Birds

I’m sitting in my usual (warm) spot, looking out of the patio windows. It’s amazing how much separation double-glazing can create between us and the outside world. According to the thermometer, the inside temperature is +18.5 Celcius (which is ok, but not warm for living space) and the outside temperature is -1.5 Celcius (which is probably considered tropical in some parts of the world, but I think is darned cold). That means there is a 20 degrees Celcius temperature difference across two panes of glass and the intervening 1 cm of dry air, or whatever it is. I’ve just reached out to touch the window. The glass is cold, but not expecially so.

There has been no new snow for the last couple of days, though I thought I saw some flakes falling a few minutes ago. There has certainly been no thaw! The air temperature has been around zero and the snow has remained but it has now become a crisp crust which covers almost every surface.

We feed the wild birds in our garden. It is quite surprising how much they consume. I can almost see the level of seeds and peanuts falling in the bird feeders we have suspended from a tree-branch in our front garden. I remember reading somewhere that a small bird (sparrow or similar) can lose a significant part of its body mass in one winter night, so they need a substantial input of food to sustain themselves. One of my daughters decided it would be a good idea to scatter a handful of seeds and nuts on the patio. I have been watching the birds gathering them up. I’m not sufficiently knowledgable that I can identify them all, but I have seen a robin, several sparrows and two or three other different species, not counting the two varieties of crow, who are reluctant to approach the house. The birds are so confident that they will come to within inches of the window. They make an entertaining spectacle.

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