Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Looking For A Sunset Bird In Winter

     This is the time of year when many people take down their bird feeders and store them away for the winter.  Many fear that feeding the birds in the winter keeps them from migrating further south, or makes them dependent on the easy meals.  Fact of the matter is, you could put a hundred feeders in your yard, but once the migratory clock is triggered, even the best seed can’t keep them from moving on.  The stragglers that do remain are either injured or sick and probably wouldn’t survive the winter.  As to worrying if birds will lose their natural ability to find food after relying on bird feeders; what few studies have been done on the subject have found that birds are very resourceful and have no problem finding food on their own.  Mother Nature has made sure that ability is not forgotten.  Bird feeders only make up 20 percent of a bird’s daily energy requirements. 
     But if you would rather not have to trudge out into the cold to fill the feeder every day, there are plenty of other ways to help out those feathered friends.  Leaving perennial seed heads till spring pruning will provide a meal for some birds and the scattered seeds may provide you with a few more plants next year. 

Plant some holly bushes; the bright berries are beautiful in arrangements or wreaths and loved by birds.  If you have been meaning to pull that Polk-berry weed out of the garden all fall, go ahead and leave it for a while longer; the mockingbirds have been boisterously enjoying mine.  The red fruit of the dogwood make for a good winter meal and junipers and cedars not only have berries but provide needed winter shelter for the birds.
     So whether you keep your feeder filled with seed or your yard filled with berries, you will be able to enjoy birds all year long.  The robins of spring are always a welcome sight, but outshined by the cardinals in winter. 

Looking For  A Sunset Bird in Winter
 The west was getting out of gold
  The breath of air had died of cold,
 When shoeing home across the white,
 I thought I saw a bird alight.

In summer when I passed the place
 I had to stop and lift my face;
A bird with an angelic gift
Was singing in it sweet and swift.

No bird was singing in it now.
A single leaf was on a bough,
And that was all there was to see
In going twice around the tree.

From my advantage on a hill
I judged that such a crystal chill
Was only adding frost to snow
As gilt to gold that wouldn't show.

A brush had left a crooked stroke
Of what was either cloud or smoke
From north to south across the blue;
A piercing little star was through.
                                      Robert Frost

1 comment:

  1. I've got lots of hollies with berries for the birds, but I do put out feeders, too (which reminds me I need to refill). It's a battle between the squirrels and birds to see who gets it first. I love to watch the birds in the winter when there's not as much going on in the garden. Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. You had asked if we had gotten snow. No snow in our neck of the woods yet. In fact, we've had a really warm December so far. Last two years we've gotten a lot of snow in February, so we will see what next year has in store for us. Merry Christmas.