Andrew Clem home
Andrew Clem banner

Blog post

Monthly archives
(all categories)

March 2, 2009 [LINK / comment]

"Snow birds" adapt to weather

March certainly came in like a lion this year, with five or so inches of snow overnight here in Staunton, and temperatures falling into the single-digits this evening. We have had plenty of Goldfinches and Juncos all winter here, while the number of White-throated sparrows is less than in past years. Today, we had all three of those species out back, along with others desperately scratching the snow to find food underneath. What exactly are "snow birds"? Canadian singer Anne Murray became famous with her song "Snow Bird," which usually refers to Snow buntings up in Canada. In the Lower 48 states, the term most often refers to Juncos.

I was also surprised to see a Grackle in one of the bushes out back today, the first I have seen in Staunton all winter. I have occasional seen flocks of them in the countryside, and Brenda Tekin reported a large flock near Stuarts Draft.

Goldfinch, snow

Dark-eyed Junco, eating sunflower seeds in the snow. Roll mouse over this image to see a Goldfinch (in its winter plumage, of course) at the thistle feeder, and click on it to see the latter's close relative, the Pine Siskin, at the same place about two weeks ago.

Passenger Pigeon

The American Passenger Pigeon became extinct near the end of the 19th Century, a tragic story that is recounted at Amazingly, that species used to be so abundant that huge swarms of them would darken the skies in the Eastern United States at certain times of year.

Posted (or last updated or commented upon): 03 Mar 2009, 12: 11 AM

(unformatted URL)

This post is over a week old, so comments are closed.

© Andrew G. Clem. All rights reserved. Your use of this material signifies your acceptance of the Terms of use.

Hits on this page (single blog post) since July 2, 2007:

Category archives:
(all years)

This (or that) year's
blog highlights

Blog highlights have been compiled for the years 2010-2012 thus far, and eventually will be compiled for earlier years, back to 2002.


The "home made" blog organization system that I created was instituted on November 1, 2004, followed by several functional enhancements in subsequent years. I make no more than one blog post per day on any one category, so some posts may cover multiple news items or issues. Blog posts appear in the following (reverse alphabetical) order, which may differ from the chronological order in which the posts were originally made:

  1. Wild birds (LAST)
  2. War
  3. Science & Technology
  4. Politics
  5. Latin America
  6. Culture & Travel
  7. Canaries ("Home birds")
  8. Baseball (FIRST)