Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Backyard Visitors

We’ve been blessed with a prolific number of songbirds stopping by for a "visit" with us this winter.  The nearby trees and feeders have been a virtual cornucopia of avian color and song; cardinals, chickadees, nuthatches, blue jays, woodpeckers, juncos, goldfinches, even a bluebird or two have all spent some time with us recently, and that’s only a partial list.    

As demonstrated by this young male cardinal, even birds can have "bed head".

A downy woodpecker samples the suet during last week’s snowfall.

This nuthatch just might be wondering where all the suet went that the woodpecker
told him about the previous day.

With no worms available just yet, this early robin samples a Sumac drupe.

In the winter months, the goldfinch sports feathers that are a paler shade of yellow than what we are accustomed to seeing in the spring and summer.
A red squirrel dines on a walnut taken from its winter food cache. Like the songbirds, the bushy tails spend most of their daylight hours foraging for food.

Though we already have a wide variety of songbirds close at hand, with the onset of spring and warm weather the number is sure to grow.  As might be expected, with such a variety of wildlife in close proximity to our home, it's only natural that we get other visitors as well – those seeking to make a meal of our feathered and furry friends alike. We’ll tell you about them next week. 

Until Next Time,
Jim & Claudia

Sunday, February 14, 2016

His Eye is on the Sparrow

Living in Western NY means experiencing the joy of four distinct seasons. For us, one of the more glorious aspects during this time of year (besides not having to rake leaves) is the lack of foliage in winter, thus allowing Claudia & I the ability to gaze into the woodlots nearest our home. Cottonwood, Walnut, Box Elder and White Ash, just to name a few, all reach toward the sun, beckoning to an abundance of avian wildlife to find respite amidst their branches. 
Here a Red-bellied woodpecker stops hammering away in its search for insects long enough to have its picture taken.

A pair of mourning doves rest in the barren branches of a walnut tree.  These two will likely be a monogamous couple for life.

Sampling the spillage from our bird feeder, a chickadee helps itself to a sunflower seed. A trusting and friendly sort, the chickadees on occasion have taken seed from our hands.

A female cardinal belts out a tune. Unlike most songbirds that sing only during the spring mating season, the male and female cardinal may be heard any time of year.

This past week especially, I couldn’t help but give a good deal of thought to how our feathered friends deal with the extreme cold. They just fluff their feathers and without complaint, go about their business as usual. Watching them in the bitter cold, I’m reminded of an old and favorite hymn; “His Eye is on the Sparrow”. Sure does seem that way….Amen!

Until Next Time,
Jim & Claudia