Here To Stay Is The New Bird


Male northern cardinal (photo by Steve Gosser, 2010)

This week is much too warm for snow in Pittsburgh but we can dream as we listen to seasonal music. A favorite is Winter Wonderland, written in Pennsylvania in 1934, that includes these famous lines:

Gone away is the bluebird 
here to stay is a new bird. 
He sings a love song
as we go along
walking in a winter wonderland.” 
Winter Wonderland

Back then eastern bluebirds left northern Pennsylvania in the winter but a new bird had arrived and its population was growing. The song’s writer, Richard Bernhard Smith, may have been referring to northern cardinals.

Originally from the South, cardinals arrived in Pennsylvania in the early 1900s in response to habitat change and warmer winters. As soon as they could survive year-round this new bird was here to stay.

By now our climate is so much warmer that Carolina wrens, Carolina chickadees and red-bellied woodpeckers are additional new birds in Pennsylvania. Nowadays bluebirds linger until it’s quite cold in Honesdale, PA, the town that inspired the song.

New birds find it easy to stay in our not-so-wintry wonderland.

(photo by Steve Gosser)