Saturday, December 29, 2012

Backyard Birds in Winter

Red-bellied Woodpecker
We had a white Christmas with snow and ice and an even bigger snowstorm today. Winter winds are whistling around my house and the temperature remains below the freezing mark. With no flowers blooming in my garden I am thankful for the many birds that visit at this time of the year.

Birds that remain in Pennsylvania for the winter include many year-round residents such as the red-bellied and downy woodpeckers, the northern cardinal, tufted titmouse, bluejay, chickadee, white-breasted nuthatch, and Carolina wren. All these, and others, are frequent visitors to our bird feeders and heated water dish.

Downy Woodpecker at the Suet Feeder

Winter is a difficult time for Pennsylvania birds ...

"The natural food supply has been consumed or is hidden by snow. Most insects are dead or dormant. Water can be hard to find, and food needed to provide the energy to keep birds warm might be scarce. Finding shelter may not be easy. If there are limited natural evergreens or shelter, birds may seek manmade houses or habitats that can provide refuge from the winds, rains, ice or snow of winter."  Wildbirds Unlimited Educational Resources.

White-breasted Nuthatch at the Heated Water Dish

Tufted Titmouse
 H.H. takes good care of the birds' needs. He provides food, water and shelter for our winter visitors. I appreciate that he places the feeders in plain view of the French windows so I can sit in my favorite chair in the garden room and enjoy the show.

Chicadee and Carolina Wren
Some birds prefer to scavenge the seeds that drop from the feeder onto the ground.

Cardinal and Black-eyed Junco
Bluebird waiting for a turn at the seed feeder
Bluebirds are my favorite. Less preferred are the cheeky blue jays that steal food and bully the other birds.

Blue Jay
Much as I love watching winter birds, I can't help thinking ahead to spring flowers. My favorite, the hellebore, will bloom first. The hellebore has to be my final pick for the 'Dozen for Diana' meme I followed each month of 2012. 

Hellebore hybrid

Hellebore hybrid
This has been a fascinating meme; please visit Diana's wonderful blog, Elephants Eye, to learn all about it. In my next posting I will review the monthly picks for my virtual garden. Also, I will begin the planning process for my 2013 'actual' garden.

Wishing you a Happy New Year!

Pamela x

~~ I love reading your comments. I hope you leave one so I’ll know you visited!
I look forward to visiting your blog in return.


  1. Great photos and a wonderful collection of winter birds! I've had enough of winter now that Christmas is over... I'm ready for spring!
    Have a Happy New Year!

  2. You have such colourful birds, makes a change from the sparrows and starlings which frequent my garden. Wishing you and your loved ones a happy, healthy and properous new year.

  3. Your feathered friends are so sweet! I really love the tufted titmouse and the bluebird.

    Your hellebores are beautiful!

    Have a wonderful 2013

    FlowerLady Lorraine

  4. I must admit I don’t know enough about the birds in my garden, apart from the wood pigeons, which could all fly somewhere else was it up to me! I have decided to get a feeding station for small birds for 2013, hope to actually see the birds I can hear! Loved your photos, they all look so beautiful. My hellebores are on their way up, the Helleborus niger is just about to flower now. Looking forward to seeing yours in flower. All the best for 2013!

  5. Your birds are lovely, and they are very lucky to have such a thoughtful gardener as you, keeping the feeders filled for them in such harsh winter weather. I think I would welcome some snow. Everything is just brown, brown, brown here :-(

  6. I must admit I love the cheeky blue jays. They make me laugh with their antics. Hope you had a wonderful Christmas and best wishes to you in the new year.

  7. Hellebore - Christmas rose, but not until spring for your garden? Such a subtle medley of colours on the petals.

  8. Your bird photos are wonderful! You have a large variety! I love the first pic of the red-bellied woodpecker. I had almost forgotten I have hellebores this year. I'm going to have to make a special trip to that side of the garden to see when they'll flower! Happy New Year!

  9. I am doing a multi-post series on backyard birds. You have a wonderful selection. We only have the bluebird and Red-bellied at the Falls. I have never lured them to my garden. The Downy woodpecker is well represented since a pair raised a family here this past summer. Nice captures, Pam.

  10. Hellebores didn't make it into my Dozen for Diana. Maybe I need to rethink ...
    Happy New Year Pam!

  11. So good that you all take care of the birds in your garden! My neighbors have a feeder and water dish that the birds come too. I've seen few nests in my azalea bushes and haven't disturbed them. Happy New Year Pam! Looking forward to reading more in 2013!

  12. Your beautiful bird photos brought a smile to my face. You must get so much enjoyment from them and they look happy to be in your garden! Happy New Year Pam!

  13. Lovely pics, I especially like those Cardinal birds.
    Hope the New year brings all good things to you and yours.
    Bridget x

  14. Bird feeding is such a good garden substitute in winter. But I've been a bad gardener! My bird feeder broke, and I didn't fix it. I'd better do something about that. I even have a bird bath heater! Silly me.

  15. Happy New Year!
    Those red cardinal birds are just so beautiful, especially against the snow. No snow (yet) here in Blighty...crazy 13C weather and lots & lots of rain.
    Hope 2013's a good one for you x

  16. I enjoyed my visit here at your blog!