Of course, food is the fuel that stokes avian fires and gives them the energy to combat frigid winter weather. American robins, European starlings and cedar waxwings form nomadic flocks, moving between fruit trees. Seed-eaters often become more plentiful at backyard feeders during cold snaps. Blue jays, nuthatches and red-headed woodpeckers tap into caches of seeds they hid in the fall. Open pockets of water can be packed with gulls and ducks seeking fish and aquatic plants.
Perhaps the most amazing of our wintering songbirds is the golden-crowned kinglet. One of these Lilliputs is just 4 inches long and weighs the same as a quarter. An Ohio winter is their tropical vacation. Most kinglets breed in the broad swath of coniferous forest spanning Canada and the northern United States.