View Full Version : Chickadees [Answered, thank you]

11-24-2011, 01:55 AM
This isn't actually for a story, it's for a painting I'm doing for a ritzy art sale.

I'm painting a dozen black-capped chickadees gossiping in a bush and the one at the bottom is hanging upside-down on the branch, something chickadees like to do. My problem is the tail angle. My google-fu has only netted me one picture, where the tail is being held straight. It doesn't look right on the painting.

Does anyone know if the tail being tucked towards the belly, not quite making the line of back and tail a semi-circle, would work within the chickadee's range of tail motion?

11-24-2011, 01:56 AM
What's a chickadee?

It's ok. I found it. And 20 pages of photos. The only ones that show it hanging from a branch have the tail straight.

I don't think it is a bendable tail from the look of it.

11-24-2011, 02:08 AM
I worded that badly. I found lots of photos and articles, just no actual pictures with the tail being held other than straight. I did find a sketch with the tail being held bent towards the belly, which actually looks more natural, but I don't know enough bird anatomy to tell if it's possible.

I don't know if you have chickadees in Britain. They're found mostly in hedges, a little smaller than sparrows, and their call is "chick-a-dee-dee-dee-dee."

11-24-2011, 02:10 AM
No, we don't have them. They do look a little like a pied wagtail. Except for the colours.

They're very cute.

11-24-2011, 04:18 AM
I'm pretty sure I've seen chickadees with their tails bent towards the belly when hanging from a small limb - but, my memory is that the tail feathers were also slightly splayed, but not uniformly so. It's dark here now otherwise I'd go out to see if I could spot a few. If I come up with anything tomorrow, I'll let you know. Puma

11-24-2011, 04:23 AM
We have chickadees around here. They can sure make a lot of noise for such small birds.

Your Google-fu might just be on the blink. There are hundreds of pictures of chickadees on the web.

Would any of these photos works? http://www.google.com/search?q=chickadee+upside+down+images&hl=en&client=firefox-a&hs=EDO&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&prmd=imvns&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=lY_NTr_WLsje0QGsgo3pDw&ved=0CCsQsAQ&biw=1280&bih=871

Howl at the Sun
11-24-2011, 04:36 AM
They can! Photographic evidence: http://www.flickr.com/photos/r_h_hughes/5016181614/

11-24-2011, 04:51 AM
Puma: Nice to hear from you! We have lots in the area but not my immediate area. Not enough bushy shrubs to attract them.

Alleycat: that's the search I did initially. Lots of photos and almost all of them with the tails held straight.

Howl at the Sun: that's it! Exactly the angle I wanted.

Many, many thanks for the answers. Reps all around, of course.

11-24-2011, 04:54 AM
No need to rep me. I'm glad you found what you were looking for. I wasn't entirely sure what reference image you were looking for.

Chickadees are lovely little birds. Throw in a Tufted Titmouse as well. They seem to like to always be around when chickadees are.

11-24-2011, 06:53 AM
Can't use a tufted titmouse, I'm afraid. It's a work for the Calgary Stampede's Western Art Sale and must feature our native species. We're much too far north and west for titmouses. Titmice?

I'd like to use apple blossoms as well, but they're not native here, either, so I'll be going with pussywillows.

I'll post a picture once it's done. (Sometime next week, I'd guess.)

Alessandra Kelley
11-24-2011, 07:05 AM
Chickadees are cute.

The number of "dees" they cry after the "chicka" indicates the perceived danger level of what they see. No lie. I've seen a housecat in view get six "dees."

They also have a very sweet two-toned whistle which sounds a little sad and which I will forever associate with the misty Pennsylvania woods, even though I've heard it many times in Chicago.

11-24-2011, 08:13 AM
If you live somewhere with chickadees, buy some unshelled black sunflower seeds--basically, sunflower seeds for birds.

You can hand-tame chickadees. It's fun, and they're amazing. They're the easiest bird I've ever hand-tamed--and they remember individuals.

11-24-2011, 10:25 AM
I didn't know that, nor did I know about the number of "dees" in their call. I love learning new things.

They're adorable little birds and such fun to watch as they gossip and argue.

I have to have 6 items to submit for the sale and decided to eschew cowboys and horses in favour of native birds. Chickadees are first. The next will be a magpie yelling at a downy woodpecker. Probably one each with Canada geese and northern thrush. Haven't decided on the final two. Maybe redcaps or mallards.

11-24-2011, 05:23 PM
Do you have quail or grouse type birds, Bardskye? I think they are absolutely gorgeous and I love the way quail walk in lines. Puma

11-24-2011, 05:47 PM
The chickadees by my house love my one window feeder. I've gotten a good look at them many times. Lovely little birds. Since the summer, they are the only ones brave enough to use that feeder all day long. Sometimes I see Carolina Wrens at the other window feeder. They are my favorite feeder birds by far.

Do you have wrens around, Bard? They might be nice subjects for you. I'm looking forward to what you create.

11-24-2011, 08:33 PM
Their behaviour sounds a lot like our native Blue and Great tits.


11-24-2011, 11:57 PM
Do you have wrens around, Bard? They might be nice subjects for you. I'm looking forward to what you create.

There might be some around, but if I've seen them I probably thought they were sparrows.

Puma: I haven't seen quail around, though I think they could be. There are a fair amount of partridge. When I worked in an industrial park there was a flock of them in the area. If you left the front office door open, they -- and the rabbits -- would come in and investigate.

Within a five-minute walk of my front door I've seen sparrows, blue jays, northern thrush, finches, redpolls, goldfinches, crows, ravens, martins, magpies, mallards, geese, red-winged blackbirds, starlings, robins, red-tailed hawks, Cooper's hawks, gulls, great horned owls, bats, downy woodpeckers and partridge. Not to mention deer, moose, coyotes, fox, and a grey wolf once. And I live inside the city limits. (Just.)

11-25-2011, 01:03 AM
Sounds wonderful, Bardskye. We have about all of those except the moose and the wolf.

Another good bird - do you have hummingbirds or are you too far north? What about cardinals, juncoes, nuthatches, flickers, grosbeaks, anything like kildeer or sandpipers, loons? (Just trying to throw some more ideas out for you.)

11-25-2011, 03:05 AM
Hummingbirds have been seen occasionally in the area but they're more common on the other side of the Rockies. Flickers, yes, especially the Northern Flicker - I have a breeding pair in the area. Too far north and west for cardinals and grosbeaks, and I can't say I've ever seen a junco, though we're on the edge of their range. We don't have a lot of free water that would attract sandpipers or loons. (We're rolling prairie.) We're in the nuthatch range, though I've never seen one.

One quite surprising bird we see often on the river: pelicans. I did a marvelous double-take the first time I saw one, as I'd somehow thought they were more... tropical.

11-25-2011, 07:21 AM
Wrens are industrious little birds, more stout than sparrows and with very different faces :) Carolina wrens, which I assume aren't near you, love the trees, climb like woodpeckers, and have a very long tongue. They have a hilarious bob to their tail and a nice song.

I highly recommend you figure out what wrens you have and watch some video. You can id them by movement alone. :) And a still of that movement could really capture their energy...

11-29-2011, 10:39 AM
Just thought I'd post the picture I promised.


11-29-2011, 06:45 PM
Very, very nice. You really have talent, lady! I like the color of the background. But you know me, I have to ask - what's the bush they're sitting in? Curious. Puma

11-29-2011, 11:45 PM
Pussywillows. It's on an ultrasuede background. Now I just have to find someone in town who sells conchos, and get started on the next one.

11-30-2011, 06:58 AM
Aww, so many cute little chickadees.

I've been listening to the number of their 'dees' since reading this thread. I earned a 3 or 4 once. Dire.