Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Eyes on the Sparrows

Alas, most of the last week has been spent clearing countless cubic meters of white stuff from around the little blue house in the village. At times, the threshold, cobblestones, driveway, sundeck and steps have disappeared from view completely, and getting out and about to do anything at all has been quite an exercise.

In winter, I shovel a circular track around the garden for Beau, but recent heavy snowfalls filled it in over and over again, and it has been dredged out several times this week. Himself has often been up to his houndy ears in icy snow, and he is not amused.

After waiting out high winds and heavy snowfall in the cedar hedge, village birds are hungry, and first thing in the morning, the garden is filled with clamorous fluttery folk waiting for their breakfast. Before anything else is done, bird feeders are cleaned and refilled, and a few handfuls of seed are scattered on the deck for ground noshers. 

Cardinals, chickadees,  blue jays, nuthatches, woodpeckers and winter finches (pine siskins, redpolls, crossbills) visit often, but sparrows and juncos are always about. How can one not feel affection for the tiny feathered spirits who visit every day and chirrup appreciatively when food is put out for them, even in the most inclement weather? I keep hoping that grosbeaks will turn up, but so far they have not put in an appearance, preferring rural and suburban areas and only showing up here when desperate.

Juncos and sparrows are always welcome. I once wrote here about an icy morning when a sparrow flew into the house, made himself comfortable in the sunlit dining room for several minutes and sang joyously, then flew back out into the garden when he had warmed up a bit and had something to eat. Sparrows are as numerous here in winter as they are in most urban areas, but it is always a pleasure to spend time with the little passerines when other bird kin have migrated to warmer climes.

Depths is an appropriate word in these circumstances. We are almost drowning in snow, and village snow plows are fast running out of places to put it.

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