I love waking up to birdsong, the harbinger of springtime. It's worth leaving the window open all night, even when it's still dropping into the 30's, just to hear the birds begin stirring as the sun rises.
My friend Ellen Blackstone of BirdNote says that it's the Black-capped Chickadees that are singing that sweet series of notes that sounds like "Hey Sweetie". It's the male mating call of springtime. I've been so enchanted by the evening frog chorus, I'd forgotten that the birds are in the midst of courting too.
If a string of "dees" follows the bird call, it might mean there's a predator nearby. Ellen writes "Chris Templeton, former researcher at the University of Washington, broke the chickadee code. He found that a relatively small threat, such as a slow-to-maneuver Great Horned Owl, warranted only two 'dee' notes. But a far greater threat, perhaps a small, agile Northern Pygmy-Owl, elicited an emphatic five 'dees'. Don't you just love it that someone is studying, and understanding "chickadee codes"?
Through the winter, chickadees call to one another as they move around the neighborhood, as a way of remaining in contact. It's as if they're saying, “Okay, I’m over here now.” You can learn more about chickadee songs and calls here.
Thanks to Mike Hamilton for the photo of black-and-white Chickadee set off by camellias...not only a beautiful composition, but a reminder of how tiny these garden sweethearts are...