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Saturday, February 28, 2015

A Towhee, Hermit Thrush, and a Diminishing Woodpile (Blog 231)

It is two hours before sundown on the last day of February, and the forecast is for freezing rain/ice for Sunday morning.  I sigh and head for the woodpile, as Elaine and I both feel a few more split logs in the garage might come in handy for the next morning.

As I am splitting a white oak, I hear some chirping in the woods and look up to see a hermit thrush - a bird that often over winters here in Botetourt County, Virginia.  It is the third time today that I have seen this thrush - or one of his brethren - and I stop to watch him as he hunts for food.

The thrush flies under our sundeck and roots around in the leafy debris, the only place in the area that is not covered with eight inches or more of snow.  Earlier in the week, I had watched a towhee head for the same snow free zone.

I don't resume splitting wood until the hermit thrush has left the deck area.  I don't want to do anything to disrupt his search of  food, as the woodpile is quite close to the deck.  The little tidbits that the thrush has found there might be just enough for him to survive another cold, winter night.  Survival of wildlife
is such a tenuous thing here in the mountains and valleys of Southwest Virginia, especially during the last two weeks when three different snowfalls have taken place.

I finish splitting wood, putting some in the garage and some near the hearth of our wood stove.  Elaine and I will be warm tonight, and I hope to see the hermit thrush and towhee tomorrow.

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