GIVEAWAY: “Welcoming Winter’s Birds, Magic Happens”

In the Dec/Jan issue of MaryJanesFarm, “Magic Happens” (on newsstands Nov. 10), I led you here to my daily journal for a chance to win a 10-pack of organic, vegetarian suet to help welcome winter’s birds into your back yard.


If you’ve ever paused beside a window in wintertime, warm coffee cup in hand, and watched a sprightly flock of songbirds flitting among the branches of your back yard, you’ve been blessed. For a chance to win a 10-pack of assorted organic, vegetarian suet to welcome them (from the aptly named company, Birds Don’t Eat Cows), tell me about the winter birds in your area in the comments below by Dec. 1. I’ll toss your name into a hat and draw a lucky winner the second week of December. Stay tuned for more magazine-related giveaways!

If you’re not yet a subscriber to my magazine, MaryJanesFarm, subscribe here for $19.95/year.

  1. terry steinmetz says:

    I love to watch the birds all winter long. They lift my spirits each day! I have for the most part chickadees, nuthatches, purple finches, bluejays, pileated woodpeckers, downy woodpeckers,hairy woodpeckers, and winter wrens. Occasionally, we see rose-breasted grosbeaks, too. Oh I almost forgot about the flickers that visit my birdfeeder.

  2. Winnie Nielsen says:

    We keep suet out all year because our Downy and Red Headed woodpeckers come daily to feed on it. In the winter, we have various migrating birds who visit our backyard including Goldfinches, Purple Finches and Robins. Since we live in the city, we don’t have the full spectrum of the many other species that are known to be here as well. My favorite migrating birds are the Sand Hill Cranes. They will be coming very soon as it usually coincides with Thanksgiving. I love lying in bed at night and hearing them calling to each other as they arrive my the light of the night sky to a prairie loaded with food of all kinds for them. Their arrival always gives me a sense of being a part of our planet and seeing their V in the sky is one of the best gifts of a Florida Fall.

  3. Janice Slater says:

    I am blessed to have a beautiful backyard, although a bit fallish looking now. I have always fed the birds outside my patio door and arranged a garden to attract hummingbirds. During winter months I hang suet from the branches of my Apple tree. We have many varieties visit, sparrows, goldfinch, and more. The most interesting visitors we have watched this summer and fall are a family of woodpeckers. They tried for a couple of days to figure out a way to land on bird hangars meant for smaller birds. They are now very adept at clutching the sides, upside down, hanging on for dear life, successfully eating away! Birds are amazing creatures that I have enjoyed my entire life. Enjoy your day everyone.

  4. Dawn pilat says:

    My favorite winter bird story is the time I was hanging christmas lights and I noticed a few chickadees flitting around. I went in the garage and got some sunflower seeds in my hand. Soon the chickadees were coming and taking the seed from my hand! Truly magical!

  5. drMolly says:

    We enjoy feeding the birds all year long. In the warm seasons it is the hummingbirds, but in the cold seasons it is all of the lovely little birds that over winter here on our part of the Palouse. We have Gold Finches that stay all year plus Chickadees, SnowBirds, Sparrows of many varieties and other Finches, too. Plus when we are very lucky we have Quail come into town and visit the ground under our feeder to get what the little birds have let fall to the ground. Oh yes, and on occasion we have Flickers come to the suet feeder.
    We feed only black sunflower seeds & thistle seed. There is less waste this way as the birds don’t pick through & “throw out” the seed they don’t want to eat.

  6. Christie says:

    Last year I made some Suet with my mom, first time ever of making Suet for the birds. I hung mine in the backyard and quite often would see little Chickadees taking a nibble. Very often I don’t feed the birds due to the fact that we have black bears around often and they like to “steal” the food I put out for the birds. I did thoroughly enjoy watching the Chickadees that did get a chance to enjoy the Suet my mom and I made, my children also enjoyed watching them. 🙂 We have a number of birds here, but mostly I have seen Chickadees, Red Cardinals, Blue Birds, and always a Crow or Raven hanging around.

  7. Teri Schneider says:

    Oh my gosh! I’m so, so excited! I saw my first pileated woodpecker yesterday in our neck of the woods. We’ve had Downys, Harrys, and Red bellied, but this was a first 🙂 Love, love, love my birds 🙂

  8. Krista says:

    The main birds that we have visiting our house are bluebirds and quails. We feed our bluebirds whole peanuts and the quails enjoy bird seed. It amazing to watch the quails move around the backyard in packs. There is always a large family of them traveling around together. It’s also enjoyable watching the bluebirds grab the peanuts and open them. I have also watched the bluebirds hide the peanuts for later use. The bluebirds look so beautiful outside up against freshly fallen white snow. Occasionally we have smaller birds fly threw but not as frequent as our bluebirds and quails.

  9. Linda says:

    I love watching the birds that I see in my yard. In the summer there are a lot of hummingbirds, robins, lots of cardinals and finches, blue jays, and woodpeckers. I put up 2-3 hummingbird feeders and at times I have had 15-20 hummingbirds around my feeders at the same time – all vying for a chance at the feeders. I have a wire Christmas tree I put up in my yard in the winter and I like to decorate it for the birds with popcorn strings and suet cakes. It is so refreshing to see the tree and the feeders full of birds.

  10. Corine Runnion says:

    We love to have a variety of birds and would lije to make some suet nut seed balls to hang in the tree.

  11. I’ve been feeding birds “forever”. When I rented and upstairs apartment from my dad in Wisconsin until 2006, I would feed birds on the front “porch” upstairs, and my dad just barely tolerated it because of the mess and because I would be walking on the roof of his sunroom downstairs. Dad transitioned to his spirit side in 2006, and I thank him for allowing me to make the mess. When I moved to Greensboro NC, I really went crazy and purchased all kinds of feeders for my “backyard” as I face a small 1-acre “woods” between my patio and the busy street beyond. Wild Birds Unlimited has been a happy recipient of my addiction, and most of my feeds came from their excellent, healthy seeds/suet/nuts etc. When I retired in 2014 my income required that I tone down my enthusiasm for my critters (yes, not just birds, but also squirrels, chipmunks, oppossum, and the occassional turkeys or deer that lost their way crossing busy Friendly Avenue going from the 400+ acre woods of Guilford College to investigate the stands of “woods” interspersed between the residences and apartment buildings and pond on “our side” of the street. Winters here consist more of rain and sleet. But when there is sleet, I get hundreds of all types of birds at my feeders even though my normal is a few dozen all year round, and many dozens of migrators at various migration periods. Until winter requires me to feed more critters, I am down to just 4 feeders and suet and ground feeding. milka

  12. Melissa Bennett says:

    Love my birds in the winter. Get to see who sticks around!! it’s just as soothing as watching my fish tank. Love my birds!! Hope everyone enjoys their winter birds. Stay warm!

  13. Chrissy says:

    The variety of birds varies with intensity of the weather. My favorite is the one I’m watching at the moment. I cannot watch a nuthatch without smiling at his upside down antics in his tuxedo. When I hear a chickadee, the mantra in my head is always “chick-chickadee, chick-chickadee.” In the summer, when I hear a blue jay’s raucous calls, sounding like “CAT-CAT-CAT,” it’s the announcement there is one skulking around. The little mews of the finches are sweet to hear. The gentle clicks tell me a titmouse is present. At dawn, just after noon and at dusk, I hear my pair of cardinals. When the wren comes in the early summer, singing his love song, I hope his bride and he choose a home wisely, and not in a traffic area, because his bumble-bee warning can be rather annoying.
    I feed sunflower seed in a hanging feeder and on the ground. The squirrels will eat from the ground (until supply is depleted) and the cardinals and doves graze there as well. A wild bird mix is in a hanging tube because it’s okay to have sparrows. There is a sock with thistle seed for the finches. The flicker and downy woodpeckers search the bark for hidden treasure and are drawn by the suet feeders.

  14. Muffy Myers says:

    My favorite bird in the winter is the cardinals that decorate the trees behind our house. Especially when there is snow. The striking red males look amazing against a snowy white backdrop.

  15. Sharon Jeanne says:

    Waiting for the first winter’s snow and the tiny, little chikadees to start hopping about looking for breakfast. The cardinals and bluejays are engaged in a daily contest right now to see who can eat the most before the early sun settles.

  16. Amy Kehoe says:

    I am always excited to see a cardinal’s beautiful burgundy feathers in the winter against a snowy backdrop. I especially love the females. They just seem to have a precious secret to keep.

  17. patricia whitworth says:

    To see such beauty on drab winter days is the joy that feeding the birds bring.

  18. Bonnie ellis says:

    Those stellar Jay’s are so beautiful in the snow. We have blue jays here. They are eye-catching too.

  19. Bobbie calgaro says:

    Gosh, I just love the birds from the little tufted titmice to the Hawks and even those ugly headed turkey vultures. The bluebirds stay with us all year. If the robins leave they are not gone long, my feeder has red birds, blue jays, juncos, chickadees, red breasted woodpeckers. A lot of times I’ll see flickers and occasionally goldfinches. North Catolina is rich with winter birds

  20. Jaylyn M. says:

    So, I have no idea what the bird scene will be like around Houston this winter. This is our first year here! The neighbors have said that the migrated birds are so loud that you can barely hear anything else if you’re outdoors. We shall wait and see!

  21. Jacqui says:

    I have enjoyed watching birds all my life but even more so the past two years. My grandson, Ethan, loves to sit outside on my back porch and listen to the birds in the yard. He calls the Cardinals “Red” when he hears them. He points in the direction of their calls from one side of the yard to the other. He is also fascinated with a Red tail Hawk that frequents a neighbors yard & flies around mine.

  22. Deon Matzen says:

    I have a friend who is a triplegic (lost the use of three limbs) Three years ago she was moved to a sheltered care facility. For the first year she had a outside room where the employees would scatter apples outside the residents windows and the deer would come up to feed. The last two years she has had a room on a courtyard with no access for the deer. Last Christmas I bought her a suet bird feeder so the birds would come to her window. She always had feeders when she lived on her own and missed the outside animals a lot. Now they come right up to her window and she can watch and paint them in watercolor while they are just a few feet away. If I am the recipient of the suet cakes, they will go to my friends so she can continue to enjoy the birds just outside her window.

  23. Kathleen Leader says:

    I have a large back yard that I love to fill with beautiful home made feeders bird baths and suet feeders. The squirrels like to join in too. Every now and again the deer help themselves to soon treats as well. Orange slices popcorn apple slices add color and fun to feeding our outdoor friends all year.

  24. Cathy R says:

    I enjoy all the birds that visit our Idaho hill! And the other wild creatures that want a treat too! Thanks for the fun giveaways!

  25. Vicki Lee says:

    Where we live in rural South Dakota I don’t see many winter birds. We have a lot of sparrows. The birds we enjoy are the wild Pheasants (SD state bird) and hopefully, Pin Tail Grouse. But, if I am chosen to receive the suet I will keep track of what birds come to our ranch to eat.

  26. Idamarie Settlemyer says:

    I love watching all the birds! and tempting them close to the deck with suet cakes and peanut butter cones dipped in wild bird seed. The precious little finches get black thistle seed and the beautiful quail get the cracked corn. Make sure they all have a water source as well!

  27. Amy Wray says:

    I enjoy the cardinals, blue jays, red-headed woodpeckers, downy woodpeckers and chickadees that visit our feeders each winter. I especially enjoy watching them with my grandbabies! We keep a bird guide nearby to identify our birds.

  28. Mary Pitman says:

    We love to watch the birds at the feeders in the winter. We have cardinals and juncos and bluebirds sometimes and last year I saw a bird that we’d not ever seen. I looked it up in my bird book, and it said they are native to Arizona. But I live in Oklahoma! such a pretty red bird it was!

  29. Cheryl Ayers says:

    Moved to the alleghany mountains almost six years ago. Always dreamed of country life and this area is absolutely beautiful. One of my favorite things is my bird feeder. Have suet year round and also hummingbird feeder in the summer. There are downy woodpeckers, hairy woodpeckers, pileated, red bellied woodpecker, nuthatches, blue jays, juncos, chickadees, and some passerbys. And of course chipmunks, bears, deers, flying squirrel, red and grey squirrels, foxes, porcupines, raccoons, all like to sneak in for a few bites of the suet. Their antics, the whose next on feeder, and insistence I fill it when empty keep me amused no matter how bad the day. This year my pairs of woodpeckers all brought their babies to eat and they have stayed.

  30. I live in a mostly wooded farmette and have a lot of standing dead trees. These are ” magnets” for all the woodpeckers ! I have 2 pileated woodpecker couples whom I see (and hear – oh boy are they loud! ) all the time. They are truly impressive birds . But lets not forget all the smaller woodpeckers like downies, ladderbacks, red headed, red breasted.etc. too. And scads of flickers as well. Of course with my woods and the 100 acres of undeveloped woodland behind my farmette I have every other kind of bird that you could ask for in the eastern seaboard. Yes, even water birds like egrets, great blue herons, snow geese , and such as we have a wildlife sanctuary with a huge lake and much water very nearby. And the most impressive of all are all the owls ! I don’t often see them but hear them at night.This area is renowned for its owls. I could sure use some help feeding everyone!

  31. Alise says:

    Chickadees and cardinals! I’ve watched them since I was young- I will never get tired of them.

  32. Wehaf says:

    We have lots of songbirds and often see cardinals as well.

  33. Ann says:

    Winter finds chickadees, and titmouse plentiful at the feeder. Woodpeckers brighten it up. I enjoy watching them all. Of course we also share with the squirrels who can eat so much so quickly!

  34. Deborah McKissic says:

    I have an old flowering cherry tree outside my living room window…I call it my “four seasons” tree as it is lovely no matter the season….an old, old tree,…but, the birds love it and the feeders we hang there…I love the tiny chickadees…like they are all dressed up for dinner in their tiny black and white suits! The cardinals red color against the pine trees with snow on them is so eye catching…the woodpeckers are the crazy ones…except the downy woodpeckers….and the rose breasted grosbeaks, they are just so pretty with that flash of red on their chest….there is also a Carolina wren living in the cherry a hole…..and she sure is loud….but she loves peanuts and the suet feeders…and, we have a lot of goldfinches and I leave my Echinacea standing as they pull out the seeds all winter…

  35. Toni Kay Bennett says:

    I just recently was able to start feeding my birds again, and I especially love my downy woodpeckers and the cardinals. The splashes of red, white, black and darker red of the female cardinals always brighten a dreary winter day!

  36. We mostly have cardinals, nuthatches, tufted titmouses(mice), and chicadees. There are also a variety of woodpeckers.

  37. Sydney2015 says:

    We have cardinals(beautiful), bluejays, finches, woodpeckers, wrens, and a few others. These ones are the main birds that we have around here. My grandmother has a pine tree and under that pine tree she has suet, a bird bath, and many bird feeders. She loves to sit and watch them(so does Sadie, her dog).

  38. Vickie Chandler says:

    I absolutely adore birds all varieties. Right now we still have about 20 finches and sparrows that are wintering over. I look out my kitchen window many times a day and watch them feed and fight, they are so cute. I put out alot of suet over wintertime and really enjoy the red headed woodpeckers who come to visit. My all time favorite bird is the darling little chickadees

  39. Elaina j monk says:

    We are grateful to have a small cottage by a county park were we can watch eagles and osbrey dive for fish in the warmer months we have bluebird boxes and bird feeders a crow who likes left over noodles and this year a racing pigeon took a rest and refuel on our metal roof for two days.😊

  40. Emily Mathews says:

    In Chicago, our winter birds are hardy. We have a cardinal who trumpets his morning call as I walk down the alley with our dog. The sparrows drain our feeder as soon as we can fill it up. Pigeons flock at the park and on electrical wires. Occasionally we’ll see something more exotic like a crow or jay, but our sparrows, cardinals and pigeons entertain to no end.

  41. Judy Dick says:

    In Birmingham, Alabama our birds are happy and full. On our feeder we have Chickadees,
    Nuthatches, Doves, Sparrows, Cardinals, Blue Birds (who raised 3 families this summer), wrens, titmice, finches, crows, Cooper’s Hawk and or Chicken Hawks, Great Horn Owls, brown thrushes, and occasionally Blue Jays. They share with the many squirrels and chipmunks and have plenty of trees with plenty of holes to live in and store their food. Many sleep under our decks and on our decks and feel free to fly through even when we are standing or sitting on the decks. We get to see and hear their calls and songs of joy and sometimes fear when Mr. hawk decides to come calling. Most entertaining and definitely a learning experience daily.

  42. Karen Ringen says:

    I’m a tour guide at the local cemetery and I spend every season there birdwatching. My favorites are the Tufted Titmouse and the Dark-eyed Junco.

  43. deb church says:

    we have lots of titmouse, chickadees, cardinals. at certain times there are finches, the purple finches are so pretty. doves are here sometimes. grosbeaks will be here closer to spring. and occasionally we have to get the bird book out to try to identify some.

  44. Joan H says:

    I left my birthplace, Phoenix, two years ago, with the love of my life. We live near his birthplace now, rural NE Arkansas. What a difference. I had never seen geese fly over, or cardinals either. I’m loving it!

  45. Linda Kowal says:

    When we purchased our dream home I became an avid bird-watcher. 19 years and 2 bird-watching granddaughters later the thrill is still there. It’s mesmerizing to watch the cardinals, finches, chickadees and junco’s flit and fly and land to feed. My oldest granddaughter Leah gets as excited as I do when we see a “new” bird. We also love spring’s arrival which is announced by the arrival of hummingbirds and orioles. I will never forget 3 weeks ago when a mourning dove sized bird landed on top of my bluebird house. There was something different about his coloring and then I saw his beak and claws-I had a HAWK! I raced for my bird book and sure enough it was a broad-winged hawk. He took off with such power my bird house swung back and forth like a swing. We are definitely a bird loving household and an eco- friendly one:filtered water,recycling,composting and use organic.

  46. MaJo Roof says:

    My husband and I love to feed and watch the birds in our backyard in Ohio. We feed them black oiled sunflower seed, thistle and suet. In the summertime, hummingbirds are the favorite. It’s always sad to see them leave come late October. We have cardinals, chickadees and finches all year, but as winter gets close, we start seeing the nuthatch, titmouse and juncos. Downy woodpeckers come around more in the winter and we love feeding them suet. It’s always so exciting when we see a new bird at the feeders!!

  47. Carolyn Shaffer says:

    I live near the Wisconsin River, so there are a lot of birds that visit the area. Just this week, I saw around 500 sandhill cranes on their trip south after having spent the summer here. It is truly amazing! However, in winter, I am so lucky to be able to see eagles that stay year around to fish on the river. They are so beautiful and majestic, though cardinals are the most colorful winter visitors.

  48. Liisa says:

    I really enjoy watching my backyard birds during the winter months, and am working on adding a wider variety of feeders and food in attempt to attract a wider variety of birds. Most commonly, we see nuthatches, chickadees, blue jays, juncos, cardinals, and hairy and downy woodpeckers. I am participating in Project FeederWatch for the first time this year. Thank you for the opportunity to win some organic suet for my feathered friends. 🙂

  49. Katherine says:

    Living in the frozen northeast we always fed the birds during the cold winter months. The Chickadees would be so brave and eat right from our hands. Even the Chipmunks would become so accustomed to us they would perch on a knee or boot and take seeds from our hands. Now that I live in S.C. the winters aren’t as cold and I wonder who I feed the birds for, me or them. But the excitement is always there.

  50. Leisa Joan says:

    I live in SW New Hampshire, so we have a lot of blue jays, chickadees, house wrens, and cardinals. i like to put out lots of different kinds of bird seed to attract them into my yard, plus a heated water bath.

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