This Winter (2013/14) was tough on us humans. Up here in northern Minnesota we one of the most severe winters in recorded history. Here are some facts from the National Weather Service: (as of May 7th)
- Snowfall: 130.2 inches (average is 86.1)
- Consecutive Days with Below Zero (F) Weather: 23 days
- Total Days with Below Zero Weather: 74 days
With stats like this, and the fact that as of this morning there is still plenty of snow on the ground in the deep woods, the conditions for resident and migration birds have been horrible. As of today, Lake Superior is the only lake in the region with open ice, and this deep cold lake is not very fertile (i.e. not much food is available for birds and animals). Thus, birds and other animals have been stressed out by this fierce weather.
The norm for any photography site is to post “nice” pictures of pretty birds. During today’s hike I found this seagull hanging in a tree … another victim of this winter. Last night while heading up the shore of Lake Superior I saw thousands of ducks just upwind of the pack ice. The ducks did not want to fly one more foot into the strong 30 mph northeast wind. As you can see, they were getting pounded with no opportunity to feed.
Summer will come soon, and the survivors will fill in the void, but for the moment … it’s tough.
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