Thursday, February 15, 2007

Snowed in, called out

I got up Wednesday morning, the morning of the big snowstorm, fully intending to go to work. I looked outside and yeah, it looked bad. The road was white with packed-down ice from the few drivers who'd ventured out, and the car--well, we park right next to the road rather than on our steep driveway when it snows--the car was buried under about two feet of powder and plowed snow from the road. Still, I got in the shower and made Kat's coffee, thinking that she might still want to go to school.

I got out of the shower and woke Kat, who said the university, which NEVER closes due to snow, was closed, so why was I waking her up? At this point, I realized that we probably weren't going to get the car out of its icy tomb, and I wasn't going to work. It was just as well, because I took the day to read, from cover to cover, my Audubon guide to backyard birdwatching and feeding. What a great book! I took little notes (like the English major I am), planned some bird-friendly spring plantings (I'll blog on that closer to spring), and kept the feeders out back filled. Exhausting day! Somehow, I managed to cram a viewing of Return of the King and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban in there too! I know, I know--I'm a dynamo.

Boy, did those birds eat yesterday. I read in my Audubon book that more mourning doves will come to feeders during hard snows and colder weather; I saw proof of that yesterday. As it's gotten colder this winter, I've noticed that each week, I get a couple more doves, and since the big snowfall they decided that my al fresco grill was the place to be. I had twelve birds at one time, setting a MODO record.

I also had white-throated, song, and tree sparrows; dark-eyed juncos; two female (never seen more than one a time) and one male cardinal; bluejays; black-capped chickadees; the downy and the red-bellied woodpecker; white-breasted nuthatches; tufted titmice; and one female house finch. They eat continually throughout the constant snowfall, and I filled the one hanging feeder nearest the house three times and scattered seed underneath each time. Of course, they had to dig for it only a few minutes after each time, and I tried to help them with that by digging with my boot down to the buried stuff.

I took some photos but they're not too great. Some are through the porch window, and even the ones taken outside suffer from not enough light:

Isn't he handsome? I love me some Mr. Cardinal.

This next picture reminds me of a great song:

"I'm not waiting on a lady,
I'm just waiting on a friend."

I also read in my book that unlike brown creepers or woodpeckers, nuthatches can go up or down a tree thanks to their toe structure and the fact that they don't need to prop themselves up with their tail feathers. Neat.

The marsh and backyard:

I wonder what he's thinking. Probably something like, "It's sure gonna suck to dig that car out tomorrow." My sore back, shoulders, and neck can attest to that, little sparrow.


Anonymous said...

I just checked in on your last two blogs. Living here in Wayne, PA, we got the same kind of snow, and the we get the same birds in our yard as you. We dug my husband's car out right away, but not mine until today. I spent a lot of time watching and feeding the birds -- and funny enough, I've been trying to ID the sparrows this week as well. Even with Bill T.'s book in hand with binocs, I just can't tell the difference. I'll need to take pics like you to take a closer look.

Wayne, PA

dguzman said...

Taking the pictures definitely helps--freezes them in action so you can see those fine details like white ring around the eye and stuff like that.

Mary said...

Delia, thanks for stopping by my blog today! We are both beginning birders so we can learn from each other. The Mourning Doves are constantly at my feeder - dusk till dawn. I have the same birds except for the woodies but I hope they come soon! I'm always after the titmice and have a hard time catching photos of them.

I love how you use captions for your bird photos! Some might think I'm silly, but even write little stories about them. You might like this one:

KGMom said...

I love the cardinal photo. They are such flashy birds--especially against the white snow.

dguzman said...

Thanks, KGMom! The close-up one was taken on max digital zoom, so it's pretty blurry, but the other one in the tree was just about 8x optical zoom.