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Sunday, December 30, 2012


Sunday, 8:30 AM.  10 degrees F, wind SW, calm.  The humidity is 81%, the barometer stands at 30.19 in. At dawn the lake beyond Madeline Island appeared to be a fiery, smoke belching cauldron, the sky above it wisping away into shades of orange, peach, pink and finally mauve.  It was a cold night and the fire in the library this morning is welcome indeed.
        A pair of cardinals, male and female, are frequenting our feeder these days.  Hopefully they will stay the winter, adding splashes of color to the snowy scene.  I find the subdued coloration of the female even more beautiful than the scarlet of the male, who is such a standout target that I wonder how he survives the birds of prey. I wonder if the female isn’t always looking for a husband, even if she has one at present.
         This is supposed to be a winter when there is a scarcity of food in the Canadian forests to the north, and more northern birds are expected at the feeder and on the roadsides, although they have not appeared as yet.  Some years ago we had numerous great gray owls, way out of their home range, frequenting the countryside. They would sit on fence posts and road signs, looking fierce and mysterious, and evidently afraid of nothing.
        Yesterday we took recyclables and trash to the recycle center out on Hwy. 13 past the Rez.  There was quite a crowd getting rid of empty holiday boxes and trash.  On the way back we drove down Torbick Road and our four turkeys were right there on schedule, waddling down the road as they had done several days ago. 
        I thought they were being  much too nonchalant about possible danger, so I drove up behind them and blew the horn, thinking they would fly.  Nope, they didn’t recognize a vehicle or a horn as a threat and merely hopped to the side of he road.  I think one or more will likely end up in some poacher’s roasting pan. Perhaps for New Year’s dinner.
        Well, I have tried to educate them, to no avail.  Sooner or later being oblivious to danger catches up with us all, whether we be bird or human.

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