Ode to the birds of winter

In the bleak midwinter Frosty wind made moan, Earth stood hard as iron, Water like a stone; Snow had fallen, snow on snow, Snow on snow, In the bleak midwinter, Long ago.
Christina G Rossetti

Ode to the birds.
They are lively busy creatures offering constant fascination and entertainment. A marvel of agility, their tiny, almost weightless, structures coupled with a most beautiful plumage, makes them a favorite of both the trained, as well as the casual, observer.

Man has spent most of his existence wishing that he too could be a free as the birds, soaring upward and heavenward.
It is even theorized that perhaps it is to the birds we should look when wishing to understand the mysteries of the dinosaurs.

The following images are of just a few the backyard residence and guests which call our yard either home or hotel. . .

Here are two different images of a northern flicker. Both the red bellied woodpecker and the northern flicker are native to this area. Both birds are very similar in appearance and make for interesting observation.

Flickers like digging for bugs and insects be it in the ground or on a tree. This particular flicker is burrowing down in the snowy ground looking for what may be lurking just under the snow. Both flickers and red bellied woodpeckers will readily feed from suspended bird feeders, preferring larger seeds, peanuts and dried fruit.
Up against a tree, the flicker acts very much like his kin the more common woodpecker, poking around for insects.

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Mystery in the snow. . .
Note the outline of spread wings and tail.
Might this be a snow angel of sorts?
Followed by, for some small rodent no doubt, a scene of something most wickedly fowl / foul.
Finally, we spy the perpetrator perched high within the cover of the trees—the stealthy red shouldered hawk.

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Here, gathered underneath the feeder, is a grouping of sparrows and what I thought to be a visiting Baltimore Oriole but was recently corrected (12/12/14) that the bird is actually an Eastern Towhee.

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As usual, the permeant resident of the yard, our mockingbird

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And of course the beautiful contrast of the brightly colored male red cardinal against the pristine snow. Note the myriad of bird tracks all through the snow surrounding the cardinal.

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Just passing through

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To Hear an Oriole Sing

To hear an Oriole sing
May be a common thing–
Or only a divine.

It is not of the Bird
Who sings the same, unheard,
As unto Crowd–

The Fashion of the Ear
Attireth that it hear
In Dun, or fair–

So whether it be Rune,
Or whether it be none
Is of within.

The “Tune is in the Tree–”
The Skeptic–showeth me–
“No Sir! In Thee!”

Emily Dickinson

Orioles are transit springtime guests to my yard. Seeing this one yesterday was a real treat.