There have been some crisp, cold nights and days that iced over the tops of some ponds. During the holidays when school was out many children got out on the ice for a quick game of hockey. It is a bit early for that! The last 48 hours have brought on a big thaw with temps predicted to reach 8c today. I'm sure that won't last very long.
When the ponds freeze over and the snow falls, it becomes more difficult for the birds to reach their regular food supply. It is that time of the year that I most notice so many people, not just birders, come to the rescue.
Many ponds in the St. John's area are surrounded by walking trails and many of the walkers bring bags of seeds to the birds. At Quidi Vidi Lake I have seen people dump whole bags of seeds along the shoreline. Recently, at Kent's Pond I saw a lady carrying a large bag and an ice cream container that she used to scoop out large servings of seeds to scatter on the ice and in the water.
The birds go wild! Pigeons, ducks and even seagulls often storm the beaches and fight for their share.
These American Wigeons were more polite than the mallards and black ducks. They waited for the dust to settle before they moved in to pick at the leftovers.
I have noticed that large stocks of bird seed and suet are flying off the shelves in the store so I'm sure than many hungry birds around the area are eating well on the cold, cold days of winter. When walking in the woods it is fairly common to come upon an isolated bird feeder or suet cage hanging on a tree so placed for the small birds. Benches around Long Pond are a favorite depository for seeds and the little woodland birds move in to clean it up.
I was reflecting and trying to remember if I had seen this kind of behaviour before and then I remembered the koi in Arkansas. It is the same thing....toss out a bit of feed and they are all over each other in an effort to get at the tasty morsels.