Saturday, January 25, 2014

For beauty in winter, look to the birds...

A Carolina Chickadee perched in a bare tree amid plummeting temperatures and snow flurries embodies winter's beauty...

A head-on photo of a Carolina Chickadee (Poecile carolinesis) in the snow. The cold doesn't seem to bother this tough little winter bird!
A Carolina Chickadee (Poecile carolinensis) in the snow. 
Chickadees are fluffy little balls of beauty. They are spritely and chipper and their flank and belly feathers, washed in soft winter whites, creams, and buffs, are a subtle complement to the season. Coal-black caps and bibs contrast dramatically with their white cheeks, creating a target that draws the eye in...almost like an X marking the spot. It's good design! ...and it's welcome beauty in winter.

In a snowstorm, a chickadee looks up at the snowflakes. It holds on tightly to a branch as it braces against the cold arctic breeze.
A chickadee looks up as snowflakes whip past on a strong arctic breeze. The chickadee takes it all in stride with nary a feather out of place...impeccably dressed in a classic winter palette. 

chickadee in the winter
While cold winds rage, a chickadee will still sing out its happy and cheerful song. The sound of those sweet notes cutting through cold and gray days is soothing and hopeful, and its magic adds to the bird's charm and beauty. I never tire of hearing a chickadee's sassy chatter. I bet if they did a scientific study, researchers would find a chickadee's call lowers cortisol levels in humans...Chiggy Therapy (sign me up)! 

Beauty in winter is not hard to find when you look to the birds.

...a tiny tilt of the head amplifies the cute ratio of this bird. Chiggy...are you playing with us? If you are, don't stop! 

The Polar Vortex
...what a winter this has been! Rick just told me they are forecasting 17 below zero Monday night. So far, our birds seem to be weathering this arctic blast very well, but we haven't hit 17 below yet. We are worried about our Carolina Wrens. In our area, Carolina Wrens are susceptible to extreme cold and may not survive. These southern wrens have expanded their range north, so they are not equipped to survive long arctic snaps like we are having now. As I was writing this, however, our little Carolina Wren appeared outside the window as if he wanted to put my heart at ease. He sang out his happy song and seems to be faring well in the sub-zero temps we have endured so far. I hope he can weather the incredible cold headed our way.

Click here to go to the Great Backyard Bird Count data page that details the Carolina Wren's shifting range. The last die-off was back in 1977-78. It took 10 years for the Carolina Wren's population to restore to current numbers. That was also the winter we lost all of our Bobwhites.

Click here for an article in The Nature Conservancy that lists other animals at risk from the arctic temperatures riding in on the Polar Vortex.

...on the brighter side, the extreme cold of the polar vortex might wipe out emerald ash borer larvae. Click here to read an article about it. To read about the dangers of the invasive emerald ash borer to native ash trees, click here.


Janice K said...

They have such a sweet disposition...Along with the Titmouse, they tend to be the first to announce whenever you fill the feeders. I guess they just like to share.

TexWisGirl said...

i love those tiny things - and i do hope your carolinas make it.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful shots with him in the snow!

Montanagirl said...

They are the sweetest little birds! Lovely photos, Kelly.

Warren Baker said...

Nice images of that Titmouse Kelly :-)

Our winter has been remarkably warm - but dismally grey and wet (almost like our summers!)

Barely even had a frost so far, I hope it doesn't decide to get cold in the spring :-(

Lois Evensen said...

What little sweethearts. I sure hope the cold doesn't hurt any of them. I am watching it from afar right now, as you know. I check in to the security cameras at home every day and see how cold it is when our dogs make really fast potty trips outside and literally tip toe through the very cold ice and snow.

Sunday greetings from Port Canaveral,

Roy Norris said...

Although not great for them, but small birds like the Chickadee make a nice image in such snowy conditions Kelly.
We are getting the ongoing, but melted down version of your Polar vortex, thanks Kelly.{:))

Tammie Lee said...

such lovely little birds!
amazing how well they can fair in winter weather.

Elaine said...

Lovely Chickadee shots! They always do well in the cold weather. I can always count on seeing them in the winter. We've been having better weather than you this January.

Kelly said...

...thanks, everyone! Chickadees are my favorite birds. I love their chatter and they cute little faces.

...happy to report the Carolina Wren is still alive and well in our yard. I saw him today...thank goodness!

E said...

Beautiful, great little treasure of Nature. Love it.
I found this...