Winter Visitors

Winter Visotors

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In the past 5 or 6 years I have become an enthusiastic birder- a bird nerd, as someone put it. It all started with one simple feeder and one basic book; now it has evolved to an elaborate feeding station, with several types of bird feeders targeted at specific species, and all filled with the appropriate food. And I now have a library of books on birds.

As winter approaches and the deciduous tress lose their foliage the birds that visit my feeding station become more numerous and more visible, and new species appear. Watching them on a cold blustery northern winter day becomes a gratifying and educational pastime, and my knowledge of them has increased a hundredfold.
But birds are not the only guests at the lunch buffet: Many mammals come to partake in the abundant and accessible food supply which I provide. However, I was puzzled to find several feeders on the ground each morning, totally empty, and the table type feeder tipped over and taken apart. “Must be raccoons”, I declared, for we know they are plentiful in our region. “It’s deer,” my husband declared with a certainty characteristic of the all-knowing man. “I don’t think they’d come this close to a house,” I replied, for the White Tail is notoriously shy and wary of man, seldom seen during daylight hours.

One morning we awoke to a snow covered yard, and now there was no doubt, for deer tracks surrounded the feeders, and lines of tracks led to and from our feeding station. In subsequent days more trails of tracks appeared; it seemed that for the deer, all roads led to my house.

I wanted to capture this event, for it never fails to fascinate me. The challenge was to work a piece in values of white. I was inspired by the winter paintings of Monet and Cezanne, and collected as many whites and off-whites as I could find. It was indeed a challenge, but in truth the most fun was creating the small birds and animals in what has become a kind of primitive more akin to Grandmas Moses than Monet.