Before the snow,
the cold. Birds’ water
froze completely.
Red-Winged Blackbirds stand
on the bowl’s edge,
pecking at the ice.
They swarm
when I set out warm water.
Smaller birds,
Sparrows and Chickadees,
have to wait
until a flock of Red-Winged Blackbirds
quench their thirst.

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A day of snowfall,
snow covering everything,
yet their drinking looks
desperate.
Seems they’d get some moisture
as they peck the snow for seeds.
They swarm the bird feeders too
and spend the snowy day—black birds, Cardinals,
Meadowlarks, Red-Bellied Woodpecker,
Mockingbird, Dove, sparrows, Goldfinches,
Chickadees—eating,
drinking.

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I replace frozen water
with fresh
three times
and scatter more seed
before the sun appears,
just before the end of the day—
surprising me
and casting a bit of golden warmth
for birds sheltering
for the night.

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It will be snowing again
in the morning.
Blackbirds there, pecking ice,
compelling me out
into a cold, heavy snowfall,
a beautiful snow-filled land,
with warm water,
seed.

The birds’ urgent drinking,
frenetic eating
give me pause…
Maybe my efforts
are more than a ploy
for their good company.

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