I managed to avoid the high winds that had been predicted for that day and instead found the air to be still and refreshing. The snow that fell Sunday barely coated the ground but it was enough to bring back some fond memories. I reminisced about how I used to build snow forts with the neighborhood kids , stage elaborate snowball fights, and race down Foss Hill with my Flexible Flyer. I remember one Christmas Eve when we looked out the door and saw snow rapidly accumulating on the roads and sidewalks. The giant snowflakes had a magical quality to them as they fell silently in front of the streetlights. This inspired a group of family and friends to go from doorstep to doorstep singing Christmas carols. The whole experience was like a scene from a Dicken's novel.
The falling snow seemed to muffle the sounds of distant noises like planes and traffic. This seemed to make the chatter of the birds more clear and distinct. I wonder if I could tell if it was snowing simply by the smell and sound of the air?
The birds were very active on this morning as they usually are when it snows. Watching them search for food reminded me of people who rush out to the store as soon as they hear the word snow in the forecast. People stock up on food as though their lives depended on it. The difference being that the lives of birds do depend on their ability to find food. Can you find the hidden bird in the above photo?
During much of the year, I tend to look past some of the more common birds because I'm looking for migrants. Winter is a time that I'm more able to appreciate birds like this Black-capped Chickadee.
I admire the ability of birds that manage to survive through tough winters. It's hard to believe that cardinals were once a southern species. I saw over a dozen male cardinals during Sunday's
walk. Cardinals always seem to be most stunning against a snowy background. Most of the birds I saw were the same that I might see at my feeders this time of the year. Goldfinches, various woodpeckers, titmice, and sparrows. The exceptions would be the Swamp Sparrows, Red-tailed hawks, and Eastern Bluebirds that I encountered. Still, for some reason, there's something special about all the birds during the first snow of the season.
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What are some of your fondest memories of snow?