Still January, Still Winter

January 24th, 2009

Woke up to 8-10 degrees F this morning, after a few warmish days.  Even the bees came out to stretch their wings earlier this week.  Okay, my spring thoughts are early- can you blame me?!  There’s about 25 Juncos and other birds darting around the feeders.  Our little cat Princess just had to go outside yesterday evening to explore, and darted out as we were coming in… so she got to spend the night somewhere very chilly.  The dogs are in the garage when it’s this cold, and while letting them out this morning Princess runs back into the garage, “Meeowwww!” she says, asking to come inside the laundry room. 

The other day my wife and son found a little woodpecker on the patio at the base of some windows.  Presumably it was stunned from flying into them- she just picked it up off the ground.  But I came in that evening to find it wrapped up in warm blankets in a little box, blinking its eyes at me and turning its head.  As I looked at it the lab stuck his nose at the little bird and up it flew!  It was a male Downey Woodpecker, and was hanging on near the windows, then flew over to the brick on the fireplace.  I simply reached up and gently grabbed it, prying its little claws off the brick.  It didn’t even fuss very much- I don’t know if it was just not afraid or what.  Here’s another one near the feeders.

Downey Woodpecker near feeders

It was dark outside by then however, so we put it back in a box to keep through the night.   The next morning after the sun came up, they gathered to watch as I took it outside and opened up the box.  The little woodpecker grabbed on to my fingers with its feet- and didn’t seem to want to let go.  Finally I pushed it towards the edge of the box, and it looked around for a bit- and then flew up to the top of an oak tree.  Cute little guy- hope he made it!

Here’s a nest I found way up high in another oak tree.  It’s deceiving, but this is a pretty big nest- probably close to 10-12 inches in diameter on some large branches of the tree.  What do you suppose it’s from?  It’s not Mourning Doves- they make messy stick nests.  This one is quite nice and tidy looking, but I have no idea what kind of bird made it.  Will they use it again? Interesting things you can find in winter.  One of these days I’ll get a nice spotting scope to help get a better look at wildlife and such.

Bird nest in oak tree

5 Responses to “Still January, Still Winter”

  1. Yes, it is but it wasn’t that cold here as it is you though!

  2. We had a farm cat that spent the night out somewhere too cold and it lost both of its ears and its tail to frostbite. It lived many years afterwards but was one of the funniest sights to see it coming at you especially with no tell.

    I’m no help on nests. I do know that I’ve never seen one that big as neat as it is. I’ve seen ones that hurons and eagles make but they are much messier looking than that one.

  3. Amy- Wow, I thought you would be colder there!

    Ed- That must have been some cold weather. Good point about herons and such- I’ll try to watch this one this year…

  4. We have been cold down this way also, in middle Georgia.
    Friday it was 70 degrees though and wonderful after a week of lows in the teens.
    We have birds of all sort visiting right now. Everywhere, eating rye seeds and grain in the pastures.
    The Downey Woodpecker is beautiful. I hope he made it, too!
    I enjoyed my visit with you.
    Thanks for the visit and comment.
    Have a great week.

  5. Pam- Thank you for stopping by too! The weather is so variable… but there’s a light somewhere at the end of this cold tunnel!

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