This Weather is for the Birds

It’s like a scene from the movie “The Birds” around here. I wonder if these sizable flocks sailed in on that incredible wind last week. If they did, it must have been one wild ride, although I’d bet they made really good time! In the middle of the afternoon of the windy day, I was startled when I looked out an upstairs window to see a downed dead tree stretched out across the lawn where only about an hour before I had been standing with the dog. I didn’t hear a crack or a thump as it hit the dirt. 
This most recent snow has finally silenced the spring peepers. They came out in our faux February spring and had been bravely holding forth with their thin, reedy chorus all day and all night, as the temperature dropped and dropped, and dropped yet again. They will be back. There is an old country adage about the peepers are always frozen back three times before spring truly arrives. 
I don’t know if the buzzards have returned to Hinckley, but they are back here, swooping overhead. The red-winged blackbirds, with their jaunty epaulets of red with gold fringe, arrived last week, followed by the grackles. As for robins, there have been some around all winter, and they have been singing and chortling in the mornings for weeks – like it was spring or something – I wonder what gave them that absurd idea – but this new bunch may have migrated in. Robins are not really seed eaters, they prefer bugs and worms, with some fruit and berries thrown it to sweeten things up. They still hang out in our wildlife garden near the feeders because of the year around availability of water for drinking and bathing and all kinds of buggy life goes on under the leaves. When it began to snow yesterday, they moved to the front porch. Not that I blame them, it is south facing and protected from the wind. It’s warm there and they busily foraged for edibles hiding in the mulch. The mulch is dark and absorbs heat, but they looked miserable, all hunched up, feathers fluffed against the falling flakes and cold. 
Probably a robin wife was chirping at a husband: “We should wait at least another week before we go back up there, I said. But, oh no! You just had to get going, had to beat the traffic, be the first ones back. And here we are freezing our tail feathers off! Well, I hope you’re happy!”
I sprinkled some dried meal worms around, but I don’t know how those went over. Goldfinches brave our winters and while their feathers have been a dull dun color, here and there golden feathers are beginning to show on their heads. I know where a pair of nuthatches had a nest last year, so I am keeping an eye on that little knothole high up a shagbark hickory tree to see if they return there to raise another family or two. 
None of the newcomers are really troublesome birds, in fact they clean up a lot of wasted seed. However, and I don’t know if it’s because they are disgruntled about the weather, or what the problem is, but it’s a little unnerving when I go outside to do my chores and there are about 50 sets of beady eyeballs up in the branches, all watching my every move. And there are beaks, yes, beaks, offering some kind of commentary through a variety of vocalizations. I’m used to being watched by squirrels. They just are not as critical in their observations as those birds. The squirrels post sentries when it’s time to fill the feeders, but there isn’t a Hitchcock movie titled “The Squirrels.” Not that there couldn’t be . . .