And just like that, they’ve arrived: strutting in the treetops, filling the air with song, dazzling us with their beauty; behold, the warblers are here, in all their glory!
Blackburnian warbler at Britannia Park on Mother’s Day, 2014
A Sunday drive in the surrounding agricultural areas yielded three (3!) Snowy Owls within a kilometer stretch of one road. That’s just nuts.
This is most likely a female, due to size and colouration (females are bigger, males are whiter). Her glare is a little unnerving, don’t you think? But she was so calm and not at all bothered by us.
I don’t know if you’ve heard about the irruption going on right now, but there is a smorgasborg of Snowy Owls all over North America, a result of a very successful breeding season up North (thanks to a high lemming population). They’ve even made it as far South as Florida! So if you’re keen to spot an owl or two, head out of the city where there are wide open fields, and check on the tops of fenceposts and power poles. Happy searching!
If you’re wanting to know more about why the owls are here, I’ve added links to a few articles explaining the occurrence:
I recently posted a photo of a white-breasted nuthatch, and described their foraging habits: they work their way down a tree trunk, searching for food in the bark, and when they get to the bottom, they fly to the top of the next tree and continue the hunt. This bird, the brown creeper, does the exact opposite: they start at the bottom of a tree, work their way up, and when they get to the top, they fly to the bottom of the next tree and continue their search. Niche separation is so cool! The more you get to know about birds and bird behaviour, the more fascinating they are.
Winter backed off a bit today, with a slight rise in the temperature to just below zero, and a light dusting of snow bringing traction to the icy trails. A walk in the woods at Jack Pine Trail proved exactly the reprieve we needed from the doldrums of January. And nature had much to offer us – we found a goshawk being mobbed by a dozen blue jays, a cozy bed of a white-tailed deer, and many hungry chickadees to eat out of our hands. It was the perfect winter day out there – and now we’re home, with rosy cheeks, slippers on, and hot chocolate in hand. I couldn’t have asked for a better Saturday morning.