When it’s chilly outside, and the snow is falling, I look forward to the quiet of curling up on the couch with a mug of tea and watching the birds flock to the feeders out my window. My dad loved to watch the birds, as did his father. I love it too. Back in NH, we had the usual cadre of tufted titmice, nuthatches, cardinals, chickadees, juncos, blue jays and sparrows. At our home in Dover, we were sometimes treated with a visit from a pair of blue birds.
I miss the pleasure of watching all the different birds fly in and out over the course of the day. While Alaska is known for its great variety of bird species, most of them migrate in the winter. So our feeder only gets visited by the brave chickadees (black-capped, boreal, and chestnut) and redpolls. While I am grateful for their visits, I do miss the variety.
Well, a few days back Lee and I were watching the redpolls come to the feeder. They tend to eat off the ground and only steal a seed quickly from the feeder. But that morning they were resting, so Lee was getting some pictures. All of a sudden, this pair of amazing colored, odd-beaked birds flew in. I can’t tell you how excited we were! Such nerds, we ran for the Alaska Bird Book to try to identify them. They are, as it turns out, a pair of white-winged crossbills. And from all accounts, somewhat rare to see. They usually stay in the tops of trees, eating cones, and you know they’re around by their song. I’m not sure what brought them down to our window, but we sure are happy they decided to stop by!
The male was so funny. He kept trying to figure out the feeder, flying around trying to land. He was a little too big, so when he finally did manage to stay on, he couldn’t get the seed. I love this picture Lee shot. The crossbill was watching the redpoll, trying to figure out how he did that!
And of course this picture is spectacular. It was at least 20 below outside. I love that you can see her breath, and the definition in his wings and beak. But the magic of the snow falling in the sun behind them is just perfect. It really was that kind of morning.