Sunday, February 1, 2009

For The Birds

Sigh... February 1st!
We had another snowstorm just the other day which brought with it another foot of fresh powder. Alas, still no packable snow for snow-sculpting! But we may have a storm heading our way in two days, so I'll hold my breath and cross my fingers just in case!

I've been trying to get in an hour's worth of snowshoeing most days. It is so beautiful in the woods, and the snow is quite deep; so the first paths take a while to stomp down, and during the night, the deer secretly make their own improvements to my trail. Last week I bundled up 2-year-old Anthony, (my middle son's girlfriend's little man!) wrapped him in a blanket, plunked him on a sled, harnessed myself to the front, and headed to the woods. We spent over two hours studying deer and coyote tracks, checking out holey tree stumps and trunks, peering down miniature snow tunnels to see if we could get a glimpse of the little mice who had tip-toed into them, and listening quietly to an unseen pilated woodpecker working high amongst some buggy branches. We had a lovely time, and Anthony did not wish to head "home"!

It is part of my daily routine to keep the birdfeeders full, and because of the cold temperatures and all the snow, before I head to the barn to take care of all those birds, I first restock what the wild ones have depleted. There are over 75 bluejays, at least as many finches, 6 crows, a pair of cardinals, several red and grey squirrels, and a large assortment of snowbirds (juncos), woodpeckers, chickadees, nuthatches, tufted titmice and sparrows that visit daily. The crows arrive almost precisely at 8 am, though the bluejays seem to be the first to feast. The others come and go as the day presses on, along with the two deer who often visit in the late afternoon to tidy up what's left under the feeders. I offer no fancy mixes to the wild ones... seperate sacks of black-oil sunflower seeds and cracked corn are the main-stays, supplemented with smaller amounts of safflower (for the cardinals), peanuts (for the squirrels), suet cakes (for the downy woodpeckers), thistle seed (for the finches), and occasionally (when my co-op has a sale!) sunflower hearts to mix in with the black-oil. I'm not sure if I or the 7 cats enjoy watching the antics at the feeders the most! I've included a photograph snapped from the side porch of some of the finches on a recent visit. Til next time....

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