Chickadee in winter

Chickadee, Black-Capped

I’m rather fond of chickadees; they’re as close as you get to things like Blue Tits (Cyanistes caeruleus for any North Americans who haven’t heard the word used in an avian context!) in Canada and are thoroughly charming little things. A highlight of a winter walk in some of the woods around here is getting them to feed from your hand.

Whilst doing the categories for this post, I had to resist a pedantic cladistic urge to tick ‘reptiles’ too – after all, birds *are* dinosaurs – even inoffensive little chaps like this!

Cootes Paradise

American, Red, Squirrel

Cootes Paradise (possibly an egregious missing apostrophe there?) is a rather lovely wetland near Hamilton; it is looked after by the Royal Botanical Gardens, although it is a semi-wild landscape. In the not too distant past, the wetlands were badly damaged by pollution, excessive human use and also by the damage caused by the introduced carp from Lake Ontario.

Happily, in more recent years substantial rehabilitation work has been carried out with a view to trying to get Cootes Paradise into something more adjacent to its natural state and it is a great place to visit at almost any time of the year.

These pictures were taken in February 2012, so still in the grip of winter, although nothing like as fierce as the winter of 2013/14. Strictly-speaking one is not really supposed to feed the birds, as it’s a nature reserve, but people still do – one would feel a bit of a cad to not assist them through the cold weather a bit…