Friday, February 6, 2015

Winter Birds

Snow Bunting
Birding has been especially difficult this winter with the heavy snows and deep cold.  It has been difficult to get around and at many times not safe to be stopping along the roads.  It does, however, make the feeders more active.  Birds need food to survive this extreme weather.  They need more energy to keep their bodies warm.  And, often the natural food sources are covered with snow and ice.  

Above and below we see a Snow Bunting.  There are small to large flocks flying around our province feeding on weed seeds from plants poking above the snow or on seeds blown by the wind.  I have seen flocks ranging in size from 5 to 150 this winter.  They move around a lot and when the flock flies it looks like snowflakes.  Sometimes when it is very cold the snow buntings will burrow in under the snow to keep warm; a good idea!

Snow Bunting

Sometimes we are lucky enough to see Horned Larks flying in flocks during the winter.  They like open areas and are sometimes found around active farms.  They are about the size of the snow buntings but have yellow on them and sport feather tufts on their head if seen closely.

Horned Lark
Our feeders are very active with Black-capped Chickadees, American Goldfinches, White-breasted Nuthatches, Mourning Doves, Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers, Crows and Ravens.   We have a special feeder for the crows and ravens and they wait everyday for their meal.  

Common Redpoll
This winter we have an eruption of Common Redpolls.  They have been coming to our place to feed with the other finches.  We also had a rare holdover from summer, a Robin who has been hanging around feeding on whatever natural fruit it can find in our trees.  I hope it makes it through this cold spell.  We are putting out fruit for it but it does not seem to be able to find it.

American Robin

American Robin

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