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Winter

Basalt as Shelter

As the winter sun sinks over the Coulee Lakes, hundreds of Gray-crowned Rosy-Finches suddenly appear, an undulating cloud that swarms into the upper levels of the basalt cliffs. The finches nest high in the mountains in summer, and roam the countryside in large flocks in winter. Gray-crowned Rosy... read more »

Great Horned Owls Nest

High in a leafless cottonwood, a female Great Horned Owl incubates two eggs. As light snow falls on her back, her mate roosts nearby. Since December, this pair has been hooting back and forth regularly at night. Great Horned Owls nest in winter, because the owlets, which hatch after a month of... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ecology, nesting

Where Are They Now?

Where have the birds of summer gone? The Swainson's Thrush is wintering in Central or South America, maybe as far south as Bolivia. Warbling Vireos are now spread through much of Central America, while Black-headed Grosbeaks have migrated to Mexico. This Orange-crowned Warbler also makes Mexico... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration, vocalization

Common Redpoll

The tiny Common Redpoll, one of the smallest members of the finch family, weighs only as much as four pennies, yet it survives the cold and darkness of winter in the far North. Most birds depart in autumn to warmer climes. But redpolls feed on birch and alder seeds that are available throughout... read more »

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Chickadees on a Cold Night - Interview with Susan Sharbaugh

The Black-capped Chickadees of Fairbanks, Alaska, endure nights as cold as 40 degrees below zero. Dr. Susan Sharbaugh, a scientist at the Institute of Arctic Biology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, has studied them. She says that each chickadee wedges itself into a tiny cavity. Then the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  science

Julenek - Birds at Christmas

Birds are an important part of Christmas in Norway. On Christmas Eve, sheaves of wheat or oats are tied to a post or hung on the door, to feed the birds on Christmas morning. This bundle of grain, the julenek, has become a symbol of Christmas in Norway, and a julenek hangs on nearly every door,... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdfeeding

Buffleheads in Winter

Buffleheads have returned for the winter, down from the boreal forests of the north where they breed. These birds are monogamous and often return to the same wintering area. Buffleheads breed on small lakes and ponds in the boreal forest. In winter, the Bufflehead is most often found in coastal... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching, reflection

Chickadees in Winter

How do Black-capped Chickadees manage to survive the rigors of winter at high latitudes? For survival, chickadees have three things going for them: they're insulated, they're active, and they have a good memory. Thanks to a half-inch coat of feathers, the Black-capped Chickadee maintains its body... read more »

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Swallows in Winter?

Most Barn Swallows migrate south for the winter. But recently, small populations have stayed through the winter, seeking out pockets of flying insects for food. To learn more about this winter surprise, visit BirdWeb.org. read more »

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Queen Bee in Winter

As the year turns, honeybees in the darkness of the hive respond to the slowly strengthening light. Their lives and ours depend on the daily transformation of sunlight, through photosynthesis, into energy available to sustain us. The queen bee - seen here with a green mark - begins again to lay... read more »

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