|Taken from vtpeacknik's Flickr photos|
At first I thought he was trying to nest or something, fluttering over the flower box in an unusual way, until I called Smart Guy over and we watched him for awhile, realizing that he can fly just fine, eat suet and drink water out of the birdbath, too. On the ground he balances by fluttering the wing on the side where the leg is missing, which seems to have been lost recently. On a tree limb he leans onto his breast but hangs on the branch pretty well. I put some sunflower chips into the flower bed and he found the stash tonight.
It's been a difficult day bird-wise, with a very hard strike by a goldfinch on the living room window. Although I've got lots of markers as well as reflective stickers on the window, which may keep the number of strikes down, it doesn't eliminate them. The finch lay stunned on the front porch while we put barriers around it to keep the interest of predators away. I didn't have much hope, but after about an hour the bird began to look around and finally flew away. Often they have sustained brain damage and don't survive in the long term, but I can hope it will be back at my feeders tomorrow. It is a handsome bird and there's no way for me to know it from the others.
Upon looking on the internet for information about one-legged chickadees, I found that it is a fairly common sight at feeders around the country. If you're a chickadee and you have to lose a limb, a leg is probably the easiest to adapt to. I guess I should name it (I'll say it's a male but I have no way of knowing) and wonder if "Peg Leg" is just way too obvious. Or maybe "Peggy"? I'll be watching him to see if he keeps coming around and will be putting out some extra food for him. Stay tuned.