Yesterday's snowfall brought another new survivor to the yard. Watching all the action at the backyard feeders (here's a sample),
I noticed an unusual bird, a female cardinal missing the crest characteristic of the species.
|a female with her crest, visiting at the same time|
Our crestless lady seemed perfectly healthy and frisky and was indeed one of our larger birds, so whatever predator or parasite caused the loss of her plumage evidently caused no serious damage. (I would like to know her story, though: did she barely escape one of the neighborhood hawks? Did Scooter the Maine Coon get too close? The bird wasn't telling.)
The snow also transformed the yard, giving new interest to the grass garden I loved so much in the late summer. Not all grasses, even of the same species, respond to snow in the same way. The little bluestem at center right refused to lean over, while a clump closer to the street separated into a vase shape that bowed to the ground, as did most of the shorter grasses. The white also gave some variation to what had become a (to my eyes) monotonous brown landscape (this winter thus far being short on sun).
As wonderful as the lushness of summer is (and the older I get, the more issues I have with winter, which does not agree with my bones or my breathing), it is good to be reminded that every season brings something to learn and has its own beauty, if we can take the time to look.