For the Birds: Those snowy days

Photo by Chris Bosak A dark-eyed junco visits a backyard in New England, January 2021.

The junco sat perfectly still in the bush as snow collected on his back. The snow came down hard and the wind whipped it around.

It was the wind that kept the junco motionless in the bush. When the wind offered a rare break, the junco darted to the nearby bird feeder to grab a few sunflower seeds.

He would fly back to his spot in the bush, having shaken off the snow that had collected on him. It didn’t take long for new snow to accumulate on his dark gray feathers.

Snowy days are among the best times to watch the feeders. It is interesting to see how little the elements affect the birds. Tiny birds such as chickadees can withstand extremely cold and windy conditions. They have a variety of mechanisms to protect them from the harsh elements. I have written about those in previous columns and may revisit that topic in the future.

But for now, I’m going to focus on this past storm that hit New England and recall the many birds that visited. The junco I mentioned before was one of more than a dozen juncos that were around that day. Other sparrows included white-throated, song and house. Many people don’t think of juncos as being a sparrow because of their different coloration, but they are indeed members of the sparrow family.

Both nuthatches came and went throughout the day. It is such a thrill to see the red-breasted nuthatches daily this winter. Not that I don’t appreciate the white-breasted nuthatches, but they are much more common and year-round birds where I am. The red-breasted nuthatch shows up only in random years.

Of course, chickadees and titmice were regular visitors. A pair of Carolina wrens entertained me as well. I always like watching their antics in the yard, especially when they make their unique chatter calls outside the window.

It was a heck of a snowstorm — the worst in several years where I am anyway. Will there be more opportunities this winter to watch the birds at the feeder in the snow? That remains to be seen, but I wouldn’t be surprised in the least. In fact, I would be very surprised if we didn’t have more snowfalls. This is New England, after all, and winter is a way of life here.

A few more snowy bird photos

Photo by Chris Bosak A pair of Carolina wrens visit a platform feeder in New England, December 2020.

Parts of New England got varying degrees of snow during this week’s storm. I got about a foot of the white stuff, but I’ve heard from friends throughout the region of much more and much less. At any rate, the birds came out to eat during and after the storm. Here’s proof.

Photo by Chris Bosak A dark-eyed junco eats a berry following a snowstorm in New England, December 2020.
Photo by Chris Bosak A black-capped chickadee visits to a New England backyard, December 2020.
Photo by Chris Bosak A dark-eyed junco eats a berry following a snowstorm in New England, December 2020.
Photo by Chris Bosak A pair of Carolina wrens visit a platform feeder in New England, December 2020.

Christmas card number 2 from BirdsofNewEngland

Photo by Chris Bosak A dark-eyed junco visits a Danbury, Conn, backyard following a snow storm, fall 2018.

Southern New England is green as of December 20th and the forecast calls for rain and above-freezing temperatures for the foreseeable future. That’s good news for travelers, but not-so-good news for those dreaming of a white Christmas. To make things a bit easier for those folks, I’ll post a few photos left over from our mid-November snow storm. I’ll post one photo a day until December 25. Merry Christmas everyone and thanks for your support of BirdsofNewEngland.com in 2018!