Blue and serene

Right now there is the most incredible variation of blue in the sky.  It is amazing.

Meanwhile the view at the desk remains serene, especially with its snow cover.

At the feeder we are seeing now a variety of birds.

First, before the last snowfall I was getting zillions of these.  I am not sure what they are.

I think they are a kind of starling.  They flock very closely and noisily chatter a lot.  They are a nervous lot, forever flying up into the trees and then back down to the ground to browse.  They behave like starlings I saw in Rome, the storni who flock so densely.

Meanwhile the chickdee is ever present as is the nuthatch with whom they hang out in the winter.

Since I started mixing in some thistle seed with the black sunflower seeds I am getting lots of finches again.  Small groups of house finches, about four or five together are around.

And the gold finch eating team is still about in good numbers.  I wonder if I should put out the thistle sock again.

I think this would be a "yes" vote. 

I’ll take up a collection.  These guys are going to eat me out of house and home soon!  The feed for these feathered beggars ain’t exactly tuppence a bag.

They have all kept me company today as I hammered out another article for the paper and my coffee got colder and colder.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. mwa says:

    those sure look like the European starling to me. Interestingly, a group of starlings has many collective nouns, including “a constellation of starlings,” “a filth of starlings,” “a murmuration of starlings,” “a scourge of starlings,” and a “vulgarity of starlings.”

  2. Those do indeed look like starlings. I think this part of the country only has European Starlings. They are in their winter plumage, as their beaks are black, compared with the bright yellow they will be in summer.

  3. Andreas says:

    How can they be European? Come on!

  4. hehe “tuppence a bag”, nice Mary Poppins reference, or was that unintentional!

    [What do you think? Intentional?  Not?    o{]:¬)   ]

  5. Tara says:

    I’ve been noticing how beautiful and interesting the skies are also at this time of year, now that I have a puppy–and view the sky more frequently on our walks. Beautiful pictures of the birds–how amazing the creative powers of God!

  6. JPG says:

    I have always wondered why a not particularly attractive bird would merit a name like starling while a black /brown irridescent bird such as a grackle would merit that name. It alwys seemed it ought to be reversed.

  7. David Osterloh says:

    Andreas, they rode over on sailing ships and some were imported on purpose to remind english of “home” now they and the english sparrow (brought here the same way) have driven out many native species especially swallows and the purple martin

  8. Tomás López says:

    In magnitudine sua posuit nubes et confracti sunt lapides grandinis. Ecclesiasticus 43:16

  9. Mark G. says:

    Yep, dems Starlings – the bane of my bird bath.

    They’re like crows with an accent.

  10. Adrienne says:

    You might want to check out Costco for bird seed.

  11. Adrienne says:

    Oh – and the starling was brought here as a natural enemy for the Japanese Beetle. BIG mistake!

  12. Andreas says:

    David Osterloh:

    I was joking at first, but now … thank you, interesting bit of information.

  13. Jim says:

    Nice images, father. What camera & lens did you use?

  14. Jennifer says:

    Blue sky – there’s a song by Stan Rogers called “45 years” that talks about the sky being a “painful blue”. I always think of the blue skies of Autumn and your pics show it so beautifully – a sky so clear, crisp and sharp. I wonder where that phrase originated?

  15. John Enright says:

    Such amazing pictures, Father! You should be the official photog for the Holy See!

  16. Father George says:

    So, not a turkey to be seen after Thanksgiving?

  17. [What do you think? Intentional? Not? o{]:¬) ]

    hehehe…hmmm…now, I wouldn’t want to underestimate your vocabulary prowess Father, so in that sense I’d say unintentional. But then again, hey, what’s there to be ashamed of, a self-respecting fellow can appreciate the skills at play in a well-made musical :)

  18. Christabel says:

    I would say Fr Z’s writings follow the model of the liturgy, where NOTHING is unintentional.

    But he has more Disney references and is a lot funnier than the liturgy (well, perhaps not the liturgy as it is performed in some churches, come to think of it).

  19. David Osterloh says:

    Another term for starlings, at least out here in farm country, Winged Rats, gads are they filthy, they get in you buildings and cover everything with crap, even the cows, they perch in the rafters and just bomb everything, pestulance.

  20. Mike D. says:

    I’m with you Father! I put out a bird feeder in my yard a couple of months ago
    here in sunny Florida and the 25-30 sparrows and 5-6 doves that visit every
    morning are about to eat me out of house and home!

  21. Maureen says:

    Stan Rogers (God be good to him, the hero!) probably originated the phrase. He was gifted in figuring out the right word or description.

    Re: “grackle”, apparently that’s from “graculus”. The dictionary further notes that Indo-European bird names often start with cr- and gr-, and suggests that it’s a little hidden onomatopeia for birds’ cries.

  22. Charivari Rob says:

    Isn’t part of the unnatural presence of starlings in the USA due to some fellow on the east coast a century or more ago who thought his city should have representation of every animal mentioned in Shakespeare? Any that couldn’t be found, he imported.

  23. GOR says:

    Starlings – so that’s what they are! Each Fall we get a veritable cloud of them stopping off on the property – flitting about in the trees, chattering loudly and never staying in one spot for long. However, they don’t approach the feeders (just as well!).

    However they look smaller than the starlings I remember years ago in Ireland. Probably lost weight on the long flight over…:)

  24. my kidz mom says:

    Lovely…I’m wondering too, Fr., what camera & lens did you use?

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