wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


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Good Ole Mother Nature

You’ve seen pictures of my woodshed before, but take a closer look at the wood. It is dotted with birds, most of them Oregon juncos and pine siskins all trying to find shelter and food to keep enough warmth in their little bodies to survive until the fury of the storm has passed.

The rain lashed out in torrents and blew into all shelters sideways. The feeder is blurry, in constant motion, blown by the howling wind. The Captain and I made up a hanging cage for yet another suet block and moved two birdfeeders farther into the woodshed under cover. As we worked in that screaming wind we noticed more than one tiny bedraggled siskin huddling under pieces of firewood, feathers soaked, desperate to get out of the piercing wind that slapped icy water onto their wee little bodies. I could have cried. But we did what we could and had to let “good ole Mother Nature” do what she does best – kill off the weak. Survival of the fittest is hard to watch sometimes.

I took two quick videos of the storm from the deck of our house. In the onslaught of the wind and rain, I kept pressing the wrong button to stop the video and as I lowered the camera I caught an ugly picture of my slippers and an empty flowerpot. Not Academy Award film quality, but you’ll get an idea of the force of the storm. What you won’t see are some of the gusts that were way more violent than what I captured here.

If you turn on the sound, you’ll hear only the music of nature.

Today the birdfeeders are empty again. I’m refilling them a lot but if it will help some birds survive, I will keep on filling them as often as needed.

These little birds make me happy all year, so I want to do what I can to help them out when they need it.

No poem today. I’m too unhappy about watching them suffering yesterday.


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A Little Help from our Friends

The pine siskins are whirring around in flocks of hundreds, landing here and there on the grass, in shrubs, in the garden, and wherever else they might find a bite to eat while staying in the safety of their numbers. Even the odd Oregon junco sits with them for safety from the hawks who will catch any loners or stragglers.

I feel guilty for living in a house with so many windows. I purposely don’t clean them often, so the birds will see that there’s a barrier of glass. (Good excuse for not cleaning them, right?)

But still, in their frenetic staging maneuvers, many of these little birds hit the glass. Many survive, but this little guy looked in bad shape. Broke my heart! You can see that his eyes are nearly closed, and in this morning’s chilly air, he looked to be in bad shape.

I wanted to pick him up to warm him so the cold cement walk wouldn’t sap the warmth from his tiny body, but it would have freaked him out even more and the last thing he needed was more stress.

I watched as he leaned to one side. If he had a broken foot or damaged wing he would die a slow death.

Some of his friends flew in to feed nearby and he perked up ever so slightly. He turned his head slowly back and forth as he watched them. I was glad to see he didn’t have a broken neck.

Then, as his friends chirped encouragement, he straightened so he was sitting up without leaning. He looked up at the sky, over to his friends on the ground, back and forth. He shuffled his wee legs to lift his body off the ground, and then a miracle happened. He decided he was not ready for bird heaven just yet.

Before I could get the camera turned on again, he hopped up into a nearby rhodo, and from there he flew away.

In desperate times, when we feel that all is lost, sometimes all we need is a little help from our friends.


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Pine Siskins and Friends

I don’t know why the pine siskins all got thirsty at once, but they seemed happy, to judge by their twittering, to find this makeshift birdbath. Siskins are tiny birds of the finch family. These days they are swarming around in large flocks, feeding as much as possible, probably building up their strength for flying farther south for the winter.

Several of them are hiding in the overgrown, neglected garden. I think I see six of them hiding.

An Oregon Junco decided that he needed a bath. Being a bit bigger (not much) he took over the whole bath. One brave siskin was left at the edge, wondering if he could get a sip.

He decided to go for it and managed to get a good slurp of water.

But that sneaky junco flexed his muscles to show who was boss. Siskin didn’t like it. Hear him shrieking, “HEY! You’re splashing me!”

“Oh you think that was a splash? Just watch this,” the junco says.

If you click on the video, you can see how brazen the junco is about having his bath. The siskin reacts just the way I would, backing up from being splashed.

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