Thursday, December 16, 2010

"And They Say We Have 'Bird' Brains"

The little yellow-rumped warblers are back. Posted by Picasa

"I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December
A magical thing
And sweet to remember.

'We are nearer to Spring
Than we were in September,'
I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December."

~ Oliver Herford, I Heard a Bird Sing
It has been an unusual December indeed. Two snowfalls, granted each was just a dusting, less than a half an inch; but for this area near the coastal waters and the warming Gulf Stream, snow of any sort is unusual and hardly ever seen in December. Our huge, snow of a decade last year, came in at ten inches but it came towards the end of January. This year the temperatures have been much lower, especially in the last three weeks. Last Saturday it was almost balmy and reached 49 degrees. So I started the cleaning of the outside hot tub and as I had it half-way drained, the drizzle began and the temperature fell and then the outright rain came. It was to be below freezing by Monday so I had to get it done. Nyssa was coming home and I wanted it ready to use. It wasn't dirty, really, but two small tree frogs had taken up residence this fall and it took me a while to capture them and "relocate" them to an actual tree out in the swamp/forest behind the house. Somehow the thought of getting in the water once occupied by two adorable but slimy tree frogs was more than even my hardened sensitivities could bear. By the time the cleaning was finished, I was drenched and cold and ready for a nice hot electric blanket in a cold room.

At the corner of the deck with the hot tub, I have a curved hanger that holds a basket of flowers and a hummingbird feeder during the summer months. These have been replaced with a suet feeder and a special Christmas wreath feeder for the birds will soon join it. Several small birds have returned from their summer vacations further north, most notably, the yellow-rumped warbler. They seem to love the winter here and puff up quite admirably against the north winds. As soon as the hot weather returns in May and June, they are off.. not to be seen again until late October some years. They have such a lovely voice, but on Saturday they simply watched the crazy woman in the rain with a steamer cleaning out a tub while the rain pelted her face... probably thinking... "stupid human can't even get in out of the rain."

Tomorrow we are expecting more ice and snow followed by rain mixed with more ice.. up to three inches. This fellow is probably hoping or trying to remind me to fill the feeders before the mess starts. He is adorable, isn't he.

(end of post)


kenju said...

Three inches???? They are saying we may get a dusting or about an inch of something. I went to the grocery today, along with 300 others, to stock up for the next 2-3 days. I can't believe you thought you had to clean up after two tiny tree frogs.....LOL That's probably what the bird is saying!

RamblingWoods said...

He is adorable...and I am sure appreciates the food. I have dark-ryeds juncos and a pair of red-breasted nuthatches visting from Canada and maybe you have seen my chipping sparrows and of course the hummingbirds are probably further south...I am getting ready for Christmas too as my daughter and new fiance will be here for the holiday....Thank you for posting to Nature Notes...Michelle

ginny Hartzler said...

<span>I wish you couls have seen the big smile on my face when I saw the little warbler, how precious! I didn't know they came here in the cold weather! Can't imagine why! You are going to make yourself sick, you need to take care of yourself and get out of the rain! Dr. Oz just said that doing stuff like that lowers your immune system.</span>

fairchildstreet said...

so sweet. Charmaine

Beverly said...

Oh my, your weather.  Sarah is "paranoid" as she says about driving today.  I translate that as "terrified."  I'll be worried about her all afternoon and evening unitl I know she got home safely.

Sandra said...

i have to admit, i just MIGHT have been thinking the same thing as that adorable little yellow bird. WOW out in that cold CLEANING? and you get in a hot tub in the winter time? in the snow and ice? adorable bird and wild story. enjoy her stay

Carver said...

What a sweet shot of the little bird. This has definitely been a cold December. The freezing rain we're having now bothers me a lot more than snow. I like a nice fluffy snow but not as happy with ice.

Col said...

These lovely little birds certainly light up the cold and grey that is winter.   Love your photo!

Denise said...

He certainly is adorable and so is this photo.