Aside from monitoring the house, and ensuring an uninterrupted flow of electricity to the fence, our home security system reports the weather. Today, it tells me we have entered the period of the “wintry mix”.
This revelation made me wonder whether birds feel the cold. This might seem like a silly question, but given they don’t feel hot peppers, the question is not without merit. But the answer is they do feel the cold.
Two frequent (winter) visitors to our feeder are Northern Cardinals and Blue Jays.
- Northern Cardinals have several adaptations to survive the cold winters:
- Insulating Feathers: They can fluff up their feathers to create air pockets that trap warm air close to their bodies.
- Reduced Activity: During extremely cold weather, cardinals may reduce their activity levels to conserve energy. They will seek shelter and become less active to minimize heat loss.
- Winter Diet: Cardinals primarily eat seeds and berries during the winter months, which provide them with a source of energy to maintain their body temperature.
- Roosting: Cardinals often roost in dense shrubs or evergreen trees at night to stay protected from the cold and wind.
- Blue Jays have their own set of adaptations for winter survival:
- Food Storage: Blue Jays are known for their habit of caching food. In the fall, they collect and hide acorns, nuts, and seeds in various locations. This stored food becomes a crucial source of sustenance during the winter months when natural food sources may be scarce.
- Thick Plumage: Blue Jays have relatively thick plumage, which provides insulation against the cold. Their feathers help them stay warm and regulate their body temperature.
- Foraging: Blue Jays are opportunistic feeders and will search for food sources even in winter. They may visit bird feeders for seeds and other offerings.
Providing them with bird feeders containing seeds, nuts, and suet can be a helpful way to support these birds during the colder seasons.