Thursday, February 21, 2013
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!
After months of bemoaning the lack of precipitation we've been experiencing, I can finally write with excitement that we've got snow!!! Lots and lots of snow!!! About 12" of snow, actually, which is amazing for the Wichita, Kansas, area. In fact, according to the Wichita Eagle, the last time this area saw a foot of snow was in 1971 - 42 years ago!
Precipitation of any sort tends to pull in more birds to my feeders than usual. The cardinals are the most vivid, with their red feathers providing such a bright, warm contrast to the black and white winter world. This big snow event, though, has my bird feeders being overrun by large flocks of red-winged blackbirds and cowbirds. The former are welcome. The latter are not, but I have not figured out a way to welcome the blackbirds while keeping out the cowbirds. Somewhat surprisingly, the red-winged flocks are a mix of males and females; I would have expected primarily males this early in the year. All of these birds must have been wintering just south of here, since I rarely see more than 6-10 red-wings at a time on a "normal" day, and I hadn't seen any cowbirds yet this year.
Not surprisingly, my feeder regulars are being overwhelmed by all the short-timers. Occasionally, though, an unusual "regular" shows up. This pied cardinal came fairly often last year, but this is only the second time I've seen her this winter. I'm glad to know she made it through the summer; I wonder if she ever found a mate and produced any young?
Gardeners tend to be optimistic every spring; I find this snow is finally refilling my springs of optimism - and just in time for the spring planting season to begin! It's hard to imagine a more welcome winter weather event.