Thursday, January 15, 2009

Zero Below, Birds and Snow



It is frigid in Noblesville, Indiana today! The temperatures have been zero degrees and below all day. It was eight below zero when I went out to fill the bird feeders this morning. During our snow yesterday and again this morning I tried to keep the feeders full and the snow off of them.


Thankfully it was a light fluffy snow and just required scooping out and brushing off.


We usually remove our swing during the winter months and this year I decided to use the frame for a makeshift bird feeding station. It has worked really well especially during the snow and extremely cold temperatures we're having right now. Having it so close to the house has kept me and my animal children entertained for hours these last two days.



I've been waiting for snow and cold weather to use this wreath idea that I saw on Jake and Ruth's Photo blog. I had been reading about staging outdoor settings to get better bird photographs and thought using the wreath was a great idea. It isn't exactly the way I want it, but I thought I'd put it out today just to see if there was any interest. I was beyond thrilled when I caught this precious little chickadee on the wreath waiting its turn for the feeder.

I'd love to have berries, dried sunflower heads, pine cones with peanut butter and maybe some fruit on this wreath. Next summer I'm planting a lot of sunflowers to use during the winter for this very thing. I'm sure the cardinals and maybe the bluebirds would stop by to pose for me then. Speaking of bluebirds, I wonder if they would visit in the spring if I filled the cup with meal worms. I just might have to give that a try!

Here's a few of the visitors from the last two days:






I also saved the window feeder for a cold snowy day. The cat sat for hours, barely moving a muscle watching this bird show.



I thought this bird looked so funny! What is it? It is the only one I've seen and I can't identify it in the books. It's larger than a sparrow. Is it by any chance a female cowbird? I know what the males look like, they are easy to identify. If it isn't that then I'm clueless.



Sweet little song sparrow. I've only seen one of these also.

I only wish I had just one of these nasty birds. They don't seem to like the bird feeding station and are not eating as much as they did last year. I had read that they don't like to go under things to eat and they also have a difficult time gripping with their feet.



I've only seen one male and one female cardinal for the last couple of years. Apparently there has been another couple that has moved into the neighborhood, because now I'm seeing two females and two males. Either that or I'm seeing double.

Yesterday I was sitting at the kitchen table paying bills and balancing the bank statement, which is not something I normally enjoy, but it is a very distressing thing to do when you're without an income. I glanced up just in time to see a wren at the bird feeder! In the eight years that I've lived in this home, I've never once seen a wren. They were some of my favorite little birds when I lived in Alabama. They would nest each year in an old mailbox that I had in the back of my yard in the shade garden. Once, I took the light fixture down from the carport and realized I didn't have a replacement bulb. I laid the fixture on a shelf and before I could get it back up they had built a nest in it, right on the carport! It was so much fun watching that little wren family. I've missed seeing them! It was such a blessing to see the wren, it immediately lifted my spirit and made me very happy. I only wish I had been able to capture the moment with a picture.

For all of you who are in this deep freeze, stay warm and safe!

30 comments:

gardenerprogress said...

The red of the cardinal is so vivid. I love the wreath idea, think I might just have to try it.

Frances said...

Hi Robin, I love the wreath too, and the cup of peanut butter. The wren story is so sweet, I do hope you get another nesting of them this year. How do you keep the suction cup feeder on the glass? Mine always fall off immediately, so I have given up on them. I love the bluejay with his side feathers blowing, they have so much personality. The cowbird? looks like an old man with a beer belly, how funny. :-) Do stay warm and safe, Robin.
Frances

Rose said...

Robin, Perhaps the little wren came to give you a message that things will be looking up for you soon.

Such beautiful photos, Robin! Thank you for showing the chickadee; I'm not very good at identifying birds and have been wondering what these birds were gathering at my feeders--now I know! I love the idea of the wreath for a feeding station;it looks so decorative, and apparently the birds like it, too. One more question: where did you find the bird feeder for your window? I saw this some time ago on Kylee's blog and have been looking for one with no luck.

If the birds could talk, I'm sure they'd thank you for braving the cold weather to make sure they're well-fed.

Diana said...

Robin - your bird photos are lovely, especially in the snow. How sweet that you brush the snow off for them. We have to keep feeding them when it's so cold. I feed and water every day. Love that wreath and the peanut butter. I'll have to try that. My MIL said she could sweep the snow with a broom, it was so light. Stay warm!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Your bird photos are great Robin. That is a cowbird female. It looks like it is pregnant. Ha...

jodi said...

Robin, your bird photos just get more and more wonderful. I'm still suffering a bit from cardinal envy, but I sure enjoy looking at yours.

Gail said...

Dar Robin,

I was thinking the same thing that Rose said...the wren was there to lift your spirits and let you know 'it's going to be alright.'

The bird photos are wonderful...even the ugly bully-bird. I was hoping someone could identify the interesting bird with the penguin shaped body!

Take care and keep warm,

Gail

lisaschaos said...

These are GREAT! Love them all! Our high for today was -5! School cancelled due to windchills of -40. :) Gotta love winter!

Msrobin said...

You are even colder than we are today. We warmed all the way up to 10, but now we are -3, heading down from there. Brrrr! Sure enjoyed all your birdy visitors! I really want to get started on feeding the birds, but hubby is hard to convince. Messy, he says! I always remind him that his dear wife is named after a bird, and that means we have to watch out for them.

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

I truly enjoyed looking at the pictures.I am glad to hear that the wreath brought in the birds for you.I too am a little jealous about the Cardinals,but will enjoy yours,if I can't have my own.
Blessings,Ruth

Patricia said...

So beautiful, Robin! I'm having a hard time this year getting birds to come to the feeders, I'm wondering if there is an abundance of seeds and berries in the thickets and woods near us making the feeders less enticing. I do have a cardinal couple that are regular visitors. They are such gorgeous birds.

Robin's Nesting Place said...

Thank you all for your visit and for taking the time to leave a comment. They are very much appreciated!


Gardenerprogress, I hope you do try the wreath, I'd love to see it.

Frances, I wet my finger to moisten the suction cup. It has stayed on all day.

Rose, the bird feeder came from Wild Birds Unlimited. I love the little chickadees, glad you will know them by name now!

Diana, it was a light and fluffy snow. My husband should have used the broom rather than the shovel, maybe he wouldn't have been so sore.

Lisa, thanks for the ID, I knew I could count on you! That was the only thing I saw that was close, so many of the books don't even show the female. I actually found the picture online.

Thanks Jodi! It's so good to see you back. Glad you're feeling better!

Thanks, Gail! It did make me feel better seeing the wren. God sent a little blessing just when I needed it. I know the bigger needs will be met too.

Lisaschaos, wow, -40 wind chills! That is so cold. It's -8 right now and I nearly froze going to the library tonight!

Msrobin, it is a bit messy, and during the rest of the year I keep it in the back of the yard. For winter I need to see the birds, to keep my sanity. They are like winter flowers for me and worth the mess. As an added bonus they entertain the cat and dog, and give me photography experience.

Ruth, thanks for the great idea! I think you are going to be a trend setter on this idea!

Patricia, they seem to be more active at my feeders when it is really cold or snowy. Maybe I could send some of this down your way. I'll trade you birds for some warmth and sunshine!

cindee said...

Brrrrrr. I hope you are staying warm. I won't mention it was 80 degrees here today...(-: I love all the birdie pictures. They are so pretty. The funny bird looks like he had a big meal and is stretching himself out!(-: I bet all the birds really love you since you put out yummy treats for them especially during this time of year!!! Have a great weekend!!!!

tina said...

The wren must be a good sign of things to come. Best wishes and such lovely pictures. That one bird looks pregnant-way big in the wrong spot.

getgrounded said...

As always, your bird images are spectacular. I love the wreath picture. Very creative! It appears that Spirit is moving your husband into a new industry with wonderful new adventures. Congratulations are in order. Life changes always end up for the best, whether we can see it from here or not. All the best.

Yolanda Elizabet said...

What an excellent use of that swing frame! I have bird feeders right in front of my living room window, providing hours of live bird tv for the cats and me.

Thanks for all the wonderful pics of the beautiful birds in your garden, as always they are such a treat.

Take care and keep warm!

Kerri said...

Oustanding pics Robin! I LOVE the idea about using the wreath...I'm going to try that!

Rose said...

Robin--I saw your reply; thanks so much! We have a Wild Birds here in town, and it's one place I haven't tried yet. I'll definitely check them out as soon as we thaw out:)

beckie said...

WOW! Gorgeous pictures. It is always such a pleasure to visit you and see your wonderful bird photos. Your new header is breath taking. At least your feeding station is providing you entertainment during this brrr Artic blast.

Stay warm!

joey said...

Your bird photos are wonderful, Robin! You certainly have a gift for capturing them in their natural environment. BTW ~ your swing-set as makeshift bird feeding station ... a great idea :) Stay warm ~ all schools closed here today ... -38 wind chill factor and another 5-8 inches of snow on the way ... YIPPEE!

arythrina said...

What beautiful pictures! I haven't seen as many birds this year as I did last year - the feeder stays full for a week at a time. I'm happy to see you have so much activity in your garden.

inadvertent farmer said...

You have the luckiest birds around, they are just darling!

Mary said...

Your mystery bird looks like she's 9 months pregnant! LOL! I don't know what it is...

Robin, your bird photos are great. The Chickadee on the wreath makes me melt. What a nice setting. You are giving me ideas...

I hope your little wren is a good omen.

Mary

Ann D. Travers said...

Robin,
I love the photos of your birds. I've been on a week's road trip with my daughters to Florida. There were northern cardinals on our camp site this morning pestering for handouts. Much less shy than ours in New England. Very bold as they explore the perimeter and even the center of the camp site. And the males have a bluish tinge to their wings that I don't see in our cardinals up north.

Congratulations to you and your family with the news of a new job for your husband. These times are difficult. I'm very happy for you.

Kylee said...

Your blog is so appropriately named! You have the most fabulous bird pictures and I always marvel at them and wish I could take even a few good images like you do! It's funny that you posted a picture of that bird that you don't know what is, because I saw one exactly like it at our window feeder today, for the first time. If you find out what it is, let us know!

Sue said...

I enjoyed your birds and feeders, as always. That feeding station is a great idea. If you have squirrels in your area, hopefully they're not as destructive and greedy as ours. I took some of my sunflower heads off so they'd quit pulling the plants down, then they proceeded to get the heads off of the rest of them. They didn't save a one for the birds. They weren't even fully ripe. If I grow more next year, I may try to take them off before the squirrels get them, but I don't know if they would dry well enough if taken too soon.

Well, keep warm!

Kathleen said...

Hi Robin. I am just going to echo some of the same things everyone else has said ~ that the wren was sent especially for you (it's too much of a coincidence, is it not??) and the wreath idea is wonderful. I can just see a beautiful one made up with sunflower heads, suet, and any other tasty bird treat you can find. If you make one, I hope you post it. I have one of those suction feeders too (although I don't have it up this year). I have to put mine up when the temperatures are above freezing or it just falls off. You must be doing something right to get it to work in those cold temps. Thanks for sharing all your gorgeous bird photos ~ I liked these better than the bully ones in the prior post!! I hope you get a reprieve from the cold weather soon.

Phyllis said...

I think your funny looking bird is a femail purple finch - pretty sure anyway.

Great photos!

Iowa Gardening Woman said...

Your bird photos are such a treat, eye candy for sure. Beautiful!

So glad your husband found another job right away. I am worried about mine own as I write this.

Raymonty said...

Your photos are fantastic and your writing is easy to read(complement); I think that birds like you and that is why they are smiling at you.