These hooded pitcher plants have a primitive and forbidding look about them, especially this time of the year. The plants have become dormant for the winter, leaving their vessels to dry into cracked and papery shells (but with spikes and veins intact). Their successors will replace them in the spring, ready to snag the next generation of unwitting insects.
Last January I challenged myself to identify and list all the different birds I would encounter over the next twelve months. Now, a year later, I am pleased to report that I spotted fifty-one different varieties: forty-three in my backyard and surrounding neighborhoods, eight in Holland, and one in Arizona. Here are a few of the highlights.
(From top to bottom: Egyptian Goose, White-Breasted Nuthatch, Coot, Pine Siskin, Eastern Bluebird)
These little birds are pine siskins, kin to the finch family. We have quite a few of them in our yard these days. They’re known to be a bit feisty with each other when vying for a food source. Although these two look well-mannered here, they had been battling it out at the feeder below moments before.