When I opened the shades yesterday, there was already about 7 inches of new snow on the ground and the air was thick with swirling, heavy wet flakes. I confess my first thought was, “How beautiful!” (Go ahead, call me crazy – you wouldn’t be the first! But it may mitigate your assessment a bit to know I didn’t have to go out.)
The birds were already up and foraging for food. The area surrounding our feeder was a very popular spot, and remained so all day long throughout the storm.
Goldfinches and House Finches were the most constant visitors to the feeders, perching in the trees near by in between snacks.
Chickadees and Titmice darted to the feeder to get their share, with Chickadees tossing rejects on the ground for the grateful birds feeding there.
A few of the ground feeding birds, like this White-throated Sparrow
grew impatient with having to wait for food to be tossed down to them and decided to go directly to the source themselves.
Even a few Dark-eyed Juncos also attempted to use the feeder. A male Red-bellied Woodpecker watched for his opportunity,
then used his gymnastics skills to get to some food …
and bring it back to his mortar-and-pestle-like feeding spot on a near-by tree.
His female partner
elected to join the ground feeders.
She seemed tentative at first, staying only a few seconds with each trip, but eventually she became more comfortable both with the process and her ground feeding companions.
White-breasted Nuthatches and a Downy Woodpecker joined the party a bit later in the day.
A Blue Jay stopped by briefly, turning his face to escape the wind.
Dark-eyed Juncos and Goldfinches browsed for seed at our Purple Giant Hyssop (Agastache scrophulariifolia), one of the few additional seed sources not buried in snow.
When not actively feeding, many birds took refuge in the relative safety and shelter of neighboring Black-haw Viburnums (Viburnum prunifolium) and White Pines (Pinus strobus).
The weather is pretty benign today, but clouds are starting to move in. Ready for the next round?
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Lovely, Mary Anne. Thanks for another wonderful blog.
I read an essay about Japanese art of the four seasons in which the writer stated that snow is the “flower” of winter. This certainly has been the case this season, with glorious puffy snow-flowers everywhere. Even ice has formed into fern-like buds. But your blog shows that Birds are also flowers! Thanks again!
That’s a wonderful way to think of snow! Winter offers so much beauty, things that we don’t notice in the growing season, like the skeletons of flowers, fruits, tree bark, mushrooms, lichens, and winter buds, which always seem like the promise of spring. We just have to learn to stay warn enough to get out and enjoy it!
Call me crazy. I love looking at the snow, too. It has provided me with some evidence of how much the birds like my Viirginia Sweetspire. There were lots of bird tracks under the drooping branches. Interestingly, there were none under the Sweet Clethra which is right next to it. My feathered friends’ work of art in the snow also offers me further enjoyment and interest during this unusually snowy season!
I wonder if the Virginia Sweetspire offers more shelter, or if it has released some seeds?
One difference I notice now compared to earlier storms is more bird song. Spring approaches!