Monday, November 13, 2006


The weather is rainy and cold, the kind of cold rain that makes me look for hot chocolate and a warm fire.

Activity at my bird feeders creeps up steadily. I start out the feeding season by adding just 2 cups of seeds and nuts a day. I am now up to 4 cups each day. Of course, the squirrels have now found my feeders, and this hasn't helped. By mid-winter this amount will double again, and before a strong winter storm, I will need even more to keep the birds well fed.

I have yet to see any winter residents at the feeders, though the juncos and white-throated sparrows are nearby in the underbrush. Perhaps they can still find enough food so that they don't need the feeders. Perhaps they are just shy.

Now that the leaves are off the trees, my view to the west is back, though obscured today by the fog that also hides the top of Roundtop Mountain from my view. It's not just the view of the next mountain that I can see, either. I can also see deeper into the woods from the cabin. This morning I watched a pilieated woodpecker bounce from tree to tree until he eventually headed own off the hill and into the valley. In the summer, I might have seen him pass, but I couldn't have watched him for 5 minutes or more, as I did this morning, because he would have been out of view about the second bounce. I can see how the birds plan and stage their runs to the feeders. The chickadees approach from almost out of view, stopping at several interim trees along the way to scout the conditions. The titmice often first fly past the feeder, land in a nearby bit of brush and then, when they are assured that nothing will attack them, land daintily in the feeder and choose their seeds. The red-bellied woodpecker is the loudest, announcing his presence first from a distance and then throughout the entire approach. Eventually, he will land in an oak tree that's next to the feeder and scurry over to the feeder, making loud noises the entire time he's moving along a branch. If nothing pops up to scare him along the journey, then he will eventually land in the feeder.

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