Cold Comforts

As Texas headed toward its deep freeze, with temperatures falling and ice beginning to build, most regular visitors to my bird feeders seemed as bemused as this white-winged dove.

Hidden away from the cold myself, I can’t say where the birds took shelter, but a few ‘regulars’ emerged from time to time to visit the feeders and forage on the ground beneath them.

  Northern Mockingbird

There was something for everyone. While the mockingbirds, robins, and wrens seemed to prefer dried mealworms, the doves and sparrows feasted on white millet.

Field Sparrow (?)

Shelled peanuts helped to sustain the squirrels (with occasional shelled pecans as a special treat). I was surprised that no bluejays came to snatch away peanuts, but I’m sure the squirrels were pleased to eat in peace.

Water was sought as often as food, and breaking ice in the water bowls was a bit of a chore. When the bowls began to freeze solid, I finally instituted a two-bowl system: bringing in the frozen water dish and substituting another while it thawed.

All of these photos were taken from my desk, which allowed for some different perspectives. The ‘Robin Red-Breast’ at the water  bowl is easy to identify, but I’m not sure I would have recognized the bird below as a robin without a second or third glance. 

Now that the snow is gone and the temperatures have warmed as much as fifty degrees, the birds seem to be as happy as we are. The sound of robins singing and conversing at dawn and dusk as they discuss their coming departure to the north warms my midwestern heart as surely as the sun is warming our bodies.

 

Comments always are welcome.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside!

Is this pair snuggling up to resist our sub-freezing temperatures?
Celebrating Valentine’s Day?
Or doing their part to ensure the continuance of their species?

I think I know the answer. Clearly, I’m going to need to provide more peanuts in the coming weeks, since these squirrels who live in my trees have decided to add to their family.

 

Comments always are welcome.

Meeting the Neighbors ~ The Comedians

A new friend, perched on a cypress knee and eating a cypress seed

Although I’ve seen both fox squirrels and eastern gray squirrels in my neighborhood, these are part of a trio I suspect to be gray squirrel siblings; their white bellies, smaller size, and white-fringed tail distinguish them from the larger, cinnamon-colored fox squirrels.

While they’re nesting in either a nearby palm or live oak, they play and lounge on a pair of cypress trees visible from my desk. One seems to have a favorite branch, where it grooms itself and naps every afternoon.

A friendly family tussle

Like most squirrels, they’re friendly, amusing, and predictably clever. It’s a good thing I don’t mind them at the feeders, since they found them after only three days.

Recently, I’ve noticed the mat outside my front door lying askew from time to time. When I stepped on it yesterday, I felt something lumpy underfoot. Lifting the mat, I found four acorns tucked beneath it.  Having lived with a pet squirrel who enjoyed storing pecans in my shoes, I have my suspicions about the source of those those acorns.

 

Comments always are welcome.