Birds of Nebraska: Newspaper Accounts, 1854-1923

Anonymous. Miles Greenleaf and Billy Marsh. February 11, 1917. Omaha Sunday World-Herald 52(20): 1-M, 3-M.

A Chickadee at Elmwood Appreciates a Convenient Larder

Anyone who has been good and hungry, so that even the smell of a grilling beef steak was positive torture, can appreciate the bodily expression of this little Chickadee, regaling himself on beef suet furnished by his friends, the Nebraska Audubon society.

The photographs were taken two weeks ago in Elmwood park by Miles Greenleaf and Billy Marsh, and the mercury was below the zero mark. What is more, there had been a sleet storm the night before, and the north and east sides of all the trees were covered with ice, while the ground itself was like a skating rink.

In weather conditions such as this, the winter birds have a hard time in securing food, since the larvae and tiny insect life to be found in the crevices of the bark, and the seeds upon stalks or on the ground are practically the only sustenance afforded them by Dame Nature. Most of the winter birds have to eat each day their weight in food in order to withstand the chilling blasts. Otherwise they would freeze to death.

For this reason members of the Audubon society have placed suet holders in most of the parks and nearby woods, and with the Boy Scouts, under C.H. English, are now keeping them filled with beef suet, which is the most wholesome and desirable grub for the feathered folk in wintertime.

Greenleaf and Marsh personally care for more than half a dozen of these feeding stations in Elmwood and the one shown in the pictures is typical.

The two Audubons had no sooner filled this holder with suet than this little Chickadee, with four or five of his pals, were vociferously shouting their approbation from the tree limbs within arms length. So the camera was promptly set up and a thread attached to the shutter trigger.

Being scandalously inquisitive and gossipy, the Chickadees first alighted upon the camera and gave it a thorough inspection, peering into the lens and surveying the vast stretches of its tripod legs. Then they gave their attention to the sumptuous repast set before them.

It was no trouble at all to get these two photographs, one showing the little fellow boring into the suet with apparent delight, and the other catching him with his bill full of the nutritious beef fat.

On another day, at this same suet holder, six different varieties of birds appeared immediately the banquet had been spread, but the skies were too dark for the taking of photographs. The patrons upon that occasion, who took turns in chasing each other away from the suet, were the Chickadees, both White and Red Breasted Nuthatches, a Downy Woodpecker, a Hairy Woodpecker and a Brown Creeper. Below, picking up the crumbs of suet from the snow, were Tree Sparrows, Slate Colored Juncos, Goldfinches and other varieties of seed eating birds.

It is this heartfelt appreciation of such endeavor that has encouraged both the Audubons and the Boy Scouts to keep up the good work in spite of inclement weather.

One glance at this Chickadee at the suet holder is enough to convince anybody that he is not a bit afraid of the peaceful camera hunter standing but twenty feet away with the trigger-string in hand.

Picture Caption
Two remarkably interesting bird pictures, one showing pleasant anticipation, the other the joy of the bird epicure at Elmwood.

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