A Dreary Winter’s Day

December 31, 2018

Northern Cardinal

It’s another rainy winter day in Michigan and I am restless for the weather to change for the better so that I can get outside and take advantage of whatever Mother Nature has to offer in the way of birds and animals. Instead, I’m enjoying the next best thing by sitting in front of a warm fire and watching all the birds outside who are willing to contend with the elements in order to indulge in the endless bounty of seeds stuffed into our feeders. So far, I’ve seen chickadees, blue jays, cardinals, house finches, nuthatches and tufted titmice. Mind you, I’m still contemplating a short visit outside on the deck with my camera, but so far I haven’t moved. It really is quite ‘dreich’ out there– a perfect Scottish word, I think, for today’s weather and a nod to my friend, Cindy, who lives in Paisely, Scotland.

Black-capped chickadee among the bittersweet berries

Typical of Michigan winters, yesterday’s weather was totally different. It had snowed the night before and the sun was out! The sky was a beautiful shade of blue and all the trees had a thin layer of snow on their branches. It was quite a lovely setting for pictures—but, surprisingly, the birds were few and far between! This was in sharp contrast to the previous day when I couldn’t take pictures fast enough! The birds were everywhere! I haven’t quite figured out what their favorite weather preferences are, but, no matter, I can just step out the back door to our deck, regardless of the weather, and take pictures. (We have a small overhang on the deck and I am sheltered from all but the most dire weather.)

Pine Siskin in our backyard

Even though I didn’t see a lot of birds yesterday, a few that I did see, surprised me–like the pine siskin. I’ve never seen (or, perhaps, never noticed) siskins in our yard before. I think they may like thistle, but we haven’t had a thistle feeder in ages. Maybe our neighbors do, though, and that’s why they’ve come.

American Goldfinch

The other surprise was a goldfinch—not because I haven’t seen them in our yard before, but because I haven’t seen them very much lately. What wasn’t a surprise, though, was the chickadees. They never miss an opportunity for a free lunch. I enjoy watching them as they quickly grab seeds from the feeder and zip back to a branch so that they can pound the heck out of it trying to crack the shell.  Once the seed is open and eaten, they race right back for more. 

A chickadee in my hand (taken at Kensington Metropark, Milford, Michigan 11-28-18)

These cheeky little birds are even brave enough to take the seeds from my outstretched hand if I’m willing to stand still for a little while. Try it! They seem fearless!

Chickadee breaking open a seed
Another lovely chickadee among the bittersweet berries

As I finish writing this, I can see that the weather hasn’t improved in the least bit. Worse yet, more rain is on the way and the sun won’t be back for days! Guess I’ll have to make some sunshine of my own!

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