The weather was cold for the past few days, with night temperatures around 10 degrees Fahrenheit. It was a little taste of what's to come in a month or so, along with some of the white stuff. The full moon was spectacular again this month, and despite the cold I took a short walk every night, just to bask in the glowing moonlight.
It's warmed up again and the area farmers are taking advantage of the nice weather to get their corn and soybeans picked. Harvested fields are always a good place to find something to eat if you are a deer or a turkey. Spare grain left on the ground by the combine means easy pickings for lots of wildlife. Rabbits, mice and voles take advantage, as do Fox and Gray squirrels. A Ruffed grouse scouts the edge of a bean field, snapping up stray beans on the ground. The Red-tailed hawks have good hunting here, and they perch high in a leafless tree along the field edges to watch this activity on the ground. At night, mink and weasels hunt for voles, and the Barred owl watches for his nightly meal to appear in the corn stubble below—a few fat voles would do nicely. The fox and coyote come to the picked fields too, their noses to the ground as they walk along, searching for the scent or prey. There is no doubt that when it comes to attracting wildlife, a picked corn field is the next best thing to a pond.
It was 60 degrees and sunny on Sunday—a good day to wash the windows. It's a job I don't relish, but I do appreciate clean windows. The sunshine felt good, and I had no cause for complaint, so one job led to another and I ended up spending most of the day outside. A pair of Barred owls sang to each other from up the valley just before sunset. A deer crossed the road and walked through the yard without paying much attention to me. As I watched her, a small flock of migrating robins flew over us, chirping happily as they passed.
I feed the birds all year round; I'm such a sucker for their company! The fact is, my feeders are being used 24 hours a day. At night, after all the daytime birds are asleep, the flying squirrels and deer mice come for seed. Sometimes deer or raccoons may visit in the night as well. Virtually all species of bird or beast may visit my bird feeders at one time or another, and all are welcome! Having bird feeders has been one of the true natural joys in my life, and every day I'm grateful to have the wild ones near me.
A big male Pileated woodpecker has been hanging around for the past week or so. This beautiful, crow-sized woodpecker can sometimes be lured in closer with a basket of suet (beef tallow). To see these magnificent birds close up is a rare treat, and a chance to see what they really look like up close and personal. I live here alone, but I'm not really alone; there's always something going on around me.
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