Baby, It’s Cold Outside: Hangin’ Out in the Yard


Blue Jay through the window

This grey, chilly day produced a few flurries and later in the afternoon, perhaps a sixteenth of an inch of snow. Whatever. I decided to stay home and see who came to the yard, instead of birding elsewhere.

I had to stand out in the cold for what seemed like a long time, I don’t know, maybe it was only 10 minutes but it felt longer, waiting for the birds to come back. Funny how the birds downtown will rush out to greet me, but the ones at home prefer to avoid me at all costs if possible.

But when they did finally come back, I counted at least 46 House Sparrows. Well, I didn’t count them all individually, I thought there were probably 50, but I decided to be conservative and enter the number “46” for ebird. Which makes it look like you did count them individually, I guess.

The cardinals were in the yard, which was nice of them, but the male didn’t want to show himself, so the best I could do was sneak a peek of him hiding behind a branch. The female was more accommodating. Or maybe hungry.


A Blue Jay has been coming to the yard since I cut down my big tree. And this Blue Jay surprised me by showing up while I was still outside, but the light was so poor (below, left) I couldn’t get a good picture of him or her. Luckily it came back later in the afternoon when I was sneaking pictures through the windows (below, right).

A female Downy Woodpecker was easy to see outside, but the male pretty much eluded me until later I caught the back of his head through the window.

Not seeing so many Dark-Eyed Juncos this week, but there was one, below.

deju-yard-1-29-17-7176I put a new feeder up this week, and it’s apparent I didn’t assemble it too tightly so I’ll have to take it down one of these nights and see if I can make it more secure, but the House Finches seem to be enjoying it.


House Finches

Doesn’t look like there’s going to be a change in the weather for a while so we may as well get used to this.


Black-Capped Chickadee and Downy Woodpecker

I’ll be back in a few with some photos from the wilds of Chicago’s lakefront parks.

9 thoughts on “Baby, It’s Cold Outside: Hangin’ Out in the Yard

  1. We are having gray and cold days too and add some wind chill to it.
    It was funny this morning, I checked our town’s temperature was 43º F but felt like 27º F windchill factor !!! Nice bunch of visitors you have! 🙂

    • Hi, H.J. Thanks for the weather report! I forgot to mention that the birds have been singing a bit the last week or more so it seems unfair to have to put up with more winter but it’s still January. 🙂

  2. Great selection of birds. Interesting to see a female Cardinal – I think you must be the only person to photograph one! I have to admit that most of my photos are the colourful males!

    • In the spring it’s hard to find the females because they’re busy nesting, and then the males seem to make more appearances for distraction purposes, I guess. I have always adored the more subtle colorings of the female. I’m certainly not the only person to have photographed one but this time of year it seems everybody’s looking for a red-and-green postcard bird, i.e., the male!

  3. Love that picture of the Cardinal facing forward. The birds were pretty active on our feeders yesterday, the cold weather seems to have that effect. We saw a red belly drinking from the birdbath, which we have never seen before.

    • Maybe hunger overcame the cardinal and she decided not to worry about me. I wasn’t all that far away. I think yesterday was good too because it wasn’t windy. On windy days sometimes I come home and the feeders are still full. Great about the Red-Bellied. I felt honored last week when the Blue Jay took a bath. I just hope he or she brings a few more jays along.

    • I should be out in the cold with the birds, since they have no choice in the matter (although their insulation is much better). It’s always a waiting game. 🙂

Leave a Reply