing and a few brief poses on his perch, he was off again. This time he did not hang around, but took off into the air and out of sight.