0807/23rd February 2021
There are some, I’m sure who feel that there is no end to this Winter. It has felt long, even to me, but I enjoy it, so I have no complaint and I wouldn’t know who to address it to if I did!
According to the oracle, though, this is the last snowfall we shall see.
Temperatures are rising, even if nights are still bitter.
Time, to find a different project for my morning tour.
It’s become habit now to climb into my rubber boots and traipse out to the frozen water bowls with fresh water and bird seed.
The birds do their best to encourage me. They fill the hedges and trees singing an on-going, all-day chorus.
Sometimes if one of us sticks our head outside suddenly, the chattering in the hedge stops dead, as if they were nattering about us, but if we hide round a corner they start right back up.
Last night, the sparrows sat above the snow line, as it were, clinging to the overlong shoots Grant told me didn’t need cutting in the Fall.
Maybe it’s just as well, since we’ve had this great visitation all Winter. The year before Grant told the Fall-clean-up chap to “really go for it” and I was left with a few pathetic stumps.
And just look how they bounced back!
The sparrows can be a sulky lot, glaring at us through the kitchen window when the weather is not to their liking, but they must feel Spring in the air because in spite of the snow yesterday, they were as happy as Larry. (I’m not sure who Larry is, or why he’s happy. That’s a British expression.)
Meanwhile two poor juncos seemed to feel they should earn their reputation as snowbirds, sitting huddled in the laden bushes.
Soon, maybe, if we do indeed thaw out, some of our other birds will be back. It was right at the beginning of March last year when we had a mass meeting of birds in the woods behind the house.
It was an absolute cacophony, the likes of which neither Grant nor I had ever heard. We identified red-wings and starlings, possibly grackles, but everyone seemed to be lending voice to the racket.
It was a wonderful racket! Were they having an annual re-union before everyone settled into their Summer territory? Greeting returned friends?
Were they deciding who should adopt which patch?
Birds are so smart, I could believe it all. We’ve had a few token visits lately. Perhaps we’re being checked out:
Thinking of previous summers, I wonder what this year will bring. Hopefully no repeat of the wild turkey disaster which involved a full-grown turkey flying full force into the side of the house. I thought there had been an explosion and expected to see a hole in the wall. Instead I saw a mortally injured turkey staggering in circles. It was awful. Grant went out to finish it off and we put the carcass in the field for predators. A fox came by and sat vigil all night while skunks apparently gorged themselves. Next day there were just a handful of feathers left.
So we don’t want that again.
We also, especially, don’t want a repeat of the orphaned raccoon circus. It was very sweet, watching them come and go each evening and wondering how they had become orphaned. Then one day I was watching Mrs Plod, the blind possum when a raccoon attacked her suddenly. I rushed out to scare it off, of course, and it retreated but it was acting strangely.
Grant shook his head and went to get his gun. He knows, from Africa, what rabies looks like. In the middle of a pandemic where people are dying by the hundreds every day, one felt it was inappropriate to be devastated by the deaths of a handful of raccoons, but it was a sad situation.
Certainly soon, I shall see the watery demise of my strange couple:
“January” seemed to become a bully while “February” started to unravel. We gave her an icicle for defense. Grant thinks we’ve been self-isolating too long. Perhaps he’s right.
And this morning’s brief lull.
It wasn’t scheduled, but it’s snowing again…