Digging out the essentials after a winter storm

The zany forecasting of Punxsutawney Phil, the storied
Pennsylvania groundhog aside, you can count on hunkering down next
to the wood stove for another six weeks of winter.

Or you can get outside on the backside of a snowstorm, on one of
those glorious winter days when the sky is crystal blue and the sun
hurts if you are not wearing sunglasses. An outdoors tale awaits in
the tracks and signs, one that is not nearly as apparent without
the white carpet.

My neck of the woods got nailed pretty good with the so-called
Groundhog’s Day storm. I knew that in spades the next morning, on
the way through the crusted drifts to the woodpile to replenish the
stack next to the wood stove. Two steps out from the house I found
a dead house finch, frozen stiff.

I didn’t find any other storm victims in the immediate vicinity.
But I am sure that other carcasses were scattered here and there by
nature, following the survival law of the fittest Darwin had so
cannily observed.

Still, I did my bit for assisting overwintering songbirds I had
attracted – cardinals, blue jays, juncos, house finches,
nuthatches, titmice, goldfinches and the like – by digging away the
snow and ice crust below the feeders. That was so the ones that
like to nibble on the ground had a chance. It was, after all, my
fault they were hanging around. I like to watch the avian life and
color in an often drab winter.

Goodness knows, the birds otherwise don’t need me. They have
evolved over eons to survive without us, unless or until we make
them welfare cases like I had. So, I dug out.

For more of this column, be sure to read the Feb. 18
edition of Ohio Outdoor News.

Categories: Ohio – Steve Pollick

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