Monday, January 17, 2011

Snow cover

I wanted to share this impressive image of snow cover in New England after the storm of 1/12-1/13 (which still needs a good name). This satellite photo comes courtesy of NASA/GSFC, MODIS Rapid Response System. The photo is very large so be aware it may take some time to load on some networks or computers and will likely be beyond your screen size.

Besides some amazing cloud features, especially where they interact with the mountains to our north, you can see Connecticut and the region are buried in the white stuff. Nantucket is just about the only place you can find the brown earth. Yes, it is magnificent...but why I am showing you this? To make the obvious point of how hard it must be to be a bird that depends on the ground right now. Sparrows cannot scratch at the leaf litter, raptors cannot easily strike at small mammals scurrying around, woodcock cannot pull up earthworms, etc. There are numerous species that are in mortal danger in situations like this, where entire regions have at least 16 or 18 inches of snow cover. Many birds have likely succumb to the conditions or lack of food. Feeding the birds in your yard is a good first step, but using eBird allows us to track species populations over time and will help us learn what kind of an impact these events have.

Photo © NASA/GSFC, MODIS Rapid Response System

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