When a blizzard blew over a few days ago the wintering birds knew what to do: gather round the feeders and feast.
Like most blizzards in Ontario’s deep south, this one was mild in temperature. But perhaps the birds sensed that much colder weather was on the way. They were so intent on taking their turns at the feeders they paid little attention to pesky paparazzi.
American Goldfinches (above right) worked at the nyjer thistle seed all day. Dark-eyed Juncos (above left) gave it a try too, though their fatter beaks aren’t a good fit for the narrow holes in the finch feeder.
The Downy Woodpecker (above), as well as its larger lookalike the Hairy Woodpecker, hammered away at their high-calorie treat – seeds frozen in a suet block.
The Starlings gave it a try too but had a harder time of it.
American Tree Sparrows found their picnics at ground level.
Their name is a misnomer, since they nest and forage on the ground. Grass seed is a favoured food, and a deep drift of snow put the seed heads on tall stalks within a short hop.
By the time the sun rose the next morning the wind had calmed, the snow was no longer drifting, and the skies were clear. There is no better time to stroll the beach, watching the light show play out where sand and stones meet ice, waves and the first rays of sunrise.
The rest of the beach is equally beautiful with bright cottage colours set off against new snow.
When I return home the birds are again busy in the back yard and this Junco waits for a turn at the feeder.
Photo at top of page: Snowy Morning Doves (full-screen version here)