Frigid weather may mean lean times for our feathered fauna, but Papa Jim is doing his part to ease their burden this year. He, and thousands of other like-minded folk, brave the elements to erect and maintain all manner of feeding stations throughout the barren months of winter in central Carolina. Hoot Owl Karma has assembled a few photos in honor of their efforts.
Sparrow forages on the ground for small seeds dislodged from the platform above.
Dark-eyed Junco joins the search for smaller seeds among the corn kernels and cobs and shucks. The junco is the ubiquitous "snowbird" of my youth, harbinger of wintry precipitation and school cancellations!
Carolina chickadee loves black oil sunflower seeds, just like its northern kin, the black-capped chickadee.
Few birds linger long on the ledge, meaning more misses than catches for the camera; though a miss is in the eye of the beholder, I suppose...
The white-breasted nuthatch, largest of the North American nuthatches, has a straight or even slightly upturned bill, the better for hatching nuts, I guess.
Carolina chickadee, back for yet another seed. With precious few of their favored insect prey still around in December, chickadees will consume hundreds of high-fat, energy-rich sunflower seeds a day, and cache even more for later, if time allows.
Tufted titmouse perches in the branches above, waiting for just the right moment to nab another seed. A bit larger than the chickadee, it'll have no trouble throwing its weight around if warranted.
White-throated sparrow strikes a pensive pose in the brush nearby, yellow eye paint and bright white throat leaving little doubt as to its place among the branches of the avian family tree.
Nuthatch makes yet another nut run, quickly checking the perimeter for competitors before tucking into the tray again.
And there, a mere three meters away, sits eastern gray squirrel, chubby cheeks and plump belly bearing witness to the one great truth of bird feeding. From the shores of the Atlantic to the banks of the mighty Mississippi and beyond...
there's no such thing as squirrel-proof!