The Chickadee Empire Demands More Tributes
By Elaine Meinel Supkis
Recently, my mountain has been invaded by the Chickadee Horde. They raid my bird feeder, flying off with sunfower seeds, one per beak, they sit on the tree outside my office window and right in front of me, they pick open the hard seed shells with their tiny, sharp beaks. If I get close to the window, they yell, "Chicka-dee-dee-dee!" as loud as possible and raise their tiny black caps a whole 1/2" which is so terrifying, I rush to the store to buy them more seeds. We cannot be intimidated by them! Where is the National Guard? The cats?
It isn’t large birds of prey that the chickadees fear most, though. “Smaller predators are more maneuverable, and they’re the only ones that can really catch a chickadee,” Templeton says. His team showed that small raptors like pygmy owls prompted an average of 3 and a half extra dees—and as many as 23. The great gray owl, which has a wingspan four times larger than the pygmy owl’s, elicited only an extra half dee on average. The same trend also held when Templeton introduced a cat and a ferret, which both eat birds, but not when he added a small yet harmless bobwhite quail, which suggests that chickadees base their calls on more than size.See? The Chickdee Imperial Attack code has been cracked by scientists! Now we know what they are saying and we can disrupt their evil plans to take over bird feeders and leave empty seed shells all over the side deck. The CIA plans are now accessible online to anyone who wishes to understand how to prepare for and withstand the attacks, right?
The biologists also found that the more dees in an alarm cry, the larger the mob of other chickadees that formed to attack the intruder and the closer they approached in their attacks. “The more closely we look at animal calls, the more information we find,” Templeton says. “It’s surprising and really exciting to know that there is such sophisticated information being passed along in the calls you can hear almost every day.”
So far, I feed them more and more seeds but the ungrateful birds simply eat them all and then will perch on the iron railing of the porch and make such noise I can't ignore them. Maybe they use psychological warfare like puffing up and looking as sad as possible with their beady black eyes watching their victim closely. Once I yield to them and come out to feed them, they mob the feeder and resume chickadeeing me as if I am some blundering oaf.
Well, looks like the National Guard is all in Iraq or sitting around bases here, listening to Cheney lie about things in Iraq so they won't save me or my dogs from the terrifying terrorist birds, those itsy bitty freeloaders, the Chickadees.
To return to homepage click here
To read more breaking news click here