Winter Birds in Upper Rockville and Gaithersburg, Maryland
Winter is a wonderful time to enjoy the beauty and diversity of birds in Upper Rockville and Gaithersburg, Maryland. Many birds stay in the area year-round, while others migrate from colder regions to find food and shelter.
The Northern Cardinal is one of the most popular and recognizable birds in North America. Its striking red plumage, black mask, and crest make it easy to spot in any season. The Northern Cardinal is a resident bird in Maryland, meaning it stays in the area throughout the year. It can inhabit many different types of environments, including woods, forests, and urban areas. It feeds on seeds, fruits, and insects.
To attract Northern Cardinals to your backyard, you can provide them with shelter from the wind and snow, such as a dense evergreen shrub or tree. You can also offer them a variety of food sources, such as sunflower seeds, suet, berries, and insects. Keep your feeders clean and fresh, and provide fresh water for drinking and bathing. A birdbath or a small pond is perfect for this purpose; just be sure to keep the water from freezing over in winter weather.
The Tufted Titmouse is a small and cute bird that is very common at feeders and in backyards within its range. It has a gray body, a white belly, and a black patch above its beak. It also has a small crest on its head, similar to the cardinal. The Tufted Titmouse is also a resident bird in Maryland, and it can be found in deciduous and mixed forests, as well as parks and gardens. It feeds on seeds, nuts, berries, and insects.
To attract Tufted Titmice to your backyard, you can provide them with similar food and shelter as the cardinals. They especially love sunflower seeds, peanuts, and suet. You can also hang a roosting box or leave a birdhouse up for them to use as a shelter during the cold nights. They may share the roosting site with other birds, such as chickadees and nuthatches.
The White-throated Sparrow is a winter visitor in Maryland, meaning it migrates from its breeding grounds in Canada and northern U.S. to spend the winter in warmer areas. It is a medium-sized sparrow with a brown and gray striped back, a white throat, and a yellow patch between its eye and bill. It can be found in brushy and wooded areas, as well as fields and gardens. It feeds on seeds, fruits, and insects.
To attract White-throated Sparrows to your backyard, you can scatter some mixed seeds on the ground or on a platform feeder. They also like millet, cracked corn, and sunflower seeds. You can also plant some native shrubs and trees that produce berries, such as dogwood, holly, and juniper. These will provide food and cover for the sparrows and other birds.
The Rufous Hummingbird is a rare but possible winter visitor in Maryland. It is a small and colorful hummingbird with a bright orange-red back, a white chest, and a green throat. It breeds in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, and migrates to Mexico and Central America for the winter. However, some individuals may stray eastward and end up in the eastern U.S., where they can survive the cold weather by visiting feeders and flowers. They have been spotted in Maryland from September to April, around Baltimore and Washington.
To attract Rufous Hummingbirds to your backyard, you can hang a sugar water feeder for them to drink from. Use a ratio of one part sugar to four parts water, and change the solution every few days. You can also plant some hummingbird-friendly flowers, such as bee balm, cardinal flower, and salvia. If the temperature drops below freezing, you can use an electric deicer or a heated feeder to keep the sugar water from freezing.
- American Robin: A familiar and cheerful bird that can be seen in flocks in open areas, feeding on fruits and berries.
- Blue Jay: A noisy and colorful bird that can be seen in woodlands and suburbs, feeding on nuts, seeds, and insects.
- Dark-eyed Junco: A small and common sparrow that can be seen in flocks on the ground, feeding on seeds and insects.
- Downy Woodpecker: A small and black-and-white woodpecker that can be seen in trees and feeders, feeding on seeds, nuts, and insects.
- Eastern Bluebird: A beautiful and blue bird that can be seen in open fields and meadows, feeding on fruits and insects.
- House Finch: A small and red-headed finch that can be seen in flocks at feeders and gardens, feeding on seeds and fruits.
- Mourning Dove: A large and gray dove that can be seen in pairs or flocks on the ground or on wires, feeding on seeds and grains.
- Northern Mockingbird: A gray and white bird that can mimic the songs of other birds. It can be seen in shrubs and trees, feeding on fruits and insects.
- Red-bellied Woodpecker: A medium-sized and red-headed woodpecker that can be seen in woodlands and feeders, feeding on seeds, nuts, and insects.
To see winter birds you can try:
- Backyards: You can attract many birds to your backyard by providing them with food, water, and shelter. You can also enjoy watching them from the comfort of your home.
- Local Parks: You can visit some of the local parks in the area, such as Rock Creek Regional Park, Seneca Creek State Park, and Wheaton Regional Park. These parks offer a variety of habitats and trails for birdwatching.
- Wildlife Refuges: You can visit some of the nearby wildlife refuges, such as Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, Patuxent Research Refuge, and Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge. These refuges protect and conserve many species of birds and other wildlife.
- Birding Clubs: You can join some of the local birding clubs, such as the Montgomery Bird Club, the Audubon Naturalist Society, and the Maryland Ornithological Society. These clubs organize field trips, meetings, and events for bird enthusiasts.
Photo source: Elena Elisseva via Google Images
Bird feeder in winter with blue jays, chickadees and cardinals