|A Carolina Chickadee (Poecile carolinensis) in the snow.|
|A chickadee looks up as snowflakes whip past on a strong arctic breeze. The chickadee takes it all in stride with nary a feather out of place...impeccably dressed in a classic winter palette.|
|Beauty in winter is not hard to find when you look to the birds.|
|...a tiny tilt of the head amplifies the cute ratio of this bird. Chiggy...are you playing with us? If you are, don't stop!|
The Polar Vortex
...what a winter this has been! Rick just told me they are forecasting 17 below zero Monday night. So far, our birds seem to be weathering this arctic blast very well, but we haven't hit 17 below yet. We are worried about our Carolina Wrens. In our area, Carolina Wrens are susceptible to extreme cold and may not survive. These southern wrens have expanded their range north, so they are not equipped to survive long arctic snaps like we are having now. As I was writing this, however, our little Carolina Wren appeared outside the window as if he wanted to put my heart at ease. He sang out his happy song and seems to be faring well in the sub-zero temps we have endured so far. I hope he can weather the incredible cold headed our way.
Click here to go to the Great Backyard Bird Count data page that details the Carolina Wren's shifting range. The last die-off was back in 1977-78. It took 10 years for the Carolina Wren's population to restore to current numbers. That was also the winter we lost all of our Bobwhites.
Click here for an article in The Nature Conservancy that lists other animals at risk from the arctic temperatures riding in on the Polar Vortex.
...on the brighter side, the extreme cold of the polar vortex might wipe out emerald ash borer larvae. Click here to read an article about it. To read about the dangers of the invasive emerald ash borer to native ash trees, click here.