How do birds make it through winters?
- Some migrate, of course. Those are the birds who eat only insects.
Feb. 14, 2016
- They congregate in flocks in winter, except for our fat dude (right)! They are more able to evade predators when there are more birds to keep watch. Our hawks are as hungry as our other birds!
- They eat to feed their metabolism, it keeps them warm. They shiver, just like mammals.
- They rest, after eating, and puff up their downy feathers for insulation.
- They preen, since wet feathers conducts the cold, they put an oily substance on their feathers to keep out the moisture.
- Birds are smart enough to stay out of the cold winds. They sit in the sun, out of the wind.
- They can find a cavity in which to hold up.
- They sleep standing on one foot, tucking the other up under their downy feathers.
- They save energy. They refrain from refrains ♫♬ . They don't sing as much, or defend territories, or build nests. I noticed, in a strange sudden melt in January, that the birds were singing.
- They also have special physiological make-ups, like duck feet.
The veins and arteries exchange heat. The venous blood, as it returns from the feet, is heated by the arterial blood flowing south. Unlike humans, who lose heat from our extremities and can suffer frostbite (lack of circulation in face, feet and hands) the duck's feet do not lose heat and their core temperatures are not affected by cold feet.
Over the past 10 years, robins have been reported in January in every U.S. state, except Hawaii, (see map) and in all of the southern provinces of Canada.
My blog buddies in more northerly and western province will attest to their presence or absence. There are pockets.
The birdbath has been quite fun. The mourning dove didn't get the memo. It had its tail in the water!
On a wetland walk, I spotted my hawk. He didn't like my eagle-eye on him!