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How Wild Birds Stay Warm in the Winter and You Can Help

Winter brings some challenges to our birds, especially when temperatures drop below freezing. We don't often think or wonder how our birds survive the cold, we just know what they do or at least we hope they do. Even in the southern regions of the South, the Desert or the Pacific coast where cold snap or few inches or feet of snow fall, it can affect bird populations. Winter brings extreme cold temperatures, strong winds, snow and rain.

The night seemed to last forever. 16 hours of darkness and in some more locations. That doesn't leave much time for eating and eating. However, many birds must have at least three times the normal intake to survive and do so part-time. Each winter, we lose many of our furry friends for the winter. This is how "Nature" works. Survival of the fittest, Pass the strongest gen.

Birds have many adaptations to survive the extreme winter. Some birds migrate, some adjusting to their dietary habits. Birds like chickens and American gold are adding feathers in preparation for winter. The typical chickadee or goldfinch closes with about 1,000 feathers during the summer. By winter, they had doubled to more than 2,000 feathers. For small birds, it can be largely bulk plus weight and weight.

During cold, windy or just a bad day, birds will crush their feathers. By doing this, they make the air pocket dead, just like insulation or double pain windows. This reduces heat loss by up to 30%. There are not enough feathers and feathers to make it through the cold winter days except for the cold, dark nights.

Birds also have a unique circulatory system in their feet to help them cope with cold temperatures.

Watch it now.

The arterial blood from the interior of the bird, which travels to the feet and feet of the bird, passes through a series of small channels that run alongside the blood vessels that return from the feet. A series of vessels act as radiators and heat exchangers from hot arterial blood that flow out into cold vein. By warming up old blood, no heat is lost and the foot receives a constant supply of blood. This is why water chickens can swim near freezing water and not get cold.

Fat is another important adjunct to winter survival. Fat acts as an insulator in addition to energy reserves. During the day, birds eat to build up fat reserves. On average, birds can put up to 15% to 20% of fat in fat before they can be heavy to fly.

Now remember, the days are shorter and colder. Birds need to eat enough to survive today and increase fat reserves. The smaller the bird, the higher the metabolism (more energy is consumed). The birds have no brown fat, the kind we have, instead they have white fat. White fat is a high-energy fuel used to boost the process of warming birds.

It's chilling

Thermogenesis is a fancy name for chills. You can't see it, but all the birds will be shivering in the winter. From the biggest birds like eagles and water chickens to the smallest birds. They all shiver to maintain their core body temperature of about 106 to 109 degrees, depending on the species.

The shakes produce five times the normal basel rate and can maintain normal body temperature for six to eight hours at temperatures down to minus 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Without choking the body's temperature will drop quickly and the bird will become hypothermic.

At night, birds like small chickens take a chill, or less of a step. To save heat and energy, chickens can lower their body temperature by disturbing their chills. This period of inactivity allows the bird's body temperature to slow, until it drops to about 10 or 12 degrees. At this point, the bird enters a state of unconsciousness called a body. Respiration and heart rate will also decrease during this time.


By morning, the period of inactivity decreases until the birds are shivering again. The body temperature returns to normal and the bird regains consciousness. The result of this torpid state is energy savings of up to 20% on a typical winter night.

Preserving energy is very important when you consider how little fat the bird can store. Based on a 15% daily increase in body fat, typical chickens have about 16 to 24 hours of fat or energy reserves to carry through the winter night. That my friend is why it is important that a bird comes out early in the morning and stays late looking for food regardless of the weather.

If it did not increase the daily fat reserves, the bird would not have enough energy to make it through the next night and would die. There were times when the natural world provided food for most wildlife. With the ongoing destruction of habitat, winter protection and food supply continue to shrink.

You can increase the chances for birds and some mammals by simply filling your food with their favorite foods and offering them snacks. Fresh water is important too. When a bird is required to eat icy cold snow, it needs valuable energy to warm the snow as it passes.

In the future, as you flow out into the cold or warmth to fill your feeders, think this, "Nature" has provided birds with some wonderful tools for survival, whether migration, blood circulation, dietary changes, extra feathers, or chills.

Birds are a miracle for us to enjoy. In a way, it's unfortunate that many birds now need help to survive. However, pay attention to the education and joy we get out of caring for and feeding our birds.


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