Are you fascinated by birds, their ability to escape the confines of earth with flight, their marvelous color patterns and not in the least, their song?

Have you complied a life list over the years? What are your favorites among those birds you have seen and heard?

Having watched and studied birds most of my life and compiled a substantial life list from various parts of the country and beyond, I have my favorites amongst the group and they are now prominently displayed on the wall in my great room as seen on the right.

It might even be fun to include your state bird in the center of that group. I am in the process of including all the state birds in my collection. Enter the gallery by clicking on any of the images or on the gallery link above, and see what you like.

Plainfield gold

Today is the first day of 2020 AD. The ice storm has moved on but the effects still remain with temperatures in the low 20’s Fahrenheit. The view is beautiful; a winter wonderland wherever you look. However, the birds probably have a different take on their environment today. This morning, I was inundated with a plethora of goldfinches in their winter garb. So glad the feeders were full and ready for them. A mourning bird or two took advantage of the seeds that were dropped on the ground. Shortly the chickadees, woodpeckers, titmice, blue jays and juncos will stop by along with our cardinal couple. Looks like I will be monitoring and filling the feeders more than once today. Happy New Year to all!

Icicles galore

It is amazing how beautiful, but potentially deadly your world encased in ice can be. This was not a surprise occurrence as it was widely forecast. I awoke this morning to the gentle tinkling of iced rain on the side of the house and windows. As I peered out the window, the ice laced the glass in beautiful patterns. The forecast was right on and is promised to continue throughout the day. Because there is a real chance of a power outage, I had filled containers with water for indoor use and two large 16 ounce spaghetti sauce cans with water set outside to freeze. These will be placed in the refrigerator to keep it cold should the power fail. I poured my morning coffee and set about laying a fire in my grandmother’s Sterling wood cook stove just in case. I kept the old stove through a modern kitchen renovation as I knew it would come in handy for a reason just as this and it was also reminiscent of days long past. Yesterday I also made sure the chickens had extra clean water, plenty of grain and an extra supply of mealy worms to see them through the storm to which they will be totally oblivious as they will be tucked securely into their warm hay-filled coup until the storm moves on.

Weather front change

No matter where you live, changes in weather come and go. There might be a change in temperature, a feeling of the barometric pressure rising or falling with an ache in your knees, or the wonderful scent in the air after a spring rain. Animals also notice these changes; birds migrate ahead of a storm, squirrels feverishly stash nuts as the temperature drops, and elephants will follow the scent of rain. For all these types of changes, they tend to remain invisible. However, once in a while if you look up in the sky, you can see a weather front arrive. The other day started out overcast when all of a sudden the sun shown brightly in a cloudless sky. I was able to capture this on film so as to share it with you here.

Homes for rent, inquire within

For the last couple of days, I have had a bevy of bluebirds migrate through my fields on their way to warmer climes. These birds consist mostly of males, but some females accompany them. They fly about visiting each and every bluebird house in the field. Some just sit on the top surveying their surroundings, others peek inside to inspect the accommodations. Some males will chase others off a house that they are particularly interested in and then just as quickly move on to another house. To my observation, these are birds that are preparing for the future in that they are scouting out prospective nesting sites for next spring. I have seen this occurrence each autumn at this time. Save travels all. See you again next spring!

Transition Time

Even if you didn’t know it was September, you would know there is a change in the air. The nights are cooler and the days take time to warm up. The sky is a clear blue and the humidity has vanished. The deciduous trees are not the same deep summer green; they have mellowed to a yellow-green now and there are isolated splashes of brilliant orange and red to the maple trees. The barn swallows are long gone and it is now time for the warblers to wander through as they head south to their winter destinations. They are a challenge to identify in their drab fall feathers, but I was excited to see a Black and White warbler exploring the trunks and limbs of the honeysuckle bush looking for tasty insect and grubs just outside the dining room window. You cannot call it summer anymore, but fall has not officially arrived either. We are transitioning from one to the other and this is the time to take on projects and tasks as we ready for the seasons to come

Spring is here!

Spring is in the air although it does not look like it what with the brown grass and bare trees. There are grey, leaded clouds overhead, but the blackbirds are back; red-winged, common grackles, starlings in large numbers. Several pair of Canada geese circled overhead checking out living accommodations at the local ponds including my beaver pond down at the bottom of the field.

Snowbirds

About 30 nomadic Evening Grosbeaks blew in yesterday. Their bright yellow, grey, black and white coloring was a delight to see against the bland white landscape. They availed themselves of the sunflower seeds in the feeders in the honeysuckle bush outside the dining room window. They stayed for about 10 minutes and then they were off in a flourish to their next destination. We are expecting a monster snowstorm this weekend and so I must replenish the feeders today. While the storm rages outside, I am keen to draw some Evening Grosbeaks.

Northern visitors

I was fortunate enough to walk through the dining room at just the right moment to view the front yard and the feeders in the large honeysuckle bush.  There on a patch of ground uncovered by the snow plow, at first glance I thought they were Lapland Longspurs, but then quickly realized these birds had flashy white wing patches and in their winter garb, they frantically pecked among the leaves and exposed grass.  This was a group of about 12 Snow Buntings.  They stayed for about a minute or two and then took off all at once looking for another place to land and forage.

Traffic around the feeders

Monday as I looked out the window where the feeders hang in the large honeysuckle bush, there clustered among the top branches were six Red-winged blackbirds.  Perhaps they were youngsters from this year and finally realized they were past due to leave for warmer climes and just searching for a place to rest before moving on.

Canadas still flying south

It has been an interesting week on the farm.  Late Sunday afternoon on my way out to close up the chickens for the night, I heard the faint call of a Canada goose.  After looking all around me, I saw a small skeine of them flying low and thought they were headed for the pond.  Then I saw a very large flock very high up and ahead of the others.  They were all headed in a southward direction.  I thought the lower birds would try to catch up to the others, but they stayed at their original level and flew on.  When the birds are at a higher elevation, it usually means they are from a far distance location and the lower birds  are more local.  There is a melancholy to the fall migration as they leave and a wonderful excitmentto the return of the birds in the spring.