Birds in Winter

This post, “Birds in Winter” was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 

Well, everything I covered survived the cold temps.  By 9 pm it was already below freezing.  The thermometer got down to 22 degrees, and it was after 11 am before it was above freezing. Some of what wasn’t covered is damaged, but I don’t think I have lost anything permanently, but only time will tell.  I was surprised to find the limelight artemesia still standing, and some of the sword fern in the garden is still bright green and fine.  The ferns were under some trees, but I would never have thought that they would have made it with such low temperatures over such a long time.  The weather service is predicting one more night of cold temps.

A ruby throated hummingbird has been staying around our feeder (they usually leave by Oct).  Two days ago another hummingbird appeared.  It is a Broad billed hummingbird.  According to Peterson’s Field Guide to the Birds,  they do winter in Louisiana, but this is the first time we have had one.  It looks very similar to a Ruby throated but has a blue throat and is a little bigger.  A few years back, we did have a Rufus sided hummingbird, but we have not seen one since.  It is exciting to have a new one show up. It was at our feeder very early with the temperatures in the mid twenties; I know the poor thing must have been cold.  I wonder what these little guys survive on besides the nectar we put out? I know they are insect eaters, but what insects are out in the winter with all the cold weather we’ve been having?

I have found that attracting birds enhances the garden.  We have been feeding the birds here for about 20 years.  We used to have more birds, but I think that loss of habitat is the reason we seem to have less.  We are in an area with pine trees, but as the area becomes more developed, the trees are going and with them the birds.  In the winter we used to get hundreds of goldfinches, but now we don’t.  We used to have indigo buntings, but they haven’t showed up in years.  However, the cardinals, woodpeckers, blue jays, wrens, mockingbirds, chickadees, and finches keep us entertained.  The cardinals, especially at this time of year, add a great deal of color to the garden.  They are very striking in the holly bush.

In the spring and summer, the birds really liven up the garden.  They are at the feeders, bird baths, and their songs make having a cup of coffee on the patio so relaxing.  After attracting birds to our garden, I have branched out some and am trying to entice butterflies.  This past summer is the first year where I really tried to get more butterflies, and I did meet with some success.  Mostly they were attracted to the nectar plants, and this year I am planning to add more plants where they will lay eggs.  I am looking for a book that shows pictures of butterfly caterpillars because I sure don’t want to harm any that I have spent time and money attracting.   I have an Audubon’s Guide but the photos are not very good or there are none for the types of butterflies most people want to attract to their gardens. 

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2 Comments

  1. Jane said,

    January 3, 2008 at 7:26 pm

    Sounds like the birds bring you a lot of enjoyment. I may try to add a feeder or two

    Jane, You really ought to add feeders and a bird bath. They add so much to a garden and your spirit.

  2. Caroline said,

    January 4, 2008 at 2:11 pm

    I enjoyed reading your blog. It is great to have someone from Louisiana writing a garden blog.

    Caroline, I, too, wish more gardeners from Louisiana would blog. It is good to see what others are doing with plants that we can grow here in the hot and humid Gulf South.


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