Photos Of Some January Visitors In My Backyard
It’s February and it’s still cold and dark. I don’t get as many critters visiting my backyard in Hazle Township, Luzerne County, as I do in the warmer months. The migratory song bird and bears are gone. But my backyard is still an active place even on the coldest, snowiest and iciest days of Winter. The migratory song birds have been replaced with a large flock of dark-eyed juncos or “snow birds”. These birds leave their breeding grounds in the forest of Canada and the higher elevations in the Appalachian Mountains and show up in my backyard sometime in late October or early November. There are a few different sub-species and the “slate” colored variety visit my backyard. This one I believe is a male, and,
These birds usually forage on the ground. They show up as soon a I scatter seed on my deck or feed on seeds that fall from the bird and suet feeders I have hanging in my yard. However, if they get hungry enough they will fly up and visit the bird feeders.
The other Winter visitors to my feeders are birds that remain in Northeastern Pennsylvania year round. The downy woodpeckers are constantly showing up at my suet feeder,
as are the tufted titmice,
and the white-breasted nuthatches. This one landing on the suet after an ice storm.
My favorite is the Carolina wren that climbs inside the suet feeder and safely dines on the suet and seed. There is a Cooper’s hawk that lives in my woodlands and it’s Winter diet includes the birds that visit my feeders.
Song sparrows and black-capped chickadees also visit my suet feeders but the song sparrows usually join the dark-eyed juncos and feed on the seed I scatter on the deck and ground,
and the black-capped chickadees visit my other feeders, These gregarious birds often fly to the feeder while I am re-filling them with seed.
Northern cardinals also occasionally visit the feeders. This is a female.
Blue jays and mourning doves also visit my feeders in the Winter but I haven’t seen them for a few weeks. And the large flock of turkeys that are here throughout the Spring, Summer and Fall have not showed up lately either. . I miss them. However, I still have plenty of other feathered friends showing up at my feeders and I spend many hours watching them. Here is a link to a gallery with more photos of the birds that visit my backyard. January 2022 birds.
In addition to my feathered friends I also have some furry friends show up in the cold. months. I haven’t seen the foxes, raccoons, groundhogs, opossums, flying squirrels, skunks or rabbits in my backyard this past month. I am sure they are huddled up in their dens in my woodlands. However, every morning, and throughout the day, many pesky, but cute, eastern gray squirrels visit my backyard.
For years they raided my bird feeders until I suspended the feeders from tree branches and that put an end to their raids. However, they still show up to feed on the seed and corn I scatter for the birds and deer.
They are last summers litter who have recently been weaned and were sent out on their own in the bitter cold of Winter. Only 25% of the squirrels that are born survive. In addition to the cold many are the prey of hawks, foxes and coyotes. I hope these cute little ones survive.
And finally my favorite furry critters who have been faithfully visiting my backyard since I built my house here 28 years ago, my white tailed deer.
They deer first showed up to feed on the acorns from the large oak trees in yard and surrounding woods. I started to supplement their diet and scatter some corn for the deer and turkeys. In the harsh Winter months I increase the amount I scatter. \
I have done this for all of years years and have always had a healthy heard of beautiful deer. I understand the down side of feeding any wild animals However, just like feeding the birds, I think, in small quantities it does no harm and it allows me to observe these beautiful and graceful creatures.
I try and keep them from venturing from my 90 acre tract of land to keep them safe from hunters. Most years I succeed and am rewarded with visits by the lovely fawns the bucks and does produce in the Spring.
I am blessed to have acquired these small tract of land, land that I grew up on, and have so many wonderful memories from exploring as a child And as a child, and young adult I would never haver dreamed it possible. It is my Rivendell, my Ponderosa. I have been fortunate to have traveled around this entire planet. I have seen awe-inspiring beauty. But there is no place like home. I love my land and my critters. There is no place I’d rather live then next to the critters in my backyard. Here is a link to a gallery with many more photographs of the cute squirrels and deer that visited my backyard this past month. January deer squirrels 2022
“When you look a wild animal in the eye, it’s like catching a glimpse into the soul of nature itself”
“True Compassion is showing Kindness towards animals, without expecting anything in return”―