As I look at the snow piled high on the driveway, I thanked my lucky stars for a Monday holiday, a husband who loves to get out on the tractor and push snow around, and a house well stocked with food. Snow day! I'll have to get my car out of the driveway tomorrow, but today it can sit there looking like a snowdrift until the cows come home--or the cowbirds, as the case may be.
As soon as we had light enough to see outside, I opened the bedroom window and hunkered down with the camera to see what kinds of birds would visit the feeders. That window serves as a natural bird blind, partially concealed by vegetation and far enough from the feeders so that I don't spook the birds. At first I saw the usual mixture of winter birds--juncos, woodpeckers, chickadees, a lone titmouse--but then suddenly a black wave swooped down from above and colonized the feeders.
Darn those starlings I thought, until I looked closer and saw that they were not starlings but cowbirds. The dim light made their brown heads hard to see, but the size and shape and coloration all said cowbird. I've never seen so many together, at least 50 attacking the feeders or perching in nearby trees. A few gathered on the front porch and looked in the big picture window, lured, presumably, by the mass of green plants just inside. They scattered when I closed the window, but they've come back for a few more visits. I'm not a fan of cowbirds but I'm not sure what I can do to keep them away--I can't go slamming windows all day long.
I could have gone to campus today for some Martin Luther King Jr. day events, if I could see my driveway. The sheriff's office tells us to stay off the roads unless travel is absolutely necessary, and I'm happy to comply. On a day like today, travel is strictly for the birds.