Friday, October 15, 2010

October 15: Birds in the Storm

The winds and rain hit last night and continue through today, dumping at least a couple of inches of rain on the Midcoast. I've seen a few trees blown down, though nothing damaging (unless you're the tree), and my peony bed was flattened as if stepped on by an elephant. Muddy streams of water are running down the roads--apparently Barnestown Road over by the Snow Bowl is actually underwater thanks to a nearby flooded wetland. When you're driving, the water on the road swirls and fans on the paved surface under the tires of the car in front of you. It's kind of mesmerizing. And the edges of all the streets are carpeted with leaves of all colors, including a lot of green leaves that didn't even get a chance to change color before being ripped off the branches. At the office we heard several claps of thunder, which made the deluge even more dramatic.

When I arrived at the office this morning, three goldfinches, barely visible through the rain, were huddled in my bird feeders. When they left, I decided to move the feeders from an exposed window to one under the porch roof. So I emptied them of sodden seed, dried, and then refilled and reattached them in the new location. Not two minutes later, a chickadee hovered in front of the window where the feeders had been. Then another chickadee came by, fluttering in place, as if to say, "Where's our feeder?!" So I quickly moved them back to the original location. And they were quickly revisited.

This afternoon I returned after a lunch meeting to find the feeders blown onto the ground. It's been a tough day to be a hungry bird. I refilled and reattached them yet again, and chickadees and goldfinches have been braving the elements all afternoon to feed, even in the half-dark of late afternoon. As branches and boats are being tossed around by the gale, a pert little chickadee is making that dash to the feeder to grab one more seed. And of course, many wild birds out there are getting by in stormy weather without the benefit of a feeder. It makes you realize how tough these little guys really are.

Leaves scattered, sodden,
branches flung, roadways flooded.
Yet, chickadee's here.

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