Thirsty Bluebirds toast the New Year!

2022 along Clayton County’s Turkey River is starting as an Iowa January should: 4 inches of snow on the ground, more on the way, and temperatures forecast to drop well below zero.


We’re cozy by the wood fire – but empathizing with critters that must brave the elements. The birds seem to appreciate our offerings of sunflower seeds and water. Six bluebirds ring the heated birdbath for holiday drinks. A dozen crows are picking at the remains of the season’s deer carcasses.



Crowd of crows

Red-headed (by next spring) woodpecker

Lonesome dove

Sassy nuthatch


Feisty chickadee



A lone coyote briefly sniffs at the bone pile, then limps off through the woods. Has a foot injury made it harder to catch prey, forcing him to forage in the daylight, rather than during the night?


A string of 20 Canada geese cruised past early this morning, while the resident bald eagles periodically soar against the gray skies.

The remaining deer already may have lost their fear of hunters that invaded their woods just days ago. A once-wary doe is content to stare down the camera lens I poke at her out of the car window.

So what if we’re facing another couple of months of winter, shoveling snow, and fetching firewood. Days are getting longer, and the leafless trees let us peer into the woods to watch the antics of our animal neighbors.


Sharp-shin in search of supper

As Louis Armstrong would sing, “What a Wonderful World!


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