Sven Zacek

Frozen comb

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Frozen comb

It’s starting to get tough. The week long cold spell has left its mark and it doesn’t seem to be letting up. I am happy, because this is what I have been waiting for years to experience the real Estonian winter again. But now my happiness is a little bit ruined by the sight of struggling animals. Here is a photo of a Dipper who has entered a vicious cycle. One of three toes on each leg has frozen. Toes are not only meant to keep balance, but also play an important part of keeping the plumage in proper condition, which is even more essential now than due to freezing temperatures. If you have a frozen comb instead of a proper one, then you won’t be able to care for your plumage as you need to, which means you will get even colder, which means your toes will freeze even more, which leads to even worse plumage care etc. I recalled a moment from six years ago when for a week we had even sub -30 temperatures for a week:

This shouldn’t be a problem though, because up in the north it is even colder and for a much longer time. Yes, that is true, but we are not the north. We are the land where some birds come to escape the arctic cold so if that cold follows them here, then things will get critical. Hang in there!