Saturday, January 21, 2006

Last Night I Dreamed of Birds

The temperature here yesterday hit a high of more than 8C. We still had some snow in spite of days of above freezing temperatures, but it was going fast yesterday. And the only bird that came to the feeder was a mourning dove that's been hanging around acting strangely. I suspect it isn't well. So I went for a walk to see if anyone was around. A handful of chickadees met me in the cedar bush and followed me across the far field.

A picture from a couple of weeks ago in the cedar bush--even more green growth in the water now.

And there were a couple of blue jays in the bush as well--strangely furtive and behaving in unusual ways. I mistook them both for other things--a thrush seen in the distance traversing the ground, and a flying squirrel scuttling across and swooping through the branches above me. Jays both times. The flying squirrel illusion was particularly unsettling. After I saw the jay I kept on looking for the squirrel I was sure must be occupying the same space--though they say that's a logical impossibility.

So not without its perceptual interest, but that's not many birds. Not a cardinal, a robin, a goldfinch, a junco, a crow, a tree sparrow, or a snowy owl to be seen.

So last night I dreamed of a great horned owl, and even better, four or five birds of a species I didn't recognize. Maybe the size of an evening grosbeak, sturdy birds, with delicate markings, rich browns predominantly. A bird I've seen a picture of somewhere perhaps. But what it put me in mind of was the Asian koel I read about on the Bird Ecology Study Group blog out of Singapore recently. Not that it looked like that exactly--rather it may have been a dream bird inspired by that bird.

This morning it was raining. But then the rain turned to snow!

It was snowing quite hard when I took this. But I was standing on a patch of green grass on the south side of a large spruce.

When the snowfall lightened, but before the sun came out, the birds came back. No juncos or tree sparrows, but goldfinches, chickadees, and woodpeckers swarmed the feeders.

Downy on Suet

The sun did come out, and the temperature hovered around the freezing mark, maintaining most of the 4 or 5 cm of new snow. The birds left again.


Duncan said...

I wish I dreamed of birds Pamela, with me it's usually work. We'd like some of your coolness over here, at the moment it's 42+ in the carport, that's 108 Fahrenheit, with a nasty nor-wester blowing. Bad fire weather.

Pamela Martin said...

42! Here we are laid out flat if the temperature goes above 30. I hope the fires don't come.

Dave Dorsey said...

I agree with Pamela. If it gets above 80°F here, we're complaining. During summer 65°F is nice. Right now it's 11°F with snow warnings.