A frigid morning. The deck cracks and pops. I stuffed the suet feeder full of a dead animal’s energy and trust it will help see the birds through another day of survival. To maintain their core body temperature, they must continually stake their inner furnace to fund flight. I am doing my part by offering a continual supply of clean, fresh suet. A few years ago, we bird-splurged on a heated birth bath. My neighbor has one humming a few doors away as well. I am certain the avian community is aware of the location of the few working watering holes, just like they flutter in right on time for a jab of pearly white suet.
Yesterday, I was rewarded with repeated views of Hairy and Downy woodpeckers (great for size comparisons) as well as a Red-Bellied woodpecker, and my favorite, the saucy Carolina Wren. The wrens are vulnerable to an icy death, since they seem to remain in their natal neighborhoods to be pounded by the wind and ice and sleet of winter. If conditions are extreme for too long, and food is not available to keep their tiny hearts pumping, they perish. How were they missed on the migration thing? With Red-Footed Falcons making their way from the coast of Africa to the beaches of Cape Cod, why can’t a Carolina Wren find her way out of my backyard to find a seed in Virginia?