Well, it turns out that one of the lesser known symptoms of COVID is the complete and utter inability to write blog posts.
Like many others, we had a rather Omicrummy Christmas as the virus raced through our household, and although triple-vaxxed, we were laid low for a couple of weeks.
Fortunately it’s been mainly just medium horrible cold and flu symptoms, overlaid with exhaustion and the need for many naps and lots of Advil.
Every day I’ve thought “must write a blog post’” . . . and every day I’ve taken the alternative route of flopping in my comfy chair and watching hours of TV. Even daytime TV was not off limits! Some desultory knitting or needle felting was completed in between naps.
Throughout this period there was a tiny, slightly more active, part of my brain just itching to write a blog post. Whenever I did get outside to walk the dog, or just stand in my dressing gown in the garden, there was bird inspiration everywhere — just begging to be shared.
It seems, however, that the COVID brain cannot process inspiration.
Also, complete sentences seemed like just . . . so . . . much . . . w — o — r — k
Yesterday, however, the bushtits decided enough was enough. A committee came, literally, to my back door to FORCE me to write about them.
In case you’re not familiar with these characters, bushtits are tiny, grey, determined and objectively adorable birds. See my previous post Consider the Bushtit for just some of the reasons why.
During the very cold weather we had over the holidays they came to the garden many times a day to visit the suet feeder.
I did manage to write a few short social media posts while I was sick and one of them was about the bushtits …
The rare sight of a lone bushtit.
They travel in close knit chattering charabanc tours of 20-30. The rest of the tour group was close by. I always wonder if one of them is the Rick Steves of the gang, pointing out the local attractions. “On our left we have the famous suet feeder — but be sure to step out of your comfort zone and try the exotic delights of the hummingbird feeder. Don’t miss the bugs up there on the maple. OK, time’s up … on to the next step on the tour … no laggards please.”
It is just possible that I am spending too much time with birds … 🤪
Of course, as many of you wisely pointed out, it is impossible to spend too much time with birds!
And here’s a photo of the tour group having a refreshment break at the hummingbird feeder.
Incidentally, I’d been wondering for a while why I kept losing the little yellow nectar covers on the hummingbird feeders until I noticed them lying in the snow after the bushtits had been by. How did they get them off? Again, see Consider the Bushtit to see how cleverly they can use their tiny claws.
So what could these birds have done yesterday that was even cuter and cleverer than all of this?
For context, the weeks of snow and icy slush have been replaced this week by yet another Atmospheric River, bringing relentless rain and grey skies. Not much inspiring to look at outside, but I just happened to glance outside of my back door window and did a double take. It looked like a scene from the old Cinderella cartoon of my childhood …
This is only a small portion of the whole group. By the time I got my phone out to video them, about two thirds of the crowd had moved on, but you can see that they were making themselves very cosy under our deck, taking advantage of the heated hummingbird feeder and arranging themselves on the big floral metal shelf as if it were a specially designed bushtit drying rack.
As you can see, this was already too amazing not to write about, but there was more!
Check out the couple snuggling together in the next video. They were pressed so tightly together, and for so long, I worried that they’d got sugar water on themselves from the hummingbird feeder and become stuck!
Sorry the video and pictures aren’t the best quality. I was filming sometimes through the window and the shadow in some of the video is the door, open just a crack to stick a lens out.
While the whole group was heart stoppingly cute, this particular couple took the cake. This is one of the chief joys of watching birds. You may think you’ve seen all the amazing things about them.
But you never have!
The delicacy of their tiny, wet, translucent, slightly bedraggled tails …
I’m not sure if they are actually shivering here, as the weather was much milder than it’s been, or if it was part of their feather drying technique. Or perhaps they were just so excited to be together …
I imagine that the bushtit delegation was sent by the other birds to overcome my inertia by dint of sheer cuteness. Now that I’ve actually found where my keyboard is again, I hope I’ll be able to make some new posts about some of the other amazing birds that stopped by over the last couple of weeks.
Meanwhile, keep your eyes open for what new and amazing things the bushtits have up their tiny feathery sleeves.
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