The strong northeast to east winds continue with low clouds and low temperatures with frost some nights. The three broods of Snow Buntings that are out of the nest boxes are having a hard time of it. The adults are not having much luck finding insects to feed their young. They have been falling back on what is in the feeders I have out. The real young buntings don’t seem to do as well on just a seed diet as when they have plenty of insects to start out on, and a couple youngsters haven’t survived the cold conditions.
Two of the female Snow Buntings have started hauling fresh grass up into their nest boxes getting ready to lay eggs for a second brood. Hopefully we will have warmer weather when this batch of eggs hatch and the parents will have a easier time feeding the little ones.
The two Lapland Longspur nests close to the house still haven’t fledged, but they are getting close. There are at least 20 pair of longspurs coming and going from the feeders all day and must account for several hundred trips over that time period. I’m sure they are working the feeder overtime too with the shortage of insects about.
It was a surprise to see the two Barn Swallows (Hirundo rustica) resting out of the wind the other evening. We usually don’t get swallows around during a strong east wind, as most arrive on south to south-west winds. With a south wind the temperature would be much warmer and there would be insects buzzing about for the swallows to eat, not so with this strong, cold east wind.