Naturally, the birds have been busy at the feeders since daybreak—especially the cardinals. How my mother would have enjoyed seeing them. She loved birds in general, but redbirds were her hands-down favorites. "Isn't that just the prettiest thing ever," she'd say when one appeared nearby.
It's impossible to accurately count cardinals when they're hungry and on the feed. Several times this morning I managed to quickly tally thirty-five or so in view at once…but that was probably not more than half. There might have just as easily been a hundred of them within a fifty-foot radius of the big box elder near the front door—males and females about evenly mixed, constantly coming and going, perching, feeding, fluttering, on the ground and stump and seed feeder, flying to and from nearby bushes, sailing and hopping, trading places with one another, occasionally squabbling.
And they were just part of the breakfasting traffic which also included chickadees, juncos, titmice, downy and hairy and red-bellied woodpeckers, a couple of robins, goldfinch, house finches, various sparrows, a handful of ill-mannered starlings, some doves, and a Carolina wren who couldn't seem to decide whether he wanted to eat or sing. I don't think I'm leaving anyone out, but it's possible—as I said, it was a rowdy, animated melee.
Still, it was the cardinals which mostly caught my eye—the scarlet males like glowing neon against the puffy white backdrop, along with their lovely ladies, subtly elegant in chestnut and crimson and buff. Too beautiful, really, for my inadequate words.
A redbird snow…and one my dear mother would have surely treasured.