Lots of Webbed Feet at Scarborough Bluffs: March 5, 2020

Webbed feet are very useful for birds who spent their lives near or in water. The webs improve swimming ease and make it easier to take off from the water’s surface.

Trumpeter Swan feet

If you look closely, you can see a 4th toe at the back which is stunted and serves no purpose.

Ring-billed Gull feet
Canada Goose feet
Mallard feet

Perching birds such a pigeons need that rear toe to cling to branches. They do NOT need webs between the toes.

Rock Pigeon feet

Species list:  trumpeter swan, Canada goose, mallard, American black duck, bufflehead, red-tailed hawk, ring-billed gull,  rock pigeon, blue jay, black-capped chickadee, Carolina wren, house sparrow, red-winged blackbird, northern cardinal.  (14 species)

Trumpeter Swans
Trumpeter Swan (juvenile)
Canada Geese
Canada Geese
Ring-billed Gulls
Mallard (female)
American Black Duck (male)
Red-winged Blackbirds (male)
Red-tailed Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk

Many people feed the swans, ducks, geese, gulls, sparrows and pigeons here.

despite this sign:

This is a controversial subject. People think that birds trained to take food from humans will find it in the wild if humans no longer provide it. Tests prove that this is not the case and that some of these birds will starve.

Park Scenes:

Evidence of Beaver
Large-tooth Aspen (Populus grandidentata)
Black Walnut (Juglans nigra)
Black Walnut (Juglans nigra)
Red Squirrel

This morning’s group in 3 degree sunny conditions:


How Love burns through the Putting in the Seed
On through the watching for that early birth
When, just as the soil tarnishes with weed,
The sturdy seedling with arched body comes
Shouldering its way and shedding the earth crumbs.   – Robert Frost (1874-1963)

Miles Hearn

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