Birds at Christmastime

children around homemade tree

Tipper, Paul, Tracy, and Sharon 

The snowy scenes of Christmas almost always include a bird. Although I know little about birds, I love watching them during the winter months as they flutter back and forth in the stark Appalachian landscape.

Granny was always making something when I was little. Some of her creations survived through the years, but the one in the photo didn’t.

She took a branch from the yard and made a snowy tree filled with birds. I remember thinking the tree was so pretty. I loved snow (fake snow too!) in those days just as much as I do now.

painted bird on magnet

Blind Pig reader Allison Britt loves birds as much as Granny does and is just as creative.

Allison made this adorable refrigerator magnet from a painting she did back in 2004 of a Tufted Titmouse. She has generously donated it for me to use as a giveaway. To be entered in the giveaway leave a comment on this post. * Giveaway ends Saturday December 14, 2019.


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  • Reply
    Jeanette Queen
    December 12, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    So love our pretty birds here in the mountains ! My love of birds started early, just when I was a little girl, my Mother, Mary Jane Queen, would crumble up cornbread and put it in a little tin pie pan out in the yellow belle bush, oh my, you shoulda seen the birds flock in, I can just hear her laughing and talking about them. She helped all of us learn what the different birds were as well as their calls. I love the little black capped chickadees and the red birds, they live in a huge yellow belle bush in my yard and visit my feeders daily. Great painting !

  • Reply
    December 11, 2019 at 12:37 am

    I do miss watching the birds at my feeders in Tennessee in every kind of weather, The Nuthatch and the Tufted Titmouse among the most prominent, along with American Goldfinch, Chickadee, Juncos and so many others.

  • Reply
    December 10, 2019 at 6:59 pm

    Nothing as beautiful and eye-catching as cardinals against snow. When I was growing up, “our” cardinals would take turns flying up to the window outside the kitchen sink; Mom would wash the dishes and talk to them like the little friends they were. They’d tweet and cock their heads, very nearly convincing us they understood.

  • Reply
    Melinda Kessler
    December 10, 2019 at 4:50 pm

    What artists Granny & Allison are!

    My favorite bird memories are of the snowy, Ivey winters of ’77 & ’78. My three teenagers were often out of school due to the weather fun at first but gets old as days drag on). We did lots of bird watching in those SW Ohio winters. Being in the country & having a big pear tree near the window we learned to identify & enjoy many birds. They appreciated our feeding them – even perched on the window sill at times. ⛄️

    I’m enjoying the Christmas CD! So glad to have it

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    December 10, 2019 at 3:50 pm

    I love the Snow. We don’t get Snow often here at Granny Squirrel, but the other day I noticed some cars going by the Shop, and it looked like the hoods had at least 4″ of that Beautiful White Stuff. Someone that was here at the time said “Their from Topton or Nantahala.” …Ken

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    December 10, 2019 at 3:40 pm

    Loved this post today…As you know I love birds too. We have so many that it takes quite a lot of seed to keep them all full. On rainy morning like today, with predicted temperatures expected to drop and change to snow, the birds seem to know to fill up as fast as they can. I always have a wren or two just before daylight, pecking out suet and chattering to all the other birds to wake up, eat up or be left out. At dawn, the Cardinals start coming and sitting on the feeders filling as much as possible until a Titmouse, Chickadee or Dove…gives the tire feeder a shake…Soon it’s time to fill the feeders for the morning. My husband always waits a little later to fill them. By that time they are waiting on him at the front door then flying over the corner of the house to the trees by the kitchen feeders. I have one large platform feeder on a tall pole, large enough for a whole flock of doves and a squirrel or two. A hanging feeder in the kitchen window plus suet feeders or each side. Chickadees and Titmice are not shy at all and fly on or above his head while he fills the feeders…sometimes startling him with their antics. We have Juncos…(some call Snowbirds) in great abundance right before a cold snap or snow…Right now we are getting lots of large white flakes. It’s been a while since we had those big fluffy white snowflakes…The birds are now feeding like crazy. The Nuthatches are running head down and trying to intimidate the Chickadees and Titmice for a seed or two.
    I love the “Joree” too…My favorite sound of the Towhee is the “ka-chink” sound they make just before landing near or on the ground. Here they seem to call “joree” more in the spring/summer. I seldom have them feeding in the feeders, but on occasion they will feed in the platform feeder. They much prefer tossing dry leaves and picking out seeds under the leaves…
    We have lots of woodpeckers and one big fellow flies right up to the window suet block and hangs on while doing his best to get all the fat and peanut butter stuffed he can carry. We have the Downy and Hairy woodpeckers…much smaller and can empty a suet block in short order. Flickers seem to like the platform feeder when I fill it with cooked wild or long grain rice and corn. The huge Pileated Woodpeckers prefer to feed on any dying pine trees left (stumps)that have large beetles and grubs living in the decaying stumps…We hear them often and love to give a call when you least expect them and it sends a shiver up your back. They seem to relish and cackle at startling anything within their call range..
    Guess, enough about the birds…
    I love Grannies tree, so much like bare limbs look like in the winter with colorful birds decorating them along with the snow…
    Allison did a wonderful job painting the Titmouse…magnet as well, a very talented artist..
    Later…I’m gone to look at the snow…the water feeder I keep near the seed feeders appear to have a coving of snow…
    Happy Holidays to all readers…

  • Reply
    December 10, 2019 at 2:55 pm

    That is one thing I miss since we no longer have a home in NC. My favorites are cardinals. They lived in my forsythia bush. Every time I looked out one was usually at the feeder. I always had a pair or more.

  • Reply
    Hank SKewis
    December 10, 2019 at 2:39 pm

    I remember the cardinals in the wintertime when I was growing up back East. 50 years on the West Coast and I still miss their brilliant red bodies fluttering through the snow.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    December 10, 2019 at 2:21 pm

    Snow is pretty and birds are pretty but birds are not enamoured of snow. Especially deep snow. It covers their food supplies and water sources. It forces them from their nesting places. That is one reason we see birds we generally don’t when it snow. They have to come out of hiding just to survive.
    We got a pretty good snow last year. Only an occasional broomsage sticking through it broke its continuous white blanket. I watched as some small black birds hopped around on top of the snow back behind the house. As I watched I noticed that every once in a while one of the birds would just disappear. There would be four birds then suddenly there were three. Then there would be four again. And over and over again. I thought I was seeing things. How could that be?
    After watching and wondering for a while curiosity overcame me and I decided I had to go see what was going on. Of course I scared the birds away so I could no longer see what they were doing. I stood there for a while before I figured out what was happening. The wind blowing against the broomsage had created holes around it and those birds were going down to the ground and finding food under the snow.
    Once I figured out what the birds were doing I went back in where it was warm and watched as the little birds came back and continued with their little lives.
    I don’t feed birds or any other kinds of wildlife. It’s not that I don’t care. It’s that I don’t want them to become dependent on humans because humans are not very dependable.

  • Reply
    Gaye Blaine
    December 10, 2019 at 1:07 pm

    Tufted titmouse. Cardinals. Snow birds, black cap chickadees and lots of others rewarded us with pleasure at their feeder on the farm. Seldom see a bird in the apt complex.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    December 10, 2019 at 1:02 pm

    When I was growing up we had lots of chickens. Mama would scatter Scratch Food for the chickens and birds would eat some too. The chickens didn’t mind sharing their food with them and was careful not to step on the little birds, mostly Snowbirds.

    Mama could walk right among the chickens and when she needed to wring a couple of the chicken’s necks for supper, she bent down and picked up a couple of Pullets. Then she would call for me and Harold. We’d take them down to the creek and do our job on the footlog. I don’t ever remember John being involved, but he could really run a powersaw. And he could play the piano like nobody’s business. I loved the way Mama taught him to play. She was paralyzed in her left side, but that didn’t stop her, she had an ear for music. …Ken

  • Reply
    December 10, 2019 at 12:13 pm

    I love watching the little birds eat. That reminds me, I’m gonna have to put some feed out for them. The bird magnet is beautiful. She done a great job. Thanks Tipper for all your post as usual.

  • Reply
    December 10, 2019 at 11:40 am

    I didn’t really realize how much I love birds until I noticed I have them on my walls & The decorative pillows on my bed & Christmas throws and perched on my Christmas tree. Lol. So yes, that lovely titmouse would fit in my kitchen.

  • Reply
    December 10, 2019 at 11:20 am

    While I always put up hummingbird feeders, I haven’t often put up seed or suet feeders – at least not in recent years. Maybe if I do I will get to see more birds. They used to be plentiful here along the creek along with some colorful yellow migrant birds; but not so many in recent years and not as much variety. I miss their voices and their graceful or sometimes humorous flights.
    As for snow – I find it fascinating and enchanting – but folks around here just don’t know how to drive in it!! Even so, if it would bring us some moisture – bring it on!!!!!

  • Reply
    Terry Price
    December 10, 2019 at 10:36 am

    Enjoy reading your stories – reminds me of growing up in WNC.

    While I don’t especially like birds (they’re okay over yonder, but not right here) I do miss seeing the bright colors in the snow and grey. And, I miss the fall leaves and snow generally, my two favorite seasons. The seasons here in texas is pretty dull – there are just two: hot and hell. And, except for huge flocks of grackles and beautiful swallows, birds appear to be rather sparse here, especially in the winter.

    So, thanks again for the reminders and keep writing!

  • Reply
    Rick Shepherd
    December 10, 2019 at 9:54 am

    Tipper, That’s a beautiful snowbird tree your Granny made!…Great pic of you and Paul and your sister’s back then….Merry Christmas, I hope you get your snow and if we all do you can have most of mine….haha.

  • Reply
    December 10, 2019 at 9:52 am

    We don’t get much snow here in Mississippi. Seems i remember when i was a small child having a white Christmas. Back in the mid 60s we had a big one that stayed for days and days. We had a white cow who had obviously calved but we couldn’t find her baby; figured it had frozen or something. Then one day at the feeding trough she had her snow white little one with her. It’s pretty when it’s fresh and undisturbed. But when we had the cattle we knew it was going to be a tremendous ugly mess when it started to melt.

  • Reply
    John Hickman
    December 10, 2019 at 9:15 am

    Birds are God’s beautiful creation I truly love them and we feed them in our yard everyday, I love watching them eat and hop around and once in a while they bsthe either on the birt or in the bird bath.

  • Reply
    aw griff
    December 10, 2019 at 8:50 am

    For the bird lovers, you tube has Lesley the bird nerd. Really good!

  • Reply
    Jane Bolden
    December 10, 2019 at 8:46 am

    Love the beautiful magnet!

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    December 10, 2019 at 8:29 am

    (Addition to earlier reply) My wife absolutely loves snow and I hate to see it accumulate.

  • Reply
    December 10, 2019 at 8:28 am

    Birds at my feeder, abandon nests, lost feathers; all speaks of a simpler time. Thank you for sharing your memories.

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    December 10, 2019 at 8:26 am

    My wonderful wife and I don’t disagree on much but the love of snow is one thing we do. She absolutely it and I hate to see it accumulate, after working for four decades plus where I had to go on calls whether there was snow on the mountain roads it loses much of it’s luster. There’s just something about sliding sidewise and otherwise that removes the beauty from an accumulation on the roads.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    December 10, 2019 at 7:50 am

    The picture reminds me of the towhee – also called a “joree” bird – that hangs around in my fencerow. It is just a little patch of yucca, sumac, iris, goldenrod, privet, cedar and burning bush, a weedy-shrubby jumble. It is their kind of place but awful small. Like the titmouse, the joree has dark and light and a little dash of red. I like to hear its ringing “tow” and “hee” though I rarely see the bird. I don’t like to bother it, especially because it has such a small amount of hiding cover.

    Now if I only had a resident wood thrush.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    December 10, 2019 at 7:27 am

    This is certainly a nostalgic time of year. Thanks Allison for the lovely Titmouse, it is such a sweet painting.

  • Reply
    carol harrison
    December 10, 2019 at 7:06 am

    No snow here in central Florida but I remember the brilliant red of the Cardinal against new fallen snow in Pa. when I lived there. Just beautiful. My favorite bird. All birds are so graceful and fun to watch. I love to watch them at the feeders.

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    December 10, 2019 at 6:56 am

    My feeders have been exceedingly busy this month. I cannot imagine living in a house where I could not sit in a chair by the window and watch the birds. I now even have feeders on my porch under the eaves. When it rains or snows they are protected. They seem to be the most popular and need to be refilled every day. How blessed we are to have so many varieties. The lake has been busy this year with ducks of all breeds and lots of geese also. Hope we get some snow tonight.

  • Reply
    Don Byers
    December 10, 2019 at 6:13 am

    I remember seeing “snowbirds” when I was a kid and thinking, “Oboy, we are gonna get snow”……..and I still love a little snow on the ground and the birds coming to the feeder.

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