Winter in Southern Ontario

How many times have we heard the expression be careful what you wish for?

Last time I wrote an update for this blog  I was lamenting the lack of migrating birds and the blah fall weather. I even said I was looking forward to a change. Well, we got it. Even as I hit the publish button on that last post, the snow had already began to fall and southern Ontario was getting its first real taste of winter. By the following morning, the whole place had turned white, and the mercury appeared to have left the thermometer for much warmer climes.

I’m generally not a fan of winter. But true enough, the frigid weather brought some changes to the feeder.

First up was to say hello to the winter crop of goldfinches. It seems that the finches who reside in our garden all summer leave in September. We go from seeing them all the time to not seeing any at all for a few weeks. Then, suddenly, the yard is full of them again. These “winter finches” hang around – often in enormous numbers – till perhaps April, when we hit another finch void before our “summer” birds return.

The cardinals don’t seem to mind the chilly weather one bit. If anything, they seem to revel in the lack of blackbirds.

Dark-eyed juncos have re-appeared in the yard after a long absence. I love the way these cheery little birds dark about in and out from under the plants.

The ground crew doesn’t seem to mind the snow, even if it does make foraging for dropped peanuts a bit tougher.

We were surprised to find a flock of eight robins at the bird bath one afternoon. The silly things were happily splashing about in the -12 temperatures. We’ve since seen them a few more times. It’s very odd to see robins here at this time of year.

Our resident downy woodpeckers like the cold. They like the suet blocks even more.

For the resident sparrows, the arrival of new friends has been a bit of a mixed blessing. Good, in that there are new birds to hang out with. Bad, in that some of these new arrivals are showing up hungry. You have to get to the feeder early now, or risk losing out on the morning’s buffet. Late arrivals are never happy arrivals.

So here we are now, in the depths of winter, and yes, it’s a nice change from the routine of fall. In a week or two I’m hoping to get out to photograph some of the ducks wintering on Lake Ontario. In spite of the cold, I’m looking forward to it, and to saying hello to old friends once again.

About Craig Ritchie

Craig Ritchie was born in Toronto and has always held a deep fascination with nature and wildlife. After an initial attempt at putting a bird feeder in the yard led to confrontations with gangs of house sparrows and mischievous raccoons, he set out to learn more about birds and birding, sharing those discoveries on his blog. Craig currently divides his time between southern Ontario and Prince Edward Island.
This entry was posted in Bird Canada. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Winter in Southern Ontario

  1. Wanda Todoroff says:

    Lovely post! Thanks Craig!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *