So, What Changed?
You use to be when we had an early snow like we’ve just had, a number of bird species would still be in the feeders providing some great photo opps. A good example is this American Robin. When he first showed up in our yard in 1996, we were quite excited because they normally aren’t this high up. When a female showed up the next year and later immature robins, I was very excited because I knew the kids would learn from their parents that our property was a safe place with lots of food and comeback the following year. So for years I could count on them to be a subject when the first snow fell. Then last year and again this year, they left a few weeks ago, flew south much earlier then in years past. I know that because we keep a simple Excell record of such trivia. So when the snow fell yesterday, I missed my friends.
These photos were taken many years ago, the first fall we had a snow with the Robins in the yard. I learned long ago that when a photographic idea comes to mind, act on it because there is a really good possibility the opportunity won’t be there tomorrow. A WWII Ace, Ken Dahlberg (famous for other things as well) passed away yesterday and a good reminder to us about not acting was written in Unfinished work. We’ve all done it, driven past a scene and said, “That’s really cool, I should photographic it. I’ll comeback tomorrow” only to comeback and find the scene quite different. So when I see a critter in the yard I want to photograph it, the vast majority of time I stop what I’m doing and photograph it. Einstein said, “Everyone has five life changing ideas everyday, the problem is they never act on them.”
This means when I’m in the office the camera and lens (D3x / 600VR / 300AFS) are always sitting out so I can quickly grab and shoot. Feeders and bird baths are always stocked (main job responsibility of Nancy when we’re gone, keep them full) and we constantly look up to see who’s here. This is how we have so much trivia to have a Excell file of activity. I went and looked at that data when I noticed the robins gone again “early” this year because I wondered what’s changed. Well looking at the robins, grosbeaks, chipmunks and bears and the weather, a pattern appeared. When we had a “warm” winter which we have had 12 of the last 16 years, all these critters not only were present much later in the year, but weren’t as filled out with fat or fur. Last winter we had a “normal” winter with 25+’ of snow in the front yard and the robins left the same time as they have this year. The bears now have amazing coats and lots of fat. Now I’m dying to see what kind of winter we are going to have. Will this pattern demonstrate the critters know what’s to come? I wanna know, so what has changed>