Snowy days always bring birds to the feeders in droves. The ground and trees are covered with snow making it difficult for them to find food. Open water in the heated bird bath is more than welcome – it can be a literal life-saver.
Although the birds refused to sit still for photos, the camera managed to snap a few shots that captured the chilly feel around the feeding station during a recent snow storm.
The suet feeder, nyger seed Goldfinch feeder and the hopper filled with millet, sunflower and safflower mix draw a crowd on a snowy day with trees and ground covered and other food sources scarce.
Dehydration can threaten survival in winter when there are few sources of water that’s not frozen. Eating cold snow saps the birds’ energy, so an open source of liquid water helps them tolerate the cold. Water also helps them keep their feathers clean providing better insulation against the bitter winter weather. This American Goldfinch individual is easy to identify since he has a distinctive pattern of feathers on his head.
Black-capped Chickadees are quick-moving little acrobats. Occasionally, they may pause for a while to survey the feeding station situation before swooping down to grab a sunflower or safflower seed and flit back to a tree branch to savor the morsel.
Caught in the act. Typical Chickadee behavior. This Chickadee is busy selecting a sunflower or safflower seed from the feeder before flying into a nearby branch to crack it open and relish the meat inside. Meanwhile, the lights from the Christmas tree inside provide a warm contrast to cold snowflakes swirling around the wild bird feeding station.
This Red-breasted Nuthatch pauses atop the feeding station before deciding whether to approach the hopper feeder for sunflower seed or the suet feeder.
This American Robin extends its reach to select a berry in the hawthorn tree. Robins prefer lipid-rich fruits in fall and winter. When they eat honeysuckle berries exclusively, they sometimes become intoxicated.
This Dark-eyed Junco has a snowflake balanced on the tip of its bill. These gentle birds are mainly ground feeders and are most often found eating millet seed that has fallen from the feeder above. On snowy days when the ground is covered with snow, they will eat from a feeder, although they are clearly not comfortable.
A Downy Woodpecker searches for insect larvae that live inside tree bark.
With snowflakes swirling around them, a pair of American Goldfinches shares the goldfinch nyger seed feeder.
A male and female English Sparrow pair endure a snowy December day in northern Illinois. These invasive, non-native English Sparrows more than outnumber the native North American birds at feeding stations.
This female Northern Cardinal has a few flakes of snow on her feathers.