Sunday, December 21, 2008
Baby, it's cold outside!
Ok, the picture is a little hard to make out, but there are 10 doves who have found a warmer place to roost than in any tree in my neighborhood. It's about 10 degrees outside and a fierce wind is blowing from the north west. These doves found a place out of the wind, and are fluffed up quite a bit to keep themselves warm. The pond draws them in also, because it is a source of water in the winter. I try to keep it flowing all winter long, but sometimes it gets too cold and it freezes over.
I had to take my picture through the window and without moving the curtain too much, or I would have scared them away. I saw more a few minutes ago, but because I was peering at them, some got scared and flew away.
Wish we had more interesting birds around here, we have mostly starlings, pigeons and doves. Yesterday I saw some snowbirds (juncos), so I knew we were in for some nasty weather. I've seen mockingbirds, an occasional cardinal, some hummingbirds in the summer, but our claim to fame in this neighborhood is birds of prey!
The year we moved in, a pair of red-tail hawks raised two young ones in our neighborhood full of new houses. Our roofs looked like those in sea-gull territory, all streaked with baby hawk poop. The hawks still hunt here, but haven't nested here since then. I've seen kestrels perched on the high roof of the church behind my house. And last spring, I heard two great horned owls courting on that roof! That was a sight to see, there was enough ambient light from the ground so that I could see their perfect silouhette as they cavorted on the church steeple! They hooted so loud they woke me up!
One of the things I really miss about living in the country is the many different species of birds I could see. Eastern bluebirds nested on our property, we had scarlet tanagers, Baltimore orioles, many hummers, turkey, TVs, pileated woodpeckers, red-tailed hawks and a dozen different regular bird feeder birds (tufted titmouse, goldfinches, cardinals, downy and hairy woodpeckers, red-bellied sapsuckers, nuthatches, blue jays, juncos, indigo bunting, flickers, red-headed woodpeckers, and more. Plus we had a lake behind our house, and various ducks would come and go from there. I saw an osprey one year, and two years in a row saw a cormorant, who landed on the same stick each year, and stayed there for over 2 hours. I have a picture of a male and female wood duck on a protruding stick, and we had many hooded mergansers who landed on the lake to fish. Of course, the ubiquotous mallards, Canada geese were there all the time, as well great blue heron, green heron, belted Kingfisher, blue winged teal who came also. And often, I'd see a lonely pied bill grebe swimming all alone out on the lake for days at a time.
One funny story that was a standing joke between late Mr. and myself was the report each day from him, telling me that someone was asking who was going to cook dinner for us that night. You see, the call of the barred owl goes "Who cooks for you, who cooks for you" in that cadence. He'd be announcing that he heard the owl by asking me that silly question. I loved that, and it is a great remembrance of our time together in that beautiful place.
So, I guess I should be happy that the doves found my patio a nice place to keep warm. You can stay, doves, just don't poop all over the patio furniture.