Sunday, November 23, 2008


One could probably subtitle this post "Of Small Things Amusing Small Minds", or simply "To the Woods...".

This morning's jaunt was the first of many winter trips along the trail into the woods, dragging a toboggan heaped with food for the various creatures who make their homes on the Two Hundred Acre Wood in the long cold season. We (Himself, myself and Spencer) will be doing a lot of this in the months to come.

On our contrivance this morning rested a fine new bird feeder to replace the one pulverized by our resident black bear (Frederick) this past spring. Fred, who is the custodian of our wild place in the highlands and something of a local character, had just awakened from his long winter nap in a cave in the western gorge, and he was hungry - very very hungry. Frustrated by his futile gentler attempts to extract the oil sunflower seed which remained in the old feeder, he gave a single sweep of his almighty black paw, and the old feeder was history. Time for a new one, and today was the day...

This time, we hung the new feeder in a white pine on the other side of the trail and higher up in an attempt to make the feeder a little more difficult for Fred to get at - I am not sure whether our efforts will be successful, because Fred is an old guy and rather tall for a black bear, but we are giving it a try.

The chickadees (and there were hordes of them waiting for us this morning) were not sure what they thought about the different location, but they adapted quickly once the feeder was up and open for business. The area around the white pine was busier than Heathrow airport in mid December, with chickadees calling happily to each other as they jetted in and out of the feeder at warp speed, at one point clipping me on the ear as they whirred past my head with their booty.

Although white breasted members of the nuthatch family visit the feeders regularly, it was a rare treat this morning to find a Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis) partaking of the goodies at our winter smorgasbord for the birds. These little fellows (and lassies) are much smaller than our common white-breasted visitors, delicate in their contours and lovely to look at in their slightly more vibrant coloration - they're beautiful little creatures and so fragile.

It was very cold in the wilds today, and the new feeder was swinging to and fro vigorously in the raw wind, but I couldn't resist taking a few fuzzy photos of the nuthatch as it clung to the new feeder and breakfasted, one seed at a time.

I recovered the feeling in my frozen but frenetically clicking fingers on the way home, but I do wish the photos had been a little clearer.


kerrdelune said...

... hard to say which was shaking more vigorously - the feeder in the high wind or my frozen fingers!

Anonymous said...

I think the pictures look fine. I'm rooting for you to outfox (as it were) Fred so all the cute little birds get to eat the goodies.

One Woman's Journey - a journal being written from Woodhaven - her cottage in the woods. said...

Enjoyed another journey through your area - with you as my guide.

Sky said...

have you ever had a close encounter with fred? i am still trying to see a black bear (but from the safety of my car, i hope!)

how kind you are to carry food for the wild animals who will surely be hungry in the cold weather. sounds pretty nippy. we don't have that kind of cold here, so i can't even imagine what it might feel like.

The Ginger Darlings said...

I love that brush of birds wings against the skin when they fly just that little bit too close. At the moment the birds are stripping my seed feeders every day, trying to combat the cold. So busy the air vibrates constantly with the sound of wings.
Your nuthatch is a jewel of a bird. We have firecrests here.