Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Winter Wildlife


Good news here in my little corner of the heart of the Midwest--the snow is quickly melting, and today it is supposed to be in the 60's!   I won't say that spring has arrived--that might be jinxing it--but I have high hopes that soon there might be a few signs of new life in the garden.  Before I put away the winter jacket and scarves, however, I wanted to share a few pictures of the friends who have kept me company this winter.


One of the things I've learned to enjoy during the winter is watching the birds.  The bird feeders have been placed within view of the living room window for better viewing and photo ops.  The suet feeder has been very popular the past few weeks, especially after a snowfall.  In past years, seeing a red-bellied woodpecker was an occasional treat.  This year I've been happy to see him (or her) on a regular basis.


A pair of Downy Woodpeckers have been regular visitors, too.  This one must be the female, since I don't see the red spot on her head.


The white-breasted nuthatch, which I also showed on my last post, is fun to watch, as it usually feeds upside down.


Other regular visitors at the feeders have been the finches (not sure what kind), sparrows, the occasional flock of starlings, and my personal favorite, the tufted titmouse.  Usually I also see dark-eyed juncos (pictured above) most of the winter, but it wasn't until last week's snowfall that they finally came as well.


I also haven't seen many cardinals at the feeders this year, though I do see them perching in the trees.  The snow finally brought a female to sample some seeds last weekend.


While the smaller birds are taking advantage of the feeders, these two scope the area for tastier treats.  Red-tailed hawks are a common sight around here, and one day I noticed one feeding on something in the middle of our yard.  As I drew closer, hoping to get a photo, it flew off, carrying a squirrel in its talons!  They are not easy to photograph, at least for me; by the time I moved closer to get a better photograph than the one above, they had already flown off in search of unsuspecting prey.


Not all the wildlife have feathers, however.  This opossum wandered onto our patio a few days ago, no doubt hungry and in search of food, too.  He even peeked inside, which drove the dogs crazy.  I'm not sure what would have happened if I had let them out and they had tangled with him, but I wasn't about to find out.


Speaking of the dogs, last week's 10 inches of snow made it difficult for the little ones.  Coconut followed Sophie or found tire tracks to make his way through the snow.


Frank, on the other hand, decided to blaze his own trails, but found it wasn't as easy as he first thought:) He's thrilled that the snow is finally melting away.


Sophie, however, is a true snow-lover--digging it out with her nose, making doggie snow angels, or even sampling a fresh bite of snow are some of her favorite winter activities.  But Sophie is pretty adaptable--I know that she is looking forward to digging in the dirt as much as I am.  Once the ground has dried out, she'll be the first one out the door--garden glove in mouth--ready to help me.  Oh, I hope it's soon, Sophie; I really do!

31 comments:

  1. What lovely photos and exotic looking birds and a lovely opossum. We have none none of these things. The doggies in the snow look as though they're very much at home in it.
    Thankfully, our weather is more springlike now and much lighter evenings which is good.
    Maggie x

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    1. Maggie, Sophie and Coconut are used to the snow, but last winter was Frank's first experience with it as he is a rescue dog originally from the South. He' s adapted much better to our winters this year--he looked like a big gopher tunneling through the snow:) I'd be glad to trade you an opossum for a hedgehog!

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  2. You have quite the menagerie counting all the wildlings. I can just imagine the dogs with an opossum on the back porch. Ha... It would probably play dead if the dogs were unleashed. I will never forget the time Luna got after one and it flopped over on it's side pretending to be dead. She didn't know what to do but stand there and bark at it. There is hope for the garden here too. I am seeing daffodil greens and even the crocus are trying to get their greenery up. It won't be long now.

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    1. That's a funny story about Luna, Lisa, and similar to the time Sophie got close to a possum, too. She just barked and barked at it, till she got tired of it and I convinced her finally to come back inside. I'm going to walk around the garden today and see if I can spy anything coming up here.

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  3. 60, wow! We're in the 40s in Maine and enjoying the thaw. I love your bird photos. Sophie must be related to Scout. They will miss the snow.

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    1. Yes, it feels like spring here, Sarah! Whenever I see your photos of Scout, it reminds me of Sophie. I know she would love to join the two of you skiing!

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  4. I'm probably biased but Sophie is so beautiful! And you have such pretty birds. I too love the way the nuthatch eats upside-down.

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    1. Sophie thanks you for the compliment, Liz, and says she is quite smitten with George's handsome looks, too:)

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  5. I really should get some bird feeders. We have a pair of cardinals living nearby but not many other birds in winter. Spring can't get here soon enough!

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    1. The birds really provide some entertainment during the winter, Rose, not only for my husband and me, but for the dogs and cats, too:) They really come to the feeders whenever the ground is covered with snow.

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  6. Wow, I think you had more snow that Madison did this winter! And more birds! I had to come to Florida to find songbirds. For some reason, they were in small numbers in my Wisconsin garden this winter. I'm hoping many of them will be back during the spring. Great photos of the hawks and the opossum! Happy (almost) spring!

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    1. The snowfall we had the first of March was really the most we had all winter, Beth, and it really brought the birds to the feeders. I'm hoping that was the last we'll see of snow this season--I hope this week's weather isn't just a teaser of spring.

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  7. All cute critters, Rose, but the opossum. They are mean little buggers. My Akita,a very large aggressive dog, was backed off by a possum. That says something for the little bullies. Your dogs may have done the same. I love your hawk pair. Here they are traveling in pairs too.

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    1. Donna, Sophie has run into possums before, but every time they would play dead and she would stand a couple feet away just barking at it. I'm glad they didn't try to confront her--those claws look pretty sharp to me. Red-tailed hawks are a common sight around here, and I love watching them, though not so much when they've caught some poor animal or bird.

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  8. How nice to see your beautiful winter photos !
    Your dogs are so cute :))
    Greetings

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    1. Thank you, Ela! I had fun watching the dogs manuever through the snow as I tried to take photos.

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  9. It is nice to visit and catch up,on your goings on Rose! What would our winter be like if we did not have our wee nature visitors stopping by to amuse us! Each one I welcome to my feeders as food sources are sparse in cold winter months so like you I keep them well supplied and in turn the feathered and fur visitors keep me entertained . Thank you for welcoming me back to the world of blogging!

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    1. Glad to see you back, Anna! The birds certainly do keep us entertained through the winter. The dogs and cats enjoy watching them, too:)

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  10. Spring is here! At least I think it is here. The snow is gone... the birds are singing...

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    1. Yea! The snow is gone here, too, and it's nice to hear the birds singing. But you are still a week or two ahead of us--no blooms yet.

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  11. You still have a lot of snow, haven't you Rose? I hope spring will come soon :))
    Love these birds, especially Woodpeckers, they are very busy even in winter. I see your dogs walk in the deep snow with pleasure, I wonder how they will be glad seeing green grass.

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    1. Nadezda, I took most of these photos two weeks ago, and since then it has warmed up and all the snow has melted. I'm still waiting for something to bloom. The dogs are enjoying seeing the grass again and are ready to join me in the garden.

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  12. My dogs leap thru the drifts snatching up mouth fulls of snow as the go. It's fun to watch. I often wish I could be more like a dog and just live in the moment.

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    1. Sophie jumps over and through the drifts, too--she loves it! But the little ones, not so much:)

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  13. So great to get a nice warm day! I sure hope we get more of them to melt all this snow! I love bird watching in the winter as well. Somehow it makes it seem less stark out there with all the activity going on at the bird feeders. The woodpeckers are my favorite. That Red-belly is a beauty!

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  14. Look at all of that wildlife! We have had opposums live under our deck a season or two, but lately, it's been a rabbit or more. I see one at a time, but do not know if it's the same one, or more than one that live under there. We have lots of squirrels and several kinds of birds that visit as well. Our yellow lab likes the snow, but I'm not sure how well she'd do with as much as you had!

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  15. Oh what beautiful birds share your garden with you Rose. We have squirrels here but no opossums :) What size are they? I imagine that the dogs would find them most interesting indeed.

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  16. Oh what beautiful birds share your garden with you Rose. We have squirrels here but no opossums :) What size are they? I imagine that the dogs would find them most interesting indeed.

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  17. Hahahaha, your little pug in the snow is so cute!! Our little Jack Russell terrier was only about 9" high at the shoulder and she used to have to leap like a dolphin through the snow if we didn't shovel a path for her.

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