"Life is a series of little deaths out of which life always returns." ~ Charles Feidelson, Jr.
Last week was the Winter Solstice, the day the Earth's Northern Hemisphere has the shortest day, and longest night, and the sun's daily maximum position in the sky is the lowest. The birds might consider it the beginning of the "real" New Year. I did too! It’s the day when the whole annual cycle begins all over, and I can look forward to the gradual lengthening of days.
You can’t help but admire our hardy winter birds in Michigan. When I go out to fill the feeders in the morning and hear the nuthatches and woodpeckers “laughing,” I feel happy that they’ve made it through the night.
And remember if you feel a little guilty about just throwing away your Christmas tree, its usefulness can be extended by placing it outside near feeders for added shelter against the weather and predators. In a matter of minutes, the old tree is providing a new natural cover.
The birds had an advantage with the milder November and early December which allowed them to seek natural foods. Though it might seem strange to humans, wild birds prefer to forage over visiting feeders (with the possible exception of the House Sparrows).
However, as the temperatures dip and natural food sources may become covered with snow or locked in ice, the supplemental food and water we provide is more widely appreciated and has a bigger impact on the birds’ survival.
I hope everyone is enjoying this holiday season and I wish everyone a future filled with great birding experiences. Happy New Year!