Monday, December 2, 2013

Winter birds

Did you enjoy this morning's snow fall? I hope it didn't cause you any travel problems. Snow melt is occurring as this is being written, but for awhile it made the yard and the air look more like Christmas time in Minnesota and less like a cold San Diego. The local wildlife is noticing that Winter is setting in. There was a small (midsize?) flock of turkey hens that visited the front bird feeder this noon. No, they weren't trying to perch at the feeder. They were scratching for the sunflower seeds that the finches and chickadees (and squirrels) had scattered on the ground. It certainly made my day to see them this close to the house.

turkeys in the front yard
turkeys in the front yard             © harrington
If you look between the red ribbon and the trunk of the white pine tree (needles in bundles of 5), you can see evidence on the dead pine of the local woodpecker population. I really enjoy having them around, except when they decide to drum on the house. We've seen downy and hairy and pileated and red bellied at one time or another. Mostly the downy and hairy, of course. While out recently learning more about how to use my camera, I "failed" a number of shots with incorrect settings until this one turned out pretty well.

dead pine with woodpecker holes
woodpeckered pine   © harrington
The local Audubon chapter's next meeting is about bird photography. I'm looking forward to going. I'm having issues with my camera similar to those I had as a child when faced with Howard Johnson's 26 flavors of ice cream or Baskin Robbins 31 flavors. Too many options, too many choices. But, as they say, even a blind hog will find acorns every once in awhile. Notice the way the holes sort of circle around this dead trunk. Notice also that Jane Hirshfield knows a thing or two about woodpeckers.

dead tree with woodpecker holes
woodpecker holes    © harrington

The Woodpecker Keeps Returning

By Jane Hirshfield 
The woodpecker keeps returning
to drill the house wall.
Put a pie plate over one place, he chooses another.

There is nothing good to eat there:
he has found in the house
a resonant billboard to post his intentions,
his voluble strength as provider.

But where is the female he drums for? Where?

I ask this, who am myself the ruined siding,
the handsome red-capped bird, the missing mate.

Thanks for listening. COme again when you can (and don't forget to follow the "draft supplemental environmental impact statement on Polymet's mine). Rants, raves and reflections served here daily.