It's very difficult to live in Canada and not talk about the weather. Especially in the winter time. No it isn't just difficult it is impossible. But this year when I look out at the piles of snow or at the blowing drifting snow I am spotting more of the wild creatures who are living right in the middle of it all.
This week I have seen tiny little red birds fighting with everything they have to get to our feeder. The wind would blow one of them off into the trees where he or she would sit and wait. I think she was trying to get her breath back. If the wind died down even a little bit the feeder would be swamped with birds eating to prepare for the next blast that will keep them from feeding. The squirrels and chipmunks pop up from their little holes in the snow banks and grab what the birds drop.
What do these critters do where there are no human feeders? Are we changing their life patterns with our feeders forcing them to leave their warm and protected homes for the food we provide rather than storing their own? I don't know. But I admire their tenacity. The birds don't seem to have grown a winter coat nor fattened up their spindly legs to handle the snow on the trees. The squirrels and chipmunks look the same as they do in the summer. I might need a science lesson or two to truly understand how they survive. I am at a loss if I forget my scarf.
On Monday this week I passed a fox going by me on the main road. The road had been plowed back far enough that he was safe on the shoulder. One of his front legs wasn't working properly. He wouldn't have been able to manage the deep snow with three legs. We had a three legged cat for a long time. She became quite skilled at doing all the usual cat things outdoors with her three legs but she had the summer and fall to practice before she took on the snow around the house. This fox was using a manmade road to get somewhere. Would he have stayed in his den rather than venture out with one leg hurt before humans plowed the roads? Or did he get hurt and was trying to get back to his den the best way he could?
We are changing animals habitats all the time but as I watch from my warm car or house I cannot help but admire their strength and ingenuity.