Saturday, February 15, 2014

Counting on life in a white winter


I feel a need to watch for signs of life in the winter garden, especially during a season as hard as this one. Today I’m counting birds while taking part in the Great Backyard Bird Count.  I enjoy watching the antics of black-capped chickadees and tufted titmice. Dark-eyed juncos and white-throated sparrows hop about for seeds spilled on a snow bank. A female cardinal visits the feeder and there is the call of a blue jay, and the drumming of a woodpecker up in the bare, windswept canopy. 
Snow is piled high. It obliterates form, covering bird baths and creating snow caves under shrubs. Only the stiffest and tallest stems poke up through the snow - red osier dogwood, purple top grass (now straw gold), brown seed heads almost pecked clean. Yet more fresh snow is falling as the daylight fades and tree branches are defined by a dusting of white.