Friday, February 12, 2016

Birds of Winter

Eastern Towhee - REK
I have been sitting by the fireplace at night with my annual re-reading of Bernd Heinrich's Winter World.  In it he follows the course of the tiny Golden-crowned Kinglet in Maine, using its winter survival as an example to think about the survival of birds, reptiles and mammals in the frozen Northeastern US.  The kinglet is a winter migrant to Missouri although I haven't knowingly seen one. 

While Missouri doesn't have the prolonged extremes of Maine, the lessons up there can be applied to our species.  Short of buying the book (which I would highly recommend) you can take a crash course in winter bird survival at this Audubon site.

This is also a reminder that this is the weekend of the Great Backyard Bird Count, which ends February 12-15th.  Just click on this link for simple steps to report what you see in your yard or hike.  You don't have to be a "birder."  As evidence,  we have done this for several years by watching our feeders on the deck for a few minutes.  It is fun and the data will go into a huge database which helps determine the overall health of bird populations across the US.

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