The “keeper snow” came early this year. In late November, we walked in lightweight clothing and running shoes. Two days later a storm blew in ahead of a Canadian cold front and dropped eight inches of new snow. We’ve entered the stark season. Green is a memory buried under an ice-cold blanket. Gone from our yard are the bumblebees, painted lady butterflies and other pollinators. I’ve put the garden to bed for the winter.
Just ahead of the storm, a mixed flock of robins, dark-eyed juncos, black-capped chickadees and small woodpeckers—both downy and hairy—descended into our back yard. Robins tossed aside leaves to uncover stray insects, seeds and fruit. Juncos sought seeds on the garden wall. Chickadees and woodpeckers hunted for insect larvae and other delights in the bark of our old apple tree.
This afternoon at dusk, a female northern cardinal, softly colored and alone, delicately plucked crabapples one-by-one in our front yard. She was lucky to find any because the portly gray squirrels have stripped most of the tree bare. I am grateful for these winged winter residents that bring life to our garden on even the coldest winter days.
Jim and I laughed at your “portly” squirrels, as that perfectly describes our squirrels, too!
Hi Jan, they really are well-insulated for winter! I think they’re benefiting greatly from the neighborhood fruit trees and bird feeders. Thanks for reading my blog. — Beth
How sweet to get to enjoy so many birds during the winter. You got some good photos! I have yet to master getting good bird pics.
Hi Lisa, I really do enjoy bird activity in the yard and when I’m out walking. Birds add interest to our long winter! I wish the photos were sharper, but I had to photograph the chickadee and downy through a window, so the pics are fuzzy. Thanks for reading my blog! — Beth
Welcome winter. Welcome winter birds!
Hi Tanja, yes, if we have to have winter, let’s have lots of birds! The Tundra Swans are present in large numbers on open rivers in central Minnesota now. Pine grosbeaks, evening grosbeaks, and an occasional varied thrush have begun to arrive. It will be interesting to see what other birds move down from Canada in January! Thanks for reading my blog. – Beth
I’m a little envious–all the species you mentioned are rare here, with the possible exception of Evening Grosbeaks. The most Tundra Swans I have seen in one location was 2, and I can only imagine the awesomeness of an entire flock. 🦢🦢🦢
Some years are better than others for the variety of winter birds!