The last few weeks of “crazy-for-Vancouver” snow has given me the opportunity to do one of my favourite things — photographing crows in snow.
So much snow!
So many crows!
In the snow!
Consequently I’ve been spending most of the extra time I gained by closing my shop for the holidays trudging about in sub zero temperatures taking pictures.
The house is not cleaned for Christmas dinner or anything like that, but I DO have lots and lots of snow crow photos. I think the 2024 City Crow Calendar may have a disproportionate number of winter scenes!
Now, as quickly as it arrived, the snow is melting in great rivers of less-than-photogenic slush. A perfect day to stay inside and write a blog post.
But, what’s that you say? it’s Christmas Eve??? Yikes.
Still so much to do, so it’s going to be a picture heavy post of Crow Snow Angels and feathery festive good wishes to you all.
Fluffy feather pantaloons are deployed to keep crow legs warmer in the freezing weather. I’m often asked how their feet don’t freeze. It’s because bird feet are mostly bone and tendon, with few nerves and also because they have a special circulation system, described here by Birdnote.org
Have you ever watched ducks walking around in freezing temperatures and wondered why their feet don’t freeze? And how do birds, including this Northern Flicker, sit on metal perches with no problem? Birds’ feet have a miraculous adaptation that keeps them from freezing. Rete mirabile — Latin for “wonderful net” — is a fine, netlike pattern of arteries that interweaves blood from a bird’s heart with the veins carrying cold blood from its feet and legs. The system cools the blood so the little blood that goes down to the feet is already cold, so the birds don’t lose much heat. The small amount that goes to the feet is likely just enough to keep the feet from freezing.
Some crows keeping their eyes open for Santa …
Hope Santa makes it to your house and merry wishes from all of us at ours!