Look around. Look down. Look up.
Don't you love it when nature surprises you with a special gift? That's what happened to me this-afternoon while I walked the river trail along the banks of the Susquehanna in Athens, Pennsylvania.
With raging flood waters on my right and River Street on my left, I looked down at the snow around my feet. You never know what evidence the snow might reveal about human or animal activity. There, near the intersection of River Street and Satterlee Street, birch seeds were strewn about everywhere, looking like hundreds of tiny dark cross shaped spots on the crusty white snow. I thought to myself, this mess looks like it's been made by finches. I looked up into the branches of the nearest birch tree, a Eurpoean white birch loaded with catkins, and there they were! What great joy to watch a small flock of common redpolls quietly yet busily gobbling up as many birch seeds as they could, and scattering a lot too!
When you're out looking for wildlife in the winter, don't forget to look around, look down, and look up. You never know what special surprises are in store. Maybe the tracks of a bobcat, a deer, or even a duck registered in the snow that lead you all the way to the animal itself. Maybe the regurgitated pellet from an owl's most recent meal, left on the snow near the trunk of a roost tree. Maybe tiny dark birch seeds strewn about on white snow, an indication that a messy flock of redpolls may be nearby.