Yank Yank!

The Nuthatch Patrol are sounding their “yank yank!” alarm as I trudge through the silent woodland, knee-deep in drifts of heavy, wet snow. Red-bellied woodpeckers bicker high up in the naked oak tree. A lone gull flies overhead, like a ghost in the gray sky.

As I write this we’re in the middle of The Big One. Not since the Blizzard of ’78 have I heard so much talk about a few inches of snow. Well, ok, it’s more than that. I think we’ve added seven or eight inches today, making the snow almost a foot deep on our deck. It’s been snowing continuously for 22 hours now. And the difficulties of all this snow will be compounded by some Arctic temperatures in the next few days. Our forecast for tomorrow says the high will be 11F and the low will be -16F. Then Tuesday the high will be 4 and the low -16 again. Those temperatures worry me more than the deep snow we’ve got on the ground.

That's me exploring the fresh snow this morning. Pointing at--what else?--a bird.

That’s me exploring the fresh snow this morning. Pointing at–what else?–a bird.

So I took advantage of the relative warmth of today’s 30F temperature and spent some time wandering around in our woods taking photos and pumping some fresh air through my lungs in preparation for a few days of being cooped up indoors. As much as I dislike winter, I do enjoy the first day of a new snow. I think the thick snow acts as an insulation against sound, allowing a rare opportunity to stand in my yard and hear….silence. Such bliss. And I love the fresh white snow blanketing every branch of every tree, turning them into exquisite winter sculptures.

Snow-covered bittersweet berries

Snow-covered bittersweet berries

Whenever fresh snow covers the ground we see a higher level of activity at our feeders. I went out first thing this morning to scatter some extra seed piles for the Juncos and Mourning Doves who feed on the ground. The nonstop snow has covered them up quickly, so I went back out there a couple times to uncover them. I’m concerned about the little birds surviving the coming brutal cold without enough energy. I’m always awed at how such tiny creatures manage to live through bad weather, over and over again. Well, I know many of them don’t make it when the weather turns nasty, but many more do. And unlike us, they can’t fill their cupboards with food and then sit in a warm house sipping hot chocolate and watching the snow fall. They have to be on the move constantly, back and forth from feeders to the shelter of inner tree branches, grabbing bits of nutrition, seed by seed, all day long. Think about that. It’s a lot of work just to stay alive.Male Cardinal in snow (1024x731)

I’m glad there are still some berries on the trees. The goldfinches were getting their fill of these red berries this afternoon.

Goldfinch eating red berries in snowstorm (1024x684)

Here are a few more photos I took on my walk around our yard and woods this morning.

Grandaddy spruce tree and baby Korean Fir beside our driveway

Grandaddy spruce tree and baby Korean Fir beside our driveway

Our deck

Our deck

Deck railing and snowy woods (1024x683)

Looking down our slippery road that, for once, is quiet.

Looking down our slippery road that, for once, is quiet.

Red bow and snow-covered birdhouse (709x1024)It’s dark now and we’re hunkered down waiting for the cold winds to come in overnight. I’m hoping the power manages to stay on for the duration, but we’re prepared in case it doesn’t. And I also hope our snowplow guy shows up tomorrow. Stay warm everyone.

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5 Responses to Yank Yank!

  1. I love your winter pictures, Kim! I’m always so jealous of people who have cardinals coming to their feeders. We put up a stand to hang two seed feeders and a suet feeder and have lots of juncos, chickadees and nuthatches. We’re hoping the resident Downy (or Hairy??) Woodpecker will try the suet feeder. I hope temperatures have mellowed out a bit for you!

    • Thanks, Kristie. I’ll bet your woodpecker will find the suet soon — all the woodpeckers in our yard love suet. (We have lots of Downies and an occasional Hairy too, and many Red-bellies.)
      Temperatures have finally warmed up, which is great. But now our driveway is a solid sheet of thick ice with scattered puddles. Very dangerous to walk out to the mailbox!

  2. Littlesundog says:

    Lovely photos, Kim. It’s been cold here too, but thankfully, we haven’t had many inches of snow at a time – maybe 4 or 6. FD and I went to Dallas for a week… it was cold there too!

  3. birdblogger88 says:

    Nice cardinal photo! Maybe he is a little cold but plenty of food on the feeders you provided for the day.

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