Friday, April 4, 2014

Migrating Birds Confront April Snow Storm

 Yesterday's serious snowstorm had some of the newly arrived migrating birds, and some regulars, inventing new ways to find food fast.

This Common Grackle has just arrived, and in the middle of the storm last night and this morning he discovered the seed tray other birds were using.  He is a fast learner, and stepped right up.
 Grackles will be staying here to nest, and need energy to set up territories, as well as to recover from the body fuel drain caused by migrating.

Snow is not their normal habitat.
 This Mourning Dove has been here for several weeks, and has already started to nest.  It has been calling with a mate for two weeks now.

But the snow kept it close to the feeders.

In the picture below it is easy to see that Doves are not made for really cold climates, as parts of this one's toes have frozen during the cold and left only stubs with no toe claws.

 This Starling learned to get some calories from the suet feeder.  He is in his spring colors, with the bright yellow bill and speckles all over.

His legs were not made for holding onto a wire cage, so he would often drop into the snow below to retrieve fallen bits of suet.  But how to find them in the snow?
 Here he can be seen grabbing mouthfuls of snow in the search for bits of suet.

Sometimes he found some, but the expression on his face below sems to suggest that he would like an easier way the find food.

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