Another finch, however, had an unfortunate altercation with a window. I heard the bang on the window, knew what happened and went out to assess the damage. What I thought was a poor little goldfinch was sitting on the snow, stunned and motionless.
|A stunned finch|
|Female Red Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra)|
The fine elements of its feathers show how it can insulate itself in the winter with tiny pockets of trapped air, and the cross-beak facilitates the extraction of seeds from pine, spruce, and hemlock cones.
I hadn't seen a red crossbill before, so it's a new one for my list. And I had to look it up, passing by the red crossbill at first, not expecting a yellow bird to fit this name. But only the male is red; the female is yellow. An interesting aspect of this bird is that it will breed at any time of year, even in the middle of winter, if there is a good food supply. And this winter is certainly a good cone year as indicated by all the white pine cones in the trees last summer, and all the cone shreds seen all winter long on the snow.
|White pine cone shreds|
|There are scenes like this wherever coniferous trees are present|
|Still a few whole cones lined up for the next meal|
|Fresh snow shines brightly in the morning sun earlier in the week|
|And more snow today|
Just a couple of days ago things were looking grim and this weekend both the dog sled races and the LRCT ski event at the Castle in the Clouds were cancelled; today's snow was just a little to late for them. Let's hope next weekend's Lake Wicwas Association snowshoe tour doesn't also fall victim to the weather (everyone is invited - let me know if you're interested). If it does, at least we'll enjoy the signs of spring in advance of the coming equinox.
|Photo by Linda Powell|