Foam Lake Birding No. 146

No. 146
            We are home and managed to dodge all the bad weather on the way back.  On the birding front the trip back produced only one event of note.  We ran across, literally, two small flocks of wild turkeys.  In the first instance the flock was crossing the road in no particular hurry and had traffic stopped for a brief moment.  In the second instance a similar sized flock was feeding alongside the road.  Both groups seemed to be very road wise unlike domestic fowl. 
            We arrived in Foam Lake in 22C temperatures only to wake up next morning to colder temperatures and rain followed by snow the day after that.  I cannot say that I enjoyed the bad weather but the backyard birding is usually very good during stormy weather especially if feeders are present.  Birds that are normally secretive and distant will come to feeders in harsh weather conditions.  Hunger is a powerful motivator.  However, once conditions improved the uncommon backyard birds were gone. 
            During the Saturday of the snowfall we had a higher concentration than usual of our regular visitors such as the Juncos, House Sparrows and Purple Finches.  A pair of Fox Sparrows, uncommon at best and secretive if present, were out in the open feeding  on the ground on seeds scattered by birds from the feeders above.  They were joined by an American Tree Sparrow which seldom comes to towns and was never recorded in our yard previously.  Perhaps the most surprising of all was a pair of crows feeding on the same seeds that the Fox and Tree Sparrows were.  This was a first for us.  I know that I am in the minority with this opinion but I simply like crows.  Their arrival every year signals the end of winter and the coming of spring - a nice thing.  Finally, we felt sorry for the Robins so my wife tossed out a handful of raisins on the snow for them to eat.  They found them but it was comical watching them struggle with the raisins.  Instead of picking up the raisins in their bills and simply eating them, they tried pecking at them for some reason.  The result was that the raisin was driven a little into the snow.  On the next peck it would sink even deeper and so on until the Robin had its head well into the snow still chasing the raisin.  In between pecks it would withdraw its head and vigorously spit out the snow that had loaded up its bill.  Eventually the raisin would be retrieved after which the robin would fly into a nearby tree and eat it.  On that day the birds did provide us with some amusement. 
            Both of this week's pictures were taken during the snow storm so they are not as bright as I would have liked but they are acceptably clear.  The flock of ground feeders include Juncos, House Sparrows and Purple Finches.  The two crows simply looked cute.