Black-capped Chickadee skinning a field mouse for nest material

by Richard
(Scarborough, Ontario)

Black capped chickadee and mouse

Black capped chickadee and mouse

I was at Grey Abbey Park by the lake, near my house. I was there hoping to photograph a day Moon rise. Instead I was entertained by the most fascinating bird scene I've ever come across.

While looking out over the lake I heard a noise in the tree behind me. I saw a Black capped chickadee picking at a filled mouse that was dead in the tree. I have no idea how the bird managed that or found it there. So I decided to take a picture. When I tried to focus in with my Canon 300D using my 75-300mm lens, they were gone. Vanished.
I walked over to the tree and almost stepped on the little guy/gal. He/she was paying no attention to me at all. It was so per-occupied with gathering this fine fur from the mouse, that I actually had to back up for my lens to work.
I snapped a dozen or so pictures, everyone of them with a mouthful of fur.

The chickadee will often build its nest in a woodpecker's vacant hole. A decayed birch is another favorite site to build their nest. Or a birdhouse! They use wool from sheep, felt from fern fronds, bits of bark, moss, hair, - and as you have so wonderfully photographed - fur from 'little beasts of field and wood'.

How the chickadee babies must swelter in their bed of fur and feathers inside a a close, stuffy hole! Thank you for sharing.

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