How do our fine-feathered friends withstand the snow and cold?

We just got hit with a couple of back-to-back snowstorms, bringing back painful memories of last winter here in the Northeast (four feet of snow!). I love to feed the birds and have often wondered how they survive blizzard-like conditions.

Just to show how wonderful creation can be, here is a very informative article about how birds survive storms. They may appear to be small and helpless, but obviously their Creator has equipped them well for survival.

Bryce Mullet Winter Robin
Bryce Mullet Winter Robin, Flickr Creative Commons

Here’s a tease:

With threats of a monster blizzard barreling towards the Northeast this weekend, many people are stocking up on supplies and planning movie marathons. But how will the birds survive the storm? The answer is threefold: Location, preparation, and adaptation.

Shelter in Place

When bad weather hits, birds generally seek shelter in microhabitats, such as inside a thick hedge, or on the downwind side of a tree—in this case, being petite has its advantages. Hunkering down in these spots can protect them from wind, rain, and even cold (it’s warmer closer to the ground). Birds that nest in cavities, including woodpeckers, bluebirds, and chickadees, can also hide out in their tree holes.

Click here to continue reading.

If you’ve never fed birds before in the winter, give it a try! You can be surprised with some amazing visitors:

bluebird on suet-640
Rare February visit of the Eastern Bluebird (5 of them came to the feeders!)

As you can imagine, this made me quite late for work! 🙂 God’s creation is a wonderful thing.

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Opening my eyes to winter

I used to hate the winter.

The cold (and the subsequent heavy clothes). The darkness. The snow. The ice. The silence. And how difficult it can be to get around.

I used to hate winter.

Until I read The Outermost House by Henry Beston.

For now I will just elude to it because I am reading it for a second time and taking copious notes, some of which I promise to share in future posts.

I simply want to share that Beston’s observations about the arctic bird migrations observed on the outer shores of Cape Cod in the middle of cold and dark January were enough to inspire me to give winter another chance.

Life does go on, even in the cold and darkness.

Silence does not necessarily mean an absence of life.

Those of you who read this blog regularly know of my lunchtime walks. I work in Wellesley, Massachusetts, a town with the vision to set aside beautiful walking trails in the heart of the town center. I have been walking regularly since the spring and still find new places to go.

My favorite trail is the Brook Path. The town cleared the path of snow and I was able to enjoy a gorgeous and crisp winter’s day walking past the brook. And I realized it’s just as beautiful in its own way in the cold of winter as it is in the warmth of summer.

winter summer 3

The sun, of course, is in a much lower position during the winter and with the absence of leaves on the trees, dances on the water in a most delightful way.

summer winter

There is a greater force in the flow of the water because of the melting snow. At times it nearly rushes despite the small size of the brook.

summer winter2

There are wonderful sensations in the winter. That crunching sound under your feet as you walk. The glistening snow. And the sweet silence.

Walking introduced me to all these things and Henry Beston’s book gave me the impetus to give winter a try. The cold no longer bothers me; movement takes care of that.

I am so grateful that I can find beauty in winter. It’s very different from the carefree summer breezes, fluttering leaves and the air filled with singing birds. It’s quiet and stark, the lines somehow clearer.

Winter is a beautiful thing.

This quote from Henry David Thoreau says it all:

“It has been a glorious winter day, its elements so simple,—the sharp clear air, the white snow everywhere covering the earth, and the polished ice. Cold as it is, the sun seems warmer on my back even than in summer, as if its rays met with less obstruction. And then the air is so beautifully still; there is not an insect in the air, and hardly a leaf to rustle.” Henry David Thoreau

And when I finish  The Outermost House, I will share some of the most beautiful and poetic writing about the natural world that I have ever encountered.

Stay tuned …

Click to Tweet & Share: Opening my eyes to winter, thanks to The Outermost House by Henry Beston

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The aftermath of Superstorm Sandy

This is what happened to us … and yet I feel blessed.

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We knew this tree would fall. In the last post I showed how one half of the tree fell during a microburst. The tree that fell yesterday was leaning east and the wind came from the east. Inevitable.

It so happens our neighbor cuts up trees for firewood and he came right over and dug in. God is good.

I do feel blessed when I see the unending tweets of all that has happened in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Twitter was my lifeline yesterday after the power went out, keeping me connected with the rest of the world.

Because my son lives in Brooklyn, I was paying special attention and was horrified when I read of the fire at Breezy Point on the Rockaway penisula that wiped out 80-100 homes, homes that had already been flooded! Seeing the photos of streams of water flowing into subway tunnels and streets reminded me of the suffering that New Yorkers will be enduring over the next few weeks.

New Jersey took the direct hit and Atlantic City was totally flooded. Details, I’m sure, will be forthcoming on the extensive damage in that state.

Last night I was glued to my emergency radio listening to the Connecticut governor who was beside himself over the catastrophic flooding taking place on the southern side of the state.

I couldn’t pray with words. All I could do was depend upon the Spirit to supply the prayers for me as I thought of the suffering going on because of Hurricane Sandy.

It is good that God will supply us with all we need, including the prayers to pray for others.

How did you make out?

Click to Tweet & Share: The aftermath of Sandy – why I feel blessed

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Tweets of the Week: kayaks, scenery, cats, weather, birds … take your pick!


In an effort to invite as many as I can to visit Be as One, I maintain an account on Twitter (and you can follow my tweets in the side bar – there’s a link where you can follow me). I’m following several interesting people and organizations and thought that on a regular basis, I would share interesting tweets and links with you.

Here are this week’s Tweets of the Week:


from Kenn Kaufman ‏@KennKaufman
Roger Tory Peterson artwork going up for auction soon. The background story

and from Wild Birds Unlimited ‏@WildBirdsUnlmtd
Funny bald Blue Jay – Wordless Wednesday – Don’t Speak with your Mouth Full

Click to Tweet & Share: Tweets of the Week: kayaks, scenery, cats, weather, birds … take your pick!

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