Dec 04-06

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2006: December: Dec 04-06
Snowbird    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo by Tom Cook

Mary Drew at Pasty Central (Mdrew) on Monday, December 4, 2006 - 06:12 am:

No matter how many times I see a bird out in the cold and snow of the U.P., it still astounds me how they survive during this cold season. Oh, I know they are covered with down feathers and that keeps them warm, but it's still pretty amazing that such a little creature, like this dove that Tom Cook recently spotted, can stick around through the winter and somehow stay warm. Think about the chilled winds whipping through the trees and the fact that there are no leaves to protect them from being buffeted and blown. Pretty hardy, these feathery friends.

By Richard Johnson (Dick_fl) on Monday, December 4, 2006 - 06:20 am:

Good morning Mary. You mentioned their down and feathers but forgot to mention that they have little bare feet.

By Charlotte, Mishawaka, IN (Charlotte61) on Monday, December 4, 2006 - 06:20 am:

Looks cold. With wind chill it's below zero here in Northern IN. Hope everyone stays nice and warm.

By Ray Laakaniemi (Rlaakan) on Monday, December 4, 2006 - 06:49 am:

Good morning.Cold in Minnesota, but no snow. Yet.

By Deb S. (Usedtobeayooper) on Monday, December 4, 2006 - 06:51 am:

Way to go Charlotte.

Good morning! Brrrrr it's cold here!

By Margaret, Amarillo TX (Margaret) on Monday, December 4, 2006 - 07:23 am:

Our snowbirds here have grey hair and drive RVs; in New Mexico the bird ones are white.

By Gonna be a Yooper (Joanie) on Monday, December 4, 2006 - 07:28 am:

Did you ever wonder how birds stay warm in the winter? Well, birds have feathers and sometimes birds will look rounder and puffier. Some birds raise their feathers to make pockets of warm air to keep them warm, and some will molt and grow a new set of thick feathers for the cold weather.

At night when they rest, they stay very still and lower their temperature. Some birds, like the chickadee and nuthatch, might go in a birdhouse or huddle together to stay warm. Some might go in a tree hole or roosting box, or some birds will migrate to a warmer climate.

By JanieT (Bobbysgirl) on Monday, December 4, 2006 - 08:05 am:

And then there are those Sparrows that live in my horse barn 12 months a year, easy living! Protection from all types of weather, after the horses finish their grain there is always some left for these birds, there is hay and straw always available for nests, and water is always fresh and available.

By Robert H. Baker (Rhb) on Monday, December 4, 2006 - 08:15 am:

Good morning all! Its a hole 34* down here in north carolina. Going up to 50 later:) And to me it looks like that dove is doing just fine.

By Capt. Paul (Eclogite) on Monday, December 4, 2006 - 08:17 am:

Ahhh, to be a sparrow in JanieT's barn!! almost as good as living in the UP ;-)

By Gonna be a Yooper (Joanie) on Monday, December 4, 2006 - 08:34 am:

Capt. Paul, if you're a sparrow in JanieT's barn then you'll be rolling in the hay!

By Eddyfitz (Eddyfitz) on Monday, December 4, 2006 - 08:35 am:

Another method the birds have is to sit on a electric line for heat..their little feet provide a small resistance to the flow of electric current and that builds small amounts of heat.(don't try this at home)!!!!!!!

By JanieT (Bobbysgirl) on Monday, December 4, 2006 - 08:59 am:

I should mention there is one disadvantage for these sparrows residing in my barn...they forget over the winter how to avoid the ceiling fans when they turn on for the warm months.

By Ms. Katie (Mskatie) on Monday, December 4, 2006 - 09:40 am:

Seems to me I've read that birds, chickens, other fowl have a different kind of feeling in their feet and legs so the cold doesn't effect them as ours do.

By Brooke (Lovethekeweenaw) on Monday, December 4, 2006 - 09:44 am:

I saw about 200 of those little guys hiding from the wind on the leeward side of a barn roof yesterday, glad I was in my heated car.

By Gonna be a Yooper (Joanie) on Monday, December 4, 2006 - 12:26 pm:

Saw a big crow sitting on the telephone pole, he must have been trying to make a "CAW"!

By clinton drake (Clint) on Monday, December 4, 2006 - 04:47 pm:

This reminds me of the Anne Murray song, "Snowbird," which used to be one of my grandfather's favorites. Great pic.

By Russell E. Emmons (Russemmons) on Monday, December 4, 2006 - 08:35 pm:

Just as important as keeping warm and finding shelter in winter is a birds quest for food. Only a generation or two ago the Mourning Dove was not seen much in the UP particularly in winter. Thanks to the generosity of bird feeders, such species of birds such as the Mourning Dove, Cardinal, Tufted Titmouse, Red Bellied Woodpecker, and a few others have expanded and are regularly seen now in the UP!

The Dark-eyed Junco shown here is the species most often refered to as the "Snowbird" in song and story. It is a year around resident of the UP and a summer resident of the vast Canadian north. It migrants in great numbers all the way to the southern US in winter hence its well known popularity.
There is another bird species that some consider the true "Snowbird" called the Snow Bunting, (plectrophenax nivalis). Somewhat larger then the Junco, Mostly all white with black and tan markings (like a calico cat!). These spend summers in the far Artic north and migrant to southern Canada and northern US in winter months in loose nomadic flocks scouring over pastures, agricultural, and fallow fields. (I don't have a photo of one!)


By Sunrise Side MI (Ilovelucy2) on Monday, December 4, 2006 - 10:15 pm:


By maija in Commerce Township (Maija) on Tuesday, December 5, 2006 - 09:06 am:

Some may disagree, but I am so very happy that mourning dove hunting is still illegal in Michigan. The people have spoken!

By Scott (Yooperinco) on Tuesday, December 5, 2006 - 01:36 pm:

It's a shame that voters did not pass proposal 3.
I would have loved to be able to hunt these birds when I return (move back) to the U.P.

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