A Tough Winter for Birds

Northern Flicker

Winter is never easy for city wildlife, but for the smaller birds that overwinter in Brooklyn, this winter has been truly harsh. The weather has gone from chilly to frigid to downright mean-spirited at times. Snow isn’t necessarily a deal breaker for birds in search of food. Fluffy, wind-blown snows leave bare patches of

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Anyone Inside?

Hornet's Nest

With the trees bare, it’s easy to spot nests like these around the Garden. There’s one good specimen on a small flowering cherry tree, just downhill from Lily Pool Terrace near the big pagoda trees. This nest was built by bald-faced hornets using a substance similar to paper pulp, made by scraping and chewing wood. Look

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A Winter Woodpecker Superfecta

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

About 200 bird species are found each year in the Garden, but the great majority are "just passing through." Yet even on the coldest winter day there are hearty species that survive and even thrive here. On a walk that I led here last weekend we spotted 22 species in a single hour. And we used the opportunity of a

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How Do Buds Survive Winter?

Magnolia Bud

Next year’s leaves and spring-blooming flowers have already formed and are hidden inside the buds of deciduous trees around the garden. So how do these tender plant parts survive sub-freezing temperatures? Many are protected by tough, weatherproof bud scales, which fall off in spring when temperatures rise and the buds

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Where Did the Turtles Go?

Japanse Hill-and-Pond Garden

Visitors walking past the icy pond in the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden might notice that the painted turtles and red-eared sliders are not basking on the rocks as they do in summer. Where do they hunker down for winter? Turtles actually hibernate deep in the mud at the very bottom of the pond, insulated by layers of ice,

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Wonderful Winter Photo Ops

Rock Garden

One good thing about this winter's heavy snowfalls: They have created wonderful subjects for the camera. Storms in December and January left behind still, surreal landscapes and fascinating views of plants under ice and snow. One tip for capturing a good snow scene is to shoot right after the snow stops but before the sky

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