Thursday, January 7, 2010

Snow Falling on Pines

Finally a nice snow. I stood at the second floor window watching the snow fall on the pines in the distance and reached for my camera. I only shot for about 20 seconds ... just enough for the feel of the scene. If you'd like to see the video, click here.
This is a familiar scene to you blog readers with the henhouse, the woodpile and the meadow beyond. It is a favorite view of mine and one I see every time I go down the steps from my second floor bedroom. It's the first outside view I see each day and one I wholly cherish.

We regularly have Downy and Hairy woodpeckers at our suet - not to mention cardinals, titmice and a smaller contingent of birds - but I've seen a number of times in the past week a large (10" or so) Red-bellied woodpecker feed there, too. Trouble is, every time he landed, I never had the camera handy or else scared him away when I did.
Today, probably owing to his increased hunger because of the snow, he was skittish but he stayed. This first shot (below) was taken through the kitchen window. I was standing near our wood butcher block, quite some distance away from the glass.

The bird's head is as soft as velvet and when the sun shines, so does his head. It is almost startling in its color, a reddish orange. Contrast the white and black feathers of his body and this is one spectacular bird.
By the way, this is a male, owing to the red crown and nape (back of the neck). Though the name is "red-bellied", the red patch which is found on his lower abdomen is hard to see under all but the best of circumstances. In the next picture, you can see it a bit.

He hung there and fed as I took several shots, walking ever closer. I think in the shot above he's spied me and isn't too happy about the intrusion.

But the suet is too good to resist and he goes back to nibbling the fat through the wire mesh.
While I was taking pictures, he'd occasionally give a low "chucking" sound, almost a sound of contentment rather than of alarm.
Why do we feed the birds? Because of days like this.