I already knew the chickadees were intelligent, but this ... !
- I am not a morning person. I tend to sleep in, if at all possible. (I once had a T-shirt/nightdress with the legend, "I don't do mornings." I wore it until it disintegrated into witches' lace; it was "me".)
- The chickadee feeder hangs outside my bedroom window, about a foot away, and maybe four feet from the head of my bed.
- I sleep with the window open.
- The chickadees are "morning persons". They are at the feeder at first light.
(I've posted this photo before. But it shows the structure of the feeder.)
I thought this was incredibly smart of these chickadees. I haven't seen others do that, in other places. Somehow, they have caught on to the fact that I am in hearing distance and will eventually respond. And they've taught the next generation to do it, too.
But I also thought that inventing the trick was probably a matter of accident: they were probably (I imagined) knocking on the bottle to shake the seeds into a position where the birds could reach them, and waking me up was just a side effect.
I may have to revise that opinion.
This morning, the tapping woke me up again. But I stood looking out the window for a few minutes before I dragged myself into the kitchen. And watched a chickadee tapping. He doesn't drum on the plastic at all; he turns himself around, and pecks at the end of the stick that goes right through the bottle, turning the whole thing into an echo chamber.
I tried it out, later (after I'd hung a refill). Tapping the bottle itself produces a muffled, "soft" sound. Tapping the perch is better. But to get the true wake-up call, you have to bang at the flat end of the stick, the one facing you in the photo above.
I find it hard to imagine them coming up with that by accident. What do you think?