|From Jan. 21 to Feb. 4 to Feb. 14|
My Kalanchoe has a few tiny blooms, and my Christmas cactus is budding up again. But what I'm really interested in this week is not indoors, but outside:
You don't have to be a birding expert to participate: the website has links to sites for bird i.d. help, including the one at Cornell, which is excellent. I certainly don't know much about birds, but I have no trouble recognizing our state bird and my personal favorite, the cardinal, who has been a frequent visitor at the feeders.
Nor do I have any trouble recognizing the less flamboyant, but just as lovely, female cardinal. But what is that little bird to her left? When I'm not sure, I turn to my well-worn copy of Birds of Illinois Field Guide by Stan Tekiela. Flipping through the pages, I'm pretty sure this is a goldfinch. Not long ago, I discovered that the goldfinch, so easy to spot by its bright yellow body in the summer, turns to a dull brown in the winter.
A frequent visitor here every winter is the Downy Woodpecker, who particularly enjoys the suet feeders. I've learned that little red spot on his head means he's a male, which means I have at least a pair here, because I've also seen one without the red spot, a female. The most common bird I've seen is the dark-eyed Junco, including the one perched atop the feeder here.There are so many of them, usually foraging on the ground, that I'm not sure--did I count that one already??
A less common sight is the Red-bellied Woodpecker. I took this photo a week ago, so unless I see him again this weekend, unfortunately, he won't make the count.
The Great Backyard Bird Count runs through this Monday, February 17, so you still have time to participate, if you wish. You can spend as much time as you want counting birds over the weekend or as little as 15 minutes. All the information collected will help scientists determine what is happening with bird populations. It's a great activity to share with kids, too, as I've done in the past with my grandkids. And in case any of you think I have digressed from the original topic here, I leave you with this image of a White-breasted Nuthatch--a photo of a bird and some blooms.
To see more of what's in bloom around the world, visit our hostess Carol at May Dreams Gardens, who always has something to share even if her garden is also covered in snow.