Thursday, January 27, 2005

Well, it is extremely cold here. The birds have been all over our feeders the last 2 days, puffed up and looking very hungry! Yesterday we had about 15 Cedar Waxwings in one of our Crabapple trees in the front of our house. They were so intent on eating they didn't even fly off as I walked within a few feet of them. Today, we had a flock of about 20 Robins show up. The sun was just peeking over the roof of our house shining the tops of the trees where they were hanging out. I know birds are warm-blooded, but at -11 degrees I would need more than down feathers to keep me warm! Luckily I had filled all the feeders the previous day so there was plenty to eat.

We have a recirculating "bird pond" we built just for the birds. Unfortunately the water is not as open this year as I and the birds would prefer. The recirculating part has stopped flowing since the heavy snow came. We do have a heating unit in it, but the snow is so deep around the open water the birds are having trouble getting to the water. I plan on laying a branch over the opening so they can access the open water. At least we have sun and the birds seem to be happy about that.

Monday, January 17, 2005

A cold snap has hit! The birds are very hungry now. With the birds showing up at feeders in droves, it is a great place for predators to hang out. Such is the case in our neighborhood. We have a resident Cooper's Hawk that hangs around on and off, but yesterday he scored a big one! Our neighbor Joe, who lives 2 houses down from us, called and wanted to know if we could identify a hawk that was eating a squirrel in his backyard. Well, we couldn't see the hawk from our house so we carefully walked down to Joe's backyard and there it was, on a small woodpile enjoying his dinner. We quickly snapped a few pictures before it flew off. We informed Joe that it indeed was a Cooper's Hawk and proceeded home. We now have one less squirrel to deal with!

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

It has been a few days since I have written-no excuse, except I have been too busy, and there hasn't been a whole lot to write about. It's dark when we leave for work and dark when we get home, so it's difficult to write about back yard activity.
We support a local Cat rescue shelter by fostering a couple of their kitties at our store. We have helped quite a few find homes in the last year. We have a real cutie with us now that is going to a new home tomorrow. We will miss her antics-she sits back on her hind legs and looks just like a squirrel or rabbit. We also have a cat named Joy who has been with us 1 year on the 20th of January. She wants to live with us-we really love her, but would really like her to find a home of her own. She is very special. Our regular customers want her to stay here.
We had the craziest weather event today. It started raining, then we heard thunder, and next was lightning. It was raining so hard I can't remember it ever raining so hard. Then suddenly it started hailing. We got about 3/4 of an inch of hail. Unreal. It's January in Grand Rapids, Michigan!

Friday, January 07, 2005

Another day in January-it was supposed to be sunny, but it's not. It's all gray and overcast, and everything is all slushy and wet from the snowfall. But, our birds are hungry, and the concensus with those that we have talked with today is that their birds are pretty hungry, too. The lack of any unusual species showing up in anyones backyard this year is a little weird. We usually have reports of redpolls, and/or red-breasted nuthatches(we have had a few), and no unusual waterfowl spotted around either. This is going to be a quiet, boring winter, to say the least. With the water around us open, including Lake Michigan, there won't be Eagles either. We are having a fairly mild winter so far. I hate to wish for cold weather for fear we will get it!

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Wow!! What a difference a day makes. We got about 5-6 inches of snowfall overnight. That brought out the birds in huge numbers. We have a Shadblow bush (Juneberry) in our yard and there were 7 Cardinals sitting in it when I awoke and looked out over the back yard. There were bunches of Goldfinches, Junco's and House Finches in the bush also-too many to count. It was still snowing fairly hard at 7:00 am, but we managed to snap a picture of a lone Cardinal sitting in the bush watching over his favorite feeder a few feet away. We were late getting in to our business, as we couldn't seem to break away from watching the feeding frenzy going on at our feeders. We were trying to get as many pictures of all the different species out there, which most turned out too blurry and far away to bother with. This is when we wish we were retired and able to sit at the window and watch all day!!!

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

We have started a tradition at our house to note the first bird we see in the New Year. Mine was a Blue Jay. The day was warm and the birds were slow to appear that morning, but my next bird was a Black Capped Chickadee, followed by a Junco and then a Male Cardinal. We left home shortly after the sightings for the entire day. It has been several days since, but we had a few inches of snow last night and the cover made our feeders a very popular place this morning! We are expecting more snow tonight, so I filled everything up-they always seem to eat fairly heavily when a storm is approaching.