I--and my Zipcar--were stuck in a ditch along a country road in the Skagit Flats when I got this text from my friend Nancy. Needless to say, this was added reason to get the hell out of that ditch STAT.
A couple of hours (and many fresh-faced offers of help from young farmboys in trucks) later, I was indeed standing in the woods with a chestnut-backed chickadee clinging with its spidery-soft-but-tenacious toes to my hand, snatching a peanut with its mosquito-sized beak.
Never having seen this species up close before, I was able to marvel at its subtle coloration: a warm cinnamon-red in its sleek black cap.
Apparently, the people who own this land outside of La Conner have stood with their nut-filled hands outstretched so often that the birds have gradually acclimated to humans who come bearing food.
Thank you very much to Nancy and Wendy for sharing this magical experience with me.