Snowman's Company

moon phase Week of 03/11/2013 Best days to cultivate.

Chickadee in the Hand Chickadee in the Hand The wild birds were very busy at the feeders, going through the sunflower seeds like crazy. They sensed that snow was coming. I counted 62 cardinals. Sure is a pretty sight but, wow, can they eat. There are only about 30 black-capped chickadees. I can't remember having more cardinals than chickadees at the feeders.

Tufted Titmouse Tufted Titmouse The suet feeder has been getting worked over, too. Even the little tufted-titmouse has been getting his share of beef tallow. The chickadees are waiting for me to bring out some more seed in the late afternoon. They don't hesitate to land in my hand when I hold out some sunflower seeds, and it feels good to know they trust me.

Then came another six inches of new snow to shovel: a path to the road, one to the shed and another to the spring creek. The snow wasn't heavy, and I know the exercise does me more good than harm. Doe Doe I can't help but think about the deer in the valley. They are already pressed to search for food day and night, and another six inches of snow won't help their fight to survive the winter. It snowed Monday night and was still coming down Tuesday morning when I went out to sweep off the back steps.

Some blue jays got my attention when they started to mob something in the cedar trees on the hillside above the house. I thought maybe the Cooper's hawk was back, hidden from view in the boughs of the tree, but to my surprise, it was a barred owl. Barred Owl Barred Owl The jays were mad at him, but didn't venture too close. The owl merely stared at them through half-closed eyes. After about half an hour, the jays gave up on the motionless owl and went back to the bird feeders. I saw the same owl twice in the next two days, both times in broad daylight. If he were catching enough to eat at night, he wouldn't have to be out hunting during the day. I've heard the owls calling to each other for the past couple of weeks, but  I rarely ever see them. I'm thinking of putting up a nesting box for them. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

I've been seeing a few bluebirds in the areas this week. The first migrants are starting to pass through. I want to be ready for them, so I'll get out the bluebird houses and clean them out.

Red-Tailed Hawk Mating Red-Tailed Hawk Mating We got a sunny day Saturday, and the temperature rose to nearly 40 degrees. I saw a red-tailed hawk fly up to the top of a utility pole about a half mile way. I had the camera so I snapped a couple of quick pictures of him and went on my way without giving the hawk another thought. He was too far way to see very well, so I thought I would just have a picture of another hawk on a pole. Checking the photos later, I came across the picture and, to my surprise, realized there were two red-tailed hawks mating. The hawks' season has come. Soon, the female will be sitting over a couple of eggs in her stick nest located high in an oak tree overlooking the valley.

Snowman Snowman Thursday afternoon I noticed that the snow was just right for making a snowman. Figuring it might by my last chance, I got right to it. It was fun, and it didn't take me long to roll some nice round balls of snow and stack them. Sometimes I make a snowwoman to keep him company, but I didn't have a proper hat that she would look good in. No woman would be caught dead wearing the hat I gave the snowman. He had plenty of company after all, because I sprinkled some bird seed around him and, in no time, the colorful little birds gathered around his feet. That gave him a reason to have a smile on his face.

Snowman with Deer Snowman with Deer Three deer came to the edge of the yard in the late afternoon, but when they spotted the strange new snowperson, they wouldn't come any further. It took two hours before one of the yearlings ventured up for a closer look. I had no idea that the snowman would have such an effect on the deer, but they finally realized he was no danger to them. Now there are two people they can trust: me and the snowman.

With the temperatures in the upper 30s and some rain, the snow began to melt quickly. By late Sunday afternoon, the sound of rushing water could he heard in the ditches and the valleys. At this rate, the snow will be gone in a week and the snowman too, I suppose.

Bald-faced Hornet's Nest Bald-faced Hornet's Nest Above the rushing water a bald-faced wasp's nest dangles at the end of an elm branch. It spent the whole winter there and is till in pretty fair shape, except for where the woodpeckers tore a large hole in the bottom of it. It's only made of paper so I don't think it will last long once the spring rains have had their way with it.

Spring is picking up its pace more and more each day, while winter lags behind. The weather has been very typical for March, cold and warm, sunshine and rain, windy and calm, melting snow and bluebirds. It's a month that will challenge our ability to have patience, yet hints at the promise of a green future.

Naturally yours,

All art ©2013 Organic Valley

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Julie from from Pacific NW on March 14, 2013 at 05:24:01 PM
As always Dan your post is the perfect thing to go with a cup of coffee. Just a bit of a break with good reading. Thanks!
Kristie from from Medford, WI on March 14, 2013 at 11:19:07 AM
I just wanted to know that I love reading your articles, they're great!
Ellen from from Kelseyville, CA-northern CA on March 14, 2013 at 08:25:34 AM
I really loved your photos and they are very inspiring. The areas where you live are much colder than we are in northern California. The wildlife is unique and outstanding. Glad you post these.
Jan from from TN on March 13, 2013 at 07:07:22 PM
I really enjoyed hearing about and seeing you birds; short or tall, I love them all. This afternoon I looked out the living room window to my little impromptu feeder and to my surprise, I saw three Eastern Towhees, one male and two females. I had only seen a pair at all other times. Yesterday morning, there was the pair of Red-bellied Woodpeckers stocking up on seeds, and of course, there is always the chickadees, tufted tit-mouse, bluebird, and sparrow populations. I did see a small hawk wheeling over the front field on Saturday, possibly a Kestrel, could not get a good look. There will a lot of them now, of all kinds, with the warmth approaching and daffodils in bloom. Have a great week, Happy Naturing!
Judy from from NE...brrrrr....Ohio on March 13, 2013 at 06:28:52 PM
....had to laugh at your luck,catching 2 hawks mating...and didn't even know it! Giggled also at your snowman with birdies around his ...err...feet? Do snowmen have feet? Do chickens have lips? Do bees have knees? *chuckling* Yup,I'm getting cabin fever here in NE Ohio! A little nutty too. Hey,at least the squirrels haven't carried me away yet! Thanks for the great info and usual!
Hugs&Squeezles&hot cocoa with marshmellies
Stay warm!
Laurie from from Midland, MI on March 13, 2013 at 03:34:54 PM
Absolutely awesome pictures this week, Dan! You sure are lucky to capture nature in action.
Thank you so much for sharing and I will happily share the robins have returned!
Vera from from Schenectady, New+York on March 13, 2013 at 01:51:10 PM
All your pictures are beautiful and so are your little stories.
Jeanne from from Florida on March 13, 2013 at 11:01:46 AM
A couple of weeks ago I saw a couple of robins - a bit early - but haven't seen big group of them yet. As always, thanks for the article. I can almost see what you are writing about (besides your photos, of course .. lol) 3/13/13
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