Surviving the Chill

I go outside to refill the birdfeeders in 12-below-zero (F) weather and I can’t feel my fingers long after I’m back inside the house where it’s cozy and warm, but somehow tiny birds can survive the frigid conditions night after night. It’s pretty amazing.

To add to their survival challenges, there’s a hungry hawk in the neighborhood. On New Year’s Day I watched him swoop inches from our bay window and trap a bird next to the screen porch. Before I could get a look at the victim, the hawk was already flying away with it in his grasp.

And there may be a second hawk in the area because about 30 minutes after “the incident” every bird in the yard disappeared again. A hawk wouldn’t hunt that soon after a meal unless he was really in dire straits, and songbirds know that. They must’ve seen a different hawk or something else that frightened them.

Thankfully for the small finches, there are plenty of much-larger starlings for the hawks to choose from.

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