Today, we had quite a few guests at in the trees and at the feeders. Everyone ate plenty of food to store more fats. Winter is not over, yet. Friday morning suppose to be in the mid 20s (-4°C). Here are today’s photos of our feathered and mammal friends:
These days, you’ll see more backyard bird photos on my blog. The weather is gray, and the temperatures are cool. I’m too lazy for a photo walk and do garden work in this kind of weather. These gloomy days are perfect for getting some work done in the house. But the feeders are full. And the local birds are in abundance in the yard. Mr. Squirrel was happy to see some peanuts, this morning. In the afternoon, the Blue Jays came over to take the rest from the slinky feeder.
Since my ribs were in the slow cooker, I didn’t have to worry about cooking in the afternoon. Therefore I enjoyed the time in the backyard, before the girls came home from school. While I sat on the patio, lots of birds and Mr. Squirrel came over for a late lunch. There were Blue Jays, Crows, Grackles, House Sparrows, House Finches, a Yellow-rumped Warbler, a Ruby-crowned Kinglet, White-winged Doves, etc. I’ve got some good captures of some of the birds.
Five years ago, Sara and I visited the Arbor Hills Nature Preserve for the first time. It is only seven miles away from our house. But I had no idea it existed, until I looked at a park map on Google one morning. Katelynn was in school. And Sara was bored, because she had no one to play in the house. So I decided, I take her for a hike to the park. The weather was nice and not too warm. It was perfect to see what the Arbor Hills Nature Preserve has to offer. On the way I said to Sara: “Maybe we see some wildlife in the park.”
When we arrived at the Arbor Hills Nature Preserve, we saw a lot of hikers, sprinters and runners. I told Sara to stay with me on the right side of the trail, for people who work out can pass us on the left. She did very well. We walked into the forested area. And Sara noticed a couple of squirrels chasing each other. One had a couple of pecans in its mouth. And the other squirrel wanted the first one to share at least one of the pecans. Sara and I made it all the way to the Observation Tower, where we had a nice view over a big portion of the park. After a little rest, we hiked back to the parking lot. Sara was counting the bridges, we crossed along the way. She said: “There were three bridges in total. And the squirrels were funny.” I’m glad, she got entertained on this little trip to the Arbor Hills Nature Preserve. 😉
For several weeks, a few Cabbage White butterflies show up in my garden. And I know, exactly what their plan is from day one. I have cabbages, cauliflower and kohlrabi growing in my raised beds. This vegetables are the perfect nursery for Cabbage White caterpillars. Once the female laid her eggs, it is only a matter of days until these little boogers hatch and eat their way through my cabbage garden. I have to pick countless amounts of caterpillars off my cabbage leaves almost every day.
But I also get some help from Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal. Every afternoon, I see them picking caterpillars to feed their offspring. It’s great, having natural helpers in our garden. The downside: When Mr. Cardinal finds some juicy Black Swallowtail caterpillars in my parsley and dill, they end up between his beak and later in the baby cardinal tummies as well. UGH! I guess, we have to take the good with the bad.
This morning, I watched Mr. Squirrel climb down the tree. He sat on top of his empty critter feeder, kept his tail close to his body and tried to warm up in the Sun. He was debating, if he goes down to the food dish or stays to enjoy the sun rays a little bit longer. In the meantime Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal had a breakfast of peanut butter rolled in bird seeds with their friends, the House Sparrow and Gold Finch. A Mourning Dove sat on a tree branch and watched the critter and the songbirds from the distance. Later, a White-winged Dove joint the other dove in the tree. Both looked like puffed up balls in this cold weather. Each animal has it’s own way to stay warm, when it was only 14ºF this morning. One used it’s tail and the rays of the sun; some ate a warming meal of fatty peanut butter and seeds; and a couple more birds used their feathers to make air pockets. They know how to survive what Mother Nature throws at them.
Since Sunday, temperatures were in the 10s and 20s and didn’t reach the freezing point for over 72 hours. My critters and little feathered friends were coming frequently to the feeders. The birds looked like little puff balls, and they didn’t mind sharing their seeds with the squirrels. Today, we finally reached more pleasant 45ºF.
The days become shorter and cooler. Winter is almost here. I’ve noticed more and more birds come back to visit my feeder, again. This morning, I added some peanuts for the Blue Jays. Mr. Blue Jay made his brunch time announcement. And Mrs. Cardinal flew from the neighbor’s tree in to mine. Her mate and Mr. Finch followed her. After all the birds enjoyed their meals, they sat in the tree in rested for a bit. A full birdie tummy feels good in this roller coaster weather.