"There is something that can be found in one place. It is a great treasure which may be called the fulfillment of existence. The place where this treasure can be found is the place where one stands."
― Martin Buber
Pheasant Branch Conservancy ― Owl Country
What a wonderful change in the weather compared to last weekend! Temperatures reached into the low 30s on Saturday and birds were taking advantage of the balmy respite. An early avian phenological change in January, Northern Cardinals were singing their bright whit cheer cheer cheer songs. White-breasted Nuthatches, Tufted Titmice, and Black-capped Chickadees were more vocal and Red-bellied Woodpeckers were churring and defending territories. These are the principal voices that will shape the woodland choir throughout February and into early March.
Hiking near an owl roost I know extremely well, I spied a Barred Owls tidying its feet. I wondered what those feet were catching under the moonlight. After a few minutes of preening, the owl fluffed up its feathers and settled into a slumber. But I knew it was keeping a keen eye on me, so I left the bird to the tranquility of the winter woods.
Bird-wise, everyone was busy. Busy stretching...
Hammering away at seeds...
Contemplating which branch to fly to next...
Nuthatches, chickadees, and other birds of the forest have much work to do, but they're always on the alert for predators. Once you become familiar with their alarm calls, upon hearing them your first instinct should be to look for a raptor, especially an accipiter like a Sharp-shinned or Cooper's Hawk. This time fortune was on the side of the birds in my vicinity, but the hungry Cooper's Hawk flew off into the direction of Harbor Village Condos where there are lots of bird feeders.
Some interesting ice formations along the creek:
Pheasant Branch, Dane, Wisconsin, US
Jan 23, 2016 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM
Great Horned Owl
American Tree Sparrow
All images © 2016 Mike McDowell