Birding sustains

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Male Red-bellied Woodpecker (left)

Male Red-bellied Woodpecker (left)

Eurasian Tree Sparrow (left)

Eurasian Tree Sparrow (left)

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In the Pileated Woods.

In the Pileated Woods.

Pileated Woodpecker hole.

Pileated Woodpecker hole.

June made the summit!

June made the summit!

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Purl photobomb; this dog loves to sled.

Purl photobomb; this dog loves to sled.

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It’s been cold.  Cold.  COLD.  Tree limbs rattling in the wind sounded like popping fireworks the cold has been so cold.  Beyond frigid, we entered into intense arctic cold.  It felt algid outside for over a week thanks to the winds which pushed daytime temps to around -20’F & nightime temps a further 10-15 degrees south.  Just too cold.

Last week consisted of an early out, no school, no school, late start, & ended with a late start.  Mostly due to the cold, but Tuesday’s no school resulted from over 6 inches of snowfall the night prior.  Then the wind blew most of it away.  The woodlands are well-supplied with snow now.  Open spaces are fairly barren & there’s been zero melting.

The kids & I accomplished very little last week.  We watched birds from inside the house using our scope & binoculars several hours total each day.  Birding kept us sane!  We had a new species visit our feeder–Eurasian Tree Sparrows, invasive birds released into the Saint Louis area prior to the 1900s.  The species hasn’t spread too far beyond its release area, but apparently there are established populations in Iowa.  Coralee & I were a bit giddy initially to spot a new species, but the feeling wore off once we realized it was here to stay.  Not the nicest birds.  The Hairy Woodpeckers & Blue Jays take little of the Eurasians’ attitude, but it bullies the chickadees, native sparrows, nuthatches, & Downy Woodpeckers at our feeders.  An unwanted guest for certain.

On Sunday the entire family ventured outside in the late afternoon & explored the woods on our southern boundary.  We’ve renamed the area ‘Pileated Woods’ as the older kids discovered Pileated Woodpecker holes along the creek!  I have only ever sighted a Pileated once on our property, about five years ago.  The holes look fresh & Pileated Woodpecker pairs stay together in the same location year-round, so Coralee is devising a plan to locate the individual(s) soon.  Exciting!

June enjoyed climbing on her hands & knees up & down the bank along the creek.  Everyone, including one of the dogs, went sledding right before dark down the front hills.  Brian & I skied (with June on my back) twice this weekend across the alfalfa field–the trail is mostly grass now.  Window birding has been the mainstay around here as of late.

How do you pass the time indoors when it’s truly disagreeable beyond your windows?

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7 thoughts on “Birding sustains

  1. That is so neat that you guys have a scope and can really get to see them that close. Well Ruby, because of you I have made a bird “bar”- yes. Added some tree limbs with leaves to our porch and hung up suet we have bowls and plates filled with bird food- all they have to do is belly up to the bar. We have all sorts of wonderful entertainment…(Cat TV for Mimi) 2 types of wood peckers and the latest have been 3 pheasants ON OUR PORCH !!!!
    ( how cool is that) It’s been the best winter ever so fun to see the birds.
    Sorry to hear that it is bitter cold- no fun. It just passed us 2 weeks ago and we are now enjoying ski weather with milder temps. We usually drink gallons of tea and cocoa, read, board games and get major cabin fever……Wishing you a warmer week ahead.
    xo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your bird bar sounds well-planned, Camilla, & that’s awesome! I am extremely happy to hear you had PHEASANTS at your bar?!!?!? On your porch?!!! Amazing! Pheasants are on a downward spiral here in the Midwest, along with grouse. I did spot quite a few near our home last year, but none yet so far this year. I would love to know what species of woodpeckers you have spotted? Truth be told, I am thrilled & humbled to know that I inspired you to become a backyard bird watcher–warms my heart.

      I hear ya about the cabin fever…it’s been a crazy week here! I think tomorrow begins some milder temps for us, too, with calls for mid-40s by week’s end…just wow. Happy skiing this week!

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  2. Pileated woods – now that sounds a place just waiting to be visited again and again. Funny, my eldest was just out (snowshoeing!) this morning and came back with reports of seeing one. We have a number of them in the area but I have spotted one for months. I feel strangely connected to this bird – maybe it is my experiences in parenting (tapping away over and over and over). I’m sure you and your children know this bird’s pre-historic origins, so fascinating. Wishing you many more happy hours spent birding – hopefully more in the Pileated woods than indoors 🙂 xo

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    • I love to hear of others birding experiences! Snowshoeing & a Pileated sighting sounds like a morning very well spent. The Pileated is most definitely a very complex, enchanting bird. Its tongue is amazing! Neither Coralee nor my husband have ever seen one, so we’re quite determined to locate our local resident. I like how you compare the endless motions of the woodpecker to parenting…it will all pay off enormously in the end no matter the obstacles today. xx

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  3. Pingback: Winter read, winter walk | Being Bodeker

  4. Beautiful post, Rubes! Loved loved the pics, especially of your smiling husband on the sled! And the one of Merritt with my favorite hat on his head! Miss you all! Love, Mom

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