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The Wings of Winter

Updated on November 15, 2014
naturegirl7s profile image

Since the mid-1980s Yvonne has maintained a registered NWF backyard wildlife habitat where a variety of birds, insects and frogs abound.

Ideas to Help Winter Birds Survive and Thrive

The winter season is hard on wildlife, but most of all the birds. Some bird species migrate to warmer climates, but many do not. There is quite an assortment of beautiful birds that are permanent residents of, or that migrate to Louisiana to spend the winter. This lens is about our favorite winter birds and the things that we do to help insure their survival in cold weather.

How we take care of our winter birds helps many birders up north because many of these birds migrate north in spring to nest and to be enjoyed by birders in the northern states.

You will also find some Christmas and holiday gift ideas for the birder on your list. We have listed cameras, binoculars, books, apparel and other things that we birders would love to receive. There is also bird feeders, seed, suet and other items for our feathered friends.

Most of the photographs and designs can be purchased at naturegirl7's shop. Zazzle has thousands of print-on-demand products available.

Crumbs on the Snow

When it's winter and the snow

Like a tablecloth is spread,

I remember hungry birds

And see that they are fed.

On their snowy tablecloth

They find my gift of bread.Lucretia Penny

Birding in Winter

One of our favorite forms of entertainment during the winter is bird-watching and because we also feed the birds and plant winter food plants all around our property, we hardly have to leave our own home to see a variety of interesting and beautiful birds. Because most of the trees and shrubs have lost their leaves during the winter, the birds are so much easier to see and enjoy. All you need is a good pair of binoculars and you can enjoy the fantastic show outside from the comfort of your own home.

Of course, since we are outdoor people, we (and our 2 dogs) walk to the river each day to fill up the many bird feeders that we have all over our 9 acres. We always bring binoculars or a camera because there is usually something interesting to see.

Each December, we participate in the Christmas Bird Count. This is a day in which birders from all over the country locate as many bird species as possible and count the number of individuals for the Audubon Society. Here is a link to our 2008 Christmas Bird count. We observed and counted 36 species, but did not see several birds that we knew lived here.


Male Cardinal Poster


Northern Cardinals

Cardinals are permanent residents and are one of our most beautiful winter birds. The male's bright red color and the female's soft brown with touches of red always brighten up a winter day. Cardinals are seed eaters and visit our black oil sunflower seed feeders often. Visit The Cardinal's Nest to learn more about this striking bird.

Female Cardinal Poster

Buy Cardinal in Holly Postcard and Female Cardinal by naturegirl7 on

Carolina Chickadee Poster

Carolina Chickadees and Tufted Titmice

During winter small flocks of Chickadees, Titmice and Downy Woodpeckers travel through the forests and visit feeders, searching for food. It is during the winter that the immature birds in the flock develop pair bonds in preparation for mating in spring. These small flocks love black oil sunflower seed and suet. They also eat many wild seed and berries. To learn more about these perky little birds, visit Carolina Chickadees.

Tufted Titmouse Poster

Buy Carolina Chickadee and Tufted Titmouse Bath Postcard by naturegirl7 on Zazzle.


In our habitat, here in Louisiana, there are many species of woodpeckers, including: (from largest to smallest) Pileated, Northern Flicker, Red-bellied, Red-headed, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Hairy Woodpecker and Downy Woodpecker. The Yellow-bellied Sapsucker is a winter visitor that pecks sap wells in trees which in turn attract and trap insects. The Red-headed Woodpecker is seen mainly in spring and summer. All the others are year round residents that eat sunflower seeds, suet and the insects from rotting wood.

Visit our Red-bellied Woodpecker Family page to learn more about this interesting bird.

Winter Red-bellied Woodpecker Poster

Buy Red-bellied Woodpecker by naturegirl7 on Zazzle.

Red Headed Woodpecker

This red headed was pecking out a nesting cavity on this dead pine.
This red headed was pecking out a nesting cavity on this dead pine.

Downy Woodpeckers

Female Downy
Female Downy | Source
Male Downy (see red spot on back of head).
Male Downy (see red spot on back of head). | Source


Our resident Southeastern U.S. nuthatch is the little Brown-headed Nuthatch. It is similar to the Pygmy Nuthatch of the west. These acrobatic little birds need pine forests to survive because pine nuts are their primary food. They will also eat black oil sunflower seeds and suet, so providing a bird feeder will aid in their survival.

Visit our page about Brown-headed Nuthatches to learn more about this bird of the Southeastern pine forests.

Brown-headed Nuthatch Poster

Buy Brown-headed Nuthatch Poster by naturegirl7 on Zazzle.

Occasionally in winter, Red-breasted Nuthatches will make their way down this far south. During the winter of 2007-08 several spent the entire winter here. These amusing little birds with their honking call are a delight to watch.

Red-breasted Nuthatch Postage

Buy Red-breasted Nuthatch Postage by naturegirl7 on Zazzle.


Goldfinches flock to thistle and sunflower seed feeders.
Goldfinches flock to thistle and sunflower seed feeders.

Each year flocks of American Goldfinches in their winter plumage come from the north to visit our sunflower and Thistle seed feeders. It's best not to fill up the Thistle feeders until the birds arrive, because the seed must be fresh or they won't eat it. By spring, some of the males are beginning to show the beautiful bright yellow breeding plumage like the one below. Before Hurricane Katrina, we used to host flocks of 200 or more Goldfinches in our habitat, but now we are lucky to have 25 to 30 at one time.


Cage Thistle Bird Feeder

Thistle Feeder

Thistle Domed Cage Bird Feeder -
These goldfinches in spring plummage use a Thistle Domed Cage. Extended top- makes refilling easy. Spring Clamp- keeps dome in place and removes for cleaning. Sheltering dome- protects against weather. Stainless steel wire- long lasting and chew-proof. Droll Yankees tubular feeder.

Ruby-crowned Kinglets


Ruby-crowned (and sometimes Golden Crowned) Kinglets spend the winter with us. They are tiny, active little greenish gray birds with a white eye ring and yellow-orange feet. The males have a red "crown" that stays hidden under a tuft of feathers except when they are agitated or excited. They love suet and they will pick at the seed on our log feeders, but are probably looking for insects. They will also visit the hummingbird feeders that we leave up year round. Most of the time Kinglets are in perpetual motion as they work each branch, looking under every leaf for tiny insect food.

To read more about this tiny bird, visit our page about Ruby-crowned Kinglets.

Pine Warblers

Pine Warblers are permanent residents in our habitat. They spend most of their time high in the mature pine trees throughout our property. But in winter, they come down out of the tree tops to visit the suet and seed feeders. Pine Warblers are the only seed eating Warbler and they make their home in the Pine trees on our property. The males are quite attractive with their bright golden yellow breast and the females, though less showy are also quite lovely.

If you want to find out more about this unusual warbler, check out our Pine Warblers of the Forest page.

Pine Warbler on Seed Feeder


Carolina Wrens

Carolina Wrens, with their many vocalizations, are evident during every season. They mate for life and usually are seen in pairs, even in winter. They absolutely love suet and will monopolize any suet feeder. They also eat tons of insects, so they are beloved by gardeners. Don't leave your Christmas Wreath up too long, because as soon as the weather warms up, these birds are looking for placed to build their nests.

Visit Carolina Wren Nest to learn more about these cute brown birds.

Carolina Wren Poster

Buy Carolina Wren Poster by naturegirl7 on Zazzle.

Eastern Bluebirds

The lovely Eastern Bluebirds spend the winter in groups going through the woods and forest, eating winter berries. Bluebirds also like suet, but we have never seen them eating any from our feeders. Water is an important feature for Bluebirds, so an unfrozen feeder or pond will be appreciated by them. Many times we have seen pairs checking out nest boxes in December and January. They also use nest boxes as shelters in which to roost during the really cold nights of winter.

For more information about this lovely blue bird, check out our Nest Boxes for Bluebirds and Others page.

Eastern Bluebird Male Poster

Buy Proud Bluebird Poster by naturegirl7 on Zazzle.

Thayer's Gold Edition Birds of NA

Thayer's Gold Edition Guide to Birds of North America
This top-rated birding software covers 957 species found in North America. See over 2,800 color photos. Songs for 708 birds. Includes range maps, 500 videos and 700 quizzes. Import your own photos. Download songs to your iPod. For Windows.

Red Cardinal Mug

Birds of Winter on Zazzle

Birds of Winter print-on-demand designs by naturegirl7 on

Brown-headed Nuthatch Magnet

Brown-headed Nuthatch Tie

Binoculars and Cameras at Amazon

Good binoculars make all the difference in bird identification. If you want to take good photos of birds, you need a camera with a minimum 12X optical zoom. The Canon S5IS is what we used to take many of the photos that you see in this lens.

Canon Powershot SX50 Camera

Canon PowerShot SX50 HS 12MP Digital Camera with 2.8-Inch LCD (Black)
Canon PowerShot SX50 HS 12MP Digital Camera with 2.8-Inch LCD (Black)

Most of the photos here were taken with earlier Powershot cameras. This one replaced those. I really love this camera.


Cardinal Cross-stitch Mug

Southern Magnolia Cone

Food Plants

Plants that provide winter native nuts, berries and fruit are important to all wildlife. Certain groups of plants like Hollies, Oaks, Hackberry, Beech, Pine, Magnolia, etc. are vital to many birds' survival. For more information about winter food plants, consult our Planting for Birds and Wildlife Lens.



Backyard Birds in Winter

Suplemental Food and Water

Many types of supplemental food can be provided. We use Black-oil Sunflower Seeds, cracked corn, Thistle seed and homemade Suet. We also leave our hummingbird (sugar water) feeders up all year long. Here in South Louisiana, we often have western species of Hummingbirds such as Rufous, Calliope and Buff-bellied spend the winter in our habitat.


Sharing Seeds Postcard

Buy Sharing Seeds Poster by naturegirl7 on Zazzle.

Most years, for Christmas, we string popcorn and cranberries and put peanut butter suet on pinecones and in orange rinds and decorate a small tree for the birds. We call it our Singing Christmas Tree.

Christmas Decorations for the Birds

Drinking Water is a Necessity

Water is vital for winter survival. If you live in areas where it freezes for long periods of time, you may want to invest in a heater for the bird bath. We only have a few freezes each year, so we just pour boiling water in our bird bath near the house. Of course, we also have a large pond and a river which have never frozen, so water is always available.

Carolina Chickadee Drinks Poster

Buy Carolina Chickadee Drinks by naturegirl7 on Zazzle.

Birds in Winter in Kerrville, TN

Attracting and Feeding Birds YouTube vid

Voices of North American Owls CD

Voices of Owls

Winter is the best time to go owling because the leaves have fallen from the trees which makes it easier to spot the birds. Recognizing the various calls will also help you identify the different owls which inhabit the woodlands in your area.

© 2008 Yvonne L B

Please Peck Out a Note

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    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Beautiful photos here! We enjoy a singing forest each morning -brought to us by various species (that I can't always identify), love watching the hummingbirds at our feeders during the daytime and enjoy listening to the owls at night. Thank you for sharing!

    • profile image

      mouse1996 lm 

      6 years ago

      I just love birds and in the winter I do worry about them. This is a great lens for some ways to help them thrive.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Beautiful job on this lens! Always fun to meet a fellow birder. :-)

    • jordanmilesbask profile image


      6 years ago

      Great information and I love it that I learn something today...Great Lens!

    • Barb McCoy profile image

      Barb McCoy 

      6 years ago

      So many great images and information...great job! Blessed.

    • victoriuh profile image


      6 years ago

      Obviously this lens is a labor of love!

    • MelonyVaughan profile image


      6 years ago

      Gorgeous photos! I love bird watching too.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I haven't seen most of these birds, then again I don't live in an area known for snow or really cold winters.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I haven't seen most of these birds, then again I don't live in an area known for snow or really cold winters.

    • RomanaSwan profile image


      6 years ago

      Can I borrow couple of ideas? :)

    • RomanaSwan profile image


      6 years ago

      Can I borrow couple of ideas? :)

    • RomanticMe profile image


      6 years ago

      Great Lens! I love when I get to see the Red Cardinal in my backyard

    • eblack88 lm profile image

      eblack88 lm 

      6 years ago

      Love the Chickadees & the Northern Cardinals! Not quite as fond of the woodpeckers, as they like to move INTO our eaves! Enjoyed your lens!

    • naturegirl7s profile imageAUTHOR

      Yvonne L B 

      6 years ago from Covington, LA

      @Shorebirdie: Both Rufous and Allens as well as other Selasphorus hummingbirds spend the winter in Louisiana. We've had both in our Baton Rouge yard, but only Rufous in Covington. A local bander usually comes to identify and band them.

    • naturegirl7s profile imageAUTHOR

      Yvonne L B 

      6 years ago from Covington, LA

      @AdaptiveConcierge: Most of the recent photos were taken with either the Canon Powershot S3IS or S5IS. A lot of the older ones were taken with a 35mm Canon AE1.

    • Shorebirdie profile image


      6 years ago from San Diego, CA

      That hummingbird looks like an Allen's, but I don't know if you have those where you live.

    • AdaptiveConcierge profile image


      6 years ago

      I didn't see which camera you used for your photos.

    • AdaptiveConcierge profile image


      6 years ago

      Great lens! It's got everything I could want in a lens - tons of information, opportunities to showcase your Zazzle products, and links to other items for sale (in a not-so-pushy way!) What a great example to anyone who loves birds, or aspires to create great lenses!

    • writerkath profile image


      6 years ago

      Beautiful photos! John and I are in Florida for the winter - and while the birds are simply astonishing down here, we do miss feeding and watching the northern New England birds for the winter. Incredibly entertaining, and I can watch them for hours! What a great job you did on this lens! :) Kath

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Beautiful Pictures. I really enjoyed this lens

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Very well done! I passed your lens URL on to a birding friend!

    • Blackspaniel1 profile image


      6 years ago

      Nice lens.

    • kathysart profile image


      6 years ago

      This is such a soft and tender lens. I love the quote/poem Crumbs on the Snow.. sooo touching! Angel blessed lens.

    • PaulWinter profile image


      6 years ago

      I really love your bird pictures. A great lens.

    • lesliesinclair profile image


      6 years ago

      Oooooh! You have some great contact shots of birds. Most informative.

    • lesliesinclair profile image


      6 years ago

      Oooooh! You have some great contact shots of birds. Most informative.

    • KarenKnightBenn profile image


      6 years ago

      Thanks for the lens! I love watching birds. It is so calming to enjoy nature.

    • captainj88 profile image

      Leah J. Hileman 

      6 years ago from East Berlin, PA, USA

      Great lens! Thanks so much for sharing. A nature preserve sounds perfect!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      So beautiful

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      So beautiful

    • goo2eyes lm profile image

      goo2eyes lm 

      6 years ago

      poor birds. it is -29 degrees Celsius outside. they are simply noisy, chirping their hearts out inside the evergreen trees where they built their nests . with their thin feathers, i am sure that they suffer a lot. i hope spring will come soon. squidangel blessed.

    • Nimsrules LM profile image

      Nirmal Shah 

      6 years ago from India

      These are some beautiful birds found in your area. In India we find pied wagtails, shrikes, openbill storks, flamingos and various migratory birds in winter.

    • LaraineRoses profile image

      Laraine Sims 

      6 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      Beautiful lens! We don't have many birds here in the winter but what we have, we enjoy.

      I love it when the little critters fly back in the springtime. Angel blessed.

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 

      6 years ago from Colorado

      I have a much different winter birding experience since moving from the Gulf Coast to the high desert of Colorado. It is pretty remarkable, though, the number of birds that stick around here for the winter. Always enjoy your photos and nature lenses. Thank you!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Lovely to see bird lovers! Thanks!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Lovely to see bird lovers! Thanks!

    • DanielGlynn profile image


      6 years ago

      great post! very informative.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      beautiful pictures.... we live in the middle of woods and I am amazed at some of the birds we see even in the cold and snow.

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 

      6 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      Chirp chirp. Love these photos. Good information on attracting birds to your feeder all winter. Lovely!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      really wonderful!!!!

    • GODis4me profile image

      karen vance loudermilk 

      6 years ago from charleston wv

      What a wonderful lens, I really enjoyed it.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Love to see bird articles, nice job on this one ... *blessed*

    • hughgrissettsr lm profile image

      hughgrissettsr lm 

      6 years ago

      loved your lens,love birds!

    • hughgrissettsr lm profile image

      hughgrissettsr lm 

      6 years ago

      loved your lens,love birds!

    • Joy Neasley profile image

      Joy Neasley 

      7 years ago from Nashville, TN

      Great lens. I love drawing TN birds. I have a lens where I have displayed a few of them. However, I am in need of more photos of birds in TN to draw. If anyone out there would like to send me good, clear pics of a few birds in TN, I would appreciate it.

    • JohannDog profile image

      Johann The Dog 

      7 years ago from Northeast Georgia

      Great info and pics for identifying, thanks! We saw a pileated woodpecker on our land in the mountains, so exciting!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Wonderful lens on "Birds of winter" - featured on my lens - Bird Watching Wiki

    • ICanCook profile image


      7 years ago

      I'm a bird lover too. We have 8 Sun Conurs, 1 Green-Cheak Conure and 2 lovebirds. I had no idea birds were so smart until I lived with my birds. Good job with your lens. Very engaging and informative.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      What a beautiful fun and informational resource you have created. I found my self pausing many times, I live in Fargo and have bird friends that entertain me on my balcony. They let me know they want something to eat and will even wander in and out my patio door if I let them.

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 

      8 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Your pictures and products are amazing. They are really so beautiful and so is this whole lens.

    • SusannaDuffy profile image

      Susanna Duffy 

      8 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      What an absolutely beautiful look at the birds of winter. You have a talent for bringing them to vibrant life life. Blessed by an angel today

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Another very comprehensive lens and thanks for reminding us to think of the birds in winter.

    • naturegirl7s profile imageAUTHOR

      Yvonne L B 

      8 years ago from Covington, LA

      @indigoj: Thanks so much. What is the name of your new blog. I've looked, but I can't find it.

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 

      8 years ago from UK

      This is so lovely and your photography is impressive! You certainly get some beautiful birds in your part of the world. I'm delighted to be featuring this lens on my new blog.

    • Davidfstillwagon profile image


      8 years ago

      Great lens, I love the pictures! 5*

    • groovyfind profile image

      Samantha Devereux 

      8 years ago from Columbia Mo

      Instant fave, great lens!

    • Kylyssa profile image

      Kylyssa Shay 

      8 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      Thank you for a beautiful lens!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      What an amazing variety of birds! Gorgeous lens and a good reminder to think of our feathered friends.

      They would approve of the security word - 'lickworm'!

    • pkmcruk profile image


      8 years ago from Cheshire UK

      What a beautiful lens and so packed with information and amazing pictures - well done! Blessed by a SquidAngel :-)

    • walclan profile image


      9 years ago

      Nice lens, the photos are just beautiful. Different birds to what we have in Australia. Our birds are much noisier.

    • Ramkitten2000 profile image

      Deb Kingsbury 

      9 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      I love your pictures! Beautiful lense.

    • dustytoes profile image


      9 years ago

      I love your lens! I had a Carolina Wren hang out at my house all winter one year (in NH) and he/she loved to eat Smartfood popcorn! It was so fun to look for that little guy every day! 5 ***** and lensrolled.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      What a fun and informative lens! Beautiful work! ~ Skye :o-)

    • CoolFoto profile image


      9 years ago

      Congratulations! You are the first to identify the unknown bird as African Goose on lens! That bird had me stumped for 5 years!

      Love this lens, too. 5* and lensroll to my

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      A female cardinal flew into my garage the other day, wouldn't come out. Had to leave her in there with the door shut for a while, but she later made it out. This summer I caught a male cardinal in there too, flinging himself against the window. He decided to let me help him escape! Thanks for a well presented, indepth lens! 5*, & my faves. :-)

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      We have a piliated woodpecker that looks like the Red-bellied Woodpecker -- beautiful to watch! Did you happen to hear about what I saw in our backyard this past weekend? A hawk landed on top of our tiny bird feeder and then flew to the top of a bird house in our backyard. It was a majestic sight -- not quick enough with the camera though!

    • ZenandChic profile image


      9 years ago

      This lens is very nicely done!

    • owlperson profile image


      9 years ago

      This is a great lens with fantastic photos. I appreciate it. I see lots of old friends who visit my feeders, but a few we don't have in New Hampshire. I'd love to see a lens on the waterfowl of your area. I never knew there were so many kinds of ducks until I moved to live beside a river. I imagine that many winter near you after our rivers are frozen.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I love to watch the birds. There are not as many around now, but time goes so fast. Spring will be here before we know it.

      Great lens


    • profile image


      9 years ago

      lovely cardinals! make me love more the winter.

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 

      9 years ago from Southampton, UK

      What a great lens, 5***** I used to love watching the Cardinals when I lived in Indiana. Now in Florida I get treated regularly to Pelicans, Blue Herons, Egrets and many more.

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image


      9 years ago

      Wonderful lens. I miss the chatter and chirping when I step out my back door in the winter. The Carolina Wrens and Cardinals are all I've seen lately. Both are quiet due to the cold. The birdfeeder is kept full... I look forward to spring but this lens helped. Thanks. And thanks for your kind comments on my Say Something Nice Lens.

      5* and favored.


    • EpicFarms profile image


      9 years ago

      Fabulous lens...the photographs are marvelous! I like the teeny ones myself (like the Warbler :o) 5*


    • profile image


      9 years ago

      We love our cardinals here in Ontario, Canada.


    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Very nice lens. I love birds and we feed and watch them all the time. Nice photos. We don't have cardinals around here, but I hope to see one someday.

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image


      9 years ago

      Well, I knew your avatar was beautiful, but this is amazing! *****

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Wonderful lens and beautiful photographs. My favourite winter bird, here in the U.K, is the Indian green ring neck parakeet; now officially a British bird because I has lived in the parks in west London for several decades after escaping and forming a breeding colony. It doesn't seem to mind the cold weather, although London is a surprisingly mild winter climate. I really must make a lens on the subject.

    • nlwest21 profile image


      9 years ago

      this is a great lens. I used to have a favorite bird when I was a kid - but I forgot what it was!!! but it was soo cute and little!

    • mbgphoto profile image

      Mary Beth Granger 

      9 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

      Beautiful photos. I really enjoyed this lens.

    • evelynsaenz1 profile image

      Evelyn Saenz 

      9 years ago from Royalton

      I love feeding and watching the antics of the birds in winter. Thank you for sharing such beautiful pictures.

      Lensrolled to Wintertime and Bluebirds.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Fantastic photos and information! 5*'s and favorited. :-)

    • HealthfulMD profile image

      Kirsti A. Dyer 

      9 years ago from Northern California

      Beautiful job.

    • chefkeem profile image

      Achim Thiemermann 

      9 years ago from Austin, Texas

      This is one of the prettiest and most beautiful designed pages on Squidoo. A hearty SquidAngel Blessing for this masterpiece!


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