The Birds of Winter

It’s birdwatching season.

Northern Cardinal Photo Credit: A. Nixon

Northern Cardinal
Photo Credit: A. Nixon

Last week I stocked up on seed cylinders and suet cakes and bought a new de-icer for the bird bath.

The feeders and bath are just outside the back door in clear view of my desk. If you visit don’t be surprised to find that my attention is not turned toward the computer screen in front of me, but is instead focused on the view through my binoculars out into the pinyon trees.

Anne Schmauss’s column in this morning’s Santa Fe New Mexican talks about the mixed flocks of winter, birds hanging together to find food and to stay safe from predators. Chickadees, creepers, kinglets, woodpeckers, nuthatches, warblers.

What I am unlikely to see here in Santa Fe is one of the red beauties captured by my cousin Angela in her Tulsa backyard. When I asked the experts at my local bird store, Wild Birds Unlimited,  they said it had been years since they had heard of any being spotted in the area. Too high? Too dry? Too cold? They weren’t sure, but we just don’t have inviting habitat for the striking northern cardinal that All About Birds says is ” . . . perhaps responsible for getting more people to open up a field guide than any other bird”.

Happy bird watching! I’d love to hear about and see who is passing through your backyard this winter.

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