Sun, Snow & Songbirds

Since returning to Columbia, Missouri, earlier this week, cold, sunny weather has been the rule and several inches of snow continue to cover our lawn and flower beds.  As a result, my bird feeding area (see Giving Up on Feeders) has attracted a large number and variety of songbirds.

House finches, house sparrows, juncos, tufted titmice, chickadees and white-throated sparrows have been most abundant, joined by lesser numbers of cardinals, blue jays, Carolina wrens, American goldfinches, northern flickers and mourning doves; though not yet observed this seasons, purple finches and fox sparrows may join these feeding groups.  Other residents and visitors, while not typically ground feeders, are often attracted to the scene by the activity of birds listed above; these include red-bellied, downy and hairy woodpeckers, white-breasted nuthatches, yellow-bellied sapsuckers, yellow-rumped warblers and cedar waxwings.

No doubt, all of these species would manage just fine without human handouts but persistent snow cover is certainly a stress for ground-feeding seed eaters.  Besides, what better way to attract such a large variety of birds in the middle of winter, especially for those new to birding; fifteen or more species from the comfort of your family room is a great way to start!