Bird Time

October is over; the dull, drab, lifeless woods that once were all dressed in fall golden colors are now quieted by the snow that has fallen - leaving everything white since the beginning of October. I knew with all the rain we received over this summer we would get early snow. My walk through the woods leaves me with only a few sounds of falling leaves hitting the ground in the ruslting of the wind. Distant sounds of chickadees calling out brings music to my ears. Since I love watching and photographing birds, I know how a lot of my time is going to be spent over this long winter.

One of my daily routines is to top off all of my bird feeders, fill the holes in the birch trees with suet for the many woodpeckers that visit the cabin. It is now bird time for me until spring. I, like many of you all, enjoy the beauty of watching and identifying the variety of birds that visit my cabin in da woods. It's free entertainment. The joy I receive watching them fly in and poke around either on the ground or off the feeders is sometimes overwhelming. Chickadees, always one of my favorites - as they are not shy and will feed right out of my hand, fly in fast grab a seed and off they go. Where as new to the cabin this year are the Pine Grosbeaks - both males and females. I find if I remain still I am able to get rather close to them to get a decent picture to add to my bird gallery. I get both types of woodpeckers to my feeders; both the hairy and downy woodpeckers, the only difference between them being their beaks and the size (the hairy is bigger). Still to get up close to them and watch how they peck away on the birch tree seeking out the suet I have left them, could almost leave you with a headache the way their heads hammer away at the holes to get their fill. I find I spend on the average about 4 hours outside observing and photographing the birds that choose to visit on a daily basis. After that I am ready for the warmth of the fireplace and my rocker.

Not a day doesn't go by that I don't watch the visiting birds. How many of you know that the birding hobby and everything that goes into that; from the bird books we all purchase to binoculars, bird seed we buy to suet cakes, all the bird feeders and bird houses we buy is a billion dollar industry. True fact. My grandparent's were big into watching the birds everywhere they traveled. I kept all of their bird books containing their field notes as to what birds they saw and in what states they visited. As a young lad growing up I did not realize this is what my grandparent's were bestowing upon me. Many years later I have their bird books as well as the binoculars they both used, reading their field notes dating back to the middle 1940s. I am so grateful for this gift they both have left me. Now I to carry that very same passion for the birds. Whether here in Alaska or in New Mexico, North Dakota and from Upper Michigan to Florida over the winter months, watching and identifying; photographing the birds is so very much a part of my life as it should be yours as well. Think of the pleasure it gives you when your favorite bird lands on the feeder. Quickly reaching for your favorite pair of binoculars to bring you in close for a better view. I suppose it is like anything else we are all into whether it be sports - mountain biking, hunting, hiking out thee ole trail to our favorite place. What each of us puts into our passion, is what we get back in enjoyment that much more. So I hope you all enjoy my bird gallery that I have put together for you, just some of the many varieties of birds I see daily at my feeders. I would hope all of you are keeping your bird feeders full for your visting birds over this winter where ever you are. As always I enjoy talking about the birds with many of you I know here locally, as well as sharing the bird pictures each of us have taken. Keep the birding passion going my friends, our season is just starting.

See you on down the trail somewhere...

Buford T. Porcupine


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