Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.

Smiling in spite of the Polar Vortex


Trent, from Trent’s World, reminds us that we all have much to smile about. Each week he asks what made us smile, and surprisingly, even with -14F temperatures (-25.5C), and wind chills in the -50s (-45C), I find myself grinning.

This afternoon I bundled up, (sweatshirt with hood pulled up over the hat I was wearing, coat with hood pulled up over that, long underwear, heavy socks, boots and heavy gloves) and ventured out to put more birdseed in the feeders.

Though it is still very very cold, today the wind has subsided a bit, and we have sunshine! If you’re inside it’s just beautiful!

The sun came up this morning on another brutally cold day.

While I was out there scattering seed I felt, rather than really saw, a fat bird fly just over my head. I turned around to see what it was and saw the brilliant blue of a male Eastern bluebird, the sun glinting off his wings. He landed in the redbud tree at the other end of the house.

Of course I scurried back inside, urging Katie the dog to hurry up too. Grabbing my camera I tried to walk nonchalantly back toward the door, hoping she wouldn’t want to go back outside. She likes to explode from the door out onto the deck which always scares all the birds and squirrels away.

She says that’s the point.

But of course she wanted to go out too. So obviously there was no bluebird in the tree by the time I got out there. I was sad, but still smiling. Just having seen him was pretty amazing.

Back inside I switched back to the short lens and was turning to put it away when I saw him. The bluebird was back, drinking out of my heated birdbath.

I crept around to the window. The light was bad. There were reflections in the window, and I could barely see him over the top of the recliner. Plus his head was in the birdbath. Still. If this was the only shot I’d get of him, I was smiling.

Pretend you can tell this is a bluebird.

I tried to move to a better angle to reduce the reflections. Katie took that as an invitation to storm the recliner, barking excitedly, sure that if mama had her camera out there was something out there!!! The bluebird flew away. Katie got scolded.

I figured I’d stand there for a bit and see if he came back. I was staring out one window, looking in the direction he had gone. Nothing. I decided to focus on the birdbath so I’d be ready if he arrived. I turned the camera back to the original window.

And found three bluebirds sitting there, quietly drinking.

Yummy water you’ve got here lady! We like it icy cold!

The images I got were still bad, dark and backlit with sunshine and brilliant snow, and there were still reflections in the window. But there were three bluebirds at my birdbath!

The reflections really didn’t matter.

Do you guys think it’s a bit chilly here in Michigan? Maybe we should have migrated.

After cropping and lightening and working to get rid of the reflections I had a somewhat barely passable set of images. Not great images…

This is a really bad picture but I love how the one on the right is all puffed up and they look like grumpy old men.

…but oh my….it’s still freezing cold outside…and I can’t stop smiling.

Yep, it’s a regular water bar for bluebirds around here.

Author: dawnkinster

I'm a long time banker having worked in banks since the age of 17. I took a break when I turned 50 and went back to school. I graduated right when the economy took a turn for the worst and after a year of library work found myself unemployed. I was lucky that my previous bank employer wanted me back. So here I am again, a long time banker. Change is hard.

41 thoughts on “Smiling in spite of the Polar Vortex

  1. I was surprised to see bluebirds on our bird bath, too.

    I’m on the other side of the state and we’re just finishing up 7 days of lake effect snow.

    Stay warm.


  2. Despite lighting and reflections, these are great! I thought bluebirds were smart enough to go further south in winter, or is it so warm there they thought it was spring?


  3. When it isn’t windy I don’t mind cold, even -14 – if it is sunny and zero wind, I often don’t wear a coat for short excursions in 0 F (that’s why I love, love thick wool). But with the wind… Brrrrrr. Cool you got some blue bird pictures. And with your editing they look great.


  4. Our birdbath has been freezing over and I’ve been changing out the water daily. My farm employee has been mocking me for it. Wait until I tell him what you do!


  5. What a treat! Such cute little birds.

    I don’t know if you know this, I learned it when reading tips about shooting from the Skyview Observatory before we went. The best way to avoid reflections is to put the lens up against the glass, though it sounds like there might be a chair in your way. Pretty good shots for through a window anyway.


  6. From ‘the dog’ to ‘Katie the dog.’ I love it. And the pictures are great–they do look like grumpy old men–but cute!


  7. Thank you for the smile!


  8. Glad you are smiling because all your pictures captured the moment beautifully. And if it is important to you I am pretty sure the reflections and whatnot can be edited out…


  9. yeah! Made me smile too ! Your Blue Birds are beautiful! 🙂


  10. I’m smiling, too! Wonderful birdies. Maybe they’ll let you get a closeup when it thaws outside!


  11. Great photos of the blue birds. So nice you have a heated bird bath for them. Grateful to not have the cold winter to contend with but having buckets of rain this weekend.


  12. Would feel very blessed to see a bluebird! I will look down on them when I fly through Detroit tomorrow. Stay warm!


    • Safe travels to you Kathy as you wing your way overhead. If anything happens in Detroit where you end up stuck, call me. Or if you need anything! You should have my cell from our visit in November. Weather is supposed to be good here tomorrow though so you should be fine.


  13. Pingback: The Weekly Smile Recap 1/28/2019 – 2/3/209 | Trent's World (the Blog)

  14. Lovely pictures, sure those poor birds want a blanket too.


  15. What beautiful shots of the birds.


  16. How do birds not freeze when it’s that cold? It’s not like they have any blubber, just feathers. do these little guys have some kind of layer of down feathers. There just doesn’t seem to be much there to keep them going.


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