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January 26, 2013 / Leslie

Winter at the Pond

Winter is not greatest time to see birds in the Midwest. There are still year-round residents here like the woodpeckers, cardinals, finches, doves and the ever present House Sparrows and starlings, but many more have gone south in search of food. Most birds can tolerate cold temperatures, but those with a primarily insect diet need to move to a warmer climate.

Winter Pond

So it’s no surprise that I haven’t had much luck finding any new birds to photograph this past month. It’s been bleak and colorless walking along the trails. The pond is partially frozen and on my last few visits there weren’t even any ducks.

Abandoned Nest

The trees are bare and sparse making it easy to see the remnants of summer bird activity in abandoned nests. In the spring they are so well hidden among the leaves that it is almost impossible to find them.

Beaver

I encountered this guy at the larger, main pond. He didn’t seem too happy to see me. I tried to get closer but he kept swimming away and diving under the vegetation. I’m pretty sure this is a beaver although I have never seen one at the pond before. They are usually several miles away, messing up the river.

American RobinRobins are still here

I did find one bird this week that was willing to pose for me and that was Mr. Robin. He was featured here on Wordless Wednesday.

Contrary to popular belief, not all robins migrate south for the winter. And south is relative to the robin. The birds I’m seeing now may have come here from Canada, while my backyard robin has gone to southern Illinois.

Once nesting season ends, robins leave the backyards to form large flocks. These flocks will move around in search of food. Robins eat worms and bugs in the summer but will switch to berries in the winter. I often see groups of them in my Eastern Cedar gobbling down the berries. Never park your car under a cedar tree with robins in it, the results can be messy!
 


Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Alyce at At Home With Books. Visit her blog to see more great photos or add your own.

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30 Comments

  1. Louise / Jan 26 2013 2:21 am

    It’s a shame there aren’t many birds, but how wonderful seeing a beaver! I’ve never seen one of those in real life.

  2. Brona / Jan 26 2013 2:43 am

    The nest is beautiful in it’s own way – without or without birds.

  3. Fran@ Broken Cookies Don't Count / Jan 26 2013 5:24 am

    Amazing how shiny the coat of the beaver is!

  4. readerbuzz / Jan 26 2013 5:53 am

    All the birds are down here in Texas! No wonder you didn’t find many! :-)

  5. laurelrainsnow / Jan 26 2013 6:11 am

    I think your home and surroundings sound wonderful! Ponds are not something we have around here much. Thanks for sharing…and enjoy the coming spring. Here’s
    MY SATURDAY SNAPSHOT POST

    • Leslie / Jan 27 2013 11:03 am

      I’m lucky to live in an area with a lot of public land … most of the trails I walk are park district or forest preserve property. And yes, I’m very much looking forward to spring.

  6. Mary / Jan 26 2013 6:36 am

    I still haven’t seen a Robin in my neighborhood but there are plenty of Cardinals. We were at a family party last night and talk went to Cardinals and how none of us had ever see one of their nests. Have you? Nice pics, Leslie.

    • Leslie / Jan 27 2013 11:10 am

      Cardinals are very good at hiding their nests. They nest low to the ground in small trees and shrubs tucked way into the foliage. I have yet to find one while it’s being occupied and not for lack of trying. If they know they are being watched they won’t go back to the nest.

  7. Trish / Jan 26 2013 7:05 am

    The wildlife has been pretty quiet around here too. It’s been so cold!

  8. Elizabeth / Jan 26 2013 7:17 am

    So pretty….I like the beaver. :) The nest is pretty cool too. GREAT shots.

    Elizabeth
    Silver’s Reviews
    My Saturday Snapshot

  9. sagustocox / Jan 26 2013 9:26 am

    I agree that looks like a beaver. These are some great photos…even if there is one bird.

  10. sim@chapter1-take1 / Jan 26 2013 10:36 am

    I have NEVER seen a beaver in the wild, or anywhere really, not in the flesh. How fantastic!

  11. Leeswammes / Jan 26 2013 11:02 am

    How nice you saw a beaver!

    I’ve been very good with putting food outside for the birds this last week, and boy, do they need it! The ground is snow-covered and it has been very cold. But even when we get spring temperatures (as is promised for next week), they’ll probably still need the extra seeds and fat, because there isn’t much in nature for them at the moment.

    I’m enjoying seeing a number of different birds at the “picnic” in my garden!

    • Leslie / Jan 27 2013 11:17 am

      That’s great that you’re feeding the birds… I’m sure they can use the help when it gets cold. I try to provide natural food for them too. I wait until spring to cut down my garden plants and leave the seed heads for the birds to eat during the winter. I used to be neat and cut them when they died and then I found out I was removing native food (duh). So now I’m adding more coneflower and shrubs with berries.

      • Leeswammes / Jan 28 2013 7:55 am

        Never thought of doing that, Leslie. Great idea!

  12. Arti / Jan 26 2013 11:03 am

    Who is that little guy at the pond? Good to see it so lively in the cold. We’re still having a lot of birds in our neck of the woods, despite snow and winter temp.

    • Leslie / Jan 27 2013 11:20 am

      I was surprised to see that beaver on a small pond but it was nice to something alive moving around! On my last walk I did see 10 bird species in an hour, which is ok, but I’m used to seeing a lot more than that.

  13. Sheila (Book Journey) / Jan 26 2013 11:25 am

    The beaver is so cute!!! What a fun pic!

    • Leslie / Jan 27 2013 11:20 am

      Cute, but I was keeping my distance!

  14. DizzyC / Jan 26 2013 11:31 am

    Beautiful photos as always.
    Lovely photo of the grumpy Beaver. You can see his annoyance in his eyes LOL

    carol

  15. Suko / Jan 26 2013 1:09 pm

    These pictures really capture the essence of winter time in the woods. Stunning photos, as always!

  16. Alyce (@AtHomeWithBooks) / Jan 26 2013 1:43 pm

    We still have robins and Western Scrub Jays in our trees, although at this point I can’t imagine that many berries are left.

    • Leslie / Jan 27 2013 11:23 am

      I was surprised to see that a lot of the trees along the trails still have berries… which is probably why I’m still seeing robins.

  17. lmkazmierczak / Jan 26 2013 1:54 pm

    We will really appreciate those birds when they return♫ Nice sequence of shots♪

    • Leslie / Jan 27 2013 11:24 am

      It will be soooo nice to hear them singing again.

  18. Christine Harding / Jan 26 2013 2:56 pm

    You’ve still managed to find some beautiful pictures – I love the robin. My Snapshot is at http://goo.gl/GVIbC

  19. Ginny / Jan 26 2013 4:00 pm

    Very interesting to see a beaver.

  20. irene / Jan 26 2013 6:38 pm

    Love your beaver, and I particularly love the don’t park your car line… funny.

  21. Diane@BibliophilebytheSea / Jan 27 2013 8:37 pm

    Lots of critter beauty to be found — even in winter.

  22. Liene / Feb 1 2013 1:38 pm

    Fewer birds for us as well, but the beavers are busy at our local State Park. And of course the neighbors guinea hens keeping up a racket, as always!

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