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Seasons of Nature in New England
- Early Winter -

   Common winter feeder birds in New England  

The black bear will usually go into hibernation during December, though it might be earlier -- depending upon the temperature, food supplies, and other factors.

The black bear is not considered a true hibernator, since there is not a marked drop in body temperature during hibernation.


The bats that stay in New England for the winter have gone into hibernation by now. The big brown bat, the Eastern pipistrelle, and the little brown myotis are among the hibernators. The hoary bats have migrated to the southern United States or Mexico.

•   After the first deep snow, the white-tailed deer will begin to congregate in the deer yards. Deer yarding areas are generally dominated by dense conifer trees which give the deer some protection from the snow and wind.  

The bald eagles have moved to areas near open water. Since eagles are predominantly fish-eaters, they need to be near water that will be free of ice in the winter.

Good spots for eagle watching are the Bald Head Preserve in Maine, the Quabbin Reservoir in Massachusetts, and the Shepaug Dam in Connecticut.


During the latter part of this period, hairy woodpeckers will begin drumming to establish their territory. These birds generally have long-term pair bonds and their home range and territory usually stays the same year after year. The larger home range may overlap with that of other hairy woodpeckers, but the territory is actively defended.


In the winter, the ruffed grouse often roost together in the dense lower branches of conifers. When the snow is deep, these birds sometimes find shelter by flying into the snow and remaining buried for the night.


Note:  The "early winter" period is the time from approximately December 1st thru mid-January. Timing of events will vary depending upon your latitude and elevation.

  Seasons of Nature in New England Archives  
Interesting facts about...
          the Pileated Woodpecker

The territory of this bird may extend to a mile or more, which is one reason we tend to see fewer pileated woodpeckers in a given area than other types of woodpeckers.

A pileated woodpecker pair will share territory throughout the year. However, the male and female birds roost separately at night.

This bird's nest cavity is usually in a dead tree about 50 feet off the ground. The nest cavity is more roundish than the oblong-shaped cavity excavated by these birds in search of insects.
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