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Friday, February 1, 2013

Birds Of A Feather

 Black-capped Chickadee on snow-covered rhododendron
Winter, white with fury, has returned after a few spring-like days which robbed the slumbering countryside of its blanket of snow.  This area has received about 24" of accumulation in the past 36 hours, and it's still snowing and blowing.  Trees on the back hill are groaning under the weight.  I shoveled the driveway for about an hour, then turned around and shoveled again.  And counted my blessings, that I can stay home- safe and warm, and not be out on the highways driving 20 mph in a 45 mph speed zone behind a tractor trailer kicking up slush and salt onto my windshield.  How many times I have traveled through stormy weather, wishing so much that I were safely tucked away at home instead of white-knuckling it...

The bird feeders wear an 18" pompadour.  The occasional White-breasted nuthatch, Slate-colored junco, Tufted titmouse or cardinal drops in for a snack, but chickadees are the most "frequent fliers."  I have stood stock still, holding out a handful of seeds, and infrequently been rewarded by the feel of the soft touch-down and firm grip of tiny feet, hearing the whirr of wings with delicate feathers out-spread, so close I can sometimes feel the air stirring.  These friendly little creatures with their black top hats, dove-grey tuxes and white shirts are, I think, my favorite visitors to the feeding station.

And more blessings:  another 8" of fluffy white.