And a Birdy New Year


[ Birds tracks ]

December 31 – When I looked out the window earlier this week to see what had happened overnight, as far as the snow goes, I found the back cement steps area absolutely covered with bird prints, some plain as day, and others just part of the entire scene. After calling Dale over to the back door so he could enjoy the prints left by the zillion birds that come to the feeder every day, I told him I needed to get out to take a few pics.

After changing my shoes, and putting on a jacket and hat, I went outside through the garage. Since it was hard to decide which area of bird prints I should snap a picture of, I just kept snapping as I walked around the area. I hadn’t planned to walk around much because I wasn’t wearing boots and didn’t want my shoes to be buried in the snow!


[ Snow-covered propane tank ]

Just past the bird feeder was the propane tank, glistening in the bright sunshine. Quite a surprise when I found that my shoes weren’t sinking in the snow, but just sliding along, Finally I figured out why that was true. Each step I took through the soft snow, I could hear the sound of tinkling ice. Must have been that more snow fell after the rain from the day before, and stayed icy because of the low temperatures.

As I continued to snap pics around the bird feeder area, the dozens of birds disappeared, mostly perching in the maple tree beside the feeder, just waiting for me to go away so they could come back to peck around in the seeds and raisin bran cereal. You may remember that sometime ago our resident possum chewed holes in the big bag and made off with a lot of that cereal as it lay on the top of the freezer in the garage. Since then Dale has kept it in a big tin and doles it out to the birds from time to time. However, the possum gets more than its share too. If we turn on the back light by the garage door, we can see the possum gobbling up the flakes while Cat just sits on the back steps and watches.


[ Lunch at the diner ]

The beautiful red cardinals, the stately blue jays, small but busy juncos, pert nut hatches, several kinds of woodpeckers, mourning doves, Harris and English sparrows, and tufted titmice, all eat breakfast and supper at the Fairchild Birdseed Diner. Just a few days ago we had some unexpected guests. Several crows, eye-catching grackles with the gold shining amid the jet black and metallic bronzy neck, and, of all things two fat, puffed-out robins were pulling their meal from the ground. They stood there for hours (we checked on them periodically), never moving except to pull fat worms out for their dinner. (How glad I am not to be a robin!)

A few days ago a beautiful blue bird was investigating the bird house on the tree just outside our window; maybe it was hoping it wouldn’t snow! Of course, our very friendly squirrels have never given up trying to prove that all of the food at the feeder belongs to them. They often dash quickly towards the birds gathered around “their food” to make sure they will get the first bite.

Happy New Year to you all! – CHRIS

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