How Can Birds Survive A Wyoming Winter?
To a flock of geese, who fly south for the winter, have you ever looked up and said, “You’re late. It’s January! Get out of here, it’s colder than freezing cold. Why are you still here?”
In the winter, if you ever wondered how in the world there can be birds left alive at all, well, it’s good to know a short answer for that. They're just built for it better than we humans are. In fact, in a couple of ways, we might be jealous of them.
Our friends at scienceblogs.com help give us the picture.
#1 Birds can leave. Migration is just one way to deal with cold – just not be here.
#2 Birds wear down coats. All their feathers help keep warm, but especially the downy under feathers. Scienceblog said, “(And) that is called, of course, ‘down’. (They) act like tiny little North Face down coats.”
#3 Water is not a bird’s friend. Air makes a good insulator but water transmits cold, so wet feathers are bad, and “Birds have oil producing glands that allow them to preen a coating of waterproof onto their feathers to avoid the down coats getting wet.” (Now we’re really jealous.)
#4 Bird feet are “covered with scales and have very little cold-damagable tissue in them. They’re mostly bone and sinew,” says scienceblog, “They can also tuck their feet in under their down.”
See, it’s just not fair, is it? Seriously, we humans are glad God’s little creatures were made with some real built in protections.
According to Allaboutbirds.org, there are a couple of things birds do for themselves that also help.
"If the wind is blowing, a bird can go to the other side of the tree to avoid it." Yes, we do that a lot in Wyoming, ourselves.
A bird may also find some kind of cavity in a tree trunk, or any nook that’s much warmer than the exposure “Out on a limb.”