Sunday, April 28, 2013

Cabin Life: Birds In The Yard

View from St Regis MountainSpring has decided to show up fashionably late.  I woke up to snow the last couple of days, and even though it’s been melted by lunch time each day, it has been discouraging to say the least.  However, even with the new snow showers, it is clear that winter is gone, even if spring hasn’t set in completely yet.

Pico and I went hiking the other day up St. Regis Mountain.  It was a crisp morning, but with clear skies forecasted all day, it seemed like a great opportunity to hike one of my old favorites before the bugs are out in any sort of force.  We set off and wandered through the woods down behind Paul Smiths and up the mountain.

I remember this trail well, as I worked as the summit steward on St. Regis when I was in college.  I definitely needed more time to get to the top than I did ten years ago, but Pico and I were on the summit soaking in the sun by ten in the morning.  It was sunny and clear and windy, allowing us to see the views with no obstruction.  There was a slight haze in the air, but not enough to ruin the sights.

As I sat there eating a candy bar and letting Pico wander about, I wished I had brought a jacket to cut the wind.  Sure, it was sunny but there was still a chill to the morning wind that made me not want to linger too long on the open summit.  The sun was warm but the air was cold and I could clearly still see plenty of ice on the lakes and ponds stretched below me.  Pico drank some water from a puddle and we headed back down the trail.

By the time we got back to the car, it was almost hot out.  Almost.  You know, hot for spring.  It’s amazing how different sixty degrees can feel in the fall compared to the spring.  In the fall, I would have been bundled up in jeans and a flannel, but in the sixty degree spring, I was changing into shorts and flip-flops just for the drive back to the cabin.

When we got back out to the cabin, I sat in the sun and just enjoyed the spring-time “quiet.”  There are a ton of birds around the cabin now, including robins, juncos and one of the largest hawks I’ve ever seen.  There is a lot of chatter and various birds hanging out in the apple trees together.  The woodpeckers are pecking away, looking for both food and a mate and the black-capped chickadees are flitting about in the yard, largely ignoring the feeders.

Last year, I didn’t keep the feeders full in the summer.  There are bears and red squirrels out here, along with other animals that I really don’t feel like attracting to my cabin.  But I think this fall I’ll start filling the feeders a little earlier, so that I get some of these other birds to stick around.  It’s not that I blame them for heading south for the winter, but it would be nice to share the cold with a few more wild friends.  I just prefer the birds to the bears when it comes to my wild companions.

 


Justin A Levine

Having grown up in the southern Adirondacks, Justin has always been at home in the mountains of New York. After graduating from Paul Smiths College, he began his career in the environmental field working for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. After a brief five year detour to Florida, Justin returned to the Adirondacks to live off the grid in a small cabin with no running water or electricity.

Justin continues to work and play in the outdoors, and maintains a blog about living off grid, hiking, and being outside in the Adirondacks called Middle of the Trail.







One Response

  1. Sunny Day says:

    This year, for the first time, our yard and feeder are blessed with two pairs of mating Cardinals. We live just inside the Blue Line in northern New York. Last year, for the first time, we had one transient male. Guess he liked what he saw and brought some of his family this year. Also, this weekend, the white throated sparrow gave us chills with her call, and my husband heard the loon on the lake for the first time. In addition to the birds, we have some very noisy frogs — some make noises that sound almost like wild turkeys. Yeah Spring!