As I stagger toward the end of a head cold, I wanted, on the theory that winter is ending, note that I saw a couple of mourning doves out in the road yesterday. I'd seen them -- or another pair -- two or three weeks ago, but then they disappeared. Because I've been spreading sunflower seed on a little hillock that catches the sun, the grosbeaks have really moved in. I've seen fifty of them sitting in the maples catching the early winter sun, then diving down to eat. Redpolls, finches, starlings (gobbling suet), downy & harry woodpeckers, chickadees, and the last couple of days, a pair of crows. There are crows in the woods all winter long, of course, but they usually don't spend much time right in the yard. Because of last week's rain & sleet & freezing rain, there is a hard layer of ice covering the ground -- they may be having a tough time delving out their usual diet of small carrion. The sun is shining today, which will help errode the ice even though we may not get above freezing. Next couple of days are supposed to be a little warmer. That should be good for our resident white tailed deer. We've had five yearlings around all winter, one with a broken back leg she can't use at all. I'm happy to see she's made it through so far, though she & her mates will have to survive on browsings from the lower branches of spruce trees for a couple of more weeks.