Montana Outdoors

January 6, 2008


Filed under: Birds, Montana, Nature, Outdoors, Photography, Photos, Pictures — Tags: — montucky @ 11:25 pm

Years ago my wife and I were completely captivated by the song of a small bird, and it took us over a year to identify the singer. We were familiar with the call of the Black-capped Chickadee, but didn’t realize they also had a haunting little song, completely different from their call.

I have grown to love these pretty little birds and they have become my all-time favorites. They are one of the few species that stay here through the winter and, especially in the spring and summer, absolutely haunt me with their three-note song.

I’m far from an expert at photographing birds anyway, and these little guys completely defeated my efforts at photographing them until today. They are quite friendly but they are so very quick in their comings and goings and just don’t sit still very long at any time. They love sunflower seeds, and I keep them well supplied throughout the winter. Today there were many of them coming and going for the seeds and I was finally able to convince them I was a part of our woodpile, which let me be close enough to at least try for photographs, and after many tries I finally caught one on camera! Here he is:

Black-capped Chickadee

This is not a good shot but it fascinates me because it illustrates the problem I’ve had photographing them:

Black-capped Chickadee


  1. Oh no, they are wonderful… dear. I am glad you got some shots and I am enjoying seeing them. I feel like I have seen them on my feeders but am not sure. Could have been another similar bird.


    Comment by nouveaufauves — January 7, 2008 @ 1:28 am

  2. Great shot, montucky. I know just how difficult it can be to capture a photo of a chickadee, they don’t sit still for long. I think that digital capture does help “somewhat” with the problem of speed (except for that three or four second delay after the shutter is pressed) but I tried to capture chickadees on film (too many years ago) … IMPOSSIBLE!


    Comment by Janet Wilkins — January 7, 2008 @ 8:57 am

  3. The last time I managed to convince someone I was part of the woodpile the results were not nearly as impressive. Great shots of an elusive quarry – I like the feeling of movement the second pic gives.


    Comment by wolf — January 7, 2008 @ 9:36 am

  4. nouveaufauves,

    I’m not sure that they range as far south as where you are. There’s a good website about them here:


    Comment by montucky — January 7, 2008 @ 9:37 am

  5. Janet,

    Yup, they’re really tough! Also, there was very dim light yesterday and I couldn’t use a very fast speed. I took one shot that I thought would be a good one, but it turned out there was no bird at all in it; they’re that fast!


    Comment by montucky — January 7, 2008 @ 9:41 am

  6. wolf,

    Yeah, when being part of a woodpile, it’s good to be on the lookout for anyone carrying an ax! There are a few small places on that bird that were still enough for good focus, but the rest was in motion. They seem to have a good survival strategy!


    Comment by montucky — January 7, 2008 @ 9:46 am

  7. What a beautiful sight and so sweet.
    Nature is gorgeous and awsome.
    Thanks for sharing.
    I live in Holland and I miss the vast spaces and views.
    But the birds in my back yard are dear to me as well.
    Finches, different kinds and colors and doves, blackbirds, crows and what looks like magpies.
    They live in our neighborhood and come every day first thing to see if I left some seeds etc. for them.


    Comment by Winny Harris Lugten — January 7, 2008 @ 1:51 pm

  8. Wow! You could throw your TV away and not miss it for years, I bet.

    I really like both of these shots.


    Comment by Pinhole — January 7, 2008 @ 2:19 pm

  9. Winny,

    There are always birds to remind us about the natural part of the world, aren’t there? In the summer we have many different kinds: in the winter only a few. To me the Chickadee is very special because it stays through even the hardest of winters and always has a sweet little call and a great, perky, optimistic attitude. We can learn much from them, I think! Thank you for visiting!


    Comment by montucky — January 7, 2008 @ 4:36 pm

  10. Pinhole,

    Personally, I could just about do without a TV, especially in the summer when the daylight lasts so long. There’s always so many interesting things going on outdoors, and they are usually harmless and pleasant things relative to what’s on TV these days. Of course, it was nice to be able to watch Kansas win their bowl game last week though!


    Comment by montucky — January 7, 2008 @ 4:42 pm

  11. Oh, I love chickadees. Sometimes I even get them in my bluebird nest boxes! (Their nests are the prettiest… with moss and animal hair…)


    Comment by winterwoman — January 8, 2008 @ 5:12 am

  12. I like this photo; these birds are all over are yard and frequently land on the window sills (ticking off the cats).



    Comment by knightofswords — January 8, 2008 @ 8:26 am

  13. winterwoman,

    A few years ago I built some nest boxes for them in April only to find that here they nest in March. We have about 2 acres around our house that is perfect habitat for them (we have left it completely wild and natural) and there are hundreds that live there. Sometimes I can hold conversations with them by whistling their 3-note song.


    Comment by montucky — January 8, 2008 @ 9:26 am

  14. Malcolm,

    Their rapid coming and going and very quick movements seem to be designed specifically to get the attention of cats. I’d guess (hopefully) that few are ever caught though.


    Comment by montucky — January 8, 2008 @ 9:30 am

  15. I have been trying my hat at bird photography Terry, and not doing very well, looks like you did a great job with this one,I’m jealous 🙂


    Comment by Bernie Kasper — January 8, 2008 @ 4:54 pm

  16. Birds are tough, Bernie! I really admire folks who do well with them like Adam and Monarch! I think it also takes a much better lens system than I have if you were to be serious about it. Kind of like the guys who do wildlife photography. Their equipment costs more than my house!


    Comment by montucky — January 8, 2008 @ 7:55 pm

  17. That first one’s a fantastic shot of a hard-to-photograph bird! I’ve never had much luck photographing Chickadees myself (we have Chestnut-backed rather than Black-capped Chickadees here, but I don’t think either is any more cooperative than the other!).


    Comment by Adam R. Paul — January 9, 2008 @ 10:51 pm

  18. They have a very successful survival strategy with their quick darting in and out. They are quite friendly (I’ve had them fly between my shoulder and the brim of my hat), but they just never sit still.


    Comment by montucky — January 9, 2008 @ 11:13 pm

  19. these are great! I love the first one. you inspired me to try a “bird shot” here in the city. I was at a stop light and the wires and sky were filled w/ birds. not a good shot but I may post it soon…


    Comment by silken — January 10, 2008 @ 10:42 pm

  20. They are fun when they turn out! I’ll watch for yours!


    Comment by montucky — January 10, 2008 @ 10:54 pm

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