June 21st, 2012


Fire-Capped Chickadees

I have no art for this—yet—but I have to write it down before I forget, after a conversation at AC…


The fire-capped chickadee is not the smallest of the garden phoenixes—that honor goes, depending on region, either to the flame-throated hummingbird or the blue-gray gnatscorcher—but certainly the most common visitor to birdfeeders. Their distinctive call of “Chik-a-dee-dee-dee-FWOOM!” is one of the first that most birders learn to identify.

Phoenix lovers can attract this cheerful specimen with the usual offerings of broken match-heads and small lengths of unburnt wicks. As always, we suggest that you make sure to use an asbestos feeder and use gloves when setting out food—those feeders can get hot!


Diana Stein was talking about urban fantasy wildlife, which I thought was delightful—in hers, it was blue-jays. She had a marvelous blue-jay phoenix in the art show.  I started thinking about a world where phoenix-ism is a transmittable (or possibly heritable?) disease among birds, and so you might get a phoenix subset of a common species, like albinism. In some areas, perhaps phoenixes would actually be selected for, so while the Carolina parakeet is long extinct, we could hope for a glimpse of the far more dangerous Carolina paraffinkeet…

Yes, this is what it’s like in my head more or less all the time, with occasional moments of “ooh! pie!” and random animal facts. I just learned today that daddy-longlegs masturbate. They use strands of silk to stimulate their genital areas. How wild is that?

Originally published at Tea with the Squash God. You can comment here or there.