Like everyone else, Iím beginning to wonder if winter will ever come here in western Wisconsin. Still no frost in the ground and not a single snowfall, at least not enough to track a cat in.
The wildlife here has had a pretty easy time of it so far this winter. Weed seeds have yet to be covered up by snow so thereís plenty to eat for the little tree sparrows and juncos. Other birds like cardinals, chickadees, nuthatches and downy woodpeckers arenít having any trouble finding enough seeds to make them happy.
The crows have been dining on the crab apples which are still hanging thick on the limbs. The crows also take advantage of the tiny black seeds that are hidden in the bright red clumps at the end of the sumac bushes. These seeds will provide food for many kinds of birds all winter long.
Someone asked what crows eat during the winter months. I told them they are very resourceful and will eat anything thatís edible. They might be seen picking at a roadkill in the morning and picking through some manure spread over a field by a farmer in the afternoon. The manure from the farm may contain grains of corn or oats.
If a field vole dashes from cover the wily crow is "Johnny on the spot" to give chase. Mice and voles are fair game for crows. Iíve even seen them chase other birds like grackles and robins in hopes of making a meal of them.
Iíve been lucky to have a few crows come to my bird feeders the past couple of winters. They gobble down bits of cracked corn or sunflower seeds but their favorite stop is at the suet feeder.
At the end of the day the crows in winter, will gather in large flocks to roost. They usually pick a stand of large hardwood or pine tree to spend the night. I have seen as many as 10,000 crows at a single night-time roost site. They will return to the same roost every night.
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