The burbling of chickadees makes a nice soundtrack as I head outside to shovel leftover snow from the deck and sidewalks. A group of three downy woodpeckers is not so happy with my timing. I am scolded after every aborted flight they make between the sugar maple and suet feeder: "Pik-pik-pik! You're too close!"
Great-horned owls are the first of our winter-resident birds to nest, and hooting becomes most intense just before the female lays eggs. Devoted mates, the owls form pair-bonds that endure for years. Rather than migrating, the pair establishes and maintains a permanent territory. (Localized winter food shortages may break this pattern, prompting temporary southerly movements, or irruptions, toward better food sources.) Territorial boundaries are reaffirmed...
is a professional writer, naturalist, and natural science educator who writes from her home in Minnesota—when she's not too distracted by the view out the window.