I was trying my hand at digiscoping in the woods of tiny birds that move very fast. Not an easy feat. This was my best golden-crowned kinglet. It was fun to just hold in one spot and listen to the changes of bird flocks as they moved through in the morning having just flown in the night before looking for various food sources. One minute the woods are alive with sounds of hundreds of birds and just as suddenly as they appeared, they will disappear and ten minutes later the woods are silent. I first saw a brown creepers zipping up a tree and I thought, "Where's the kinglet, they seem to go hand in hand (or wing and wing)." Sure enough, a kinglet appeared on the branches, then more creepers and more kinglets.
I heard a "twee" that almost sounded like a towhee, but not quite. I scanned and found hermit thrushes lurking among the brush. They were taking advantage of the wild grape that has draped over some of the dead trees. Even though I was wearing a bright red sweater, I was standing still and the birds moved in fairly close. A mixed flock of chickadees and nuthatches moved in to the area and one chickadee flew right to me and at the end of my spotting scope. I couldn't see it, but new it was right in front of the objective lens at the end of the barrel (the big lens that lets in the light, not the small one you look through). I thought about turning on my camera and getting a very blurry photo, then I heard a "tap tap tap" coming from the chickadee.
I love chickadees. I won't argue that they are one of the cutest birds out there--look at that face in the above photo. What's not to love? But there is no pecking on a Swarovski 80 HD Spotting Scope! I shouted, "Hey!!" and the bird poked it's head above the barrel and suddenly noticed the big human attached its new found perch. It then jumped on top of the scope and gave a little sputter and flew to a nearby tree going into full blown mobbing sounds and angry "chick a dee dee dees!"
I looked at the lens and found no visible damage and was grateful that it's very sturdy equipment. I wondered if the Swarovski limited lifetime warranty covered chickadee damage...and how embarrassing would it be to call in and request repair because of a chickadee--"seriously, it pecked the lens, honest, the bird had it in for me." It'd be way cooler to say that your scope was damaged by something like a lammergeier who mistook the scope for a large bone. Although, I suppose it wouldn't help the Swarovski rep if the chickadee had damaged the scope. Bottom line, the scope is fine and a heart attack on my part was avoided.
I didn't get a good look at the feet, but I wonder if this was one of the chickadees we banded last weekend?