wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


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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.


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Jay and Goldie

The town water hole has always been the meeting place. Jay the Steller’s  jay and Goldie the golden crowned sparrow meet there for a quick conversation.

“Oh, yuck! Who messed in the drinking water?”

 

“Was it you?”

“Are you talking to me?”

Wish he’d just hurry up and get his drink and leave. Nobody else gets a turn with him around.

 

Goldie wants a little sip,

Just enough to wet her lip.

Jay enjoys to dominate,

Making her procrastinate.

 

Jay is bigger and he’s mean,

Something Goldie’s never been.

She will put up with his swagger,

Though her look is like a dagger.

 

She will stand her ground below,

Quick to flee if she must go.

Jay the bully squawks a lot,

Manners are what he has not.

 

Gentle Goldie waits him out,

Has no need to screech and shout.

Jay gets bored and leaves the scene,

Goldie breathes, once more serene.


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Lincoln is Bullied

Ooh! Look at the stash of sunflower seeds Anneli put out for me today!

Darn it all. There’s that nasty Estelle the Steller’s jay. She’s got quite a beak on her. I’ll just watch her out of the corner of my eye.

I’m being cool, having a drink of water, as if I’m not worried in the slightest. That’s the only way to keep those bullies at bay. You have to pretend they don’t scare you at all.

But oh my gosh. It’s going to be that kind of day. Look who’s hovering around. That Emma looks sweet, but she can be vicious when it comes to us squirrels. Still, I’m not scared of her … very much. I’d just bite her in that cute nose of hers.

Come down here and say that, Lincoln. I dare ya.

Oh no. I see Estelle edging closer … and that mutt is still hovering. Things are just getting a bit too hot around here. Think I’ll have to abandon lunch and come back later.

You had this all to yourself, Lincoln. Time you learned to share!

And don’t stand there gawking at me while I eat or I’ll fly up there and peck you in YOUR nose.

Yikes! It’s getting just a wee tad uncomfy around here. Think it’s time to skedaddle.

“I’ll be back … ya bullies!”


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Six Weeks?

On February 2, Punxsutawney Phil, the official groundhog weather forecaster, dashed back into his burrow because he saw his shadow, and thus predicted six more weeks of winter.

“Ugh! You’ve got to be kidding me,” says the Steller’s jay.  “Six more WEEEEEEKS!”

I felt the same way, and have been waiting (im)patiently for spring to come, and today I realized that six weeks must soon be up.

March 16 should be the last groundhog-predicted day of winter. So I expect spring to happen the next day.

One more week!

I’ll be looking for signs of spring for my next post. Are you finding any where you are?


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Christmas Acrostic

Merry Christmas!

My effort at a double acrostic forced me to forego the rhyme factor, but I’ve tried to put together a Christmas message, using the first and last letters, read downwards. If we keep these things in mind, maybe we’ll help to improve someone’s life just a little bit.

And before you ask, no, it didn’t snow here, except up in the hills. This varied thrush visited the feeder a couple of years ago, but he looked so pretty on the snow, I wanted to put him in this post.

Knowing Yule is cominG,
It's time to trim the treE,
Now that I am senior, and the claN,
Depends on mE.
Need to fill the lardeR,
Extra goodie-food will be, sO,
Special in the coming dayS,
So smile and so will I.  
(Yikes! Where's the rhyme? Gone to the North Pole.)
And when it comes to Christmas nighT,
No stores will open staY,
Done with shopping, all's class A,
Good times at home remaiN.
If Christmas music fills our minD,
Vast troubles leave us alL,
In giving freely, as we dO
No need for price on luV.
Good will's enough and that is freE.

Ta-dah-dahdah-deedee.

Merry Christmas even without snow.
Ho-ho-h-h-h-h! I think I see Santa!

Y’all have a wonderful Christmas time, y’hear?

And don’t pay too much attention to what those birds say. Their jabbering is for the birds.


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Birds at Vernon Lake

We parked our trailer and unloaded the skiff to have it ready for use at the edge of Vernon Lake.

The campsite was visited by many birds. Here are only a few of them. Many stayed hidden though they sang their hearts out all day.

This is a hairy woodpecker. I thought at first it was a downy, which looks very similar, but the hairy woodpecker has a much heavier and longer beak than the downy.

One of the birds I heard a lot, was Swainson’s thrush. I love the song he sings, “You’re pretty, you’re pretty, oh really.” But he is very elusive and I couldn’t get a photo of him.

He’s a very plain version of an immature robin but without any hint of black or red. If you click on this link you’ll see a photo on the bird site: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Swainsons_Thrush/id

Next to visit, was a Steller’s jay, but I almost mistook him for something else. He is a bit pale and scruffy, and this has me wondering if it is an immature bird.

Below, we have the red-breasted sapsucker, probably the very one I took pictures of for a previous post. He was hanging around the campsite the whole time we were there.

And no wonder! He has already made quite an investment in this tree, sipping sap and nabbing insects.

But do you see what I see? Circling the tree just below the chipped bark is a nasty looking petrified snake. I think he’s guarding the dinner table for the sapsucker.

You won’t see me trying to get near him. He looks mean. Is that blood on his lips?


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Lincoln Guards his Lunch

It’s snowing furiously and the wind has made a mess of the yard, littering it with fir branches.

It’s cold enough to freeze the hummingbird feeders. I alternate between two of them, thawing one in a jug of warm water while the other is available to the birds.

The squirrels, Lincoln and Della, have been getting walnuts (partially shelled) and sunflower seeds. But now the jays have discovered the goodies in the woodshed and are giving the squirrels competition.

The video below is about a minute long. I took it from inside the house through the window. The snow is blurring the scene as much as my dirty dining room window is, but I didn’t want to miss the show. It’s not Oscar quality, but it might be mildly entertaining to watch as Lincoln defends his lunch.


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The Chill Moves In

Mrs. Flicker is in a panic.

“Did you say the ‘S’ word? Did you say snow?”

 

The Steller’s jay mouths off as usual.

“Oh, I highly doubt that!”

The rufous-sided towhee is trying to be cool. Soon he’ll wish he weren’t quite so cool.

“Now what did I tell you about that? Getting the flocks all alarmed over something that may not even happen?!”

 

The hummingbird, also rufous, is hungry.

“I’m not taking any chances. Anneli doesn’t put this food out just because she’s bored. I think she’s trying to be sure we don’t starve.”

 

The chestnut-backed chickadee gets busy, eating all he can.

“Me too! I’m eating my breakfast to build up my strength. It’s dee-dee-dee-damned c-c-cold and it might snow.”

Above him, the nuthatch is getting impatient.

“Will ya hurry up, Chickie? There’s not much time before that hog, the starling moves in, and I haven’t had a turn at the suet block yet —– Oh too late. Here he comes, the bully!”

 

The starling isn’t shy. Far from it!

“Errr-hem! Move out you little squirts. That suet is mine, all mine.”

The golden-crowned sparrow does his best, singing about spring, but finally I heard him admit,

“I don’t think it’s working. I might have to move south — and fast!”

 

I hope the birds are wrong, but it sure feels like it will snow. I remember how cold and snowy it was last January, so I have plenty of birdseed and suet on hand, and of course I have walnuts and sunflower seeds for Lincoln and Della.

Last January! Brrrrrrr….

But someday it will be spring again.

(No, don’t get excited. This photo is from last May. I just wanted to remind myself that this cold weather won’t last forever.)