More bucolic shots to ease the pain of a -15 degree morning. In the days when I couldn't download a large photo, I took lots of 640X480 pixel pictures. This is one. The quality is minimal. At the top of the frame is a telephone pole at left. If I enlarge the shot, blogger will crop too much. Note the heavy cover across the highway.
Back in 2005, I rushed in the house to get this picture of a commemorative ride locals make every year. With home-made wagons and lots of riders they honor a journey pioneers made way back when. What I'm trying to point out is the area across the road behind the riders. With the first picture, it shows a dense wooded area along the winding river.
What's the point? This wooded spot affords a nice view of the river banks, a grassy strip along the highway and a pine woods off to the left. The habitat is prime for birds of prey and good cover for the rest of the gang. Today my wife, Dawn, spots three crows perched high atop the tallest tree in the top picture-the one next to the pole. Mid-way below in a smaller tree is a Great Horned Owl. In the lowest branch of the same tree as the owl, a puffed up hawk watches the white snow cover for mouse and rodent activity. Better than TV which I loathe say, I've been watching way too much. On the south end of energy from what Dawn says is stress catching up on me, I read a bit, fall asleep in my recliner and watch the free cable channels that will be cut off after our free month's trail.
Entertainment used to be watching a parade of birds at as many as six feeders around the place. Tube feeders, platform feeders, little houses, a Droll Yankee and two squirrel proof feeders as well as several store bought and homemade suet feeders which brought loads of species. Then seed prices at the local hardware store went sky high. I couldn't afford a decent seed blend without all the filler seeds common to cheaper varieties. It only encourages mice and rabbits. Even oil sunflower got expensive, so I stopped feeding the birds.
One feeder was located next to a lilac bush near the deck outside of a large picture window in the living room.. One day I looked out to see a falcon "spread-eagled" (no pun intended) on the top of the leafless bush. Inside under the cover of a dense thicket juncos and sparrows were safe from the hungry bird. Never have I been privy to such a sight.
The struggle I have with a decision to feed the birds is that once one begins feeding wild birds, you can't quit until there's sufficient food available or when the snow cover melts. Biologists claim that birds don't' need our help, but my feeling is that if I save one chickadee from starvation, I've done well. A friend who was an ornithologist claimed that chickadees have to eat their body weight daily to because of a high metabolism. Fifty per cent mortality is common over the winter. Besides, I like the friendly little critters.