February 14, 2011

For the Birds

We had such a variety of birds during the snowy month of February. I've always loved bird-watching. I'm by no means an expert, but I like to know what I'm looking at or listening to.

First came the dark-eyed juncos, or snowbirds. They come with the snow and leave when it melts, whether we've lived on the east coast, the midwest, or here in Oklahoma.

Cardinals are one of our winter residents. I love the bright spot of red on snow. I've seen as many as 14 of them, both male and female, in our front yard at one time. I can watch them from the kitchen window all winter long.

The horse barn was a warm refuge for the birds from the wind and cold, and whenever I walked in, birds flitted up to the rafters, or flew out the doorway. The horses' body heat warmed up the space, and of course there was fresh manure as well. We had the usual sparrows and chickadees, even a wren of some sort. I was surprised to see a pair of western meadowlarks; I've never seen them here, even in the summer. They hung around for a couple of days.

I found three piles of junco feathers in the goat barn where our cats had dined, but I don't blame the cats for doing what cats do. They mostly hang out up the hill though, and rarely go down to the horse barn, so the birds were relatively safe there.

As soon as the snow melted many of the birds also disappeared, leaving the cardinals, sparrows and chickadees, and a woodpecker I heard off in the woods. I always smile at the thought of the snowbirds flying ahead of the storm, and following along behind it as the warm weather returns and the snow melts away.

I'm sorry that there are no photos on today's post, but it was just too cold to wait patiently for a good shot!

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