Feeding Frenzy In The Snow

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.

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.

 

This American Goldfinch individual is easy to identify since he has a distinctive pattern of feathers on his head.

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 pausing before swooping down to grab a seed from the feeder and flit back to a tree branch.

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.

This Chickadee is busy selecting a sunflower or safflower seed from the feeder.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red-breasted Nuthatch pauses on top of the 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An American Robin extends its reach to select a berry in the hawthorn tree.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Dark-eyed Junco pauses on a branch of a snow-covered tree with a snowflake balanced on the tip of its bill.

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.

A Downy Woodpecker searches for insect larvae that live inside tree bark.

American Goldfinches share the nyger seed feeder.

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.

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.

This female Northern Cardinal has a few flakes of snow on her feathers.

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12 Responses to Feeding Frenzy In The Snow

  1. Annie, I enjoyed this delightful assortment of birds. Our elderly neighbors have feeders out, and we have the trees they love to sit in – so it has been fun to watch them here as well.

    Christmas Blessings ~ Wendy

    • The feeders and winter chill do bring a wide variety. The Morning Doves and a handsome male Red-bellied Woodpecker have visited since. How I wish I could stand outside all day long with camera in hand. The birds certainly make “spirits bright” at holiday time.

      Thanks for stopping in, Wendy! God bless you and yours this Christmas and may you have a happy and prosperous 2014.

  2. Love these photos! Love watching the birds just sitting and surveying before they swoop. And, had a little chuckle over the English sparrows. They are always complaining about the non-native grey squirrel driving out the British red over here. I’ll save up this little anecdote next time someone bats on about it. Happy holidays!

    • I’m well-acquainted with the battle of the red vs. gray squirrels. And fans of the British red are totally justified in taking their side. The British red squirrels are darling creatures. Maybe some day I can visit and see them up close! We’ll take back all of our gray squirrels if the Europeans will take back all the English Sparrows and European Starlings. Fair trade? 😉

  3. Yes – junco and snowflake is very cute! Nice post. RH

  4. Jim in IA says:

    Very nice pictures. Reminds me that I need to refill my feeders tomorrow. The Junco shot was great with the snowflake.

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