This week several of us went out into the wilds of Grouse Mountain to see what kind of birds hang around the mountain in the dead of winter. It was a calm and clear morning but there was not much in the way of bird activity.
In order to survive in a forest without a lot of food sources, birds need to specialize to find the food that they need. The most prominent bird on our survey was the Red Crossbill. These are incredibly cool birds that have a beak that naturally overlaps. You can see this in the photo above. They use this bill to pry open cones to get at the seeds inside. It's kind of like having built in pliers in your mouth!
Other than the Crossbills we saw numerous Pine Siskin, Dark-eyed Junco's and of course the ever present Common Ravens. The Ravens watched us curiously as we made our way down the trails making bird calls to lure in several species.
After our cold walk we retreated to the office for a hot cup of coffee and to watch the birds at our feeding station on the deck. After putting out the black-oil sunflower seeds we were inundated with our local Stellar's Jays come for a free and easy meal! Check out the video!
Watch for these species on your next visit to Grouse Mountain and be sure to check out your own neighborhoods in the winter to see what local species stick around!