The snow started yesterday morning, but the birds knew about it before it came. The regulars (the titmice, nuthatches, chickadees and cardinals) all showed up, along with the dark-eyed juncos that found my stashes of black-oil sunflower seeds a few weeks back.
But the cold and the white stuff falling from the sky also lured a number of new visitors to our yard.
I was startled when a large, handsome bird flew into the tree that shelters a few of the bird feeders. When I zoomed in with the camera, I discovered a brown thrasher. He wasn’t shy about eating from the feeder, either.
I took a walk around the yard to see how things were faring as the flakes continued to fall. The nearby pines are pretty anyway, and they look very nice in the snow.
It snowed through most of the night, and by morning the feeders were full of ice. The birds were plenty hungry, so I set out some temporary feeders, and the neighborhood goldfinches seemed to like them.
I tried to spread the food around, but a few squabbles ensued, anyway.
The temperature will rise tomorrow, and what hasn’t melted will likely be gone by Saturday. Some nice, thick powder on the ground, an abundance of birds, and weather near the 60s by this weekend – that’s what I call a perfect snow.
The forecast called for a possible dusting of snow, and while I secretly hoped to see some (snow that quickly comes and goes is my favorite), I had my doubts. Here in central North Carolina, forecasting snow is particularly tricky. It all depends on the temperature and the timing of the front.
This morning, it was rainy and cold, and before long, sleeting. I made sure the bird feeders were full (I set more suet outside yesterday afternoon when the temperature was merely cool and brisk).
I had things to do at the old house, but really wanted to stay home and hibernate. It seemed a good day for it. Mom agreed, so we settle in to watch an old movie I had never been able to finish.
Halfway through, Mom hit the pause button and I peeked outside. Big, fat, wet flakes were falling. I scrambled to find my camera and something to focus on, but the weather was too quick for me. A few birds, however, were still long enough for me to snap some pictures. These are the best.
Two-thousand seventeen has been a busy year for us, with all the moving around. I relocated to West Virginia for five months to take care of Mom, while my husband worked on assignment in South Carolina. On weekends, we met in the middle to house hunt. Our old place wasn’t practical any more.
In between doctor and hospital visits, we found a new house. Bill moved onto a new job site, and in August, Mom and I and her cats moved into the new house, bought with her in mind. We’ve been learning to live with each other again, and working on settling in, ever since.
Some days we find a lot to laugh about, and on others, we move to our respective “corners,” but we try our best to make things work. Bill was home this week, and after I finished working on an online project, I went outside to try to talk Mom into taking a walk. Bill had beat me to it. I found him escorting her through the woods.
She had a great time viewing the fall colors, being “back in the woods,” and managed the dips and hills in the uneven ground much better than I thought she would.
I went back to the house to grab her walking stick my brother crafted for her, along with my camera. Some of the trees have lost their fall foliage, but others have just joined the show.
We came in and ate some lunch, then Mom and I went out for another look. She sat and took a rest while I marveled at the color all around us.
I read this week that the Japanese use a term we loosely translate as “forest bathing” to describe a relaxing time in the woods. I think it’s a great term, as our souls were soaking up the beauty of all those colors today.
Mom said she has had enough walking for a few days, but the trees are not far from the house. I bet I can talk her into another session of forest bathing over the weekend.
Sometimes, in the heat of a summer day, if you’re sitting still (and sometimes if you’re not), you may glimpse a tiny, winged thing not much bigger than a large moth, zip right by, emitting squeaks and beeps. In the northeast, it’s likely a ruby-throated hummingbird in search of a sugar water feeder or a suitable flower.
Before this year, I hadn’t been much on keeping up with feeding hummingbirds; I know you have to change the water often and make sure it doesn’t run out (hummingbirds are voracious sippers), and I just didn’t make the time.
But as I spent more time with Mom, feeding the regular feeder birds like cardinals, house finches, titmice and a few others, I figured we would both enjoy watching hummers through her big picture window. I found an inexpensive feeder, we boiled some water and let it cool, added the requisite sugar, and very shortly, welcomed our first visitor.
Hummingbirds, perhaps because of their speed (or their insatiable appetite), are not as shy as other birds. After a few days, you can risk getting closer for pictures.
I am always amazed at how birds (and animals as well) can so easily blend into their backgrounds.
I recently relocated Mom to live with my husband and I in North Carolina. As we sat on the deck one evening, a hummingbird flew by. That was our signal; Mom set out the feeder. After about an hour, there was one. Now there are four, and they all think they own the feeding station.
I forgot to look for a second feeder today when we were out shopping. I will have to remedy that soon; the males seem to have already left for the winter.
Whether sitting still, or zooming by, hummingbirds can be a wonderful introduction to backyard birding.