A Season Of Plenty


It was a cold, cold day in January a year ago. It was snowing, the wind was like a knife as it struck you in the face and the temperature was dropping by the moment. So of course the only thing to do was grab your camera, put on all of your long underwear, every single pair, and go outside and take pictures.

But of what you might ask. Anything even remotely sentient was somewhere warm. Even the scenic always photographical trees were hiding under a mantle of warm snow and had faded from view, camouflaged and vaguely promising to reemerge again when the temperature registered on the thermometer once more, perhaps in the Spring.

But even with conditions like this there are those that must venture forth and do a job of work if they want to get fed. This bird, obviously some species that laughs at the cold and stares certain death in the eye from hypothermia or whatever it is called that freezes normal birds to death, was punched in and working its shift.

Busily harvesting tiny little seeds from a leftover seed pod it cracks them open with an audible pop, or at least it would be audible if there weren’t those gale force winds screaming past. There is just enough locked up energy in those minute seeds to power this small creature through another day of subzero winter conditions. It must eat a lot of those seeds as it appears to be in fine shape, almost portly as it were. For it, this is a season of plenty.

So on a cold blustery winter day when all normal people would be inside, except for wildlife photographers, Nature provides for its own. I’m sure this feathery adventurer has a place to go when it’s done eating. Perhaps a nice warm condo with in-floor heat, or maybe a clubhouse where it can wedge itself in amongst all the other birds of its type and share that body heat not to mention groove on that cool, make that warm, jazz playing in the background. Let’s not worry about it. If it can find something to eat in this weather, you know it has a backup plan.

Keep Me From the Cold

KeepFromCold8256click to enlarge

Mom and the kid have been cooped up together all winter and it is time to finally get outside and get  some fresh air. Trouble is it’s cold out. Not, don’t blink or your eyelids will freeze shut cold, but cold enough for a brand new cub that has never known anything but the warmth of the cozy den and it’s mother’s ample body. Mom however is hungry, really hungry and she needs to eat something right now. The quickest most reliable meal is a ground squirrel which she can dig up pretty quick and she is working on that now. Wherever mom goes the cub goes too and today is no exception. The weather makes little to no difference to the mother and she basically ignores it. But today is an exceptionally awful day for weather, it’s cold, it’s snowing, the wind is blowing, the snow is wet and heavy and this is probably the first time the cub has been out. Mom is determined to dig up a ground squirrel and sets about that task with fierce determination leaving the youngster to hover about the edge of the activity. Thing is the snow is really cold on little paws, and it is taking a very long time for this ground squirrel catching business to happen, and why can’t we go back to the den, and won’t this wind stop blowing and OK that’s it I’m taking matters into my own hands, I mean feet. The only warm place for miles around is Mom’s back and that’s where he’s headed. This cub probably only weighs 15-20 lbs. and except for the sharp needle like claws digging in she doesn’t even notice him up there. The cub’s only problem now is staying on her back as she goes through the gyrations of digging for this squirrel. He’s only thrown off a few times but now that he’s learned the secret to staying warm he quickly climbs back up and this ground squirrel hunting thing is a lot more tolerable. This behavior won’t last much longer though as mom won’t tolerate it after he gets to a certain size which will happen pretty fast but then the snow going away will happen pretty fast too. It is spring after all but right now it’s really handy to have a mom around.