Friday, 16 December 2016

Br-r-r-r-r, Surprise!

Our winter solstice is almost here, so it was no surprise to wake up to a very cold morning. Minus 31 Celsius! The snow really crunches underfoot at these low temperatures. A fresh and clean sound. The air was very dry with little breeze and so not unbearable for the warmly dressed.

Because of this dry and cold air, the bird bath had evaporated quite a bit overnight. Still, the heating element kept the water tepid. This source of liquid is much appreciated by the birds for drinking and as in summer, the bowl needs to be cleaned and refilled daily. 

But the surprise, and a delightful one it was, came near the end of the day as the sun had almost set. From the entrance of one of my roosting boxes was the sight I had been hoping for since last winter -- the cute little face of a screech owl! My favourite feathered friend is back and will keep me in good company this winter.

The lemon yellow eyes of a gray phase screech owl scan for prey items.

He or she seems eager for the nighttime hunting shift to begin.

A cold morning regardless of which scale you prefer.

A pair of jays start their morning with a sunflower seed feast.

A tepid drink of water on a sub-zero day must seem like a luxury to wildlife.

The squirrel, with only a stump for a left hind leg, looks fat and sleek.

It's cardinal friend seems to be saying, "Hey, I want my turn at those seeds!"


  1. Is that a heater in the bird bath? What lengths we all go to, to make sure the waifs and strays are well looked after ,Our stray ginger boy gets the royal treatment and a new lot of food is dished up when he appears. Keep warm up North.


    1. Yes Jean, I use a heating element in my bird bath each winter. I love seeing all the birds drinking from it and I've placed an old lawn chair beside it so furred folk can access it as well.

      There are a lot of mice around this year so I'm sure the little owl will dine well. (I caught 49 mice in my basement trap since September.)

  2. I was thrilled to see your owl; how wonderful to have him stay around. You take such good care of your feathered friends. I've never thought of putting out water in the winter. We have a winter storm warning in effect; it was bitterly cold today or am I just getting too old.

  3. I'm so happy for you! Lovely seeing owls. I've been searching for weeks! NADA!!!!

  4. Did that owl steal that house from a squirrel?

    1. No house stealing this time. Both of my roosting boxes are empty except for a couple of inches of wood shavings I added to the floors. Last year a red squirrel had completely filled one of the boxes with nesting material and food, leaving no room for a little owl to shelter there. Last summer a white breasted nut hatch successfully raised a brood in one of those boxes. I never know who is going to move in. I love each surprise!


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