They had been lingering due to the comparatively mild January but when the above happens I know that the weather, in a day or two or three, is going to get nasty.
Then yesterday I began to hear squirrel scolding no matter where I was in the house. I looked out at the feeders, ordinarily very busy in winter at this time of day. Nothing.
And the squirrels kept at it. In fact two were in the oak above the feeding ground sandwiched between the dog run and the twiggy lilac keening their little guts out.
Plus three male cardinals, standing still as plastic ornaments in the cover of the lilac twigs, were looking in that direction as well.
Then I looked out the other side of the house. No birds at the feeders there but no hawk peering into the birdie pile either.
Then to the bay window, no birds their either but there was another squirrel up in the maple screeching.
I pulled on my boots, grabbed my camera, and headed for the door.
I startle the squirrel out of his keening crouch coming out the door and he almost flees but when I turn away he resumes his position looking at what appears to be either something on the roof or something beyond the roof.
And the cardinals are still there. Ordinarily my presence back here would have flushed them.
No birds at the feeder outside the bay window either but I'm hearing at least one squirrel scolding from that direction.
I head round the house checking the roof as I go. Nothing. And I head towards the East side of the house.
No birds at the feeders here either and none in the birdie pile. NOBODY on the roof visible from this side either. There is squirrel scolding coming from somewhere over here as well.
THERE he is! See him? He's scolding from the broken branch center on the lowest level of the live branches on the Ponderosa Pine. And he's looking at the roof as well!
I pass around toward the south end of the house, scrutinizing the roof. What can they see that I can't?
They do have a higher vantage point.
A little aside here. See the dark circular patch in the snow, left? Not terribly obvious but there is a feeder pole and feeder in the middle of it.
Next walk up the steps and look right. See the window overlooking the stoop? I had several bird strikes on that window from birds fleeing the feeder area.
Well I have curtains there that are never opened and I'd put decals on the window as well but I still had a couple of bird strikes. (Everyone was fine but still not a good thing.) Then I scavenged that piece of lattice, nailed it between the porch pillars, slapped on some old paint and... Ta da! No more bird strikes.
Back to our story....no hawk in sight on the roof here either!
And nothing with talons in the trees.
The Cardinals are still there....but now looking West, away from the house.
Did the hawk come off the roof and head west as I rounded the house from the East?
P.S. Thank you, Sally.