wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


48 Comments

Cool Days

Cool mist puffs

From stream to sea.

Icy droplets

Yearn to be free.

Oregon junco

Grasps a twig,

Craving bare ground,

He can dig.

Finding seeds and

Fat insects,

More like what

A bird expects.

 

Tiny sparrow

Sits alone,

So much snow 

He can’t condone.

Keeping warm 

and saving strength,

Sunny days

Will come at length.

 

***** Please visit my other blog: annelisplace


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Red-breasted Sapsucker

This info paragraph is taken from allaboutbirds.org

Red-breasted Sapsuckers eat sap, insects and other arthropods, fruit, and seeds. Their tongues are shorter than those of other woodpeckers, with brushy tips that help them lap up sap. They spend far less time drilling into wood than many other woodpeckers [do], and instead pick insects (especially ants and beetles) from crevices in the bark or from sapwells. They also fly out to catch insects in midair.

It seems as if these sapsuckers show up here around Christmas time. I did another blog post about them five years ago when they showed up in my backyard. https://wordsfromanneli.com/2016/12/17/a-christmas-tree-party/

Now, desperate for food, they must be finding what they need in the big firs in our area. I took this picture one day last week.

A day or two later, he had hit a window at my neighbour’s house. Luckily they managed to save him after a bit of R&R time in their avian intensive care unit. See the bird resting below.

 

All I wanted was to fly

Higher up into the sky.

Now my neck is oh so sore,

Thought that window was a door.

 

Giant branches of the trees,

Beckoned me to “Fly up please,

Pick these insects off my bark,

Go ahead and work ’til dark.”

 

But between the trees and me

Shiny glass I did not see.

Like a wall it smacked me down,

Dizzy trees spun all around.

 

Then a lady picked me up,

With her hands shaped like a cup,

Put me in a warm, soft box,

I was trapped, but not with locks.

 

Somehow I was free to go,

Once my neck stopped paining so,

With a squeak I called goodbye,

Then flew up into the sky.

 

Thank you, lady, thanks so much,

For your kind and gentle touch,

But remember for next time,

I prefer my glass with grime.

 

***** If you are interested in writing, grammar, copy-editing, books, etc., why not check out my other blog which is dedicated to that kind of thing? https://annelisplace.wordpress.com/


47 Comments

Rufus

 

 

 

Still, still, still I sit,

Feathers fluffed and light,

Chill, chill, chill is it,

Going to freeze tonight.

 

Save, save, save my strength,

Lest my legs do fold,

Brave, brave, brave at length,

Need to be so bold.

 

Eat, eat, eat the seeds,

For the night is long,

Meet, meet, meet my needs,

Hope I can be strong.

 

Spring, spring, spring will come,

Bringing sun and life,

Sing, sing, sing and hum,

Ending winter’s strife.


40 Comments

A Harsh Surprise

The skiff of snow we had the other day was just the prelude to get us in tune for the magnum opus.

Some snow for Christmas was a fine seasonal touch, even if it was a bit hard on the birds, but the snowfall we had in the last two days, coupled with a drastic drop in temperatures and an increase in NW wind – well, let’s just say I’m praying for the return of my old friends, wind and rain.

Since the Arctic winds are coming from the north or northwest, I decided to put more birdseed on the leeward side of the house. Out of the wind, the picnic blanket won’t blow away or freeze to the ground as readily.

So, not being particularly house proud, I sprinkled bird seed liberally by my front door and in the dry edges near the house on the south and east sides.

Emma can’t believe her eyes. So many birds. You know she’s a “bird dog” but that is not supposed to apply to songbirds. She’s in shock that birds are right there on the other side of the glass – you know, that glass beside the door where she always looks out when she’s left behind.

“Wow!” she says. “A varied thrush!” And she tells herself to stop drooling.

“Oh, it’s you again,” says Vera Thrush. “You should stop poking your nose into the glass pane. You’re mucking it all up with noseprints.”

“On second thought,” thinks Vera, “I should maybe check out another area and come back later when that maniac killer dog is having a nap. But … does she ever sleep?” Vera turns to go. “Better safe than sorry…. Hmmpf! Can’t believe I said that. Such a cliché.”

Vera’s feathers fluff up soft,

Keeping warmer air aloft

Trapped beside her chilly skin,

She will not let winter in.

 

Hard to fathom so much cold,

Although pretty to behold,

But the chill is not a thrill,

It is often known to kill.

 

Thankfully, the seeds are spread,

All around the front door tread,

Even though they don’t belong,

Matters more that we stay strong.

 

First comes need and then decor,

Later we’ll clean up the door,

But we’ll wait till Emma’s busy

So she won’t get in a tizzy.

 

All these seeds are such a gift

Hard to find them in a drift,

Front door feeding works just fine,

Think I’ll grab some, make them mine.

 

 

 


43 Comments

Snow – The Double-edged Sword

Yes, yes, it’s a white Christmas and almost everyone is happy. Snow covers the ugliness of winter.

But it also covers all the seeds and insects the songbirds would love to pick at. This fox sparrow is probably wondering how he’s going to get through the next days. He doesn’t know that it’s going to get even colder in the next few days. I’m making sure to keep the bird feeders filled and in a relatively sheltered place.

But mostly I fear for the tiny hummingbirds. Why, oh why, didn’t they fly south when they had the chance?

The hummingbird feeder was already starting to get chilled by late afternoon. In the next days, the sugar water in the feeder will try to freeze even partway through the day. I’ve been bringing the feeders inside at night and I will probably have to exchange the frozen water for warmer sugar water before the day is over. The forecast says it will get very cold at night. Meanwhile, this hummingbird was happy to find the sugar water not frozen today. Poor little thing.

Snow at Christmas, what a treat,

But it hides what birds would eat.

Joyful people celebrate,

Birds though have a different fate.

 

Let us help them fight the cold,

In the deep snow, let’s be bold,

Filling feeders to the top,

So the birds can fill their crop.

 

Snow is pretty but it’s hard,

When it covers up the yard,

Birds and squirrels do their best,

Let’s all help them in their quest.


41 Comments

Holiday Time

 

It seems to be snowier this year, but only in dribs and drabs. It snows, and the next day it rains and the snow is gone. But the wind is bitter cold and the air is raw. I hope all the little birds and squirrels find warm places to spend the night. I know they’re out and about even in terrible weather, looking for bits of food to keep them warm enough. Even the hummingbirds that didn’t fly south are sipping at the cold sugar water in the feeder. Poor little things.

I hope you are all helping to keep the birds alive this winter by putting out suet or bird seed. Please don’t feed them bread. It’s not going to do them any good. They need proper bird seed and sunflower seeds.  And if you have a cat, be sure not to put the feeder where a cat could get to it. On second thought, if you have a cat, don’t feed the birds. Let your neighbour do it.

I hope you all have a happy time over the Christmas holidays. Be good to your friends, neighbours, and families. There is probably not enough of that kindness in the world.

With so much Covid fear, it seems that we are losing the closeness we had with friends and family. Everyone is afraid of this monster illness. But maybe we need to work harder at keeping up our friendships by writing, or phoning, or having more over-the-fence visits, until we get a handle on this virus.

Let us try not to forget that humans are meant to hug, and smile without masks, and love each other.  I worry about the toddlers who are not learning to read their parents’ facial expressions as they grow up. Somehow, someday, we need to get back to the way things were.

Have a healthy and happy Christmas time. I wish you all the best for 2022.

 

PS. I noticed I said, “I hope” several times in this post. I was going to change it, but then I thought, “No, I DO hope a lot.”

I hope you have a  lot of hope too.

 

 


39 Comments

Under Cover

A few nights ago, while I snuggled under the covers, the outside world was also being put under a cover — from freshly fallen snow.

The hummingbird feeder I had taken down to be out of the wind on the exposed deck, was no longer nestled among the branches that the birds used to love to sit on. (See the photo below). It had become a snow trap. Any bird venturing into the maze of bent down boughs might get a snow shower which, in the case of a tiny hummingbird, could be fatal. I had some work to do but I fixed up a place for the hummingbirds to feed safely.

The regular birdfeeders needed a place that was safe from the Steller’s jays who would gobble up the whole contents of the feeder. I had found a place in the branches of the filbert (hazelnut) tree.  But then it snowed. Can you find the feeder to the left of the tree trunk and about four feet off the ground? The birds were happy to scratch up spilled seeds under the tree.

The Steller’s jay is quite the bully no matter where I put the seeds.

Pretty as the snow is, I worry about my poor little animals out there, scratching for enough food to keep warm and stay alive.

 

Last night the air was oh, so cold,

It chilled me to the bone,

My sparrow girlfriend, oh so bold,

Was shivering on her phone.

 

She called her snowbird friends last night,

They’d almost all flown south,

And she was wishing that they might

Have messaged her by mouth.

 

She’d gladly be in warmer climes,

While leaving me behind,

Their happy chirps melodic chimes,

As sunshine they did find.

 

But here in Lotus Land of North,

The snow moved in and covered us,

To find some food we must go forth,

Lest heavy branches smother us.

 

The hedge and shrubs have been a boon

But still we have to eat

And battling jays from morn till noon

Is always quite a feat.

 

Those greedy birds take so much food,

They spill what they don’t need,

We have to fight the whole darn brood,

So we can get some feed.

 

My girlfriend had the right idea,

To call her friends who left,

But if she’d gone, I sadly fear,

I would have been bereft.

 

Together we will pick at seeds,

To bolster up our strength,

Then later when we’ve met our needs,

I’ll cuddle her at length.


53 Comments

Dim Sum

Sorry. It’s not about Chinese food, although I would love to have some right about now.

The brightness of the sky today got “dim some” when the fog rolled in. After days of heavy rain, the clouds regrouped and pondered their next mode of attack, increasingly darkening the sky as the day wore on.

After a while, the fog moved into our place higher up on the hill, and we lived in a cloud for much of the day.

Even Rufus, the spotted towhee, had trouble finding the feeder until Goldie (the golden crowned sparrow) chirped to let him in on the meal.

Groping, groping as we fly,

What has happened to the sky?

It’s not blue nor full of rain,

Will we see the sun again?

 

Chilly, chilly is the air,

Need to find nutritious fare,

Build our strength and warm us up,

Need some grains for us to sup.

 

Foggy, foggy all around,

Where can all the seeds be found?

Goldie chirps and calls to me,

She’s my compass, friend, I see.

 

Sharing, sharing all the seeds,

She has way more than she needs,

Nice of her to share her lunch,

Think I love her a whole bunch.

 

By the way, Rufus and Goldie both invite you to check out Anneli’s bargains for her books at https://wordsfromanneli.com/2021/11/21/book-bargains/ 

A great deal until Christmas.

 


31 Comments

Spotted Towhee

This towhee and the eastern towhee both used to be called rufous- sided towhees, but to differentiate it from the eastern towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus), it is  now called a spotted towhee (Pipilo maculatus).

 

Rufus is trying to figure out the best way to get into Lincoln the squirrel’s food.

“Have you ever been undecided, and had a foot in each camp?” he asks.

He finally decided to just go for it. Showing off his acrobatic skills.

No, he didn’t get put in jail for stealing Lincoln’s sunflower seeds. He’s just hiding here in plain sight. Nothing can get him here behind this maze of twigs.

“And no,” he says, ” I didn’t pull an all-nighter. My eyes are always red.”


45 Comments

Harris’s Sparrow

Brr! That’s a cold wind. I think it’s coming from the north, from Canada. Might be bringing Montana snow soon.

But wait! What do I see over there? A door in the side of the hill? I wonder who lives there? Might they put out a bird feeder?

I’d check it out, but it’s awfully close to Halloween…. I hope it’s not a goblin hideout.

Harris sparrow braves the breeze

Teasing up a feather,

Tolerates the cold with ease,

Any kind of weather.

 

Food is easier to find

On the warmer days,

Winter is by far less kind,

He must change his ways.

 

Roots in cellars could be good,

Oh, to peek inside,

But the cellar’s sealed  in wood,

With a door so wide.

 

Maybe it’s a lucky stroke,

Harris sits and thinks,

Really this is not a joke,

Something in there stinks.

 

Spooky, hidden, hillside cave,

Holds a vampire body,

Harris finds he’s not so brave,

Flies off chirping, “LAWDY!”

 

After midnight he’ll be bound

For a place serene,

While the ghouls go dancing round,

Spooky Halloween!