Winter Bird Physiology

Chickadees are wonderfully cold adapted and can drop their body temperature quite a lot through regulated hypothermia during the night. They spend most of the day foraging for food to keep their high metabolism satisfied and to gain enough calories to be able to burn throughout a cold night. Most often they go for foods high in fat content but will ravenously eat just about anything during winter months. Since they are expending much more energy during winter months in comparison to summer they need to maintain a high caloric intake and as such diets shift.
Bird feet contain very little soft tissue and thus can be kept quite cold in relation to the rest of their body. The warm blood from their body keeps their feet just above the temperature of getting frostbitten. This system is called counter-current heat exchange. Birds also fluff their feathers to trap air in between them which warms the air and thus warms the bird too. Birds may also gather together in roosts, such as the crows of downtown Burlington to huddle together for warmth during the night.
In Red Rocks Park where I observed a peregrine falcon, some chickadees, and heard a pileated woodpecker many species may overnight in dense thickets far from the water. This ensures that the birds are far from the cold winds coming off the lake at night. Some species may nest in cavities as well to stay warm.
There were a decent amount of snags at Red Rocks and cavities within them. Many large pileated woodpecker created holes that an eastern screech owl might inhabit, as well as some smaller holes perhaps created by other species such as northern flicker. Snags provide many homes for numerous birds and other wildlife. Tree swallows and wood ducks utilize them during the spring breeding season and mammals such as squirrels or raccoons may also inhabit them.

Publicado por michaelmcg michaelmcg, 08 de marzo de 2019

Observaciones

Fotos / Sonidos

Square

Qué

Halcón Peregrino Falco peregrinus

Observ.

michaelmcg

Fecha

Marzo 7, 2019 04:12 PM EST

Descripción

Was perched up on a tree by the cliffs.

Etiquetas

Fotos / Sonidos

Square

Qué

Carbonero de Capucha Negra Poecile atricapillus

Observ.

michaelmcg

Fecha

Marzo 7, 2019 04:15 PM EST

Descripción

A couple by cliffs.

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