Groundhogs and Prophets Do Not Deter Wild Birds (Thankfully)

According to Bill Vaughn, "the groundhog is like most other prophets, it delivers its predictions and disappears."*

And in some ways — at least here on HT — I've been like the groundhog. I delivered the news of his prediction** for "six more weeks of winter weather" (in NYC), then I disappeared from HT.

For after the groundhog's prediction, and my subsequently reporting it, NYC endured two major snowstorms and we are due for another major one this week!

Therefore, part of my mini hiatuses (from HT) has been to to contend with the snow and ice in my garden, in order to keep the array of bird feeders (that I have in my garden) stocked.

The upshot was (and still is) that different varieties of birds were able to come here for nourishment, as evidenced in pictures one through thirteen of this entry.

Images one through three show Emily, my lone Baltimore oriole, at the feeder during the first of the "post-groundhog-prediction" snowstorms, but I have not seen much of her since and, as always, I'm concerned for her survival. I have discovered that she tends to wait until late in the day to spend time here. During November and December of 2013, Emily hung out in my garden morning, afternoon and early evening.

Now she comes late and perhaps she does this to avoid the crowds of common grackles that have been wintering here. I admire her survival skill of finding a time that she won't have to contend with crowds. She is a true New Yorker in this manner, as folks who live here learn when to take public transportation, or when to shop, at a time that there will be less people to contend with.

Images four through six feature house sparrows, who are deterred by very little.
Images seven through nine feature Cam, whom I'm always thrilled to see. She is getting more comfortable at the feeders, but her preference is still to "eat the crumbs that fall to the floor. . . "

Images ten through twelve feature Mac, Cam's beau, and his feeding habits are much like hers, preferring to "eat the crumbs that fall to the floor", or taking what food he can and eating it from atop a shrub's container.

Image thirteen features a couple of common grackles making themselves at home at a suet feeder. I have an entourage of common grackles visiting my garden, and they do seem to deter the smaller song birds (but not the sparrows)!

But even though six more weeks of winter have been predicted, a worm is tuning up his/her horn (as image fourteen) and a hedgehog that is visiting me (who can be seen in image fifteen) is wearing flowers in her quills! (She tells me that she got the idea from a song that says if one goes to San Francisco to wear flowers in their hair . . . )

As you may recall (rom my last post here on HT), "long before the advent of Groundhog Day on February 2nd, the Romans observed a similar event thousands of years ago on the exact same day. Rather than use the North American groundhog, the Romans used the hedgehog. If during hibernation, he (the hedgehog) looks out of his den on 2nd February and sees his shadow it means there is a clear moon and six more weeks of winter so he returns to his burrow."

I guess you could say that, by wearing flowers in her quills, my visiting hedgehog is protesting the groundhog's prediction for this year!

What about you, dear reader? Do you have a groundhog in your area that makes predictions? If so, what did he/she predict for your area re the 2014 winter's end? How has winter affected your garden and any birds that visit you?


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  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Feb 12, 2014
    One thing we don't really need in Florida is a predictor of the end of winter! Usually, once we get past the full moon in February, the chance for frost has passed and we can start thinking spring. Plus, the red maples have started leaving out, another sure sign.
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    • TheLastLeafGardener TheLastLeafGardener on Feb 18, 2014
      @Douglas Hunt Indeed it is that kind of winter. Re your friend going through that amount of seed: Brings a whole new dimension to "eating like a bird "
  • Sue Sue on May 28, 2014
    Love your pics. I gave a name to one of my bird friends too!! Didn't think anyone else did that!! LOL