Bacon Fat, Birds, and Bills

Last fall when Mike returned from work at the lodge, he brought with him several jars of bacon fat. Uh, thanks, Dear. Perhaps he doesn’t understand the phrase “bring home the bacon.”

It was lodge garbage that the cook didn’t know what to do with–you know…bears, food smells, s/he was being cautious. Or passing the buck.

FYI, some options include: dump it in the ocean to feed the halibut and shrimp or burn it in the wood stove.

In typical end-of-season hasty chuck-and-duck packing fashion, Mike just threw the jars into a cooler and brought them home. The buck in this case stops here.

What’s bacon fat for? It’s for the birds, and the magpies, grayjays, and chickadees are loving it, as am I, since I get to watch them.

One bird that visits the lump-o-lard is a black-capped chickadee with a bill gone bonkers. Most chickadees have short, easy-to-use bills. This bird’s bill is long and curved and crossed like a crossbill. It’s a very hard-to-use bill, as evidenced by its sideways approach to the mound.

Today, I managed to get some pictures of the funny little thing. They’re not good pictures, but they’re all I have as yet.

chickadee.jpgThe bottom bill is covered with fat. It’s curving behind and up above the long top bill.

That’s a chickadee, right? Beck? Scott? Anyone? Just a chickadee with a bill gone bonkers.

If so, it is a chickadee after my own heart, making do with what it’s got. More power and bacon fat to you, little bird.

And so it is that I find bacon fat is a rather nice gift from my husband, after all.

Categories: Alaska

3 replies »

  1. Yes, a few years ago there was a large population of these deformed bill chickadees seen. They still do not know the cause as far as I know. We don’t see them much here (maybe because they have started to weed out, hard to eat with a bill like that). At least he can eat the suet! Scott may know more.

  2. Weird. And sad. I want to take a nail file to the wee fellow’s bill.

    If a calcium deficiency is part of the cause, maybe the bacon fat isn’t such a good idea. Any idea if bacon fat is bad for the birds?

    We’ll see if Mike can get a better picture.