Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The January sun(s)

Here we are in almost mid-January and I can just about count the hours of sunshine that we've had this month on the fingers of my two hands. It's a gray, dreary, foggy, misty, rainy, chilly, cloud-covered month of depressing sameness so far. The only suns that my garden has seen lately are these two.

This Talavera sun hangs on the fence in the sitting area in the front yard, under my beloved red oak tree.

This metal sun overlooks my backyard garden and brings a bit of cheery color to these gray days.

Winter has, in fact, arrived here at long last. Our daytime temperatures are in the 40 degrees F., a bit too chilly to be entirely comfortable sitting outside for long periods. On the night of January 7, we finally had a REAL frost when the thermometer hit 30 degrees F. That's still our low temperature for the season so far.

But if winter has finally come to my yard, the birds most definitely have not.


In past winters, by mid-January this feeder in my front yard would have been swarmed by American Goldfinches, Pine Siskins, Northern Cardinals, Chipping Sparrows, etc. Not this year. I wasn't really expecting siskins this winter, but WHERE ARE THE OTHERS? I've never experienced such an absence before. It is a very worrying phenomenon. Rachel Carson, in 1962, wrote about a Silent Spring that would come if we didn't make changes in our farming practices. I'm experiencing a silent winter, for reasons that I don't understand, and I don't like it one little bit.
    

6 comments:

  1. I don't get the variety of birds that you do ...guess it's because I'm in the city, but I have noticed a drop off of my regulars. It does bother me, too. "They" say the sun will come out for a little bit on Thursday afternoon. I'll believe it when I see it!

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    1. Several people have told me the same thing about the absence of birds this winter and it is very disturbing to me. The longer the absence continues the more disturbing it is.

      And, yes, when I see the sun, I'll believe that forecast! Meantime, I'm just glad I have my own personal suns.

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  2. It's odd that the change has been so abrupt. And across so many species.

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    1. Indeed it is. The absence of cardinals is particularly upsetting, because they are permanent residents here and normally there is a large population of them in my yard.

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  3. I have been wondering where our birds went this winter too! Usually I fill the feeders up and they swoop in and empty them in a day. This winter the feeders can stay filled for days. There is a flock of sparrows that lives in the hedgerow opposite, but even they can go missing for days. I did happen to spot a pair of cardinals the other day and my heart rejoiced!

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    1. It is just such a mystery, Jayne. I've never seen any dead birds lying around or any birds that exhibit symptoms of illness, so it seems that they are just going somewhere else. But where? What we need is a Sherlock Holmes to follow the clues.

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