We have had many flocks of birds flying through in the last week. Winter, a hard cold winter, came sooner than anyone including the wildlife would have expected so they are traveling under difficult conditions. My heart goes out to them and I wish them all a safe trip to warmer country ... though at the moment even the southern states are having freezing weather. That said, I don't have pictures of the migrating birds, but instead I have a picture of our Western Red Tail who stays here year around and for the most part stays outside. In this case though, because this bird has had a serious injury and the cold effects him more than he can tolerate, he is now inside. I took these pictures before this week to illustrate the importance of adequate food for the outside birds ... they must have food to maintain their body temperatures or they will die of exposure (hypothermia). For our birds that usually means an increase in their diet. We determine their food portions by their weight. Based on a healthy winter weight, we increase their food if their weight falls because that tells us they are not getting enough food to tolerate the cold temperatures.
One fiesty male Western Red Tail
Getting on the scale. They are weighed and their weight is recorded before each feeding. Wild birds don't have this luxury, so we just have to make sure there is plenty of food and water out for them when the temperatures drop. Hope you and all of your bird friends are doing well ...
FYI ... the Western Red Tails live west of the Rockies. They are darker in color and smaller than the Red Tails in the Midwest, but they are otherwise the same in their habits and behaviors.