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Monday, January 6, 2014

Its Cold Outside!!

I realize that It's Cold Outside" can be considered a rhetorical statement, but with temperatures dropping to a brisk 5 degrees F tonight (supposed to feel more like -10 with wind chill) I think it is an apt statement.

Portions of my family who live in much warmer climates like to especially harass me when it gets this cold with pictures of flip flops and warm beaches, but with the right clothing we can survive the cold.....however, the creatures of nature who choose to overwinter in the colder temps do not have the luxury of adding layers (winter coats non-withstanding) or coming into a heated house.

Mr. Cardinal bulking up at my feeder in the cold
Instead of shopping at their local outdoor outfitter they have many great adaptations from sizing (nothern animals are typically larger bodied than southern animals) to antifreeze-like blood in frogs to prevent "frogsicles".   

I do not know if it happens to you, but whenever we are going into a cold snap, my birds empty my feeders quite rapidly--and spend a lot of time snacking on the seeds of plants that were cut in my flower beds.  It is not a lack of maintenance issue--I leave my plants tall in the winter to provide food for birds, insects, and probably a few small rodents too....  The reason that the birds eat so much is because they are burning valuable calories staying warm, and need to consume more calories just to stay warm.  Brings new thoughts to the phrase "eating like a bird" doesn't it? 
Are you interested in learning more about Wildlife in Winter??  Join TLC for Part I in our Wildlife In Winter Series on January 26.   If you like to read, you may want to check out Winter World: The Ingenuity of Animal Survival by Bernd Heinrich.  It is a fascinating snapshot of life in the wild in the winter. 

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