2birdfeature #11: Fog/bog

If you're wondering what effect heavy morning fog has on a photograph, I can show you numerous examples. Take today's two birds, for instance. I photographed them around 6 AM from the middle of a bog in St. Alban's, Newfoundland. PALM WARBLER

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Palm Warblers are very vocal little birds that breed in bogs. Especially bogs lined with spruce and tamarack (the description of every Newfoundland bog). They won't turn their bill up at your lawn either, in a pinch. Especially if you let it get extra weedy. They are carnivores in the summer (insects) and vegans in the winter (berries and nectar). Nestling Palm Warblers are on a fairly strict 12-day schedule. Incubation lasts for 12 days before they hatch and then they get free meals from mom for about 12 days in the nest before getting the boot.

It's all around quite difficult to find warbler nests and even harder to catch them with nestlings inside. Their entire egg/nestling/fledgling cycle is complete in a matter of just over 2 weeks.

GREY JAY (Canada's new national bird-elect!)

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The Grey Jay ("gray" in North America) is known by many names, some of them curse words. Canadians often call them whiskey jacks. Back in Colorado we call them camp robbers. If they're not stealing dog food right from your dog's dish, they are gracefully swooping in to take the sandwich right from your mouth. I might give this little arse of a bird the award for Most Brazen Bird.

Don't get me wrong, they are beautiful and an absolute classic. Just, no one likes to have their sandwich stolen. Rude.

One thing I love about the Grey Jay is that it sticks around for the tough winters. While other birds are frantically trying to reproduce during the warm months up here in Canada, the Grey Jays are waiting it out, twiddling their thumbs as it were. They don't even consider sexy time until the snowpack is substantial. They lay eggs starting in late February.

There is an interesting development in 20% of Grey Jay nests which consists of a third adult bird taking on some of the workload from the two breeders. The third wheel is very seldom allowed to feed the nestlings but is relied upon for chasing away intruders. Though if he oversteps his bounds, the breeding male will chase him away aggressively.

Are you enjoying the Newfoundland birds? I've got a bunch more for you! Stay tuned!