Monday, January 10, 2011

Snow Day!

The promised winter storm arrived in the mountains with a vengeance last night, dumping 6-8 inches of fresh snow here, and over a foot at the higher elevations. The forecast is for snow on and off through tomorrow morning, but at the moment the heavy snow has given way to gentle flurries. Everything is so beautiful, the landscape hushed and still - with the exception of  "Brenda's Bird Buffet," which is alive with activity!

One of my favorite things about a snow day is that it brings out all the birds. And occasionally the squirrels, which I tend to chase away because they gobble all the food. The little guy in the above photo got to stick around because his baby cuteness won me over. I grabbed the broom to shoo him away, but then stopped.

How could I say no to this little face?

Birds of every shape, size, and color swoop through the air, hop and kick in the snow, and jockey for their turn at the feeders. Some are familiar, and others I haven't seen all winter.

The juncos showed up this morning, first time I've seen them this winter. I knew they'd be here though, they show up without fail on snow days. Cardinals sit in the thorny branches of the rose bush as they await their turn at the feeder, red gemstones in a snowy setting.

Towhees hop about on the ground, and nuthatches swoop in and cling to the suet cake. I love to sit at the kitchen table with my camera and watch. Sometime I get lucky and capture a unique shot, like the one below. How often do you get a shot of a nuthatch's tongue? :)

We live in such a rushed world, willing players - whether we realize it or not -on a frenzied stage of busy activity. A snowstorm forces us to stop, at least momentarily, and take a breath. I know people who grumble about the inconvenience and disrupted plans, but I've always welcomed the brief interruption.

It is nice to have an excuse to spend the morning watching a red-bellied woodpecker in a tree.

It seems strange that these beautiful birds are called "red-bellied" and not "red-headed." I guess they had to distinguish this particular bird from the actual red-headed woodpecker, which has an even redder head. Red-bellied doesn't seem quite right though. They should have named them "red-headed woodpecker," and "extremely red-headed woodpecker." That would make more sense. Oh well, I guess there's a reason no one has consulted me about bird naming.

I notice that the woodpecker doesn't mind sharing.

Unlike the blue jays and doves who tend to be bullies, hogging the food for themselves and chasing the other birds away.

"You talkin' about me?!"
Yes, I welcome the snow when it blows into town, cancelling our plans and rearranging our priorities. The errands can wait, the meetings can be rescheduled. In the meantime I'm going to heat some milk and make a cup of my favorite hot cinnamon spice cocoa. And then later, if I get tired of being indoors, who knows....?


  1. I can't stop looking at that first cardinal picture. I love that red and white contrast. Great photos!

  2. Wonderful captures! Love the nuthatch tongue!

  3. Thanks everyone, I always have fun with my camera on snow days. I couldn't believe the one of the nuthatch. Blogger hardly does it justice though - click and make the photo larger, and you can really see it!

  4. What a FABULOUS photo essay!!! Loved it! And those Cardinals, oh my! I grew up in Missouri but took those gorgeous birds for granted -- living since then in Colorado or Maine, I rarely ever see one, so *thank you* for this gift! :-)