Songbird snacks on snow

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The recent wet snow, which collected on tree limbs while also piling up on the ground, provided me a rare opportunity.

Knowing that snow does not last long on tree limbs, I got out early in the morning. Good fortune seemed not to be with me as I spent a few hours focusing my attention up into the trees. My intent was to get a wintry shot of a bird on a snow-covered limb.

As time passed, the wind picked up and blew most of the snow off the limbs. I thought my chances for a nice photo were about to disappear, but my persistence paid off.

This photo of a tufted titmouse eating a mouthful of snow is one of the best photos of that special morning. This image proves the ingenious nature of small songbirds that stay and survive our winters in Southeast Missouri.

The tufted titmouse is a beautiful friendly little bird that loves sunflower seeds. An early riser, it will be ready to visit your seed-filled bird feeder at first light.

Tufted titmice living in Southeast Missouri remain year-round. Their diet consists of insects and various small seeds. A hole in a dead snag is a perfect home. Tufted titmice need a forest of trees to survive and raise their young.

An interesting note about this bird is that it will sometimes fly down and collect hair from a dog's back to line its nest. If a little bird has ever landed on your head while out walking in springtime it was likely a tufted titmouse thinking about lining its nest.

Through the Woods is weekly nature photo column by Aaron Horrell.

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