16 December 2011

Winter Birds Around the World



Be it summer or winter birds are fascinating. Around the world, in warm or cold climates birds are those that lift up the spirits of people. I only recently realized and pinned down the amount of passion I have for birds and how it affects me. Has this happened to you as well? Do you remember the moment when you not only felt strong fascination with something but you also traced your life back through the years only to find proof after proof of the same attraction in different stages, only that you have never verbally or mentally formulated it. In fact, I only just now realize that my first ever blog post on Kanelstrand had to do with the birds.

Living in the forest stimulates a lot of passions in me, especially those that have been in me but for different reasons haven't had the opportunity to come out to the light. The awakening moment of figuring out that this is yet another thing I feel strongly about is like reconnection with a part of me. It is motivating and inspiring to meet so many different sides of your character, especially in a world where this is not exactly encouraged. 

The birds that live in our South-Norwegian pine forest are so many! I know their habits already, when the migratory ones come back to us and when they leave,  I know what they like to eat and I roughly know their songs. Now, their songs are tremendous. My husband and I have spent many a romantic hour recording bird songs in the forest, mixed with the sound of the wind in the leaves or the waves of the North Sea. I might some day post parts of these heavenly experiences for you to enjoy as well. 

The first photo of the winter birds I want to show you is of the Blue Tit. My favorite bird though is the Great Tit and although there are just minor differences in appearance, their characters are very different. Now if you take a look up to the Kanelstrand header you will see the Great Tit perched on a birch branch. Drawing the Great Tit and turning it into a symbol of Kanelstrand, right before the beginning of the new year is so symbolic for me and tells me that the coming year is going to be even more successful and joyful than I have ever expected. But I will leave all the positive qualities and my stories about this bright bird for another post.

Photo: Michael Bertulat

The Blue Tit is a small passerine bird (between 4 and 5 inches) which is a native species of the subarctic regions of Europe and western Asia. It flies in mixed winter flocks with the Great Tit. The Blue Tit is not as communicative as the Great Tit but in winter time it is ready to do wonders for some bread crumbles. A great number of Tits regularly come and knock on our balcony door, fly in through the windows or fascinate us with their elaborate dances in the air, only when they are sure we're watching. 


Photo: Yuri Timofeyev

The Nuthatch is another non-migratory species that is typically met in the Northern hemisphere. This small (4 - 7 inches), compact bird with short legs and compressed wings has a long, sturdy bill and strong toes with long claws. I consider Nuthatches shy comparing to Tits, it is way harder to spot them and they are not as social. A possible reason for this is that they store food, especially seeds, in tree crevices, in the ground, under small stones, or behind bark flakes, and are able to remember these caches are for as long as 30 days.


Photo: kanelstrand

The European Serin is closely connected to the Canary, not just by color. If you ask me, it also closely resembles the sparrow. It breeds across southern and central Europe and north Africa. Southern and Atlantic coast populations are non-migratory, but the northern breeders migrate further south in Europe for the winter. In milder winter though, we've spotted it until November. 


Photo: likeaduck

The Cardinal is native to North and South America, reaches up to 8 inches in length and has a distinctive crest on the head and a mask on the face which is black in the male and gray in the female. During courtship, the male feeds seed to the female beak-to-beak. I guess it's the red color that makes them so romantic!


Photo: kanelstrand

The Chaffinch is so named for its tendency to peck the grain left out in farmyards, a habit which has also given it the names wheatbird or wheatsel-bird. It is also known under at least 20 other names all based on its character. It is the most popular finch across Europe but it is also native of Asia, northwestern Africa, Macaronesia, the Canary Islands, the Azores and Madeira. Although it is not migratory, the Chaffinch tends to leave colder areas but as you can see, I have taken its picture during winter, so you might safely judge that winter is not particularly cold along the south coast of Norway thanks to Gulf stream!


Photo: Vicky DeLoach


The Brown Thrasher is native the U.S. and Canada and is considerably bigger than the previously mentioned (11 - 12 inches). It eats insects, berries, nuts and seeds, as well as earthworms, snails, and sometimes even lizards. The thing that fascinates me about it is its enormous repertoire - about 3000 unique songs! 


Photo: neistridlar

And I've kept the Robin for last because I believe we all know it well and it is a lovely symbol of winter and Christmas. There are two types though - American and European and what you see on the photo is the European. It is just 5 inches long. The interesting part here is that according to the Wikipedia article about the Red Robin, there is no trace of the bird in Norway, whereas in fact there is! We have it in the forest in summer and winter and we totally love it for its cute red breast! In the breeding season the Robin often gets mistaken for the Nightingale because it sings in the evening, and sometimes into the night. We haven't heard its night song though because it is more typical of urban areas, which are noisy during the day.

Do you enjoy birds and bird songs? When do you prefer them - in summer or winter time?