Mountain Chickadee in Ophir Canyon

/, Mountain Chickadees, Ophir Canyon, Tooele County, Utah, West Desert/Mountain Chickadee in Ophir Canyon

Mountain Chickadee perched in JuniperMountain Chickadee perched in Juniper – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1250, ISO 500, +0.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Last week while photographing birds in Ophir Canyon I was able to take a short series of photos of a Mountain Chickadee perched in a juniper right after I photographed some bushtits. The sky was a plain blue, the sun was a bit higher than I care for and the chickadee was further away than I like but I couldn’t resist photographing the bird because I liked how it was framed by the juniper and I love having opportunities to aim my lens at these small, white, gray and black birds that move crazy fast.

Some of the other birds I have photographed in this canyon in the West Desert are Red-tailed Hawks, Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jays, Steller’s Jays, Golden Eagles and Mountain Bluebirds and the first mammals I photographed there when I visited Utah from Florida in 2008 was a small herd of Mule Deer.

One of the problems with photographing in Ophir Canyon and other canyons on the west side of the mountain ranges here is that it takes a while for the sun to rise high enough in the morning to reach the floor of the canyon which can mean that the light is somewhat harsh by the time a subject can be lit up well.

Chickadees are reputedly named for their calls which sound like “chick-a-dee-dee-dee” and they do sound like that but I can detect a slight difference between Mountain Chickadees and the Black-capped Chickadees that also live in my area of Utah.

Listen to the calls and song of Mountain Chickadees here.

I often see and hear Black-capped Chickadees when I am at home or in my neighborhood but I don’t recall ever seeing a Mountain Chickadee at home. Maybe I just need to look a bit harder for them. Where I do see them most often is up in canyons and while in the mountains that I travel to in Utah, Montana and Idaho.

Life is good.



  1. Elephants Child December 8, 2017 at 1:14 pm

    What a glorious sight. Thank you.

  2. Patty Chadwickly one of my favorite birds December 8, 2017 at 9:25 am

    Mountain Chickadees are new to me, but Black Capped Chickadees are easily one of my most favorite birds…curious, and brave, these tiny things will eat drink or eat right in front of you, fly close to check you out, are the first to a new feeder, and will even eat out of your hand. When a feeder needs refilling, they will ride right on it to the seed bin. I love them!!!

    • Mia McPherson December 8, 2017 at 9:28 am

      Patty, your comment needed moderation because for some reason there is an l y at the end of Chadwick.

      • Patty Chadwickly one of my favorite birds December 10, 2017 at 6:44 pm

        Damned iPad!!!

  3. December 8, 2017 at 8:32 am

    Thanks for the sound!!
    Wish I were in Ophir Canyon.

  4. Liz Cormack December 8, 2017 at 7:07 am

    Such a pretty little bird.

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