Thursday, December 08, 2005

Brushpiling Just in Time

We heard the weather forecast this afternoon: big snowstorm on the way. So Liam and I did what we do every winter, we built a big brushpile near our main feeding station. This involves heading into the woods and finding windfall wood--not a problem with our extreme weather this fall and winter--and hauling it up to the brushpile site. Chet Baker, our family dog, helped us, too, mostly by grabbing sticks out of Liam's hand and running away with them. Liam screamed about it, then laughed.
Slowly, the brushpile took shape. I like to make a large, loose teepee of branches and small trunks to start. Then I line the windward side with pine boughs and grasses to make the inner sanctum of the brushpile as warm and cozy as possible for our bird patrons.
Here we're heading back out into the meadow to hunt the wood's edge for more brushpile material.
And the final ingredient for a good brushpile: a few handfuls of seed thrown into the middle of it. Within seconds a male downy woodpecker, three juncos, a pair of male cardinals, and a song sparrow were into the brushpile and onto the seed. And six mourning doves were happily perched on the upper branches.

Tonight there are already three inches of heavy, wet snow on the ground, with three more inches expected in the morning.

We got our brushpile done just in time.


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