Once winter sets in, we may find ourselves entertaining local birds that might otherwise appear only infrequently. A favourite is the Tufted Titmouse, a chickadee cousin that has a prominent crest and a boisterous, rapidly repeated song ‘Peter-Peter-Peter’. It is normally not as friendly as chickadees, which can often be hand fed.
Never common, it is found in a few areas of Southern and Eastern Ontario close to the lower Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River. Like chickadees, it readily takes to black-oil sunflower seeds.
A more frequently encountered special visitor is the Carolina Wren. This curious bird can be seen poking around woodpiles, checking out brush or sampling a variety of food options at feeders. While it may select seeds, its preference is suet and shelled peanuts. A third species, the largest of them all, is the Red-bellied Woodpecker. These birds are quite at home in mature woodlots but they may appear at suet feeders during the winter. All of these birds are present year-round but they tend to show up more in the off-season when they appreciate a handout.
By Brian Morin
Publisher of Ontario Birding News