Birds hang out where ever they find a combination of shelter, food, and water. This of course is a good description of our gardens from an avian perspective: shelter (including big conifers), food, and water. While TPP keeps track of plants and flowering events, Mrs. Phactor keeps the data on birds here in the upper midwest. Here's the list of our avian visitors for this December: red-bellied woodpecker, downy woodpecker, cardinal, house finch, gold finch, junco, Carolina wren, nuthatch, red-breasted nuthatch, common flicker, mourning dove, white-throated sparrow, robin, blue jay, chickadee, brown creeper, rufous-sided towhee, and starling. Regularly, Cooper's hawks pass over, but none were observed perching in our trees this month. They used to hang out more, but a small roof over the platform feeder made it more difficult for them to pick off cardinals by dive bombing from the top of a nearby shingle oak. There are times when 30 or more birds are visible from our observation post, the kitchen table, and this is why we go through a hundred or more pounds of sunflower "seed". In November a pair of tufted titmice, uncommon visitors, were hanging around, but they were no-shows in December. The towhee, a pair, are a first record for our yard, and according to a local authority, none were seen on the December bird count for this area.