Polar Newsletter Part 6: Arctic Inland Birds
Even though it is cold year round some birds live and nest in the Polar biomes throughout the year. Here are some birds that live all year in the Arctic area.
- The ptarmigan, or grouse, lives year round in the arctic tundra or uplands. In the winter they blend in with the snow with white feathers. They have feathers even on their toes and feet.
- The redpoll is a type of finch than lives in the woodlands. It eats seeds and can hang sideways or upside down in a tree. It lays eggs in bushes and flocks with other finches.
- The gyrfalcon is the largest of the falcon species. The Arctic gyrfalcon’s body is mostly white. It flies at great speed over the ground to hunt. They spend time far from land over the sea ice, deep into the Arctic ocean. This powerful falcon was prized by the Vikings for hunting.
- The snow bunting, or sometimes called the snowflake, lives and thrives in the Arctic. It adapts well to different nesting areas. It has a large range in the northern hemisphere.
- The snowy owl is the heaviest owl in North America. They are mostly white with very few markings. It has adapted to nest on the ground in the Arctic tundra. Both parents take care of the nest. They feed on lemmings and ptarmigan. Sometimes they catch fish on the surface of the water. Unlike most nocturnal owls, snowy owls are diurnal.
- The white winged crossbill is a type of finch. The crossbill allows it to eat pine cones. Half the bird’s bill crosses one way while the other half crosses the other direction. These finches live in the forest areas.
- The gray jay lives in the northern forests. They choose their mate for life and parent their babies together. The flocks help each other parent and older siblings stay with the nest to help raise the younger birds. They collect a lot of food and hide it for later use.
- The downy woodpecker is the smallest woodpecker in North America. It lives mostly in wooded areas. It moves to lower elevations and can be seen at backyard bird feeders.
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