Category Archives: Winter

Brown is Beautiful

Especially if you are foraging for food, Like the Song Sparrow below in the native grass.

We plant for color and to attract pollinators in the spring, summer and fall.  But when winter comes and the garden turns brown, leaving plants with seed heads will provide much needed food for all manner of wildlife – especially birds.

Like this row of river oats beside the path.

Goldenrod’s spectacular fall display leaves much in the way of food.

Seeds in the heart of spent Coneflowers and Black-eyed Susans are a bonus.

Even plants in pots on the deck can provide good foraging material.

Tiny Winter Visitors

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Ruby-crowned Kinglet – Regulus calendula      Peachtree Park, Atlanta, GA – December, 2015

Each year starting in mid to late November, we notice small birds flitting about in the branches of trees.  These are Ruby-crowned and Golden-crowned Kinglets.  Small means really small. Ruby-crowned Kinglets are 3.5 to 4.3 inches long and weigh .2 to .4 ounces and the Golden-crowned Kinglets are similar in size.  By comparison, a Ruby-throated Hummingbird is similar in size, 2.8 to 3.5 inches long, but weighs only about half as much.

The Kinglets we are seeing may be here for the winter, or they may be migrants on their way further south.  Since  we see them in January and February, we think ours may be residents.

The adult male Ruby-crowned only shows his red patch when he’s excited.  The Ruby-crowned has a solid face with a white eye ring.

The adult Golden-crowned’s bright yellow marking is always visible and he looks like he is wearing a mask.

Both birds are high energy and move constantly.  Their flight has been described as ‘swift, jerky and erratic’.  They don’t seem to be much intimidated by your presence and will go about their routine of collecting insects, spiders and beetles when you are close by.