Songbirds in Wintertime

Ice, snow, and freezing temperatures are difficult for everyone. We, at least, have heated homes and heated automobiles. Such is not the case for wildlife. They must endure the conditions in the open.

Most creatures have adapted to bitter winter weather to some degree. Some go underground while others must seek out heavily covered areas to break the frigid winds and simply endure. A key to their survival is finding sufficient food, and that can be very difficult when everything is covered in a layer of ice.

Many wild animals scavenge harvested grain fields, looking for bits of grain which have fallen to the ground, and even munching on soybean stubble. Predators, of course, are looking for these same animals for their food demands.

Wild songbirds have their own survival strategies. The can “puff out” their feathers providing a layer of insulation. They alternate between legs, pulling them up into the insulation, and will tuck their heads under a wing. Importantly, they burn the fat they have accumulated during the day from feeding.

This is where humans can be of assistance. Many birds depend on food provided by humans in order to survive frigid nights. Erecting feeders, or simply scattering seeds on the ground can make the difference between life and death for many songbirds. Suet is important for many birds, especially woodpeckers. Grains high in fat content are very helpful.

If we want to be entertained by the joyful melodies of songbirds in the spring and summer, it is important that we help them survive the bitter weather.


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