Blizzard That Wasn’t and Feeding Birds on Shabbat Shira

snowstorm 2015
My husband and I were both happy that the blizzard that was predicted for our area of central New Jersey was not a blizzard at all but a mere 6″ inches of fresh snow.

cardinal female in tree
So because of the storm I went outside with my camera and took some great shots – many of a beautiful female cardinal with regal brown and bits of red feathers.

female cardinal, head cocked
Here is the female cardinal, head cocked a bit.

cardinal female tail
Note the beautiful tail of the lady cardinal.

junco at feeder
And what is this lovely bird with a white bottom and long tail – a new visitor (for me). It is a male junco. According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, it is a visitor from Canada that comes to New Jersey in winter with a long tail, rounded head and short, stout bill.

Here’s the dark-eyed junco – note that round body!

junco on the floor
The junco was enjoying the ground – this is just below our bird feeder.

tufted titmouse in feeder
A tufted titmouse visited the bird feeder.

tufted titmouse in tree
The tufted titmouse also posed in our backyard tree.

garden during snow storm
Above is my garden during the mild snowstorm.

echinacea covered in snow
My dried echinacea plant is now topped with bits of snow.

Getting to the title: what is Shabbat Shira? Shabbat Shira is the Jewish Sabbath on which the song of Miriam is recited/chanted/leyned in the synagogue. So what does it have to do with the birds? There is a custom of feeding birds on Shabbat Shira. I wrote a bit about the discussion of feeding birds on Shabbat Shira on an older post (in short, birds ate the manna and birds like singing). For questions on whether it is better to feed birds on Shabbat itself or right before, one should consult your local rabbi. On this post I want to remark that I don’t really know many Jews who actually do this. But if you are Jewish and considering feeding the birds, please be careful to feed them bird seeds and not bread. Also, once you start the custom of feeding birds, it is nice to continue, isn’t it?

A few links for more on Shabbat Shira and birds:

For more Nature Notes:
Nature Notes

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