Five inches of wet snow like an April Fool’s prank that came a few hours late. The juncos at the bird feeder can twitter about nothing else.
Small flakes sting my cheek; ice-bound trees squeak and groan. From the feeder up at my parents’ house, the happy chatter of snowbirds.
Cold and gloomy, but the yard seethes with birds: juncos, cardinals, wren. A hundred yards away, a hawk sits on a limb, bedeviled by crows.
Mesmerized by the snow, after a while I forget that that steady twittering isn’t the sound the flakes make as they fall. It’s just juncos.
The roadside scraped bare by the plow draws all the juncos, foraging and chittering. A house finch lands on a spandrel and glares at me.
A fresh inch of snow. In the weak sunlight and bitter wind, three juncos huddle in a barberry bush above the stream, taking turns to drink.
From the other house, the squeak of a cloth on window glass. Juncos forage under the crabapple. The thermometer inches up toward unfreezing.
Just above freezing, but if feels balmy. Meltwater drips from the roof. A junco bathes in the slow, dark water of the stream.
Snow in the air, and on the ground, a flock of snowbirds: hopping through the deer-scraped patches, dropping down to the stream to drink.
Juncos foraging in the yard are puffed up twice as round as usual. The way we describe extreme weather: why not a heat snap, a cold wave?