Bushtits To The Rescue

Group of bushtits sheltering from rain on a metal rack with flowers

Well, it turns out that one of the lesser known symptoms of COVID is the complete and utter inability to write blog posts. 

Like many others, we had a rather Omicrummy Christmas as the virus raced through our household, and although triple-vaxxed, we were laid low for a couple of weeks.

Fortunately it’s been mainly just medium horrible cold and flu symptoms, overlaid with exhaustion and the need for many naps and lots of Advil.

Every day I’ve thought “must write a blog post’” . . . and every day I’ve taken the alternative route of  flopping in my comfy chair and watching hours of TV.  Even daytime TV was not off limits! Some desultory knitting or needle felting was completed in between naps.

Throughout this period there was a tiny, slightly more active, part of my brain just itching to write a blog post. Whenever I did get outside to walk the dog, or just stand in my dressing gown in the garden, there was bird inspiration everywhere — just begging to be shared.

It seems, however, that the COVID brain cannot process inspiration.

Also, complete sentences seemed like just . . . so . . . much . . . w — o — r — k

Yesterday, however, the bushtits decided enough was enough. A committee came, literally,  to my back door to FORCE me to write about them.

In case you’re not familiar with these characters, bushtits are tiny, grey, determined and objectively adorable birds. See my previous post Consider the Bushtit for just some of the reasons why.

During the very cold weather we had over the holidays they came to the garden many times a day to visit the suet feeder.

I did manage to write a few short social media posts while I was sick and one of them was about the bushtits …

Single female bushtit on a branch

The rare sight of a lone bushtit. 

They travel in close knit chattering charabanc tours of 20-30. The rest of the tour group was close by. I always wonder if one of them is the Rick Steves of the gang, pointing out the local attractions. “On our left we have the famous suet feeder — but be sure to step out of your comfort zone and try the exotic delights of the hummingbird feeder. Don’t miss the bugs up there on the maple. OK, time’s up … on to the next step on the tour … no laggards please.”

It is just possible that I am spending too much time with birds … 🤪

Of course, as many of you wisely pointed out, it is impossible to spend too much time with birds!

And here’s a photo of the tour group having a refreshment break at the hummingbird feeder.

Flock of bushtits at hummingbird feeder

Bottoms up!

Incidentally, I’d been wondering for a while why I kept losing the little yellow nectar covers on the hummingbird feeders until I noticed them lying in the snow after the bushtits had been by. How did they get them off? Again, see Consider the Bushtit to see how cleverly they can use their tiny claws.

So what could these birds have done yesterday that was even cuter and cleverer than all of this?

For context, the weeks of snow and icy slush have been replaced this week by yet another Atmospheric River, bringing relentless rain and grey skies. Not much inspiring to look at outside, but I just happened to glance outside of my back door window and did a double take. It looked like a scene from the old Cinderella cartoon of my childhood …

This is only a small portion of the whole group. By the time I got my phone out to video them, about two thirds of the crowd had moved on, but you can see that they were making themselves very cosy under our deck, taking advantage of the heated hummingbird feeder and  arranging themselves on the big floral metal shelf as if it were a specially designed bushtit drying rack.

Snuggling bushtit couple sheltering from rain on a heated hummingbird feede

Pair of sleeping bushtits sheltering from rain on a floral rack under a deck

Bushtits drying out, and apparently napping.

As you can see, this was already too amazing not to write about, but there was more!

Check out the couple snuggling together in the next video. They were pressed so tightly together, and for so long, I worried that they’d got sugar water on themselves from the hummingbird feeder and become stuck!

Sorry the video and pictures aren’t the best quality. I was filming sometimes through the window and the shadow in some of the video is the door, open just a crack to stick a lens out.

While the whole group was heart stoppingly cute, this particular couple took the cake. This is one of the chief joys of watching birds. You may think you’ve seen all the amazing things about them.

But you never have!

Very cute snuggling bushtit couple sheltering from rain

The delicacy of their tiny, wet, translucent, slightly bedraggled tails …

I’m not sure if they are actually shivering here, as the weather was much milder than it’s been, or if it was part of their feather drying technique. Or perhaps they were just so excited to be together …

I imagine that the bushtit delegation was sent by the other birds to overcome my inertia by dint of sheer cuteness. Now that I’ve actually found where my keyboard is again, I hope I’ll be able to make some new posts about some of the other amazing birds that stopped by over the last couple of weeks.

Meanwhile, keep your eyes open for what new and amazing things the bushtits have up their tiny feathery sleeves.

Snuggling bushtit couple sheltering from rain on a metal rack with flowers




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13 thoughts on “Bushtits To The Rescue

  1. Wonderful reading and looking! They have to be just about the world’s most darling birds, and your descriptive writing really does them justice. Hope you are steadily feeling better!

  2. I’m glad you and your family are on the mend. Love the this post. They’re so sweet with their punk hairdos and snuggly ways. Thanks for great pics and videos. Brightened this rainy gray winter day at the coast.

  3. What a sweet post. Them bush-tits look what us Danes call, “pjusket” (puhyooooskut)… unkempt, wet.

    Just what I needed, as I too recover from Omicron-land, brought to us from out-of-town, vaccinated family between Xmas and New Year. Watched some quality Netflix (Anxious People; The Power of the Dog) and lollygagged in bed until the fatigue somewhat lifted; but now my low back won’t give up the bug.

    I am finishing Christopher Scaife’s book about being a Ravenmaster at the Tower of London. Hard to forget those birds, only part of touristy London we liked!

  4. What a beautiful post. I’m glad you listened to your body when you needed to the most and listened to nature when it was time to resurface. I am thankful I haven’t gotten Omicron (also thrice vaccinated), but isn’t it just a matter of time? Alberta gov’t has abandoned us to our own devices with no rapid tests or PCR tests available to the general masses. Everyday at work is a roll of the dice. Your post is wonderful and uplifting. I am definitely not myself and I keep trying to brush it under the rug. This world does suck. At least there is the birds in the back yard. They will be happy when I finish cleaning their bath (heated).

  5. Oh Wow, thank you for sharing this! What an inspiration those adorable little birds can bring! I am so glad they brought it to you! And glad you are better, June. Your blogs and photos have inspired me. The beautiful jewelry and pillow cases and prints you make cannot be duplicated. I love crows and all birds and i have learned so much from your posts; most likely more than any other source. You have gathered so much material over the years I feel like you have given much to science as well.

  6. Oh, I love your post, June! 💕💕Cuteness overload indeed!! Bushtits always raise our spirits too! Before I knew what their actual name is, I called them “fairy creatures”. I’m glad that you’re feeling better!

    • Hi Tina,
      I thought you’d be interested to know your naming of bushtits as fairy creatures is on the mark!
      We have many different birds in the wren family here in Western Australia some called fairy wrens. They range from varigated, rufous crowned, blue breasted, black backed, purple crowned, red backed, red winged, splendid, turquiose, varigated and white winged fairy wrens. They are between 10-16 cms in length, including tails, with various coloured areas of crimson, shades of blues, purple and black with pale brown and white. Some have chestnut coloured shoulders and are a delight to see.

  7. i too hope you all are steadily improving from The Covid.

    my, what i wouldn’t give to have my very own bushtit drying rack!! i go absolutely nuts (with unbridled joy) whenever i witness a busy, twittery mob of these sweetest of little birds swarming around feeders and shrubs.

  8. Hi June, Glad to hear that you are on the mend. Geeesh ! Love your post as usual. I just realized that your hummingbird feeder is the same as mine. I didn’t recognize at first because of the heater fastened below. Where/how did you get that ?

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