A quiet week in the garden with several cold nights, very cold nights to make everything keep its collective head down. Nevertheless, signs of approaching spring with birds such as the American Crows and Northern Cardinals making obvious signs of looking around for mates and nesting sites to make more American Crows and Northern Cardinals while the squirrels are very actively “getting together” with furious chases round and round and up and down tree trunks like a Helter-Skelter..

Leaf and flower buds are not yet swelling of course (it’s almost three months until we get decent leaf cover around here) but somehow they do seem more “evident” … though that may just be the result of cabin fever sending us out to look for any signs at all of approaching spring. We can at least expect some snowdrops around mid-March, very much a favourite flower.

The birds keep us occupied at this time of year – no more so than during the two days a week that we set aside for “Feederwatching“. How many wildlife gardeners do this? If not please give the idea some thought – it keeps your interest in the garden wildlife alive during the winters and it contributes valuable information to a huge database used by scientists working on bird distribution and population fluctuations. We are now into our 17th consecutive winter season – fascinating pastime. You can find out all about it here : http://www.birdscanada.org/volunteer/pfw/

Nothing else now but to share a few photographs:

The featured image at the top of the page compares the two common species of smaller Woodpecker – a male Downy Woodpecker and a female Hairy Woodpecker (note, the cropping I used on the photos implies the birds are the same size whereas in fact the Hairy is considerably larger than the Downy. Compare the relative size of the holes on the feeder tube if you are not familiar with these species.)

A corner of the “Stumpery” showing the entrance to a sheltered basement that small mammals and birds use to get away form the worst of the winter.

Buds on a sour cherry tree just waiting for spring. The birds almost always get all the fruit of this tree before we can harvest them … and that’s fine.

Waiting flower buds on Magnolia stellata

Red branches of a mature dogwood (Cornus)