The Native Americans used to thank the animals they hunted for their gift of nourishment. Somehow, we’ve become very distant from nature and how we interact with it. As for that chickadee, I was unsure what to do with it. Before reading Ted Andrews’ Animal Speak, I would have put it in the trash. Now, that seemed very disrespectful. Instead, I left the feathered carcass in a garden I’d already turned over for winter in the fragrant, leafy shadow of a mint plant.
I used to have doves in my yards, vocal creatures that cooed day and night with a few cowbirds, and a spattering of sparrows. One day that changed when the chickadees designated the yard as their own personal rest station. It made me wonder about the chickadee as a totem animal.
A chickadee reminds us
- Small things matter. Never underestimate the power of small actions or small gifts
- Adaptability. The bird is able to lower its body temperature depending on the weather, which explains how they survive snowy winters.
- Preparation. The chickadee has an excellent memory and stores caches of seeds and berries for the future.
- Speak your own truth. The chickadee is also a songbird. It reminds us to speak our own truth as opposed to holding it in.
- Fearlessness. (I’ve dined with chickadees roosting on the chair beside me.) Their attitude is a reminder to be bold.
- Sociability. The birds travel in groups and have long-term attachments to mates.
- Protectiveness. They take care of their own, even taking on larger birds.
- Unique voice. The chickadee is recognized by its call. It is a reminder to develop our own original signature call.
- Joy. The small bird takes great joy in everyday activities reminding us to do likewise.
- Finally, there are seven species of chickadee. The number can be associated with chakras, seven rays of power; seven major planets are among the few associations.