Explore, Experience and Enjoy the Beautiful Smith River in Southern Virginia

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Is Spring out there anywhere?

The first day and spring seems like a long way off now. Where was all this snow back in December? I must admit the big, fluffy flakes drifting silently down were beautiful, and the arrival of a flock of slate-colored juncos on the back deck feeders reminded me just why these denizens of winter are called "snowbirds."

I had put fresh bird seed out for my feathered friends early this morning before the snows came. The Blue jays showed up first, followed by the mourning doves and goldfinches before the wet stuff started falling.
Living in Florida for the past 18 years, the arrival of "snowbirds" had a quite different connotation but the little gray and white juncos hopping from deck to the feeding stations were quite different from the "condo-commandos" that invaded the sunshine state every year.

A female hangs out on the deck, picking through spilled seed as a male junco takes a break on the railing and shakes off the snow.

Tufted titmice, black-capped chickadees and a white breasted nuthatch all had came for the party. Later on, a flash of red signaled a quick stop for a male cardinal. But the snow belonged to the juncos and they spent hours pecking through the piled up flakes to get the millet seed below, stocking up before heading north. Perhaps they'll decide to hang around a few more days...I hope the snow does not.

It's still coming down out there, even harder now, so I'll make sure to get up early and re-fill the feeders in anticipation of tomorrows lunch crowd.

Article and photos by: Brian Williams
Edited and posted by: Vicky Thomas

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