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A Year of Birds: December

As the holiday song says, “Baby, it’s cold outside!” In Michigan, December can come in with some pretty cold blasts, and it has. It makes me glad that Hanukkah also occurs at the beginning of the month, to create “warm feelings” in spite of the frigid early morning temperature.

The mergansers are hanging out with golden-eye ducks, much to my surprise. They can be seen out on the now-frigid waters of the lake. In spite of the frosty morning temperatures, they are busy fishing. It looks like they will be staying all winter.

Golden eye ducks and mergansers on Lake Huron
Golden Eye ducks and female mergansers seem to get along well

The chickadees are eating constantly at the feeder – it is hard some days to keep up with the demand! But they are also so friendly, and I can get very close to them.

Closeup photo of a chickadee
I was close enough to touch this curious little chickadee

I love watching them in the nearby pines, as they wait their turn to get a seed.

chickadee in the pine, photo
The chickadees are lovely among the pines

I also saw a red-breasted nuthatch. Until now, I have only seen the white-breasted nuthatches, so I was surprised to see them; I like their distinctive line through their eyes and rosy breast patch. After watching for a week, I saw a second rose-breasted nuthatch, so maybe a pair is hanging out nearby.

Photo of a rose-breasted nuthatch
I have nicknamed this nuthatch “Rosie”

Recently, I saw a red-belly woodpecker come by the feeder for some food. They are beautiful birds, and I love their coloring and distinctive patterning.

Photo of a red belly woodpecker
The woodpeckers get “first dibs” at the feeder, as the smaller birds give way to them

On a bitterly cold day, when the water in the bay was beginning to freeze, I saw some brave swans out swimming on Lake Huron. They will stay throughout the winter, and I often see them flying by the beach. It’s the end of December, and of a wonderful year of watching birds in the area.

Swan on Lake Huron
Swans are so pretty as they float by on the lake

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