Wildlife and Weather – December 21st

Wildlife and Weather is a resource interpreting the impact of weather conditions on wildlife.

Christmas Bird Count

National Wildlife Federation supports citizen science, and one of the oldest such efforts is the Christmas Bird Count sponsored by our friends at Audubon. Here’s how it works: regular folks record bird sightings and scientists then use the data to study bird populations. It’s a great way to get outside during the holiday season with the entire family and do something good for wildlife. Participate in the Christmas Bird Count >>


Recent snows make it harder for a lot wildlife species to survive, but not the lynx. These  beautiful, wild cats can still be found in small populations in the Northeast and are often confused with the similar bobcat. Lynx are more adapted to snowy environments and you can distinguish them from bobcats by their tufted ears, silvery coat and huge, snowshoe-like feet that allow them to move about with ease in deep snow.


Dark-eyed juncos have arrived in their wintering grounds across the Midwest. These smoky-colored sparrows breed in Canada and head south for the winter, giving them their common nickname “snowbird.” Keep a feeder filled this winter and you’ll be guaranteed to see these cute little birds in your yard.


From Oregon to Colorado and down into Mexico, mountain bluebirds have returned for the winter. Be on the lookout for these beautiful birds feeding on berries and foraging for insects. To tell them apart from Western bluebirds check out their breast feathers. Mountain bluebirds have bluish-gray breasts while Western bluebirds’ are reddish-brown.


Witchhazel, a native shrub, is in bloom across its range. Its spider-like yellow blooms are a great way to brighten the winter landscape in a season when other flowers have long since faded and the trees have lost their fall foliage. It’s also a preferred nesting shrub for birds come spring.

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