After two weeks of occasion snow in the mountains of Colorado and here in south-central CO, the temperatures have dropped. Nights 10-15 below 0, days barely hitting 20. Even in the amazing sunshine at this altitude (7800 ft), it’s cold!
My friend and neighbor created a micro-environment in her large yard over about 20 years. As a result, a variety of small birds live here. All around us is sage and chimisa; in the yard there are trees and bushes. So, the birds and I have developed an intimate relationship, one that Jane had before me, but they leave for the winter now.
The bluebirds, chickadees, wrens, finches, and such start to gather in the lilac bush outside my front door during morning meditation time. By 7:30 am, there are easily 30-40 birds. If I don’t get up to feed them as meditation completes, one or two come to my front door and peck near its base – “Good morning! Are you coming out today?”, and another one will sit chirping on the old sapling-rail just beyond the door. “Buenos dias, señora.” The turtle doves wait nearby.
Last night got down to -14 and was still near that when I fed them “breakfast.” The decking material of the porch was so cold that they would eat for only a few seconds with their feet covered by a lowered downy body, then they would fly to the lilac bush to warm their feet. After grabbing a small branch with feet, they would puff their body feathers trapping warm air in the down and squat on their feet. A minute later, repeat: bird seed then back to lilac bush.
The ground and the snow seem slightly easier on their little feet. They stay longer on both. Photos of this display are impossible because they fly off as I approach a window or the door. What fun to feed them and help them stay healthy through the deep cold of the winter. Humming birds in the summer, these guys and gals through the winter. Spring and Fall they’re on their own for food. But, living with these beings is such fun!