Preempting The Turkey

Boy, does that title sound like a euphemism or what? I have some photos that I took yesterday but this morning, there was a lovely soft snow coming down and I really felt the need to go to some bird feeders and take some photos. Also, I got exciting news from Harper Collins, Amy Sedaris sent a note (on some completely adorable stationary--and oh so appropriate for me and my wild fungus tastes) and said that she loves the Disapproving Rabbits book. It's blowing my mind that someone with that much comedic talent looked through the book and liked it. WHOOT!

I went to the Minnesota Valley NWR Visitor's Center and there about 18 cardinals lurking in and around the feeders. Nothing quite like seeing those pops of red in a fluffy snowfall.

Okay, except maybe a fluffy junco in a big soft snowfall!

There was a surprise in the heated birdbath. Can you tell in the above photo what the surprise is?

Is this dude right here! Common grackles should have flown the coop by now (at least from Minnesota). This one looks as though it's been having some issues. Note the whitish feathers on the wings. I'm not so sure that's albinism or leucism (or whatever we're calling it in birds these days). I think these are stress feathers, maybe from lack of nutrition? The bird did look like it had seen better days--it was very puffed up, but could fly well enough to get to branch, albeit slower than the other species hanging at the feeder.

The suet and peanut feeders were in high demand. This hairy woodpecker was keeping the downy woodpeckers away and eating the suet. But soon, this hairy was chased off by...

a starling! Surprise, surprise. I have to admit, I do really enjoy a starling in winter plumage--it's a very striking bird, and so evil looking. I would love to have an education starling for programs, but knowing my luck and its ability to be a great mimic, it would learn all sorts of phrases that would make it unsuitable for programs with small children. I figured the starling would be here a while, but was surprised...

to see a red-bellied woodpecker land on the feeder. There was some flapping, some pecking, some squealing. But! Only one would come out on top. Who will remain victorious on this episode of Iron Suet?

The red-bellied! Go, red-belly, go! Eventually, a hawk flew over and all the birds cleared out, and about three downy woodpecker flew in to try and take advantage in the lull in bird feeder activity. They spent so much time squabbling with each other that they barely had a chance to actually eat the suet.

Okay, now I have to get a bit more work done. Thanks to HellZiggy, I'm going to the Jonathon Coulton concert tonight. I liked him for the song Re Your Brains, about zombies, but I loved him when it he sang it in French. If you're interested in listening to his other songs, I highly recommend Skullcrusher Mountain, Baby Got Back (yes, it's a cover), and Tom Cruise Crazy.