Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada by Barbara Levy

Last spring, after our Provincial parks and nature reserves were closed due to the lockdown, I enjoyed spending a lot of time photographing all the wildlife just outside our door. At that time, we had a sweet pair of chickadees using one of the nesting boxes we’d originally set up for swallows near the back of our home underneath the grapevine. And so, my family and I had a wonderful time watching and admiring these diligent, diminutive parents going back and forth — first, the female, to add material to their summer home and then both, to feed their nestlings until the young ones were old enough to fledge and join their parents in the tall fir trees in our woodland backyard.

Over the summer, I followed the voices of our chickadees and found myself in the woods just outside the deer fence one late morning in July hoping I hadn’t missed the flock I’d seen from my room. I stood very still and waited until the friendly chickadee you see in my photo alit right by my shoulder on a low branch of one of our hemlock trees. This little one stayed alone for quite some time and foraged quietly around me while I photographed him until he perched again and stood upright with his eyes closed for a few seconds. It was extraordinary to be that close to this trusting chickadee who, when he opened his eyes, gave me a smile before he went off to join his flock.

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