Thursday, January 21, 2016

Feathered Friends and Frosty Days

I'm fascinated with the birds...

I just love the view of birds in the backyard!  For me, seeing them gather is relaxing and soothing so the bird feeders are often filled with seed.  We've found great entertainment with the variety of birds that visit our yard.  Over time, I've learned the types of feeders they prefer most.  I know there are different types of seed...but we buy a general mix.  Certain types of birds come in different seasons.  They are a familiar part of my day in the studio.  My husband knows well that I'd rather have him bring me birdseed over flowers.  Fill up that bin with a big bag of seed and I'm a happy girl!


Today (written earlier in the month), we're experiencing moderately colder temperatures...lows near -10 degrees F and the current temperature at noon is 4 degrees F.  The sliding glass door has ceased to slide very well for now.  The dog is a little confused, waiting there to be let back in while we coax him to the back door instead.

The birds continue to faithfully wait nearby in the neighbor's bare lilac bush.  The branches are void of leaves, now coated with a delicate coat of frost.  There the birds perch, waiting patiently.  They are sure that if they wait long enough, food will arrive like always.  They are confident that this is the place to be fed.  I wonder at their habit and understanding...

The photo above and below I really love because of the detail in the feathers, wood and snow.  The twine where the peas grew are coated heavily with a thick white coat of frost.  The odd angles of the makeshift wood trellis are so fun with the birds perched there to watch and wait for seed.

It's so cold out there but we are out of seed and have been for over a week.  I didn't feel so bad until the colder temperatures hit yesterday.  The bags of seed are heavier than I ought to carry and in some ways the purchase seems unnecessary.  I'm conflicted with practical thinking.  Maybe by day's end, I'll have a fresh supply of seed for filling the bird feeders.  But for now, I go to the bread box.  Earlier in the week, I noticed several bread bags with a single dinner roll or hot dog bun.  Three bags had just a piece or two of bread remaining.  This morning, I emptied each bag and broke the bread apart into smaller bits.

I bundled up in all the winter gear and took the pan of bread crumbs out to the backyard.  My camera came along to see what photos could be had along the way.  When most of the snow had been scooped from the basket and pottery dish, I poured out the bread crumbs.  The birds stayed a safe distance away but were still watching and waiting.  I attempted a few photos but they are wary of me being in the area.  I think the long lens on the camera makes them nervous as well.

The beauty of the frost caught my eye...and so I checked out the sunflowers again.  It's amazing how something like sunflowers can have beauty in all seasons.  Here they stand, no longer alive and their vivid petals long gone.  The birds ate up the last seeds from the centers over a month ago.  But still, the frost dresses up their pale straw colored heads and stalks.

I moved to the back edge of the yard and waited quietly for a few more photos of the birds.  Hoping they would forget about me, I waited.  It's really cold!  Even with warm gloves and wrist warmers, I know I've had enough for now.  If the birds had seemed more comfortable with me there, I'd have stayed until my fingertips stung.

Even now, as I share all of this, they still wait in the lilac branches.  Maybe they are not content with bread crumbs.  They seem to be holding out for the good stuff...the seeds!  They aren't headed to feeders in another yard just yet.  There's easily twenty or more, just staying put in those bare branches.

And now, for whatever reason...they've made their way in stages, closer to the bread crumbs in the basket.  Maybe the neighbor's cats were nearby earlier.  One of the hazards of bird feeders is the cats being drawn here to hunt.  My cats sit at the sliding glass door, even more interested in the birds' movements.  I'm sure it's just a matter of time and the birds will have the bread gone.

It may take a while to capture a photo of the birds feeding on the bread!  The house is gradually busier with pets and people.  Lucy kitten sprints through the room and back out again.  Frosty cat is at the glass door, keeping her vigil of birds though she wouldn't ever be fast enough to hunt.  She has no interest in more than watching them eat.  I'm fortunate for the quiet and time to write until now because family is now more active, breaking my concentration.  I'll hope to get a great shot sometime during the afternoon.

The brave little fella that risked it all for a bit of bread...has full reign of the food!  This little bird sat there quite a while.  Perhaps it's a warmer spot than I first thought.  The air vent for the gas stove is below the deck.  The birds seemed to gather down below, a few at a time, as they all took a turn.

I wonder at the views others see from their windows.  What do you stop to observe through out your day?  A panorama of hills and mountains?  A field waiting for spring?  Bare branches of trees?  The beaches all sandy meeting the ocean?

How many more blog posts with winter theme and photography?  I am not sure.  The past few days the birds have been more active, more vocal...and it's sounding more like spring.  It's January and we will not expect spring temperatures until April and May.  It seems that the first three months of the year bring the most moisture.

Enjoy your views today!  And stop long enough to take a picture in your mind.  The moments slip by and then they are just a faint we can hardly recall with much detail.

because she must make art.


update february 2016

I've got a little bonus to add here: a video created with these photos.  Enjoy! 


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