Rainbows in the Winter Garden

Rainbows in the Winter Garden

My Pennsylvania garden is covered in a light blanket of white snow, but a rainbow of color flutters, swoops, darts, and dives within its boundaries.

Red is for the male cardinals, brilliant and bold. With their black masks in place, they enjoy the ground buffet underneath the feeding stations. Above them, the red-bellied woodpecker sports his jaunty crimson cap, selecting peanuts with careful decision.

Male Cardinal

Orange is for the unexpected Baltimore oriole I saw yesterday, stealing a peanut before moving on to his Mexican wintering grounds. It is also for the beak of the lady cardinal: the touch of color that complements the soft brown of her wings.

Yellow is for the golden flash on the underside of the flicker’s wings, where the slanting sun illuminates his feathers as he comes in for a landing on the suet feeder.

Flicker Woodpecker

Green is for the goldfinches’ winter coloring, the olive hue that hides the promise of their sun-bright summer finery.

Blue is for the bluebirds who chirrup and chuckle while munching hulled sunflower seeds, and for the boisterous jays who proclaim their presence with raucous cacophony.


Purple … well, I admit, I haven’t seen purple feathers yet. But I’m watching. With this living rainbow shifting and shimmering in my garden from dawn to dusk, I’m sure to see some soon.

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