Sunday, January 18, 2009

The silence of the snow

The snow tapered off early in the morning. Time to get to the park. There was a total hush in the park except for the sound of walking in the new snow, - scrunch, scrunch. Nothing else. White heaven. The leaves and berries are white-adorned. The robins' nest is now a cup of white fluff, but the white beauty presents problems for the wildlife. The food is buried under the snow.

I realized this when the cardinal really eyeballed me, watched every move I made, within reach, stared at the nut bits. I held out my hand, a sure feed, but it was too wary. I had to find bare ground for the food, or the nuts would sink into the snow. The chickadees and nuthatches didn't hesitate and came right to my hand. The hermit thrush came so close that I could almost touch it. I held out my hand, but it wouldn't feed from my hand. The hermit thrush eats small nut bits, so I stood and bit nuts into bits while the hermit watched my every move, never backing off. This has to be done carefully, because all the while the hawks are watching. They could swoop down on a ground feeding bird in a split second. The hermit thrush got fed and any time there seemed to be a threat, the little birds vanished into the bushes.

I'll blog about the hawks and the sledders in the next blog. This entry is about the food challenges that the little creatures face when there's snow. The squirrels know what to do, - tug my pant legs and pick my pockets.

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