10 Things to Do This Winter

Many animals are still out and about in winter. You should be, too! Just be sure to bundle up.

By Hannah Schardt; Art by Brian White

  1. Not all birds go away for the winter. Put out a birdfeeder. Then count how many different kinds of birds visit your backyard.
  2. Decorate the trees in your yard with icy “ornaments.” Fill small baking molds or muffin pans with water and evergreen leaves, seed pods, and other natural items. Put one end of a loop of string into each mold, then freeze. Run water over the molds to release the ice ornaments, then hang them outside.
  3. Start a garden indoors. Many bulbs and seeds will grow well on a sunny windowsill.
  4. Late winter is a great time to hear owls calling for mates. So go on an “owl prowl. Take a nighttime walk and keep an ear out for hoo-hoo-ever is lurking in the nearby trees.
  5. Use a needle and thread to make a string of unsalted popcorn and cranberries. Hang it up in your yard. It will look festive—and make local birds and squirrels very happy indeed!
  6. Are you tired of building snowmen? Try building a snow bunny, snow owl, or other snow animal. For a how-to, visit rangerrick.org/snowsculptures.
  7. Build a brush pile in your yard. This provides a place for wildlife to hide out from winter storms.
  8. Go nest-spotting. Bare trees are great places to find squirrels’ leafy nests, robins’ cup-shaped nests, and hornets’ papery, football-shaped nests.
  9. Make a winter wreath. Take a walk in a field or forest. Collect dried seedheads, grasses, flowers, and berries, then tuck them into a premade grapevine wreath. Tie on a few pieces of dried apple or other fruit. Hang the wreath outside on your house or a tree. Then  watch as birds start feasting.
  10. Right after a snowfall, take a walk to look for animal tracks. Try to figure out who—or what—walked there before you did!
Click image for a larger view.