Blog stats

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Frosted birds

We had our first light frost last night. The temperature got down to 32 degrees F. and it is still quite chilly outside today and expected to get back down to freezing tonight.

It's hardly like trying to survive a heavy winter storm, but the colder weather does put a bit of extra stress on the birds. Those of us who provide feeders for them need to make sure that those feeders are well-stocked, so that our backyard birds don't have to wander far afield looking for food. This benefits both the birds who visit our yards and the birds in the woods and fields that don't have to compete with "our" birds for food.

Remember, too, that more and more hummingbirds are sticking around in our area through the winter and we can help them by keeping those sugar water feeders clean and full. The little birds eat a lot of insects as well, especially at this time of year, but as the weather gets colder, fewer insects will be available and fewer flowers will be available, so it is important to keep those feeders up.

I found the little female Rufous today sitting on an exposed branch taking in some rays from the sun. Her feathers were all fluffed up against the cold. Rufous Hummingbirds are much more tolerant of cold than many of our hummingbirds. That's why when we see one in winter it is most often a Rufous.

Don't forget, also, the importance of water. Sometimes we forget that the birds need water in winter, too. I just looked out my study window and saw an Eastern Phoebe at my front yard birdbath and frequently these days I see American Crows using the bath as well. The point being that even those birds that are not necessarily feeder birds will make use of the birdbaths and other water sources that we provide in our yards.


  1. Spotted a Rufous in my yard today as well. Looks like he will be sticking around this winter. I'm making sure my sugar water is fresh and the feeder is clean.

    So true about the importance of water. We emptied all the water out of the fountain last night so the fountain wouldn't freeze and break. The second I refilled it there were a flock of finches in it.
    Hope you are staying warm!

    1. Water is a magnet to birds at any season of the year.