Coping with Cold: Shelter

Coopers Hawk stalking at brush pile shelter (photo by Marcy Cunkelman)Another cold night in Pittsburgh.  Tomorrow morning it'll be only 10 degrees.

As I walked home this evening I passed a brush pile on Forbes Avenue and heard the thin 'zee' of white-throated sparrows calling to each other.  I couldn't see them but I'm sure they will shelter there tonight to stay warm.

To some of you a brush pile may look like "junk" but to a songbird it's a life saver, providing protection from bad weather and predators.

My friend Marcy Cunkelman is a great gardener and has made her yard both beautiful and bird-friendly.  For the songbirds, she constructed several brush piles.  The birds love them.

As you can see in Marcy's photo, the coopers hawk - who eats birds - is very interested in the brush pile.  Perhaps he can see the songbirds hiding there.  Marcy tells me he sometimes tries to dive in to scare the little birds out of it, but they are safe inside.

Tonight they'll be in there out of the wind, fluffed up to stay warm.   Brrrr!