The first Junco showed up last week on Monday the 18th. I see Juncos every Winter in my backyard, but they are easy to overlook with the additional activity.
Earlier in the year, I came across a documentary called, “Ordinary Extraordinary Junco”. It is an 88-minute film produced by biologists and filmmakers from Indiana University. It has been screened in Indiana, Michigan, and in Chicago at the joint meeting of the American Ornithologists’ Union and the Cooper Ornithological Society. Check it out here.
I carved a folk art bird carving of a Junco earlier in the month. Last year, I also carved a Junco and it has since sold, but you can view this folk art carving here. Maybe next year I won’t carve a Junco and Winter won’t come. Unlikely as that is, I think Indiana is in for a hard Winter.
The Northern Cardinal is known colloquially as the redbird or common cardinal. It can be found in southern Canada, through the eastern United States from Maine to Texas and south through Mexico. It is found in woodlands, gardens, shrubs, and swamps. The Northern Cardinal is a mid-sized songbird and has a distinctive crest and a mask on the face which is black in the male and gray in the female. The male is a vibrant red, while the female is a dull red-brown to green shade. The Northern Cardinal mainly eats seeds and grains, but also feeds on insects and fruit. The male behaves territorially, marking out his territory with song. During courtship, the male feeds seed to the female beak-to-beak. On a side note, the Cardinal was once prized as a pet, but its sale as a cage bird is now banned in the United States by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918.
This folk art bird carving is made from Basswood, painted with milk paints, and finished with various stains. This folk art carving of a Cardinal was fun to carve and layering different colors of milk paint proved interesting. I used only a pocket knife on this folk carving, but its size made it a bit taxing on the hands.
We had our first snow on Tuesday! It was just a dusting, but it stuck around for a few days in the shade. As John Ruskin wrote, “Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.”
The Hawks have been more active this week. They have been hovering, circling, and perching in the near-naked trees … searching for their next easy meal of Sparrow.