Birding and more...
2010 / Issue 15



Christmas is here, the winter is upon us, and that means a steady diet of icy cold temperatures and lots of snow. This is the time of year when the birds are looking for high energy food, and plenty of it. This season also means the arrival of some birds that you'll rarely see at your feeders during the summer months, like Hairy Woodpeckers. They come out of the woods as food supplies are getting scarce, and into your garden. You'll also be graced with some new faces - those of the migrating birds from the north that have come south in search of seed crops. These might include, Crossbills, Redpolls, Siskins, and most certainly the Dark-eyed Juncos. Accommodating these winter birds will require some extra effort, and some changes in your choice of bird feeders and bird feed. It may also involve a change of location for your feeders, to make them easier to maintain when the snow on the ground is getting deep. You'll also want to place them where they can be seen from inside your house when the weather is too cold to sit outdoors. After all, watching the birds is one of the joys of having feeders.

This article will give you some tips on how to rearrange and modify your feeders for the demands of the winter season so that the birds get what they need, and you get to watch all the action.



Elaine and I have about fifteen feeders on the go all year 'round. When colder weather sets in, we move them closer to the back of the house, and we make some changes to the feed we offer.

Here's our winter setup:

Quantity Feed Style Birds this feeder will attract
3 Nyger Tube  Goldfinch, Pine Siskin, Redpoll, Junco, Finches
4 Suet Cage  Woodpeckers (and others)
2 Safflower Hopper  Cardinals, Mourning Doves, Finches, Chickadees
1 Peanut Butter * Plug  Chickadees, Woodpeckers, (and others)
1 Peanut (shelled) Tube  Nuthatches, Woodpeckers, Chickadees
1 Peanut (unshelled) Tray  Blue Jays
1 Sunflower Platform  Blue Jays, Cardinals
1 Mixed seed Hopper  Chickadees (and just about everything else)
* mixed with cornmeal                                                                    
We also offer water in a heated birdbath, and we spread millet on the ground and in some bushes.

For more information about bird seed and feed, check out our feeder guide at:

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to drop me a line at


In this issue we're featuring photographs
by Bob McPherson and Barry Kant.

This first photo was taken by Bob McPherson
on the Moira River.

Hooded Merganser (male)

Hooded Mergansers are beautiful little ducks.
They are very energetic and entertaining to watch.
You can see a video of one, on our
YouTube Channel at:

This next shot came to us from Barry Kant.
He's had some great success getting pictures of hawks and owls at Presqu'ile Park. This shot is of a Red-tailed Hawk that Barry says just seemed to follow him around. I guess some birds just love getting their photos taken.

Red-tailed Hawk

The Readers Patch is a space for your photos, stories, and/or comments.
Send anything you'd like to share with us to:





Birding and More - the year in review

It's been a great first year at Birding and more!

We started with a brief mission statement:
A website for those who enjoy birding,
gardening, and the great outdoors...

We began with a couple of galleries, and a couple of info pages. We added our first newsletter, and we just kept going. Our approach has always been to provide accurate information that we have tried and tested. We won't just publish re-hashed or re-cycled data. We want our site to have integrity, and therefore value for our readers.

Here's what we've added since the early days
just a short 12 months ago!

We now have 8 galleries, with over 200 photos

We have 9 info pages with everything from how to identify the parts of a bird, to tips for successful birding.

We have a blog, and in that blog is the Belleville Daily Birding Report (which at the moment - being winter - is a weekly report). But it will return to a 'daily' in a couple of months when the weather permits.

We have videos now!
And 'Birding and more' has a channel on You Tube. Ha ha!

We have published 15 Newsletters

We have also added "Ask Elaine" and "Ask Garry"
- one click buttons on our website that you can use
to get answers to all your gardening and birding questions.

In the months ahead we will be adding instructional videos, a link to a new web site called 'Kirsch Photography', and we will be adding more galleries and articles.

Elaine and I wish all of you a


Winter has arrived (even if not officially) and while the first snowfall has come and gone, the days are now shorter bringing the dusk so much earlier than it used to. It's very difficult to enjoy the birds that still come to our garden when we have to be at work during the daylight hours! How we do look forward to our weekends with the hope of seeing at least some of the backyard visitors!

We still have many feeders out for the winter (safflower seed, nyger seed, mixed seed, sunflowers, peanuts and suet) but this is the time when I feel good about the plants that we've included in our garden, the flowers that leave seed-heads behind as nourishment for the birds during the cold, snowy days. The purple coneflower and bee balm seed-heads are raised high above the ground and will stick up through the snow even when it's a couple of feet thick. I allow the weed (or wildflower, whichever you choose) called mullein to grow in several spots around the garden (which it does quite naturally!) solely for the seeds at the top of the tall sturdy stalk that will be available during the winter. Many of the shorter plants, while not visible above the snow, will still have seeds attached for the birds looking for food as the snow melts and before the insects come back. For these reasons I leave the cleanup and pruning until Spring is just around the corner!

Our honeysuckle shrubs are getting quite large and have a fairly dense branch structure, but most of our other shrubs are still too young they offer good perches but not much protection from the elements. Still, with large trees overhead and the several shrubs around the yard, birds (and squirrels) have many options for exercise and rest. One of our favourite sights is of the squirrels chasing each other through the trees we are truly amazed at their leaping and running accuracy and speed!

Winter offers a different perspective on birding and gardening but always enjoyable, no matter the season! Have a wonderful Christmas, from our home to yours!!

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   Copyright 2010 Garry Kirsch                                                          

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