Until today, we have had a freeze-thaw kind of winter. There have been many cold, cold nights, but fortunately, mild weather has moved in behind the cold fronts to offer some respite to our little birds.
Even before the snow flies, most of our visiting, breeding birds have found their way out of here. Invariably, some "come-from-aways" find themselves staying too long or being dropped into a giant freezer at the whims of the wind.
In early December, this Great Egret awoke at Virginia Lake standing on ice. It looked forlorn as it opened its eyes and looked around. It must have been thinking, "What the heck?" Whether it was able to leave or whether it met its demise here is unknown. It did, however, disappear shortly after this morning.
This Hermit Thrush must have cold feet as it hops around Rennies River. It looked frightened and lost. Hopefully, the Song Sparrows, Dark-eyed Juncos and Black-capped Chickadees will help to keep its spirits up.
Another survivor, with the help of many birders who are providing a stockpile of feed, is this Pine Warbler residing at Bowring Park. So far, it has managed to eat well enough to stave off the cold.
But...the cold is not the only threat to the Pine Warbler. Always lurking in a nearby tree is a Sharp-shinned Hawk looking to have a good meal as well.
It's not easy facing the hardships that non-residents encounter when they winter here.