Friday, March 21, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like.......


The weather guys were only half right and boy, are we thankful for that! We've got about 3-4 inches of heavy, wet snow on the ground but that's nowhere near the 5-10 inches they were predicting when we went to work early this morning. It snowed pretty hard for most of the morning, but by 1:00 it was pretty much done. We had one more burst of snow between 3:00 and 4:00 and then it finally stopped. The roads are wet and sloppy, but no real travel problems. We're not even going to shovel this stuff because temps are probably going to be warm enough tomorrow to melt most everything off.

Here are some pictures of the birds that were in the backyard when we got back from grocery shopping earlier this evening.

A fairly large flock of Red-Winged Blackbirds stopped by. Here are a couple of females and a male picking on some of the bunnies corncobs. I like to see the females; you don't see them very often at the feeders once their nesting territories have been established.

Here's another large group of males enjoying the birdseed in the tray feeder. I'm glad I cleaned all the snow out and refilled these trays when I got home from work.

There were also bunches of robins in the backyard. Last weekend when I saw my first robins, I took the last two buckets of old apples from the basement and dumped them out on the ground. Fortunately, for these robins, they were able to find some of these apples that had been buried under today's snow.

Robins aren't really keen on eating birdseed, but we did have a customer at Wild Birds Unlimited who put out shelled sunflower seeds for his robins and they loved that. Robins also really love mealworms. I think tomorrow morning I'll take one of my tray feeders and put out some treats for the robins to tide them over until the snow has all melted. Then they can go back to digging around in the backyard for their own treats.

Here's a little video of a bunch of robins who were taking advantage of some of the dried-up crabapples still left on my tree from last summer. I still have a couple of highbush cranberries with fruit on the branches, but they must not be as tempting or tasty as crabapples. Maybe the cedar waxwings will like the cranberries when they come back.....

Here's a little treat I picked up for my squirrels at the grocery store.

There was a shopping cart full of clearance priced (99 cents per pound!) Brazil nuts and pecans left over from Christmas (there's 6.4 pounds in these 2 bags). That's a heckuva deal because 2 weeks ago when I bought some of these nuts they were still $3.29 per pound. I just couldn't pass this up and I know my squirrels will be so happy!

(Update: when I was taking some of these pecans out for the squirrels this morning, I decided they were so nice that maybe I'd just better save a few back and make a nice pecan pie for Mr. Johnson.)


Anonymous said...

Ruthie, nice pics of your birds. Grackles made their appearance here today, I just knew they were coming when I heard those red-winged blackbirds last Sunday. We had small flocks of chickadees all day at the feeders. As a matter of fact we had lots of birds today at all of our feeders, everything else was covered with snow. Didn't shovel or blow snow today either, I'm ready to just let it melt on it's own.

Ruth said...

Glad your storm was only half bad. It is supposed to pass south of here overnight and tomorrow and if we are lucky, we will miss the snow. You really are a bird's best friend. I have never seen RWBs at a feeding station.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Yes the squirrels will be doing a happy dance when they find those pecans. I always feel so sorry for the Robins when they have to resort to sunflower seeds. They have to be hungry to do that.

Beth said...

The birds bunnies and squirrels must talk about you as the nicest lady in the world. You must be to buy nuts for the squirrels! I've never heard of that before. Thanks for the fun post

Mary said...

You were spared! Thank goodness. Ruthie, if you get more snow, I'LL scream.

I didn't know that Robin's would eat apples. You really know how to treat your birds. I only have one or two RW blackbirds that come to the feeders and I've never seen a female! Maybe they have been here and I didn't notice. I'm going to start looking harder.

Enjoy the big melt and have a Happy Easter!


RuthieJ said...

Hi Mom,
Friday would have been a nice day for me to stay home and watch birds too, but at least I'll get a chance today (not enough work to justify my overtime-just Rick's)
Have your heard/seen the killdeer yet?

Hi Ruth,
I'm glad you will miss out on the snow too.
I'm always surprised to see RW Blackbirds at the feeders too. Maybe because I'm out in the country and they also nest in the tall grasses of the highway right-of-way along my property.

Hi Lisa,
I feel sorry for them this time of year too. I was looking at the tree this morning and there are still lots of shriveled up little crabapples, but I put the sunflower hearts out for them anyway.

Hi Beth,
I'm kind of nuts for squirrels anyway. It was years before I even saw one in my yard and now I think I have only 3, so I can spoil them a bit because they're so much fun to watch.

Hi Mary,
3.1 inches was the official weather service total. That's quite enough for me, thank you.
The female RW blackbird looks so different, doesn't she? It would be difficult to spot her sitting on her nest down in the tall grass--especially while Mr. is singing above and flashing his red & yellow epaulets!
Happy Easter to you and yours also!

Anonymous said...

Ruthie we saw Killdeers on Thursday when we went to Rochester. The driveway will be covered with snow on Easter, cuz I'm not moving it, it's frozen down now. It is suppose to be in the 40's early next week so it can melt then.

Jayne said...


Glad the snow was not as bad as they had predicted, and that it will soon all melt away! :c) I love seeing the Red-wing Blackbirds. I am sure your Robins so appreciate your offerings and your squirrels are probably positively giddy.

Richard said...

I vote for the pie. Let the squirrels eat peanuts.

Deb said...

Wow, you're seeing redwings and robins! That means it won't be long here!

Mary C said...

Happy Easter, Ruthie! Do robins actually eat apples? I sure hope that snow melts soon! Meanwhile, I guess you'll have a white Easter. I remember once when living in Colorado we had snow on Palm Sunday, and stayed long enough to give us a white Easter. That was the year (1974) we moved to California. That was a year of quite a bit of snow, and it seemed like a long winter, much like you and all the other northern bloggers have been posting about recently.

mon@rch said...

Happy Easter to you and your family! Snow for easter! ugg . . . I remember as a kid it being so warm and everyone spending easter outside!

Susan Gets Native said...

I like seeing female RWB's too. They blend in so well to the little brown jobs that they are easy to miss.

I'm glad the WeatherMan was wrong!

Mel said...

Lucky squirrels!!! Can I have some? hahaha, nuts drive me nuts... hahaha

Cathy said...

Oh my Gosh! Lucky Mr. Johnson! Lucky squirrels! You are a good woman :0)

I loved the Robin video. Poor wittle things. No worms, yet!

me and my camera said...

Your outdoors looks like ours! Glad you didn't get as much snow as forecast. What a lot of Robins you have in the nice, cheery, chirpy video.

Windyridge said...

You're very good to your squirells

RuthieJ said...

Hi Jayne,
I counted 69 Common Grackles on Sunday at my feeders; mixed in were some brown-headed cowbirds and also those red-wings. I'm glad I've got plenty of different foods that all the birds and squirrels like.

Hi Richard,
I appreciate your vote and Mr. Johnson loved the pie (he said your piece was very good too!)

Hi Deb,
I hope the strong south winds we're having today will blow some spring birds your way!

Hi Mary C,
The apples the robins are eating are the ones that have gotten frozen on the ground--they're brown and mushy but must still taste pretty good. The frozen ones still hanging on the tree are enjoyed by the robins and also woodpeckers, cardinals, housefinches and starlings. I never knew so many birds liked to eat frozen apples, and now I don't feel bad for not getting them all picked last fall.
P.S. More snow in our forecast for later on this week....I'm about ready to move to California too!

Hi Mon@rch,
I remember almost every early Easter is cold and/or snowy here in Minnesota. Fortunately, it doesn't happen too often!

Hi Susan,
I saw another female red-wing later on Saturday who had lots of orange on her face and throat--I had to look several times because at first I thought it might be a Varied Thrush--she was that orange!

Hi Mel,
They were really difficult pecans to crack. I ended up smashing about a third of them while getting enough for a pie. I just put the broken shells out under the tree for the squirrels and they had them all cleaned out today!

Hi Cathy,
Thanks for your kind words (but I'm only good one day a week and it just happened to be Saturday this week!)
I felt bad for the robins too--their chirps sounded more distressed than happy.

Hi M&MC,
Last week when our snow finally melted, the weatherman said it was the first time in 105 days that we finally had <1 inch of snow on the ground! No wonder it's seemed like a long winter and now our ground is covered in white again. Spring will be very sweet when it finally arrives.

Hi Windyridge,
So far they have stayed away from most of my other hanging birdfeeders because they can find good stuff at ground's a small price to pay to get them to behave.