A Thanksgiving Crowd

On this Thanksgiving Day, it looked very much like late November in central Missouri.  A gray overcast, broken by pockets of blue, stretched above the dull, pre-winter landscape; while most of the trees are barren, the oaks still retain their dead, brown leaves.  Despite the late autumn landscape, it felt more like September to those of us who ventured outside; strong southerly winds had developed ahead of an approaching cold front, pushing the afternoon high into the upper sixties (F).  Heavy rains are expected later this evening and cold air will dive south behind the front.

Just before 3 PM, a large flock of cedar waxwings descended on our property, feasting on honeysuckle and holly berries.  They were soon joined by an even larger crowd of American robins and the activity of these berry lovers attracted a wide variety of permanent and winter songbirds; among these residents were black-capped chickadees, tufted titmice, downy and red-bellied woodpeckers, northern cardinals, blue jays, white-breasted nuthatches, white-throated sparrows and dark-eyed juncos.  At the peak of the activity, there must have been a thousand birds in our modest-sized yard.

We Americans stop to express our thanks for the love and support of family and friends on this national holiday; some of us are also inclined to thank Mother Nature, grateful for her magnificent landscapes and diverse ecosystems.  Today's crowd of avian visitors reinforced that sentiment.