Feed on

by Erin Wright, Children’s Garden Educator, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

One of the favorite wintertime activities of the Children’s Garden staff is bird watching. We hang feeders outside of our office windows, and keep them well stocked. The most popular feeder is outside of the kitchen window of the Children’s Garden Carriage House, where we keep a field guide handy to identify all of the beautiful birds who visit.

Of course, the birds don’t know we are watching them when we are inside. When I went outside to get some photos, they were not sure what to make of me. I stood outside for a long time, waiting for one of them to visit the usually busy feeder. First, birds of all kinds gathered in the bushes.

Can you see the four  different birds in these photos? They are pretty well hidden, but there is a Slate Colored Junco with a Purple Finch, a Tufted Titmouse and a Carolina Wren.

.Slate Colored Junco and Purple Finch in the winter shrubs at Lewis Ginter Botanical GardenCarolina Wren in winter shrubs at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

Then one of the birds hopped around on the ground under the feeder…

and finally, one brave chickadee figured that I wasn’t interested in his food, and landed on the feeder.

Carolina Chickadee on feeder at Lewis Ginter Botanical GardenCarolina Chickadee on feeder at Lewis Ginter Botanical GardenCarolina Chickadee on feeder at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

Working in the garden itself leaves no shortage of bird sightings.  The great blue heron (who I have named Ichabod) and several hawks have been quite busy of late.  Not to mention the goose fight I witnessed yesterday, and the mockingbirds who taunt us endlessly as we work (all of them are named Marguerite).

We can hardly wait until spring, when the fruits of the Mulberry tree brings the more elusive and migratory species to our garden.  The  Scarlet Tanagers and Goldfinches are my favorites to see — their colors are so vibrant, they always take me by surprise.

I encourage you to hang a feeder outside of a window where you can leisurely watch all of the species that come to eat. I think you’ll be surprised at how many kinds of birds live in your neighborhood!

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