Snowy birds

So we got a blizzard, but it’s not winter until the juncos show up. I’ve been wondering what’s keeping them. And I wondered last night, while listening to the storm huffing and puffing and rattling the windows, where do the birds go? I suppose they go the same places they go every night. By dark, they’re not in the shrubs near the feeders, too thin. They’re not in the trees, too tall and swaying. They must go into the thick hedge of overgrown yews and huddle near the thick trunks. Even outside birds have an inside to go to.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I’ve looked for them in the yews sometimes, but if that’s where they go at night, they must be very quiet. Maybe they’re scared of hulking, looming me looking for birds for no good reason. Maybe once I come to my senses and go inside where it’s warm, they cluster together and make their own little bit of warmth, singing little bird songs to each other to pass the time while the wind howls back. Maybe I spoke too soon when I suggested that I ever come to my senses.

Wherever they went, they were back this morning. So here’s Mr. Cardinal through the blur of snow on the window. Here’s the sparrows fluttering around the suet. And hey, who’s that, hopping at the base of the hanger? A junco! See? That tiny little bird with the grey on top and the white below? Definitely a junco.

Definitely winter.