Keith Williams

Seemingly Surreal Swallows in a Spring Snowstorm

Though it was an exceptionally cold winter and spring, a snowstorm in Mid-may is unheard of here. Unfortunately, a large group of recently-arrived migrating Tree Swallows got caught in the storm and had to hunker down on the tree branches overlooking the Yukon River, and wait it out. I feared the worst would happen during the 24 hour storm, and was worried sick that they would die from exhaustion as a result of their long journey from Central America, a lack of food as there were no flying insects, strong winds and sub-zero temperatures. I returned the next morning and found no dead birds, so presumably most had survived. They seemed to go into a state of semi-torpor (slow metabolism) and huddled to conserve energy, a strategy that apparently worked.

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