Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Chickadee Luck


I don't know why I needed to paint a Black-capped chickadee. Maybe it was to satisfy a craving to see one of these adorable little featherballs flitting around out there on my walk through town today. They always make me smile - they are the friendliest birds, don't you think? But alas, it was too cold. If I was a chickadee I'd be hunkered in somewhere too.

I was hoping my new year painting might contain a profound and positive message for the upcoming rollover into 2015. As it turns out, and quite by accident, chickadees were a good idea. Chickadees are viewed very positively in many Native American cultures.

In Cherokee mythology Chickadee is associated with truth and knowledge, and the arrival of a chickadee is thought to warn of danger or foretell the future. It is also considered to be the bird of truth expressed in a manner that heals, balances and opens perceptions in a way that adds joy to everyone’s lives.

Chickadee is associated with the thinking process, higher mind and higher perceptions. It is also associated with mystery and the feminine, and uncovering the mysteries of the mind.
 
In many tribes, chickadees are symbols of success, and it is considered good luck to see or hear one, particularly in a dream or vision. 

So, I hope you always tell the truth in a constructive way, and are blessed with some Chickadee success and luck in the new year.

Chickadee Luck • 8" X 8" acrylic framed to 12" X 12" • $200
 

For those who don't know their state bird, here are some Black-capped Chickadee fun facts:

The Black-capped Chickadee is the state bird of both Maine and Massachusetts. It is also the provincial bird of New Brunswick.

•  A group of chickadees can be called a banditry of chickadees. This collective noun probably refers to the mask-like appearance of chickadee species. 

• The chickadee may be one of several animals with names borrowed from Native American languages. The Cherokee Indian name for this bird, "tsigili'i" (also spelled tsikili, jigilii, jigalili, or many other ways) was recorded in Cherokee texts well before the English word "chickadee" was (the chickadee did not have its own English name before the 1800's, being referred to by the more general name "titmouse.") Nobody knows for sure whether the English word "chickadee" was borrowed from "tsigili'i," or whether the two names were completely independent attempts to mimic the bird's call. 

Another take on the name is because of their alarm call. This type of name is onomatopoetic — the word is the sound that it describes. The more “dee” notes at the end of a chickadee call indicate increasing levels of agitation. For instance, a chickadee may end their call with just one “dee” when a known person fills a favorite bird feeder. An owl roosting near the feeding station would warrant many more “dee” notes.

This is what the call of the Black-capped Chickadee sounds like, though I think it changes with the season:


http://www.xeno-canto.org/114086

•  While some species may move seasonally, for the most part chickadees are non-migratory. Passing migrant species may seek out feeding flocks of chickadees (finding their “chick-a-dee” call familiar) as they stop along their migration route.

Chickadees are known to store food items like seeds or insect larvae in times of abundance. The cached food may be retrieved in leaner times.

Chickadees are cavity nesters. They use old woodpecker holes or excavate their own cavities in rotted or soft wood. They will also use birdhouses.  
 The range of Black-capped Chickadees overlaps with that of Carolina Chickadees. They look so much alike that even the birds themselves may have a hard time telling each other apart – they hybridize! Offspring of a mixed pair sing a song that is three notes long. That’s one less note than the Carolina parent, and one more note than the Black-capped parent! 

There are five species of chickadee in North American:

Black-capped Chickadee
Boreal  Chickadee 
Carolina Chickadee 
Chestnut-backed  Chickadee 
Mountain Chickadee    


 

1 comment: