Good morning everyone! Come in out of the cold, grab some nice hot coffee, or tea, and relax with Muffin and I for a few minutes. Well, they said it was going to be colder last night, but they were wrong, the temp is the same. Which means it’s cold, very cold, with a temp of -29C (-22F) and with the wind factored in the temp is actually -36C (-32F). That part is a slight improvement over yesterday, though when temps get that cold, 4 or 5 degrees is just not noticeable. Our high temp for the day yesterday was -21C (-6F).
I know many of you are unfamiliar with such temps, and believe me, you don’t want to feel them either. It is just unbelievably cold. It’s amazing my little bird friends can survive such temps, like my favorite, the black-capped chickadee. They are small, only 5 to 6 inches (12-15cm) from bill to tip of their tail and 2 to 2 and a half inches (5 to 5.5cm) is the tail. In this cold their hide their legs and feet under their feathers as often as possible, actually all birds up here in the north will do that.
These birds don’t build up fat like many other bird species, to help them through the winter, so they need to eat constantly all day long. But our nights are much longer than the day so how do they survive? During the day they will build up a bit of fat from their food to help them, but at night they drop their body temp from 108F during the day to only 86F at night. That lowers their rate of metabolism by 25%, which helps them survive the long, cold nights.
In winter they form loose flocks and travel together looking for food. At night they roost in dense evergreen groves, like spruce and balsam. They are the most common bird in Canada and are found from coast to coast within the tree line. They are also found through much of the northern half of the US. They number in the millions and are one of the most important pest exterminators in the forest. During the summer, 80-90% of their diet is insects, mostly harmful types, and about 50% in the winter. They find frozen insects that have hidden behind bark of trees for the winter. Plus they eat seeds in winter. They are also one of the most common birds at feeders in winter. They sing their name in such a way that it that it cheers the cold winter landscape. There is so much more I could say about these favorite little birds of mine, but I’ll stop there. I hope you like the chickadee pics as well. Have a wonderful day and God bless!
Steve and Muffin.
©2021 Steve McLeod.