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article imageOp-Ed: Bird watching ─ a popular winter activity Special

By Leigh Goessl     Jan 23, 2013 in Lifestyle
The brisk days of winter are a popular time of the year for bird watching. Ardent bird lovers and amateur watchers often find the colder months a great time to spot winter birds.
While many birds migrate south for the winter, there are plenty of our feathered friends that stick around. From Virginia to New York and Massachusetts, and across the country to Idaho, with many in between, several reports of winter birds spotting can be found online.
This writer did a bit of 'critter' watching over the Christmas holiday over at Mount Vernon. Most of the birds observed that day were cardinals, blue jays and robins.
A Cardinal looks on at the Mount Vernon Estate
A Cardinal looks on at the Mount Vernon Estate
A Robin stood and posed for the camera on a December trip to Mount Vernon
A Robin stood and posed for the camera on a December trip to Mount Vernon
This past weekend, I again looked to seek out birds while in New York. The location I was staying at had several bird feeders hanging, which the birds flock to daily. On previous visits, during spring and summer months, a huge variety of different types of birds can be observed. Although the winter months seem to see fewer types of birds, many are still around. Most of the birds were pretty quick in taking off once they noticed a human in the vicinity, but a few did stick around to pose for the camera.
The titmouse, a common bird to the Northeastern U.S., is described by All About Birds as a "frequent visitor to feeders". This writer observed the titmouse at a feeder and also learned they go for peanuts. We'd lined up several peanuts and observed the titmouse kicking the nuts off the ledge; that is until another bird came by and took "alpha" chasing the titmouse away.
A titmouse takes a break from kicking peanuts over the rail and gazes over a nearby lake.
A titmouse takes a break from kicking peanuts over the rail and gazes over a nearby lake.
In the winter  it is harder for the birds to find seeds  so they re usually willing to go for other ...
In the winter, it is harder for the birds to find seeds, so they're usually willing to go for other types of food, such as peanuts
This nuthatch  took charge   of these peanuts and chased the titmouse away.
This nuthatch 'took charge ' of these peanuts and chased the titmouse away.
After pushing the titmouse away  this nuthatch began kicking the peanuts off the railing and created...
After pushing the titmouse away, this nuthatch began kicking the peanuts off the railing and created a 'stash' below.
Cardinals are seen routinely in both Virginia and New York. This writer observed a pair of cardinals that seemed to be content in an evergreen tree, barely moving for a long period of time. According to National Geographic, cardinals do not migrate and have historically lived in warmer southeastern U.S. climates, but in recent years have expanded to the Northeast and have gone as far north as Canada.
"This population growth may be due to an increase in winter birdfeeders and to the bird's ability to adapt to parks and suburban human habitats," said National Geographic.
Female cardinal perched in an evergreen tree
Female cardinal perched in an evergreen tree
A male cardinal
A male cardinal
A  pair of male and female cardinal birds sat for a long time in this tree.
A pair of male and female cardinal birds sat for a long time in this tree.
At this time of year birds will flock to feeders put out by humans.
At this time of year birds will flock to feeders put out by humans.
This bird waits for me to leave so it can swoop in towards the feeder I am standing next to.
This bird waits for me to leave so it can swoop in towards the feeder I am standing next to.
Although, while the diversity of birds may be lessened in colder regions, the pretty sing-songs of birds can be heard at any given time of the day in the Hudson River Valley region of New York.
Organized watches, such as this upcoming one in Massachusetts, are also a popular activity. In February, the annual Eagle Fest is taking place in Croton, N.Y. along the Hudson River. While cold, it's still a good time of the year to spot birds in many areas.
What kind of winter birds do you see in your region?
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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