Monday, January 07, 2008

Winter's Gone Away

Have you noticed how frantically birds feed before a storm? I noticed that at my feeders on Saturday. The storm that eventually arrived wasn’t much, but the barometric pressure dropped quite a bit, and I think that’s what the birds respond to. At one point, I had so many chickadees and titmice flitting in and out of the feeders that I couldn’t count how many I really had.

The bitter cold of earlier in the week has been replaced with an atypically (or can we even call it that in these days of global warming?) warm spell. All that’s left of the natural snow are a few patches here and there where the sun doesn’t reach. The storm that came through on Saturday was only a few rain showers, but the barometric pressure dropped quite a bit after the clear, windy high pressure system that covered the area just two days before. It has now gone from 10 degrees to 60 degrees, and I am scrounging in my closet trying to find my least warm winter clothing to wear so I don’t have to dig out my put-away warmer weather clothing.

I think the birds felt that air pressure dropping, and instinct told them that meant a storm. In most winters, that kind of pressure drop would mean an imminent snowstorm, not a warm-up with rain. The birds fed as though they didn’t expect to get another meal too quickly, which would also be true in other years. Their feeding frenzy brought a new species to my feeder—pine siskin--and that was a nice bonus.

This week may turn out to be a bit thin for photographs. The weekend was dark and gloomy. I kept waiting for the light to improve to take a few photos—and it never did. Today’s photo was taken earlier last week. It shows one of the beech trees in front of the cabin and its neighbor, an oak tree—red oak, if I remember correctly.

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