Some years you get cardinals, some years you get chickadees…this year has been a bumper crop of titmice. I get to reflect on this, because it’s “wintry mix” out there, that nasty combination of snow and sleet and freezing rain, which makes for lousy driving but great window birdwatching. (I’m not entirely sure of the reason–I think it’s because it’s so nasty out that they come to the reliable food source, i.e. my feeders. Maybe not, because the big pileated was out too, and I don’t have anything that would tempt HIM.)
Lotta birds. Whole lotta titmice.
It was a very light year for cardinals–normally they’re a reliable visitor, but I’d go for a month without seeing one recently. Today, however, there’s at least four out there, the females drab, the males what Kevin describes as “I’m red! Screw you!” which y’know, kinda says it all. And there’s a Pepperidge Farm assortment worth of sparrows, one lone winter goldfinch, and a whole lot of juncos, one of which is taking a bath in the puddles left by the ruts in the gravel driveway. (No, dude! It’s too cold! You’re gonna freeze your little butt-feathers off!) Even the blue jays that so rarely find their way out here are hopping through the tall pines and sipping from the puddles.
And titmice. A good dozen or more titmice. I know we had some breeding in one of the dead tree cavities, but I didn’t expect them ALL to stay! (They’re welcome, of course, but…I may need more birdseed!)
It’s not just the birds, either. I spent ten minutes watching a pair of beer-colored whitetail deer pick their way through the yard, mouth the anise tree, find it uninteresting, and finally plant themselves under the birdfeeder, to delicately lip up the spilled seed. It’s Cajun-style sunflower and safflower mix, supposed to be too hot for mammals, but as usual, that proves laughable. (Really, you can’t win–either it’s so hot that you’re actually inciting afflicted squirrels to claw their eyes out or something equally wretched, or it’s merely a light condiment for the jaded rodent palate.) Eventually the deer wandered off, and now I should probably put my coat on and go put out some more suet or something because it’s quite a mob scene out there today.