Music to my Ears, Polar Vortex be Damned

I would rather learn from one bird how to sing than to teach 10,000 stars how not to dance.

e.e. cummings
E.E. Cummings: Complete Poems 1904-1962

© Babsje (

Snow-covered window.

This week, I have been anxious about the effect that the brutal cold from the Polar Vortex has had on birds.

Each day, I’ve opened the window to check for birds at the feeders.

No birds at all Monday. The air was silent.

None Tuesday. Absolute silence.

Two small sparrows Wednesday, and a lone squirrel scampering up a tree, but still utter silence.

Thursday, again no birds, no bird sounds.

Friday, still no birds, still eerily – disconcertingly – silent.

This morning, a lone Mourning Dove on a branch, and as I lifted the window open, I heard it: birdsong.

The first in a week.

I couldn’t see the singing, chittering, chirping birds – just the one Mourning Dove – but I could hear the voices of other birds.

A small symphony.

It was music to my ears.


Thanks to Cheri Rowlands Lucas and WordPress for the Weekly Photo Challenge: Window.

Thanks to Ese for her Weekly Shoot & Quote: Music challenge.

Thanks to Ed for the Sunday Stills: White challenge.

Thanks to Ailsa for her Where’s My Backpack: Winter challenge.

Thanks to Dawn for her Lingering Look at Windows challenge.


A selection of my heron and flower photos is now available at the Five Crows Gallery in Natick, MA. Drop in and see the work of the many wonderfully creative artists who show there when you’re in the area.

Five Crows is on FaceBook. To give the gallery a visit, please click here.

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

The Tao of Feathers™

© 2013 Babsje. (

Posted on January 11, 2014, in Art, Birds, Ese's Weekly Shoot & Quote Challenge, Lingering Look at Windows, Nature, Photography, Polar Vortex, postaday, Sunday Stills, Weekly Photo Challenge, Weekly Travel Themes and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 24 Comments.

  1. HI I do hope the birds come back. I am sure you miss them adn their antics. Will snow on your window it must mae the room dark.

    • You’re right, Margaret, the birds will be back, and yep – the room had light like a snow-cave, it had a white glow, but was dimly lit. Thanks for visiting and commenting again.

  2. So much said in a few words and revealed in a single picture…
    I am amazed 🙂

  3. Love the photo – really captures the cold, stormy conditions, and the associated mood as well. I was puzzled by your message, assuming I interpreted it correctly. Nasty weather, Polar Vortex included, results in much greater activity at my feeders (2 stations or feeding areas about 30 feet apart). A recent tally during polar conditions included 30 doves, 20+ juncos, 7 gray squirrels, pair of cardinals, hairy, downy and red-bellied woodpeckers, several tree sparrows, a white-throated sparrow and 2 nuthatches (white- and red-breasted).

    • Thanks, Nick, glad you like the photo and very happy to hear about the state of your bird community there! There can be microclimates where strong winds and the windchill isn’t healthy for birds seeking shelter overnight. It was truly brutal here, hence my concern. The three largest visitors, male and femal Cardinal, and male BlueJay, have not put in an appearance at their usual times during the Vortex weather, although all three were seen duringthe blizzard last week. The Chickadees have also been absent. Fingers crossed!

  4. Understand. (oh – forgot to include the chickadees and bluejays on my list!) And I agree completely on the importance of micro-climate. Living near a 4-lane highway, exposed to the NW wind, and oriented away from the low, southerly, winter sun, I’ve been trying to modify our microclimate for 25 years. I’m now semi-enclosed in the shelter of spruce cover (Norway and white spruce trees), bordered by assorted small trees and shrubs with wildlife value. This has had a huge influence on comfort, aesthetics, habitat —- and the presence of backyard wildlife.

  5. What a terrible time you are going through. I do hope the birds survive it would be a sad world without them

  6. I like your window and I know what you are talking about with the polar vortex climate. We didn’t get any snow but we got some really cold weather. With the wind chill we went down to 1 degree above zero. We ended up with several busted pipes and we with out water for 4 days.

    • Glad you like the window photo, thanks for visiting and commenting. I’m sorry to hear about your burst pipes and being without water for so many days. I hope life is returning to normal for you now that it isn’t quite as cold.

  7. Great picture – it would be a good subject for a “what is this” competition.

    I have thought / written a few times about the silence that snow brings – but I think yours may have been a whole new level of silence.

    Cheers – Stewart M – Melbourne

    • Thanks for the kind words, Stewart, cool idea for a “what is this” competition, hadn’t thought of that. I know what you mean about the silence of snow. There is something wonderful about walking in new falling snow, the soft soft squishy crunch of the snow beneath your boots, the muffled sounds of car tires as they pass by.

  8. What a wonderful reminder of how much joy birds bring to our daily lives-and I love the photograph-it really captured your words perfectly!

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