We're slowly coming out of another debilitating ice storm. Even from inside, we've heard the sharp cracks and messy tumbles of nearby trees or large limbs. Our beloved plum tree has for the second time in just weeks been brought to its knees.
Ice storms may be "nature's pruners" but Mother Nature, in all her wisdom and glory, has no artistic eye as she works. Vulnerable branches may all fall from the same side of the tree, leaving us with half a tree when the ice retreats. Depending on how long the ice remains, some of the birches never raise their branches fully again, spending the rest of their lives as if in arboreal mourning.
Temperature alone won't clear the ice; even slightly above freezing, the ice holds on, even gains some weight. The best we can hope for is for the clouds to clear, the sun to shine, and no wind, allowing the ice to surrender peacefully, giving the trees and shrubs a chance to slowly stretch their limbs and regain their shape. Wind just adds insult to injury, snapping and tearing at ice-laden branches.
The birds don't recognize their favorite perches anymore but adjust quickly to find the feeder drooping near the ground. At other feeders, they come in from below or squeeze through the gaps in the ice cage surrounding their birdfood. It's not easy on them so I clear the icicles and spread seed out on the deck. They smartly avoid the side of the house where ice chunks are breaking loose and pelting the ground like a hailstorm.
If you look closely, you can see the tail of the chickadee getting peanuts on the back side of this feeder!
Yet through it all, I hear the chickadees singing. The male's two-note "fee-bee" song makes it clear that they are not going to let a little ice slow the inevitable progression toward spring.