What with the ravages of extreme capitalism and the collapse of ecosystems and the rise of fascism and the complete surrender of the masses to the plutocracy, I know visitors to this site have one overriding question: How is Studley Windowson doing?
Studley is, of course, the primary chickadee in the Price-Brewster domain, who, in spite of missing some toes, has worked his fuzzy buns off year after year to produce successful progeny. He and his wife Marge both are models of industry but their efforts have never been assured. Last year they gave it a couple good tries and either gave up or moved on, but the favored nesting box outside our window produced neither chicks nor dees. The year before was also a wash, and not for lack of effort. It’s not that easy to turn an egg the size of a Tic-Tac into an operable bird.
So this spring we decided to help out by offering live mealworms. One of the things climate change has affected is the availability of insects and other food at the proper time for feeding bird chilluns, so it was possible we really were improving prospects, but mainly we were hoping we could get them to land on our hands, and in that we succeeded beyond our wildest dreams. Marge never went over to Team Mealworm but Studley was all over it, and right now. The day after he made his first dodgy feint at our hands out the window, he saw me in the garden and got right in my face. Hey. Mealworm Lady.
For weeks, as the peeping in the nest box grew sturdier, we kept the mealworm train going. It was a fair transaction: Studley got quality groceries for his kids, and in return he healed the human heart, one and a half tiny feet at a time. Then what?
I am proud to announce that Studley and Marge created at least one new chickadee out of nothing but bird schmutz and valor. We didn’t see it fledge. We came home to discover Studley all excited as hell and one short-tailed chickadee blundering into the wisteria upside-down like Woodstock. For weeks, proffered mealworms went directly from Studley to the new hire, who says her name is Dee Dee. He and Marge flew into a nearby fir tree and lots of cheeping came out, so we assume more than one chick made it into the world, but later all we saw was Studley and the one kid. If the rest survived, they might be following Marge around. I hope that’s what happened.
Eventually, Studley quit visiting every two minutes at beer thirty, but was perfectly happy to request mealworms by the bird feeder, or out the original window. The kid kept hopefully flapping at him but after a while Studley started eating them himself. He earned them. And you should see his new suit!
Breeding and providing take a lot out of a bird. Once things settle down, they have to refurbish their outfits. Studley was recognizable not just because of his mashed left foot, but because he had a bald spot, and a mottled face, and the beginnings of a hound’s-tooth check in the ascot region, and was kind of skinny, but given enough personal mealworms and a talent for the molt, he’s a brand new bird. He’s shiny and round and pink around the edges and ready for anything including Marge and winter. And Mama’s got a new tub of mealworms.
Oh, Murr, this has made me smile in a time when there seems little to smile about. Thank you for this. I had been wondering how Studley and Marge were faring, but had been afraid to ask. I'm still trying to get over Canuck the Crow's disappearance, and it feels that one more avian tragedy would do me in. I hope that Studley and Marge go on to make lots more chickadees and nag you at beer-thirty.
I'm also really looking forward to finding out if they stay here all winter. I don't know how old Studley is, either–three anyway. So I'll be counting up the years, I hope!
Studley is so cute. I am happy that he and Marge managed to get a chick or two. I am seeing very few birds around our yard this summer. The robins must have gone to a shadier, place where some worms might be hiding in some softer soil. I saw one dove the other day. Around here I never see just one dove. Makes me wonder where the others are. Around her they are always in groups.
I hope that Studley keeps coming for his mealworms for many more seasons.
Me too! Doves do seem to come in twos. I think the collared doves are bungeed together. I haven't seen or heard a mourning dove in ages.
I'll send you a few of my mourning doves-have plenty and they monopolize the feeder even chasing away the blue jays. But haven't seen our chickadees for months around here. Miss them.
If I could swap out the collared doves for mourning doves you'd have a deal.
Mustn't. Hug. a Bird. (Want to.) Kissing's out too, I expect. Make do with kissing noises? Did you? I would.
Ooh! I could hold the mealworm in my mouth and…never mind.
Aww, thanks for this…
I knew y'all'd want to know.
Paridaes' lust in the tree of life. No parallels in literature there, then.😊
Made me look it up!
This has been the best feel good post I have read all year. Thank you.
Isn't he the handsomest?
The Stud is stylin’! I am in love with a chickadee, ferpetesake. And that was the best opening sentence ever.
I have a sense of priorities.
Aaaah. And thank you.
On behalf of the entire Windowson clan I thank you for listening.
That bum foot just has to affect Studley's ability to hunt and/or his energy expenditure, so thank you for making life easier for this adorable little guy and his family. I hope you see Marge and family soon, but unless she has identifying marks, it's probably going to be hard to tell, is it?
Uh. Yeah. Basically I know Marge when she collaborates with Studley and builds a nest. I don't know how many Marges there have been. I LOVE THEM ALL.
Oh happy day! Studley is alive, well and a Papa again! I'm beyond thrilled to read it! We've moved to new digs, out of our big-city condo where we weren't allowed to feed the birds to a house in a small town with big yards front and back. I've not seen a dee-dee-dee yet but I've heard one. There are two new feeders waiting for son #1 to arrive and site them where the cat next door can't get to them. I can't *wait*!
Oh frabjous day! "Not allowed to feed the birds…" Oh dear.
I'm so happy reading this! Nice to see Studley plump and shiny after the tough years. I hope there are many more years of Studley and Marge and perhaps even the babies families. You'll have to put up more boxes. I'm having thoughts now of buying mealworms for the baby magpies that come around following their parents as they learn how to feed themselves.
I haven't been able to entice anyone else to come to my hand, and I enticed Studley within three feet of his nest box (second floor windowsill). Studley does come for treats now, but if his kid is around (or maybe it's Marge?) he's crafty; he looks around, makes little burbly noises, bobs and weaves; then when the other chickadee isn't looking he zooms in. I thought at first he was trying to show the kid how to get her own mealworms, but now I think he just doesn't want anyone else horning in.
This is pure balm for the soul.
Hooray for Studley and hooray for humans who care.