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.


Katy said...

The birds are so beautiful! I'm jealous! My cat scares all of ours away.

Dee said...

I'm very curious about that icicle, too! Hmm - I wonder how that happened . . .

Loved the shots of all the different birds, especially the red-headed ones as we don't get much of those in my neck of the woods!

Queen Bug said...

There photos are amazing!

Nicole said...

I had an icicle like that in Hungary once.
I was as surprised to see it as you were :D

Feeders are a good thing, but when birds don't know any more how to pick seeds out of a sunflower.... well good you eased off a bit :)

Love all the bird shots. These birdies are amazing. Must be so much fun to watch them :)

Leora said...

I enjoy all your birds. I am just beginning to bird watch, and your enthusiasm helps! We get cats and birds. The birds stay high in the trees, and when the cats aren't around, they peck at my compost.

Cezar and Léia said...

Breathtaking set of pictures!I'm again very enchanted by your birds pictures, they are sooo adorable! :)
The birds here are coming back, I'm so happy!
And finally today we have a little bit of Sun! ;)

mommanator said...

Such beautiful pis, AND that Icicle! HUMM!

Unknown said...

You have a lot of wildlife in your yard!

I wonder how that icicle formed. Weird and wonderful at the same time!

Nezzy (Cow Patty Surprise) said...

Mambo our cat let's them all gather in grand numbers then pounces just to watch them scatter. Your pics are just to die for!!

Ya'll have a fantastically blessed day!!!

eileeninmd said...

You must have a wonderful backyard and garden. Great photos of the birds. I have been doing both planting a wildlife garden and feeding the birds. And of course providing water for them.

ramblingwoods said...

The ideal is to have a yard with natural foods for the wildlife so you really have the best situation except for the cats. I wish people could see that you can have a happy healthy cat indoors and not make it the neighborhood killer. But even on birding lists this can lead to some real debate. Don't worry about the 'list' of birds..I keep the yard list because I am amazed at what is here..but the point is to enjoy them... Michelle

AscenderRisesAbove said...

I am enjoying all your snow photos and birds. you have inspired me to purchase a bird feeder. My last couple broke. I am thinking a hummingbird feeder and another regular one. Do you have any words of advise for those?

Squirrel said...

Its wonderful that you have so much wildlife to enjoy in your back yard. Nice captures.

Nishant said...

I'm very curious about that icicle, too! Hmm - I wonder how that happened . . .

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