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Just Outside My Door 10/06/11

October 19, 2011
We had some absolutely beautiful days last week with lots of sunshine and warmer temperatures. Some of them seemed like summer had forgotten autumn had arrived. Those days were perfect for completing the tasks which need done before winter sets in. If you had already finished all those tasks, I hope you enjoyed some fun outdoor activities too. If you were like me, you would enjoy some of those tasks and even sneak time to trek to the woodland or travel around the country and savor all the beauty God has created for us especially this time of year, all of it in your memory bank, so you can pull them out some wintry day.

I have to say, however, I like the cooler weather, though I miss some of our summer birds. Nevertheless, we can still enjoy all those that still remain here and also some that have returned that left for colder places during the summer.

Since many of the songbirds have left or no are no longer singing, I have enjoyed hearing the woodpeckers call as they fly to the feeders and the happy little chickadees voices. Weather never makes them totally silent, and thus far I still hear various insect voices at dusk, because we haven’t yet had the first frost.

Some of my favorite winter birds are the Tit Mice, the American Tree Sparrow, White Crowned Sparrow, Finches and Red Breasted Grosbeaks that migrated the past two years. The latter’s bright red triangle, white breast and black head, back and tail are stunning. Of course as winter brings cold and snow, the males begin looking a little more like a female with brown edges to his head and back feathers. Nevertheless, his bright color along with the Cardinals and Blue Jays, contrast beautifully against the pure white snow. They brighten every day even when its snowing and blowing.

Another bird I had never seen in winter until last year is the Towhee. It was always alone sitting on the snow-covered back porch under the discarded Christmas tree. It was very shy and when it would leave the cover of the tree, it would quickly hide again if a person or animal came near. I loved watching it hop forward and then quickly jump backward, dragging its feet which scraped the snow away, revealing leaves, bird seed, insects and other tasty items to dine on. It seems that species almost always eats on the ground. I felt really bad when we came home from Florida and found it dead. I don’t know what happened to it, but it still looked the same except it had no life. I suppose the snow and cold might have caused its death. Hopefully another one, or even a pair, will show up this year.

I have always enjoyed winter and the beauty to be seen during that season. It’s not only the birds that visit our yard, we also enjoy watching the deer and the turkeys who visit us. I’m very thankful our apple trees produced a good crop this year because it will supplement the sunflower seeds and corn — the price of those has gone sky high. Although Bill says we may have to eat less so we can purchase birdseed, I’m not worried. It’s cheap entertainment.


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