Walking Home


Little Chickadee
Following me home
Chatter, chatter, chick-a-dee-dee-dee
Sing your song
I answer
Your song, again
I whistle back
You improvise, a test
I follow you
To my door

Last night the weather was imminent, we had been warned all day of possible severe thunderstorms, hail, flooding – and none of it, despite the trains being delayed, had yet come to pass. I was a block and a half away from home when a Black-Capped Chickadee I never saw recognized me and started chattering. I answered him in the English transliteration which is really not very accurate, but he understood anyway. And then, as I reached the corner of my block, he continued by singing his “Hey, Sweetie” song. By now he was following me. I whistled back to him. He sang again, and I answered. In front of my house, from my neighhbor’s tree, he decided to see if he could trip me up by singing an alternate version of his song, in another key, going in another direction. I mimicked him again. Back to his old song, only this time in a higher key. He almost had me there, I can only whistle so high. But what an incredible exchange!

I hated to close the door on him, but after a while I had to go in. Although the weather did not “start” for at least another half hour.

I just felt like it was worth a post to commemorate this exchange with the Chickadee. He is very likely one who shows up at my feeders and chatters in my ear when I’m in the yard. He also knows that I listen to his song whenever he sings it, and I respond to him. This is not counter-singing, he knows I’m not another Chickadee on his territory. This is communication. Two musicians, hamming it up. He must think I’m pretty smart for being such a large, flightless creature. I am flattered to be included in his dialogue.

Apologies for the picture, it’s old and the wrong season, but it’s all I could find spur-of-the-moment.

4 thoughts on “Walking Home

  1. Love your story about the Chickadees..My husband carries on a conversation every morning with the Chickadees and a Redwing Black bird that frequents are feeders. It is one the greatest thrills..

    • Thanks so much for your comment, Syl. I’m happy to hear somebody else talks with the birds. I think it’s impossible not to! We share the art of communication with them. 🙂

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