Just as many people are making resolutions to stay away from food, birds are using food and other, sometimes odd, techniques to stay warm and survive winter.
“Birds employ a number of methods to survive the adversity of winter,” said John Schaust, Chief Naturalist with Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shop.
Food is the most essential element, providing birds with the energy, stamina and nutrition they need. To stay warm, birds will expend energy very quickly, some losing up to 10% of their body weight on extremely cold nights. An ample supply of high-calorie foods such as black oil sunflower, peanuts and suet is crucial to a bird’s survival.
” We can play a vital role when feeding the birds becomes critical during extremely cold conditions.” stated Schaust. “At these times, a supply of food can mean the difference between life and death for a bird.”
Most birds adjust their feathers to create air pockets to help them keep warm.
“You will often notice the birds look fatter or ‘puffed up’ during cold weather,” explained Schaust. “This is because the birds are fluffing up their feathers; the more air space, the better the insulation.”