Yellow beak, red legs, lots of snow and ice! Had a wonderful afternoon yesterday with my very special, high alpine feathered friends: the gang of Alpine Choughs - not coughs!!! - at Untersberg in Austria. They are real corvids by nature, bold and kind, curious and clever. If you take a closer look at picture one, you will spot one of the many aspects that make wild bird photography so fascinating - you can see the reflection of the birds’ habitat - no cage bars - in their gleaming eyes. :-)
Against the light you can see that the extremely touch-sensitive high precision tool - the beak - contains a lot of blood vessels. One reason why birds hate their beaks being touched - and something that renders the clipping of chickens’ beaks in factory farming absolutely unacceptable.
I’m not sure if it’s the non-existent German winter that makes some of these birds go through their molt super early. Summer plumage in the beginning of February! (You can see the bird in the background is still dressed winter-appropriate. ;-)
Did you know that compared to other bird species, these gulls are really long-lived? They can become older than 30 years!