Adjustments and Adaptations

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Is it too late to fly south??

After having relatively minor snowfalls, we may finally be in for the big one today. Then again, most of the country is supposed to be in for it today. Winter storm warnings from Texas to Maine. We got a dusting last night but the heavy stuff is due in this afternoon. So we wait and see how much we are going to get.

About two weeks ago, I was at the dentist and we were talking about what then appeared to be a short term cold snap. I made a comment that cold waves in February typically don’t last as long as they can in January. Yeah, I’m not weatherman. We’ve had nine straight days where the high never got above freezing and they keep pushing back the timing of when we get out of the deep freeze. Looks like Sunday now but long range forecasts are kind of guesses so who knows.

Which just means all of the little snowfalls we’ve had have just piled up at the edges of my driveway. It doesn’t leave a lot of room to put new snow like we are supposed to get today and tonight. Could end up with big snowbanks on my driveway – at least until temperatures get back to where they are supposed to be.

The bird at the start of this post is an American Robin. They used to be considered the first sign of spring but that’s no longer the case since some percentage of them take their chances and overwinter. A long cold snap with deep snow would be trouble because they typically forage through the leaves and brush for dormant insects. They’ll eat left over berries as well but a lot of that has been picked over.

But I’ve got a couple of smarter ones. They’ve figured out the feeders are a source of food. I guess robins do come to feeders but this is the first time I’ve seen them do this because they tend to prefer feeding from the ground. We’ve certainly attracted bluebirds and helped them make it through the winter so I guess the robins were just the next to figure it out. Its a little thing but just how nature adapts and how we can trigger change with a small thing like putting out bird feeders. It does mean I’ll have to shovel my way to the feeder so I can keep them stocked.

The injured deer is still hanging around as well. There are two yearlings that seem to be hanging with him. Can’t tell if they are male or female but I think they’ve observed that he gets food and they want in on it. Yesterday, he was by himself and when he saw me on the deck, he got up and started to come over so I tossed some more corn down. I know there is a lot of browse for them in the woods and I’ve seen him eating natural food so the corn is more of a supplement. The issue is if we get deep snow, he’s really capable of digging through it to get to the shrubs and branches so the corn may become more important. Again, we have to get temperatures back to normal so this snow doesn’t hang around forever.

It might bury the raccoons under the deck. I’m curious to see how they dig themselves out.

Lastly, a brief COVID update. The main site I’ve been using is shutting down their data collection efforts on March 7th. There are other sites but the big advantage to this one is you could download files that made it easy to update my spreadsheets. Copy/paste is better than data entry. I’ll have to see if I can adapt data from one of the other sites but some of the graphs I’ve been doing will likely stop when my primary site goes dark.

I will do a post later this week with more COVID data and updated graphs. For now, I’ll just give the overall summary of the week that ended on Saturday. There were 11.3 million tests recorded which is again down from last week and the fifth week in a row where it has dropped. Still more than double the number from summer/fall.

But there were only 655,557 positive results recorded and that is down 61% from the peak number recorded during the first week in January and it is the fifth week in a row of decreases. This is the lowest number of positive results since the week of October 25th when there were 558,457 positive results recorded. For the week, 5.8% of the tests were positive which is the lowest percentage of positive results since the week of October 18th. So the numbers continue to improve.

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