Birds In Winter: How They Survive


The body temperatures of birds are higher than those of most mammals and their hearts beat at a faster rate. Even so, some birds turn sluggish for short periods during winter. In cold weather, when food becomes scarce, the heartbeats of hummingbirds crouched in rock crevices could slow up to one-tenth of normal, and their body temperatures could drop below 50° F, less than half of normal. Some species of the nighthawk and whip-poor-will families are also known to become torpid, and other species could have acquired this ability as well. But these are surely special cases. True hibernation is

a long-term winter matter, and can last at least 2 to 3 months, and the Common Poorwill of the western United States is the lone bird known to practice true hibernation. In the southwestern United States, the Poorwill has hibernated deep in rock crevices for at least three months, with its body temperature at around 40° F.

Severe winter storms unavoidably kill numerous birds. Providing shelter for these birds and enjoy watching them come and go is a good practice. A long construction having a narrow open side, inner perches, and a roof can be secured to the sheltered side of a tree or building to offer a winter roost. Another type of shelter is also welcome. Piles of twigs set up on the ground as a lean-to, having its open end facing south or far from the prevailing wind, may provide welcome refuge for quail, grouse, pheasants, larks, and others throughout

the rough weather.

Looking for adequate food is the most crucial survival strategy birds should apply during wintertime. When ponds and marshes are frozen, herons, ducks, and others go to open water, where the temperature is enough to be just as low but a decent food supply is available. Particular berries and other fruit, like rose hips, become more appetizing to birds after the fruit has been completely frozen. In the winter, these foods nourish American Robins and Northern Mockingbirds as well as other species.

Birds value food the most when they discover it in a bird feeder after a winter storm. Suet and other high-protein foods are welcome. Even in southern areas, terrible storms could make it hard for birds to locate enough food, so feeders and shelters can be havens. In every region, when the high winds of a storm have settled, you may discover at your feeder members of a species new to you that may have been driven far from their usual habitats. So the winds, snow, ice, and cold can create a bonanza for bird watchers.

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