Birdwatching In Winter and In January
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Birdwatching In Winter and In January

Abundance of birds are associated with spring and summer, but paradoxically, the driving snow and dropping temperatures of winter may also mean a high productive bird watching.

Abundance of birds are associated with spring and summer, but paradoxically, the driving snow and dropping temperatures of winter may also mean a high productive bird watching. Trees are bare, and fields, swamps, and marshes open up for great viewing, so birders can enjoy just about the best bird watching time of the year. The fun is intensified further since in winter a lot of unfamiliar species from farther north could be seeking an easier life in less harsh environs.

Because the availability of food is more decisive for survival of birds than how far the temperature drops, winter feeders occasionally attract strange birds, which defeat their wariness of house and yard to search for food. For instance, even when flowers and insects are absent, hummingbirds can endure in freezing temperatures provided they have food, and birds that could be enjoying in southern climes would stay up north since a feeder supplies ample food. Some feeders volunteer over a whole winter season far north of its normal range, and some feed long after other members of the species had left the area. Every year, more individuals bring out bird food, so in several areas more and more birds are making their first appearances at feeders, one of them Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Gray Catbirds, Verdins, Rock and other wrens, Varied Thrushes, Bronzed Cow-birds, Phainopeplas, Lark Buntings, Chipping Sparrows, and Song Sparrows.

How do birds adapt to winter weather?

Looking at how birds adapt to severe weather in their natural habitats makes this season great for all birders who search for birds in sheltering woods and protected niches. Ruffed Grouse usually plunge deep into snow banks, where the snow protects them from cold and wind. House Sparrows are seen crowded together under eaves or in the lee corners of homes, barns, and other structures. Lark Buntings, Vesper Sparrows, and Dickcissels also look for such winter shelter.

Suggested Birdwatching Activities

Start recording on your diary the behavior of birds on your feeder. As the year passes on you would notice changes not only in the types of birds you see but also in behavior and plumage. And on the following year, when the cycle starts again, you'll be able to compare what you see then using notes of this year. You may begin your observations by noting the food every species prefer and then the methods in which the species feed. Which species feed at your tray one individual at a time? Which species hog the tray, not sharing with others? Which feed many at a time? You would observe that some species are feistier than others, pinching a morsel in spite of the presence of a bigger or menacing bird.

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Comments (1)

Nicely done. I haven't been able to attract a great variety of birds here in town, but used to enjoy watching dozens and dozens of them in the country.