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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Snow, Snow, Snow

Tufted Titmouse

Hairy Woodpecker, male

.....and more snow. That's what's happening here now and that's what's predicted all day. It's gettin' kinda' scary, with nowhere to plow or shovel the new snow, there is so much snow already. A friend of ours says blame it on this being a La Nina year. A look at the National Weather Service climate prediction center website says La Nina is expected to continue in to spring 2008...
"Over half of the models indicate a moderate-to-strong La Niña through February, followed by a gradual weakening thereafter. Current atmospheric and oceanic conditions and recent trends are consistent with the model forecasts.
Expected La Niña impacts during December-February include a continuation of above-average precipitation over Indonesia and below-average precipitation over the central and eastern equatorial Pacific. For the contiguous United States, potential impacts include above-average precipitation in the Northern Rockies, the Pacific Northwest, the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys, and parts of the Great Lakes region. Below-average precipitation is expected across the South, particularly in the southwestern and southeastern states."'s going to be a tough winter, not just on humans, but birds also. Reports continue to come in from many areas in the country about the record number of irruptive species, such as Common Redpolls, that have vacated Canada due to lack of food. Today we had 80 Common Redpolls stop by the feeders. Our numbers of this species are growing.

A reminder — if you want to help the birds, keep feeders full and, if possible, put up extra feeders since large flocks need perching room. Use black oil sunflower or hulled sunflower, since these are calorie rich foods. Add some thistle or sunflower chips for any finch species. Suet, whether in cakes or from supermarket, is a goldmine of calories for woodpeckers, chickadees, titmice, nuthatches and more.

Photos © Lillian Stokes, 2007

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