The north wind doth blow

We have snow. A lot of it. Everything is closed. The Seattle Airport is closed. Local schools and universities are closed. The temperature outside our house is 18 F. There is freezing rain falling on the roads south of here, but fortunately, though there is ice everywhere, here we have no precipitation just now. Jerry and I have not been able to take our walk for 2 days. We don’t want to risk falling.

At first when the snow begins to outline every tree and roof people flock outside with cameras. A major snowstorm in this part of the world is enough of a rarity to make an event that transforms the world we know. Every year I take pictures and then I look at last years pictures of the annual snow event and they look the same.

I worry about the birds. They are so little, and they need to eat constantly. I am putting out about 4 times as much seed and suet as I ordinarily do.

Varigated thrush

Instead of streamlined flying creatures they look like puffed out balls of feathers, trapping insulating air close to their bodies.

Chickadees at the suet feeder

I dislike starlings, but I can’t help feeling sorry for them as they camp out in the feeder looking cold and disconsolate.


Starlings are quarrelsome birds, but the cold saps some of their fighting energy, and they may share the little bit of shelter.

Starling with Flicker

The bird life brightens the monotony of the black and white winter scene. When the flickers fly there is a flash of orange from their bright underwing feathers. The brilliant scarlet of the pileated woodpecker’s head always makes me grab my camera. Sometimes I get a good shot.

Pileated woodpecker

It’s time to struggle into my boots and replenish the feeders. The birds are hungry. Their little lives are precarious in this bitter cold.


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14 Responses to The north wind doth blow

  1. Marja-Leena says:

    Oh my, winter has hit your area much harder than over here just over the border though we might still have another storm before it warms up. It’s interesting though how variable it is from area to area even within Metro Vancouver. I’m nursing a cold so it’s given me an excuse not to venture very far outside the last few days. Do take care when you go out.

    Lovely bird shots, I love that splash of red on the woodpecker!

  2. Jan says:

    Beloved is an avid bird watcher; he would quite envy your pileated woodpecker.

  3. Hattie says:

    You are a good mommy to those little birds. You got some excellent shots, too, of your little feathered wards.
    Stay warm and don’t take any falls!

  4. Great pics. Wish I could do as well. I have a greater spotted woodpecker who sometimes visits, but he is so shy that if he detects any movement — like me raising my camera — he flies away.

  5. wisewebwoman says:

    Oh how caring a compansion you are for those lovely birds. Here we have juncos which can be a nuisance but the bossy boots bluejays keep them in line.
    No snow here but some coming.
    Stay toasty and safe!

  6. I LOVE the shot of the woodpecker!!

  7. Annie says:

    Great pics, I am envious! I had a couple of flickers stop by a few days ago, one landed on the window sill and peered in the window at me. Would have loved to capture that. Mostly I have goldfinches, which aren’t very gold at this time of year. Last year I had two cardinals, this year I have three, two females and a male. Unless there are actually two males and they only show up singly… Always a treat to be able to attract these little bits of wildlife.

  8. Tabor says:

    Clearly the best of this weather is great bird photos. Mine this year have been sparse because I weather has been so mild. Perhaps a light snow or sleat tonight…but probably nothing to blog about.

  9. Oh how beautiful. And how cruel Mother Nature can be.
    I love that you are taking extra feed out for the birds, but please take care of yourself too. (I am also so, so envious of your temperatures. We are sweltering here in Oz.)

  10. Deborah says:

    I love the puffed-up birds. And I love the easy grace of your writing, Anne. And be careful where you put your feet!

  11. Pauline says:

    What great bird shots! I have been following the track of that storm. I have family in Oregon but they got mostly rain where they live. Here the birds cluster around the feeder, too. We have had several days of icy temps. Still, it’s almost the end of January and we are gaining light at the rate of two minutes a day! Yippee!

  12. Gorgeous bird photos. Seem to reflect your renewed spirit. Stay warm and, as others advise, upright!

  13. Lucy says:

    Lovely birds, I like seeing the similarities and differences. Funny how woodpeckers everywhere all seem to have to have that bit of red on their heads.

    Stay safe and warm!

  14. Freda says:

    I love the chickadees – have always wondered what they look like. Oh how I long for spring….

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