Tuesday, February 02, 2010
Nature Notes: January ends and February begins
January ended with sleet and snow in my neck of the woods. February began with blue skies. I like the combination of snow and blue skies.
I can't figure out how something odd happened. Fresh water I'd put in small containers on top of the frozen water birdbaths ended up producing an upside down icicle over night.
I've been doing a lot of bird photography. I used to have a zillion bird feeders all over my yard but after changing to a wild garden with lots of seeds from nature, I stopped feeding the birds except when the weather is bad. Sometimes I also help out the new parents with babies in early spring and I always keep fresh water available.
I have a lot of birds in my yard all the time, but they are so much easier to photograph when I have feeding stations like I did during the snow and extra cold temperatures.
The woodpeckers have alternated between the food I put on the deck wall and pecking at the trees. I used to have suet for them years ago in one particular tree and although I haven't had the suet cage for years, they still spend a lot of time in that tree.
The small birds crack me up. They zip in and out and are a blast to watch.
I know part of why they are so hyper in the cold is to stay warm.
They must be amazed by all this food which just naturally seems to appear for them as soon as there is ice or snow.
I gradually tapered off through the years in terms of the feeders, in part, because of the cats all coming to my yard.
I figured that as I grew so much food for the birds anyway, it was better to ease off from the feeders which gave cats key spots to concentrate on. I also got annoyed when I grew large sunflowers and would set the seed head out after they were mature, and find they were ignored unless I pulled the seed out of the sunflower. They were so used to the feeders they didn't know what to do with sunflowers in a flower. That was key to my tapering off from having so many feeders.
I have a lot of neighbors with bird feeders but since I provide so much shelter and fresh water for the birds, when the weather is bad and there is less food for them; I scatter seed near where they live at my house.
I also clear the snow off my deck wall and wall in front of my garden boxes and greenhouse. I turn those ledges into feeding stations with the squirrels also getting in on the magic food that appears.
I should count the different birds that do hang out at my place. There are many more than I'm showing here.
One of these days I'll actually take notes and keep some kind of bird count but I'm not that organized at this point in my life.
In some ways it looks more like spring with all the early plants that sprang up when the weather warmed up. Last year that's what happened in March when we had snow on top of early flowers. However, this is the first time I can recall late January having so much plant activity in the garden.
Please visit the home of Nature Notes where participants post on Thursday. I'm usually early because I try to spread out my posts so these blog themes I do aren't all right on top of each other.