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Hungry creatures

Posted on Mar 9, 2014

The last couple of weeks have been very difficult for many hungry creatures across our landscape. As winter continues to have a firm grip on the northeast region, a day or two of respite aside at the moment before more cold moves in, wildlife faces a struggle to survive as food is exhausted and the ground remains largely covered in snow and frozen solid to a great depth. Multiple people have reported groups of American Robins sitting in their yards in flocks trying to figure out what to eat.

Other folks have told us that Robins and other abnormal species have started visiting feeders, a behavior I’ve seen happen in the past at this time of year. This Robin is eating fallen suet during an early March snowfall several years ago.

American Robin eating suet in the snow

White-tailed Deer have been visiting our bird feeders in high numbers at RTPI. They’re looking very lean at this point and the overabundance of their species in much of the northeastern forests means they’re exhausting their food supplies all the more rapidly, having to rely on gardens and yards.

Wildlife will do what they can and get creative to survive, and for the most part they are very adept at it. They have been coping with various weather and climatic conditions on our planet for millions of years and evolved to survive with them. While climate change can drastically alter certain and specific conditions for various species in an especially sensitive way – sea level rise and more frequent severe storms that will wash out an increasingly high percentage of Saltmarsh Sparrow nests in the next century, for example – these types of situations are difficult but not impossible to overcome. Massive mortality should not be seen among these already plentiful and highly adaptable species. Thankfully for all of us spring will be coming shortly and food is on the way.


Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation & Outreach Coordinator

Photo © Scott Kruitbosch