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Snow Birds & Trout Lilies

Prairie Notes:
February 11, 2010

Tandy Hills Natural Area is very much alive in the dead of Winter! The sound of snow falling and snow birds flying are filling the air above Tandy Hills Natural Area with beautiful music.

As the heavy, heavy snow continues to pile deeper and deeper, thousands of Cedar Waxwings and Robins are swarming over Tandy Hills. For the past few days the sky above our beloved prairie has become a kind of L.A. Freeway for uncountable numbers of these birds. The permanent residents, Cardinals, Jays, White-wing Doves and Sparrows are in a tizzy. Grackles are keeping their distance. The cosmopolitan invaders are pulling rank.

At the top of the local avian food chain, however, a Cooper's Hawk watched the countless newcomers with aplomb. The drive-thru window just came to her/him. Life doesn't get much better than this.

Meanwhile, the first Trout Lily of 2010 has already bloomed and posed gracefully for me last week. They keep blooming earlier every year, or it seems that way. The one pictured below is one of tens of thousands at THNA that are gradually reaching through the snow and up to the sky where the snow birds fly.

Ray Charles was right on when he sang that famous line from the unofficial Prairie Fest anthem, O What a Beautiful Morning:

"The sounds of the Earth are like music."

PS: Go here, to read about my February 2008 encounter with a drunk Cedar Waxwing:

Cedar Waxwings at THNA
Cedar Waxwings at THNA: 2/11/2010

Cedar Waxwings at THNA

Cedar Waxwings at THNA
Elegant Cedar Waxwings braving the cold.

Coopers Hawk
Cooper's Hawk @ THNA: 2/11/2010

Olive the Prairie Dog goes airborne as she dashes through the snow at THNA.

1st Trougt Lily of 2010
First Trout Lily of 2010 @ THNA

"The sounds of the Earth are like music."