Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Song of the Snowbird

A few weeks ago I told you - my faithful readers - that we were on a quest this trip.   
A quest to find the Great Northern Snowbird.

First let me give you some Snowbird 101.

I've found that there are 2 basic types of Snowbirds, and then many sub-species
within those two basic types

The two types are:
 The RoVing (RV) Snowbird...
And the Nesting Snowbird.

The Nesting Snowbird is one that Migrates from Nest to Nest.
For instance - The Eastern Nesting Snowbird has its Summer Nesting
Grounds in the Northeastern Regions of the US.   It travels along the Great
Eastern Flyway which roughly parallels Interstate 95.
Its winter grounds are usually somewhere in Southern Florida.

It maintains a nest in both places and completes it's migration in as little as two days.

They can often be spotted clustering around golf courses in the winter, and
are often noticed to have white loafer like feet and funny headdresses (hats).

They feed at somewhat irregular schedules, but many will be observed taking the
last meal of the day at quite an early hour - usually around 4pm.

Some of them have degenerated to the point of a blank stare and 
chirping nonsensical incoherent songs while watching Fox News.
Their plumage & songs are but a fraction of their younger glory.

I think the permanent nesting might contribute to this decline

Other subspecies of the Nesting Snowbird are the Canadian, Midwestern, and Western
Snowbirds just to name a few.

The RoVing Snowbird is a completely different character.
They may or may not roost in a permanent northern nest, 
but all  of them maintain a mobile nest that they
bring with them when they do migrate.

Those mobile nest come in many shapes and sizes.

They may live in that one nest all year - or live in another - but all have a
mobile nest.

Like the Nesting Snowbird, there are many subspecies - including a Marine
Variety that spends at least a portion of the year on a floating nest - usually
made of fiberglass.

My area of research on this trip will be limited to the Land Dwelling 
sub species of the RoVing Snowbird. 

This bird comes in many shapes and sizes.
No single trait can describe them.
While they might share many similar traits (such as their songs - see below)
there are also many other traits that are unique to each.

One interesting thing that I have learned is that 
all snowbird species have many songs in common.
A couple of songs that thus far I have been able to identify:

Oh my Aches & Pains.
Operations that I have had.
Pills that I am taking.

Some snowbirds have even managed to combine all three of those calls into
one long song.   If you happen on one of those - be prepared for a long
and melodious serenade.

The Land Based RoVing Snowbirds have many types of nests.

Some are small.

Some are downright tiny.

Some are medium sized

One type however seems to be preferred by a slight majority of the more mature
of the species.   It has more comfortable accommodations but requires
a great deal more ($$) Nesting Materials to build.

Notice the Satellite Dish on the roof of the nest.

Here is a migrating snowbird looking for just the right nesting site
prior to coming in for a landing.

Our nest - while requiring less nesting material to build - still allows us
to mix in to the nesting colonies and observe their habits.

Tonights post was just to familiarize you with some of the types
of snowbirds and their nests.

As we penetrate deeper into both their migratory nesting grounds
as well as their colonies, we will hopefully have more
insight into this rare and elusive bird.


  1. You've found 'em...thanks for the chuckle!

    Cathy Andrews

  2. That is so funny about their SONGS, all of a similar nature. Very creative and very funny. You guys need to show em how to NOT so this. Great post, great photos, and like yachts, you can go in anything from 12 footers to 80 footers it is just how much you want to spend or can spend or choose to spend....Thanks.
    Hugs to the DOODLES

  3. Too funny!! And here I thought you were working on this trip...Margie :o)

  4. Pretty nice post! This is one of the most interesting trips and more fun as well. Thanks for sharing!

    Zion RV Park Snowbirds


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