The ground has been covered in layers of snow and ice for several weeks now. There have been warnings of blizzard and wind chill and we’ve been grumbling. Longing for winter to ease off. But the true survivors turn up at the bird feeder every day and by observing them and other wildlife visitors, I feel better able to think ahead to spring. Here is my census: red-bellied woodpecker, downy woodpecker, white-breasted nuthatch, Carolina wren, black-capped chickadee, tufted titmouse, blue jays, northern cardinals, American goldfinch, song sparrow, white-throated sparrow, dark-eyed junco, grey squirrel and white-tailed deer. Fortunately, the deer stay beyond the fence!
Trees and shrubs aid my mood as well. The ailing dogwood tree provides a strategic perch. Its hollows provide shelter and a pounding board for birds to crack open sunflower husks. Bare branches show off the true architecture of a tree and they are also places to monitor the swelling buds of spring. Tree trunks reflect the glow of the setting sun, which I notice goes down later every evening.