When I was a kid, we called Dark-Eyed Juncos “snow birds.” Until I started bird watching later in life, I thought that was their actual name. To us, seeing a snow bird was a sign. It meant that it was going to snow, leading to snowmen, snow forts, saucering down the side hill and a day off of school. I suspect this childhood joy may still be a little part of the reason that I still love these little birds today. Even today, when I know that birds don’t cause the weather, I still feel joy when I see the first of the juncos and their winter pals, the White-Throated Sparrows arrive in mid-fall. Here is what I do in my yard to make sparrows happy during the winter.
Would you like to attract American Goldfinches to your bird feeders? They can be a little finicky but it is well worth the effort. As with all birds that will eat at feeders, you need to provide the food they like in a location and environment that works for them.
It’s hard not to like Northern Cardinals. One of our most popular feeder birds, the male’s beautiful red color pops in the yard, especially during dull grey winter months. The female’s more subtle orange and red tones are lovely as well. They come to our feeders fairly readily and are polite guests. While they might bicker with each other a little bit, especially during spring breeding season, they don’t give other species a hard time. If you live within their range, attracting cardinals to feeders usually isn’t hard to do.