Winter Walk

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Published on: Jan. 16, 2014

to damage to the tree.

Hollow trees also stand out in winter. Many animals rely on dead snags and living trees with hollow and speculate who lives there. Is it a raccoon, an owl, or a squirrel? Sometimes the answer will surprise you. The same shelter may serve as a home to different animals depending on the season.

Songs of the Season

While many birds migrate to warmer places, there are quite a few that stick around and brave the winter weather. Bird watching is an activity that all family members can enjoy.

You may wish to begin your bird-watching adventure by first feeding the birds in your own yard. It can be as simple as sprinkling some black sunflower seeds in a bare area of your lawn or putting out a hanging feeder. Providing some suet also gives birds a good energy source when snow falls. Birds will be attracted to your feeding stations. Cardinals, tufted titmice, sparrows, chickadees, finches, and woodpeckers are some of the most common visitors. It is also fun to experiment with different types of food such as fruits and seeds to attract different species.

Children like to keep track of their discoveries, so you may wish to write down your family’s bird sightings in a small notebook. It is interesting to record what you see each winter, or if you wish, all year long. Years from now you will have a record to look back on of your family’s time spent bird-watching together. A pair of binoculars and a small pocket field guide to birds will also help you discover more about the resident birds in your area.

After a few days watching the birds outside your window, get out and take a stroll on a sunlit winter day through a wooded area to look and listen for more birds. One of the most fascinating little birds to watch in winter is the nuthatch.

Because white-breasted nuthatches have a very busy behavior, they are fun for young children to watch. With a “yank-yank-yank” nasal call they look like tiny acrobats as they creep all over a tree trunk in an upside-down fashion in their search for food.

But don’t spend all of your time looking up in the trees. Be sure to watch lower down as well. Some birds feed on the ground. Fox sparrows and dark-eyed juncos are classic examples.

During winter months

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