Monday, February 26, 2007

Weathering the Storm

Sleeping through the storm.
Actually with her head into the wind, she may have her eyes closed to keep the snow out. I look around. All the birds I can see, have their heads into the wind. See the angle of the snow flakes. It's totally unlike the stance mammals tend to take. Mammals protect their faces. Visualize what cows and horses do. They put their rumps to the wind, often cozying up to a pasture mate or two, with their heads down. Their faces and eyes are then protected from the wind. Why the difference in birds?
Wait. A good many species might well have the same problem that sometimes bedevils Lola in a high wind. She stands up to check on the eggs, circles, leans over, her lovely aerodynamic bottom feathers spread in the wind, and whoosh, she's been completely flipped over more than once. (She always sits back down with her face to the wind, she's no dummy.) I can't see why these smaller birds wouldn't have the same problem and find themselves knocked completely off their perches if the wind got under them.

I guess they can hear the camera after all. Note the expression. She looks a bit put out.

(Sorry about the vignette, I run into a kitchen cupboard when I attempt to back up any further.)
The Mourning Doves hunker down at regular intervals along a wire. Wouldn't a branch be warmer than a metal wire? Then I realize, it isn't a metal wire, look above, it's insulated power line. It won't keep conducting cold into their feet. In fact it might even be warm from the power going through inside.

And why isn't this bird with the rest of the flock?
(The snow has collected on the bird; it's not collected on the window.)
This bird has done this before in a storm and often she'll be found just there before sunset while the others have already gone to roost. She'll eat her fill and then just sit on the step, very relaxed, and look around as if enjoying the view of the sun going down. Perhaps some heat radiates through the glass from the house or maybe there is a chink that allows heat to escape as she always chooses that exact spot.
But then again, perhaps the view really is best there.
Donegal Browne
(And yes, I can recognize her as the same bird I've seen on other days. She still has a juvenile look to her face and she isn't as skittish as your average Mourning Dove.)

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