Friday, April 26, 2013

W is for Willow Ptarmigan

Source: Wikimedia Commons

After the creepy volcanoes of my "V" post, I wanted to move to something much more gentle for "W." The willow ptarmigan fit the bill.

This cute bird is a member of the pheasant family and is the state bird of Alaska. The willow ptarmigan chicks above were photographed in the Denali National Park and Preserve, as was this male adult bird.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

What I found interesting about the willow ptarmigan is that the bird's feathers transition from light brown in the summer to snow white in the winter, giving it very effective camouflage from predators depending on the season.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

This is similar to the Artic hare, which has gray-brown fur in the summer and all white fur in the winter. I always find it interesting the way nature provides ways for animals to adapt and survive according to their habitats.

The ptarmigans are also equipped for the Alaskan winters through their toes, which are feathered in order to bring more warmth. In addition, the birds are more sociable in the winter and roost close together to stay warm.

Obviously these little guys know how to make it through a winter, and I've no doubt they do much better than I would in that climate!




Happy Friday, all! In honor of Vikki's Celebrate the Small Things hop, I'm celebrating the fact that we've made it through the last full week of the challenge! This challenge has been wonderful as always but I'm also more than ready for a break. Three more letters to go!

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend ahead. 

My A-Z theme of Alaska is inspired by my debut novel, Polar Night, which is set in Fairbanks and the Alaskan Arctic. Click here for all the info on the book.

45 comments:

  1. Aw! So adorable! Love how these birds are able to camouflage themselves. :)

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  2. Nature is amazing! I love the red eyebrows too. It looks like it's very curious about something.

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  3. These are such cute and colorful birds. Talk about dressing for the seasons!

    Julie

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  4. Wish I could grow feathers for the snow. Beautiful birds.

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  5. I didn't know it was the state bird.
    Next week I'll be celebrating that I'm back to Celebrating the Small Things. (Took this month off.)

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  6. OMG, those are so cute!
    I'm with Alex, I tool April off from celebrating. Back next week tho!

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  7. Love how their feathers change and about their toes!

    And I'm with you on being ready for a bit of a blogging break. :)

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  8. I love birds, and this little fellow is extremely cute. I must say I was totally unprepared for the challenge and now that its winding down, I'll miss blog hopping.

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  9. I'm with you there - I've enjoyed the A-Z challenge, but it has taken up a big chunk of my April. It's all been fun though!

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  10. I missed the "creepy" V post,. I have an illogical bird phobia so thiose pics are creepy to me. .ol

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  11. That is neat! The white is so pretty too.
    ~Summer

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  12. I'm celebrating your celebration too. :)
    I love the birds, all kind of birds!

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  13. It look like that even their legs are covered...another adaptation to the cold winters, I guess.

    Very interesting stuff :)

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  14. Oh, those little chicks are so cute! And the adults are beautiful in both their summer and winter plumage.
    Great post!
    Happy Weekend!!!

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  15. Wow that is amazing and so great for self-preservation!

    Woohoo you are almost done with the challenge :D

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  16. Never heard of this bird, very interesting info! And, YAY, we have almost made it through the challenge - congrats!!

    Texas Playwright Chick








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  17. Awesome eyebrows on these birds!! hehe.

    I love birds that have fluffy feet. So cute.

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  18. So cute! Aww, birds. Yes this challenge is something to celebrate.

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  19. I always find it fascinating how animals adjust to their changing environment. I used to think those bright yellow goldfinches left my feeders to head south in the winter until I realized the little brown birds I saw all winter were the goldfinches wearing their "winter colors".

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  20. I am celebrating being so near the end too!

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  21. @Heather, me too.

    @Nick, I didn't even notice the red eyebrows but you're right! Very cute.

    @Julie, LOL, they really do it right.

    @Em, that would be nice, wouldn't it? :)

    @Alex, I know we'll have lots to celebrate next month too. :)

    @Dani, aren't they adorable?

    @Madeline, yeah, I think we probably all are LOL.

    @Cathrina, I will miss it too but also be glad for the break. So glad you've enjoyed the challenge!

    @Rebeccah, it really has.

    @Brinda, oh, that's like my mom, she gets creeped out by birds too!

    @Summer, I agree, love the white.

    @Al, I didn't know dragons were big bird fans! :D

    @Mark, I know, it's like they are wearing leg warmers LOL.

    @Tyrean, thanks and happy weekend to you as well. :)

    @SK, almost there! :D

    @Texas, thanks and congrats to you too, yay!

    @Trisha, I think their feet are so cute too LOL.

    @LG, oh, I didn't even know that about goldfinches! How interesting.

    @Viklit, yeah, it's definitely worth celebrating. :)

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  22. @Sheena, sorry I missed your comment! It's fun that we can all celebrate the challenge together. :)

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  23. Nature is truly wonderful. I didn't find that many new blogs to follow, but I found a few gems this challenge, as I have in the two previous years I participated. And I think that's what the A to Z is all about. Making friends. You have been wonderful keeping up with us. I hope this will continue after the end of the challenge.

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  24. They're so cute! Yes, the challenge has been wonderful and it will be nice to take a break and slow down a bit too:)

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  25. I love birds, and discovering new species of familiar wildlife in new places. When I was much younger, I fantasized about someday living in Alaska.

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  26. @Inger, oh, I feel the same way and I definitely hope to continue. :)

    @MJ, definitely, I am looking forward to that break.

    @Carrie-Anne, I don't remember ever living in Alaska but I did fantasize about living out in the wild LOL.

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  27. Such cute birds. Have a great weekend!

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  28. Boy, they look dinosaurish! So amazing. I don't see anything wrong with being social to get what you need! Do you? jk :) Writer’s Mark

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  29. @Christine, thanks, you too!

    @Nancy, LOL, seems like a smart idea to me. :D

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  30. I've read about those birds, but now I know what one looks like!

    I'm looking forward to the end of AtoZ. I believe I bumped into you during the first one I did. :)

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  31. Beautiful birds! How big are they? Pigeon or chicken size?

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  32. Love the changing color. And he wears leggings, too!

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  33. Very cool state bird.

    Definitely ready to be done with the Challenge.

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  34. So cute. And very interesting about the color changes. It's almost as if they take on a summer tan.

    Barbara
    Honoring W Blogs in this A to Z
    The Daille-y News

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  35. Animals that camouflage have always intrigued me. This is an especially cute one!

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  36. How cool! Snow camouflage. I always think of jungle colors, not snow.

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  37. Nature is amazing, isn't it? Do they lose the feathers they have (molt?) and gain the different color, or do the feathers, themselves, change?

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse

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  38. Not only did I now know about this bird, I didn't know any bird changed color with the season. Thanks for sharing. I'm celebrating the end of A to Z, too.

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  39. feathered toes...now that's what I need!

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  40. Very cute and I like their camouflage.

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  41. @Mary, that is when we met! It doesn't even seem that long ago, does it?

    @Susan, I'm not sure, I think pigeon but I can't remember.

    @Carol, LOL, I love his leggings.

    @Tim, me too.

    @Barbara, oh, that's a cute way to look at it.

    @Johanna, I totally agree.

    @Laura, I know, that's what I think of too but I guess that wouldn't do these guys much good LOL.

    @Shannon, oh, that's a good question, I don't know. I'd be curious to look that up, hadn't thought about it.

    @Jenn, I didn't know before this either.

    @Lynda, me too LOL. My feet are always cold.

    @Medeia, aren't they adorable? :)

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  42. Hi Julie .. love this one - such a great choice for W and as you say softer than V and definitely than X ..

    Amazing what flora and fauna do to adapt to life isn't it ..

    Cheers Hilary

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  43. @Hilary, it really is, I think it's so interesting. Thanks!

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  44. So cute. We have Ptarmigans in CO. I think they are the White-tailed ones. It's amazing how they survive in cold and harsh conditions at such high altitudes.

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  45. @Rebecca, oh, I've never seen one of these kind of birds before, I'd love to see those. How cute.

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Thank you for your comments!