When the ground is blanketed in snow and frigid temperatures reign, it’s fun to watch birds at the feeder.
The colors of birds’ feathers brighten the view when flowers cannot. Red cardinals often grab the show.
I love the florescent blue of bluebirds’ feathers. The color shows best as bluebirds fly to and from the feeder and the ground below.
Woodpeckers abound at the suet cakes, performing an aerial ballet as they swoop from the feeder to nearby shrubs and trees.
Sometimes you get to see something really adorable, like this cardinal pair sharing seed.
Other visitors include tufted titmouse, bluejays, chicadees, finches (house and gold), a wren and an occasional sparrow.
I plant many shrubs that provide berries for birds – winterberry (Ilex verticillata), holly (Ilex crenata ‘Compacta’, I. crenata ‘Helleri’, I. meserveae ‘Blue Maid’), bayberry (Myrica pensylvanica), lowbush blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium), and various junipers. Birds enjoy the berries of a few small trees I’ve added – viburnums (Viburnum acerifolium, Viburnum plicatum ‘Mariessii’), and dogwoods (Cornus florida ‘Rubra’, C. alternifolia). Plus, I leave seed heads on many perennials to give birds additional food through cold winter months.
But, when snow covers the ground and temperatures dip to frigid levels (-11 degrees F. over last night and just 8 degrees F. at noon today), it’s nice to provide a bit of extra food for overwintering birds.
It’s nice for the birds and nice for the gardener planning for warmer days, knowing that neighboring birds will feed on emerging caterpillars and insects come spring.