Here is what it looked like through the window at the front and back of the house.
For the birds, however, it was an opportunity to visit our backyard buffet for some fine avian fare, with peanuts, sunflower hearts and niger seed all featured on the menu.
My friend, John Sanderson, had made a wonderful long peanut dispenser for me, and it has proven singularly successful with Blue Jays (Cyanocitta cristata).
They really seem to relish the nuts and it would be easy to interpret their behaviour as enjoying the challenge of extracting the nut from the shell. Success generally comes quickly.
Quite often there are two birds working away simultaneously, and once I even saw three together on the feeder, but that is getting a little crowded.
The jays seem to suspend their normal quarrelsome behaviour once they are working away at the husks, seemingly single-minded in their pursuit of food.
Downy Woodpeckers (Dryobates pubescens) are regular patrons also, sometimes feeding at the same time as a Blue Jay, maintaining the peace as long as they are on opposite sides of the feeder.
This one's head is almost a blur as he works away furiously to extract a peanut.
Over the past couple of winters we have seen only White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis) at our backyard feeders, but this year Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis) has joined the fray.
It too is not reluctant to try its hand at the peanut feeder.
Northern Cardinals (Cardinalis cardinalis) are regular visitors; though spectacular at any time of the year, they are at their best against the white of the snow and the green of the conifers.
|Northern Cardinal - male|
|Northern Cardinal - female|
Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis), fresh from the north, shows up in good numbers, and is generally already foraging on the ground just before first light.
American Goldfinches (Spinus tristis) are resident birds and not infrequently twenty or thirty birds are present, at this time of the year in their subdued winter plumage.
There have been several reports of Pine Siskins (Spinus pinus) attending at feeders in the area, so we will be keeping a keen eye out for them in our yard.
Snow is perhaps not so bad after all!