Tuesday, November 23, 2010


In the last two days, the temperature here has plummeted, far enough to match what I usually expected up north, in Bella Coola. At the moment, in Vancouver, it is down to -8° C. (Fahrenheit = 17.6°), with a strong, chilly wind blowing so that it feels like -13.

(For comparison, over the last 30 years, the average November temperature has been 7.1 C., or 19.5 F. The lowest on record in that time was back in 1985, at 9.9 C (14 F.). Not too much lower than tonight.

My poor birds! It's not so much the cold, but the abrupt change. One day, they're bouncing around, picking up bugs and taking baths; the next, their water has turned solid, and the bugs are gone. And they are shivering and hungry! I made sure they had a variety of seeds and suet all day, but by afternoon, I was running out. I went down to the store for more, and there wasn't a bag of seed or a block of suet to be had. I'm glad. It means many people are paying attention, doing their bit to keep the birds alive.

I finally found a small package of "gourmet" seed mix; it will do for a couple of days. And I think I'll make up a batch of Zick dough.

If all goes well, and they found a warmish place to sleep, these birds will all be back in a few hours:

Junco de-husking a seed.

A different junco, with my stone angel.

Blurry Varied thrush. Very shy; I don't dare go near the door, even, to take its photo. And it stays under the hedge, in the shade. I put plenty of seed there for the timid ones.

Towhee under the hedge

Cold metal, cold feet!

Chickadee and black oil sunflower seed. And house finch, waiting his turn.

Chilly house finch.

Another junco, scratching at the snow on top of the hedge, tossing it for seeds.
A few sparrows showed up, and three fat squirrels. (They're regulars.) I kept watching for the flicker that has been dropping in, but didn't see him, nor the Steller's Jay. I hope they found food somewhere else.


  1. -24 here this early a.m. with a high yesterday of around -16. One little Nuthatch huddles on the window feeder -- a little puff ball, before eventually flying off. There must be a little heat coming off the house. My one window feeder popped off in the cold -- probably when one of the woodpeckers (the flicker) landed on it! I won't be able to putit back up until it warms up.

  2. I am jealous of both your weather (no snow for me here on the coast of Georgia!) and your Varied Thrush (I have seen one only once in my life, glimpsed briefly in Redwoods National Park this past summer).

  3. Those are fabulous photos. Well done.

  4. The birds up at the cabin must be very cold and hungry. Hope the forest has enough to keep them going. This is the first year we've fed them. We didn't want them to start to depend on us and now we can't be there to feed them. Maybe our original plan of watching but not feeding was the best choice. - Margy


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