Down along the river on a cold morning the male of the pair of peregrine falcons was perched with his feathers fluffed to help ward off the low temperature. Just like a human with a down jacket, the fluffier the insulation the more air is trapped and the warmer the body inside.
Usually when I see either peregrine along the river the bird’s crop is bulged out by a recent meal. On this day the male’s crop was more distended than I’ve ever seen it. The tree in which he was perched is no more than 200 yards from a bridge with a significant population of pigeons, with even more pigeons and starlings to be found among the buildings on either end of the bridge.
Life must be pretty easy for this pair of peregrine falcons with a seemingly inexhaustible supply of pigeons to fuel the birds' internal furnaces on a cold day.
In one of the few unfrozen spots in this stretch of the river several male common mergansers were searching for fish. Suddenly one surfaced with a large fish clamped in its beak –
The other males pursued the successful one in a vain attempt to steal its catch. With a bit of effort the merganser swallowed the fish and filled its crop.