[image: House finch, Mike McDowell]
This morning I was thoroughly involved in a creative inner world when I looked out my window and saw a rosy finch on the bush with red berries. He was quite beautiful, sitting there puffed out against the cold, which was so deep the sky was blue. Soon he was joined by another, then others, and I began counting. I got up to eleven - mind you, this on a few thin, flexible branches. There were so many of them, eating one berry at a time and spitting out its skin, that a blue jay sat some ways off and just watched. Ordinarily, blue jays are pushy types that will shoulder their way in any buffet ahead of the people who were there first. But this one must have felt himself outnumbered. Rosies are rather aggressive little things.
Those small berries have been red for months now, but apparently not ripe. Occasionally, a robin would try at them and go away. Yesterday a squirrel went out on a limb, which bent under his weight, but then gave up. Today he was back, trying a new technique: he would walk out on the limb and, even as it kept bending under his weight, yank off a twig with three or four berries on it and scurry back to more secure footing. There he could hold the twig in his front paws, surely an important survival ability. There were almost no acorns this year. It's going to take a lot of berries to make up for that lack, and a lot of nerve. Fortunately, squirrels have that in good measure.