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Showing posts from February, 2012

Winter Wonderland

Two days ago there was an unusual winter storm with a very heavy snow. The snowfall began as darkness fell, so we didn't see the results until morning. We awoke to an enchanted winter wonderland, something out of Swan Lake. Every little branch had 1-2 inches of snow on it, looking whiter and frostier than a typical snowfall. We went snowshoeing through the conservation land in back. Here are some photos:

Definitely a morning to remember during the dog days of July!

Participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count!

Cornell University's Great Backyard Bird Count is happening now! They collect data on bird species and their whereabouts from all over the country at this time each year, and you can help. It's easy to participate - just look out your window for 15 minutes each day, today through Monday, and fill out a form on their website noting what species you saw and how many.
Here are some notes from their FAQ:

How is the information from the GBBC used?
Bird populations are constantly changing. No single scientist or team of scientists could hope to keep track of the complicated patterns of movement of so many species over an entire continent. The information from GBBC participants becomes even more valuable as scientists try to learn how birds are affected by environmental changes.

The information you send in can provide the first sign that individual species may be increasing or declining from year to year. It shows how a species’ range expands or shrinks over time. A big change, noted c…

Bringing Home Bluebirds

We went to the Wisconsin Garden Expo in Madison last weekend and had a great time. There were hundreds of vendors, as well as free seminars. One of the seminars we went to was "Attracting Bluebirds and Other Cavity Nesters". The speaker was Patrick Ready, of the Bluebird Restoration Association of Wisconsin. It was very informative.

Although we attract a number of beautiful birds to our feeders, I've not seen Bluebirds, so I will try to attract them this Spring. The BRAW website has specifications on types of feeders to buy or build, as well as a wealth of info on Bluebird behavior. Just after I decided to try to attract them, two serendipitous things happened:
1. I was shopping in Walmart and saw a feeder specifically made for Bluebirds, for $9. It seems to have the right dimensions and is made of cedar:
 Closeup of the tag:

2. I read Pearl's latest blog post at Serenity Cove, all about the Bluebirds that are gracing her backyard, with fantastic photos! They are feedi…

Patience in the Snow

A steady snowfall today. Big fluffy flakes, falling every which way. Hypnotizing, spellbinding, calming, the perfect balance between stillness and movement. I went out to take some pictures, and mostly saw places of waiting and moments of patience. Winter is imbued with the qualities of patience, endurance, and introspection.

Here are the birdfeeders waiting patiently for the birds to return. The birds are in the branches right now, head under wing, waiting out the storm. The feeders keep their food dry, knowing the birds will fly directly to it as soon as the snow lets up. I look at the feeders, and see the birds flitting about them, pushing each other away, chirping, dropping hulls.

Our log bench swing waits patiently for our return in the spring. We Lightly swing on it as we discuss what's for dinner, or the next lawn project. My favorite moment so far on it was looking up at twilight and seeing a Great Horned Owl softly land on one of the oak branches above.
As I was walking a…