About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Winter Solstice marks the beginning of the new year for birds

Along with the cold winds and snows, birds must also face fewer daylight hours to forage at a time when they need to increase their calories to stay warm. The winter solstice, the longest night of the year, usually occurs on December 21 to 23 each year in the Northern Hemisphere.

But after the winter solstice this week, the days will start to get longer. For the birds it might be considered the beginning of the "real" New Year.

It's hard not to 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.

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.

Related Articles:
Groundhog’s Day on Feb. 2 is a "cross-quarter" day. http://bit.ly/vUF7Qk
Singing Birds Herald The Arrival of Spring. http://bit.ly/uJbzCe
Why do they call it Indian Summer? http://bit.ly/twFccE
Why do leaves change color in the fall? http://bit.ly/spkqnF
What’s the difference between a full moon and a new moon? http://bit.ly/tKg5gO

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