Ice Storm in Wildlife Garden

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While a lot of snow can certainly have negative impacts on your wildlife garden, an ice storm can really wreak havoc–for the garden, for the gardener, and for the birds and other wildlife.

As the Polar Vortex continues, frigid temperatures and snowstorms have become the norm, from Texas to Georgia and up the east coast. Even small amounts of snow has created dangerous conditions in Atlanta and Houston.

But a wise person once said “Respect the snow, but FEAR the ice!”

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Our team member Ursula Vernon talked about caring for her birds in her North Carolina wildlife garden during an ice storm.

And our team member Janet Harrison talked about the severe ice storm experienced by the residents of Toronto.

And today it’s my turn for an ice storm here in Philadelphia. We got over 9 inches of wet, heavy snow on Monday, which the City of Philadelphia couldn’t be bothered to plow off our streets. So overnight as the freezing rain began to fall, my street is now about 6″ thick with solid ice.

But instead of dwelling on the faults of my city, I’ll instead focus on the beauty of this day (and hope that none of the falling branches I’m hearing wipe out my power) during this ice storm.

My bird houses provide winter shelter

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For birds to get out of the cold and freezing rain

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Cutleaf Coneflower (Rudbeckia laciniata) seed heads encased in ice

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My new Redbud has (so far) not lost any branches during the ice storm

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The Holly looks beautiful in its coat of ice

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And the Coral Honeysuckle that I planted on my deck to screen the neighbor’s yard from view is providing a haven for all of the Dark-eyed Juncos in the yard today during the ice storm.

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This morning  during the freezing rain of this ice storm we filled the bird feeders and spread some stale Pepitas on the table and railings of the deck. Amazingly, the Juncos are forgoing the feeders and gobbling up the Pepitas as the ice storm continues.

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What’s happening in your winter wildlife garden? Did you get blessed with an ice storm too?

Further Reading:

Carole Sevilla Brown lives in Philadelphia, PA, and she travels the country speaking about Ecosystem Gardening for Wildlife. Check out her new free online course Ecosystem Gardening Essentials, 15 free lessons delivered to your inbox every week.

© 2014, Carole Sevilla Brown. All rights reserved. This article is the property of We have received many requests to reprint our work. Our policy is that you are free to use a short excerpt which must give proper credit to the author, and must include a link back to the original post on our site. Please use the contact form above if you have any questions.

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  1. Carole says

    Charming bird shelters and beautiful pics. We had three snow days for ice here in north Florida, and really needed them. We dropped 30 degrees one afternoon and the rain just froze. Native blueberries were blooming and I think they are okay.

    • jenx elliott says

      for Christmas I fill all my hanging baskets with evergreen and berry branches. I was late getting them down this year, and now I can’t.. “Bushes” under the eaves must be really good shelter, the baskets are FULL of little birds. I’ll be late removing them next year for sure. But I am having trouble with starlings/grackles. Flocks/clouds of them chasing off my song birds. The sheer weight of them has broken down two of my bird feeders. I am spreading bird seed under a couple spruce trees, but that leaves them venerable to the neighbor’s many cats. Any suggestions?

  2. says

    Oh, I feel for you. There is nothing worse than the sound of those crackling, krinkling branches. The slightest breeze makes one cringe. And one can’t feel sorry enough for the wildlife! I always think of the deer who have to walk through that crusty snow. At least there is refuge in your wonderful garden. Hope your Redbud pulls through unscathed! It is so amazing what nature can endure.

  3. Jenny says

    I love the baseball hat birdhouse! I am a high school teacher and I’m looking for a happy memorial to put at our baseball field for a student that passed away. Where did you find it?


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