I for one am a big fan of the changing of the seasons. Winter, which can symbolize death and decay, personally symbolizes the emergence of the ski boot, and the drive to the high country for skiing and snow tromping on the Colorado Plateau, listening for snow-hardened, tough little birds like the Mountain Chickadee, Red-breasted Nuthatch, and Brown Creeper. Additionally, The winter in the mid-desert of Sedona is wonderful. Cooler temperatures, fewer tourists, and moisture licking the Red Rocks creating beautifully varnished sheens. Thousands of wintering resident birds agree, existence is comfortable here. Juniper berries abound, Pinyon Pine nuts are easily extracted, seed laden grasslands are havens for sparrows, and fallen scrub-oak acorns are easy pickins.
As spring arrives, I have no complaints. There is an excitement to spring: the lighting changes, the desert bloom brought on by late winter rains and warming temperatures commences, smells emerge, both bitter and sweet, and oh the singing, birds perched on high points singing everywhere. And so the cycle continues, many of our summer breeders have returned from winter adventures in the warmer climes of Mexico, Central and South America. Many, many more are on their way. So it is time to say goodbye to our winter residents, and welcome back our breeding birds with open camera shutters, binoculars, and spotting scopes. Here I pay homage via images to our winter birds, and may they return safely in the fall.