Sunday, January 11, 2015

A Bright Spot

"Black-capped Chickadee"
photograph - © Bruce A. Morrison
(click on image for a larger view)

We don't get many Chickadees here on the acreage as we are somewhat removed from the timber that stands in the valley below to our SE.  We did have a pair or two when we first moved here in 2002 but West Nile disease had made its appearance in NW Iowa a year or two earlier and swept through the populations of certain birds...curiously, the Chickadees were one of those affected. (Crows and Blue Jays were other known victims) 

Occasionally through recent years we might have one in the yard for a few days, but they inevitably leave.  I presumed we didn't keep them because their numbers were down and they were likely seeking other Chickadees to associate with.

Black-capped Chickadee numbers have rebounded significantly in NW Iowa now and we're lucky again this winter to hear their cheery songs...its one bird I can imitate and talk to, and Chickadees are actually one of the songbirds that are not terribly skittish around people.  

I remember years ago on the north shore of Lake Superior at our small cabin, walking the paths we grubbed out to the lake shore...being followed by a small group of Black-capped Chickadees.  They seemed most curious about me and flitted along with me as I walked - all within arm's reach.  It was mesmerizing and quite uplifting!  I talked with them and they seemed fascinated by this "Big" bird on two legs, talking back to me as well.  

We're very lucky to have a pair of Chickadees this winter here.  On mornings when its well below zero and even with a stiff breeze - there is always one bird song cheering us all on - our Black-capped Chickadees!


Thursday, January 8, 2015

Winter's Return

"Male House Finch and Snowfall"
photograph - © Bruce A. Morrison
(click on image for a larger view) 
Its 2015 and winter has once again returned to Prairie Hill Farm.  Today we're in a ground blizzard warning; a few minutes ago the house was "gone" in the blowing snow, but now I can see it again.  The winter wind is creating the ambient sounds that envelop the studio, making me shiver!
The birds are feeding as best they can; they seem to be finding it difficult to stay stationary on the ground against the 45-50mph wind.  Whatever I put out for them takes flight as soon as it hits the tray or ground.
I took this photograph of a male House Finch a couple days back during a 7-8 inch snowfall.  Today that snow is blowing into the next county and the Finch is likely spending this day hanging on for dear life!
I hope this first blog of the year finds you doing well, staying warm and looking forward to a promising new year!  Stay warm!