As many of us across the US are preparing for the arrival of an Arctic blast this week, here at the sanctuary the north winds are right on cue. Yesterday, the snow fell in great, thick swirls of wind all day long. A large herd of deer came through the sanctuary and you could barely make them out through the heavy flurries:
The snow didn’t begin actually sticking until overnight, but it stopped in time for us to arrive to a snow-covered sanctuary lit up by a bright winter sun. But you know what was swirling on the cold winds this morning? The familiar first song of spring from the returning red-winged blackbirds by the pond! Their tenacity and fortitude never ceases to amaze me. As I stood at my car silently cheering their arrival, a flock of Canada geese flew overhead, returning from their winter lands as well.
Later in the afternoon I tried to run up to the pond with the hopes of catching a photo of the blackbirds, but all was still and silent in the bitter cold. I was freezing and decided to scurry back to the chimp house and just as I turned to go, out of the corner of my eye I caught movement. I wasn’t the only one running to find shelter from the first polar winds. As I stood shivering by the pond, I caught a glimpse of Meredith and Nutmeg racing toward their barn. Go, Mere, go!! She actually passed Nutmeg up!:
Somehow, the chimpanzees still managed to make brief, but frequent trips outdoors, the seven to Young’s Hill and the three to their outdoor chute. Even in frigid temperatures, blue sky and sunshine can feel pretty amazing. We all need to feel the elements sometimes. At one point Foxie was the only one on the hill braving the cold to scoop up snow snacks. I could even see her rubbing her toes together as she sat, hair standing on end (pilo-erect – which is similar to us getting goosebumps) with a mouthful of snow. And if you don’t already know, rubbing her toes together is Foxie-speak for being happy and content. But it didn’t take more than a few blasts of that wind to send her running back inside to the warmth of the chimp house and her good friend, Orange Blossom:
(And no, your eyes do not deceive you, Foxie is not in a nest. The cozy wolf blanket is pushed to the side and she is soaking up the warmth from the heated floor in classic, nest averse Foxie-style):
Stay safe, warm and cozy, everyone!
I can’t ever get over what a magical place CSNW is.
Thank you for the wonderful pictures today.
Thank you for the pictures and the cool write up. Lots of snow over the weekend and currently -4°F here in Billings and going to get colder as the week progresses.
Stay safe and warm everyone.
Hi Ken, I love Billings and we visit every year (well, sadly not last year). I keep Billings weather on my phone and check in every day and you are certainly in for a cold spell. Hang in there and stay warm like Foxie. I hear swinging from the ceiling helps. : )
Ken, we don’t hold a candle to Montana cold. Stay warm out there in that beautiful land!
Thank you Katelyn.. grand presentation of the day at CSNW. Stay warm and safe yourselves.. hugs to all.
Burrrr. We’ll be getting more snow tomorrow back east. Foxie seems to be enjoying the cold outdoors, the snow-snacks, and that warm heated floor. Can’t believe you heard the red-winged blackbirds singing. Is this early for them? Such a joy to hear their first song, a promise of warmer days ahead (even if it doesn’t feel like it right now!).
Stay warm like Foxie and have cozy night.
Kathleen, you all are definitely getting a proper winter out there! I know a local spot where a single male red-winged blackbird returns weeks ahead of the others each year. Sings his whole heart into claiming that territory. At the sanctuary, every year I think they are early, but when I check my list of “arrival dates” it’s right on time. 🙂
Thank for the response. How lovely the blackbird serenades the chimps and moos each day! The shelter where I volunteer is on a farm with some pounds and wetlands where massive tufted reeds grow and this is where the very first red winged blackbirds return each spring. I always think they arrive earlier each year. Looking forward to hearing them belt out their song once life returns to a healthier state. The only positive part of this pandemic is the proof that the wonderful rhythm of nature doesn’t need us at all. The circular balance and rhythm of nature is perfect, we are the disruptors.
Nancy D says
Loved your post and the pictures of darling little Foxie. I also got a kick out of Meredith and Nutmeg running for the barn! No snow yet in Seattle but it might be arriving later this week (I hope not). I hope all of you stay safe and warm.
Linda C says
Lol, Orange Blossom is so brave, she doesn’t need adventure pants! No wonder Foxie likes her! I think she’s been in recent rotation more than French Dora lately!
It does seem early for the red winged blackbirds. That means I should be hearing the neighborhood great horned owl’s mating calls in a couple of weeks.
After getting more snow dumped on us, we’ve been “balmy”, in the 30s! Not gonna complain, except that snow means water on the lines and yucky internet for online work.
Linda, Foxie’s dolls do have to be tough. 🙂 Interesting about your owl neighbors – here we hear them Dec/Jan. And really this year was quite early with Oct/Nov. The hooting season. One of my favorites. 🙂
Linda C says
Wow! One of my colleagues is a “bird guy”. He said you hear them in March because they get a leg up on the other birds with nesting/mating. Then, their young are born before others’, and have a leg up on food sources. But November!!
The side of this mansion has a porch. My bedroom is in the “tower”, and the roof of that porch and a big ol’ pine tree are right outside my bedroom windows. I swear I’ve heard him out there at 3 am, right outside my window!
Here in the Netherlands we just had that coldfront dumping 7-8 inches of snow on us….and since climatechange we haven’t had any winters to speak of.
So there is a lot of shoveling and wondering if by some miracle, I have been transported to Washington and can bump into Foxi on Young’s Hill any moment now……
( I wish…).
Marianne, that’s a good amount of snow! Our winter (as you’ve probably seen) has been pretty mild overall as well. Even this Arctic blast is coming in a little late in the season. Seeing the chimpanzees out there enjoying the elements definitely makes it more magical. 🙂
Carol sceniak says
Here in Illinois its -2 and we have had 12 inches of snow the past 10 days.So happy to see Foxie and all that gang keeping warm.How is my gal Jamie?God bless all of you for taking such great care of these wounderful creatures .They deserve the best in life.Thank you very much.
Oooff. We are still “balmy” compared to you all, Carol! Jamie has been busy with her nests, books and boots, and the ever-popular, yelling at the neighbors. 🙂 Thank you for loving the chimpanzees!
Just loved reading your blog! I just couldn’t stop smiling over Foxie and Orange Blossom. The photos are just beautiful – all of them – the deer – oh, so special! and Meredith and Nutmeg getting out of the cold, good for them. I ADORE the photos of the Foxie One, she is ever fascinating!