Monday, March 25, 2013

A REDBIRD SNOW

It did snow last night, after all—four or possibly even five inches which covered the ground and stuck to branches and twigs in fluffy wet cottony clumps. Really lovely, as I hope you can tell from an upstream view taken an hour ago, and another shot from earlier out my deskside window looking downriver.


Not a problem snow, however. The stuff was too wet, barely below freezing. Great for fashioning snowballs and snowmen, but you'd quickly soak your clothing making a snow-angel. Myladylove had no trouble getting her Honda up the short-but-steep driveway hill to the road, much to her great disappointment. She'd been hoping for a snow day off from work…or at the very least, a snow delay.


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

12 comments:

Gail said...

Hi Grizz - great pictures. Duh, what else is new, right? I love the snow on the river. Love it. And the birds, so brave and beautiful against that back drop of Winter's holding on. Here too as we brace for WIntry mix, soon to fade in to sunny days ahead and temps in the 50's & sunny for the Easter weekend. Hallelujah'
Love to you
Gail
peace...
so good to have you stop by my place, thanks.

George said...

Truly magnificent photos, Grizz. If there is anything lovelier than majestic cardinals on snow-covered tree limbs, I don't know what it is. If you're looking for perfect design in nature, this would have to be it!

Grizz………… said...

Gail…

Thank you. I, too, love the snowy river, though I'd have loved it more the week before Christmas…Easter seems a bit late. Sooner or later, however, spring in fact rather than mere technicality will arrive! Patience, patience, patience…

Grizz………… said...

George…

I wholeheartedly concur! There's something about a redbird all puffed up and tucked into a snow-covered bush that just looks perfect…wintry, cheery, maybe even a little homespun. An old-fashioned scene that's almost a cliche, yet never fails to delight.

Debbie said...

It was so beautiful here,I could not help but send it your way. It won't last too long but it was awfully nice coming down. Best one we had all winter, and we need the moisture! Good job of photos. Notice how nicely our birds are showcased with a backdrop of white! Hope your enjoy your Easter...HE HAS RISEN! :D
Debbie

Grizz………… said...

Debbie…

Thank you for thinking of me re. snow…it was beautiful while it lasted. Which is now pretty much over except for some bits and patches—nothing to amount to much. The ground is mostly brown except for green grass. Not the verdant, vernal green of new growth I'll see in a couple of weeks, but the duller, darker green of holdover grass which has just enjoyed as snow bath.

You're right, too, on the how lovely the birds always loop against a snowy backdrop. I guess because this most colorless of all "colors" allows their plumage, even the most subtle hues, to be almost intensely revealed.

Happy and glorious Easter to you and yours. HE IS RISEN, INDEED!

Jennifer A. Jilks said...

I'm with your mom! We have few around here. Thanks for sharing your photos!

Grizz………… said...

Jennifer…

Yes, I share Mom's delight in seeing cardinals against the snow…or pretty much anywhere, anytime, for that matter. An ol' redbird adding his bright-scarlet daub can improve almost every scene.

Robin said...

I love the sixth photo. It's just so plain, pure and yet vibrant.

I've often wondered where my new found love of birds comes from... it having shown up so late in life. Maybe it was from my grandmother who adored Cardinals and watched them from her kitchen window as they devoured the food she put into their feeder.

This morning I had to be at work at 6 a.m. It was still dark as I trudged to the car and a Cardinal was singing his heart out in the dark. I mean, he might as well have had a boom box.

I opened my sunroof and as I drove through the close, urban streets.... at every stop sign I heard yet another Cardinal and one Robin.

For me, Spring comes close to healing the heart. Thank you for sharing yours.

~R

Grizz………… said...

Robin…

I have no doubt your grandmother might, indeed, have planted a love of birds which simply lay dormant for a while. Kids are like fine prairie earth…fully capable of tucking such tiny seeds away, deep in their dark, rich earth, holding it close and safe, waiting, waiting, until one day when something mysterious, profound, and vastly beyond our scientific understanding calls…at which point that still-living thing within the seed pushes up, finds its way into light, begins to blossom.

Think of it this way—sometimes we have to grow into a legacy, mature enough to appreciate and earn our heritage. We're exposed to way more wisdom, and way more wonder in our lives than we ever realize.

Cardinals are the first birds I hear singing most mornings. They think nothing of cutting loose way before sunrise—loud and cheery, for all the world to hear and enjoy. Healing music. Singing redbirds speak of joy and love and hope—they announce that spring is here, the best of all seasons, and that life is a gift worth living.

Happy Easter!

Arija said...

Your pictures and words of your mother are heartwrenchingly beautiful Grizz.

Grizz………… said...

Arija

Thank you. It looks a lot different here today…no snow, mid-50s˚F, sunshine, and stuff starting to bloom. Really springlike. Love it! Mom would have, too.