Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Original Norwegian Bachelor Farmer

Well, den, I don't know if my ancestors come from Norway, but yah, my mother always said we chickadees are the original Norwegian bachelor farmers. We're very sociable, ya sure, you betcha, but it makes us uncomfortable getting too close to one another. She said we're just naturally reserved.

Well, that leads to pretty peaceable flock relations since no one oversteps their bounds, but like my mother told me, every now and then we have to get VERY close to at least one other chickadee to do what birds and bees and educated fleas do, or there won't be any baby chickadees anymore. Think of the children!

So we have to overcome our inhibitions every spring. But to do that takes a lot of buildup, literally. Our gym teacher told us that every autumn our gonads were going to atrophy. That sounded pretty impressive to me, but my dad said no, we weren't going to get trophies--that's just the technical way of saying that our sex organs would shrink every year. I thought that seemed pretty yucky, but Dad said they're just excess baggage that make us heavier and waste body energy to maintain, which we can't afford in the dead of winter.

But even though they're all shrunken right now, they do need to swell up and be full sized by April or May. To get revved up, we males start singing every January. We try to make it sound as romantic as possible, singing, "Hey, sweetie!" Every time we sing, we feel just a little bit-- well, empowered. And every time our sweetie hears it (and if we sing a whole lot, even some other guys' sweeties!) her heart gets a-thumpin.'

It starts out slow, but by Valentine's Day we're singing quite a bit. With the days getting longer, and sometimes warmer, we have plenty of time for finding food with time left over for romance. By March we'll be singing twice as much as we're doing now, and by April we'll be singing twice as much as we were in March, and by May--well, we'll be so revved up that we won't even need Powdermilk Biscuits to be able to get up and do what needs to be done.

My mate will lay lots of eggs--last year she produced nine! We want to be sure there are plenty of little chickadees to maintain our traditions, but more important, producing such a large clutch all at once ensures that we won't have to go through all that rigmarole again for another year.
Black-capped Chickadee nest

No comments: