Saturday, December 05, 2009

Baby, Its Cold Outside


Winter is definitely here, everybody is making plans for the holidays, and the hearth is merry. But, what of the little stinkers? Do they just magically cope with freezing temperatures?

Now is the time to pay special attention to setting out food and water for the small creatures of the fields and air. This is their most difficult time of year, when they must fight for survival.

It doesn't take much to begin the habit of tossing a couple of extra bags of seed on the cart when you're in the supermarket. What can it cost? Ten or fifteen dollars? Stop buying the National Enquirer, back off the booze, and the Viagra, and you could feed a whole zoo.

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12 reader comments:

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't the seeds and water freeze if left outdoors ?

TENPA said...

I'm sure they can, but anybody with the intelligence to foresee this problem also has the intelligence to come up with a solution.

Anonymous said...

And what is the solution ? I live in the tropics, by the way.

Anonymous2 said...

I live where temperatures in winter are freezing, and have not noticed birds or squirrels having any problem with seeds put out and kept at any temperature.

I've never put out water to birds. I've read that if one does, the vessel should not be big if temperature is below zero, as birds will want to bathe in it, and their plumage would freeze afterward.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Anonymous2, that's actually an urban legend that their feathers will freeze. They're smart enough not to bathe if they're not able to get warm enough to dry off. But you're right, they can even melt beaks full of snow if they need to, so water is less of a concern than food.

Birds have a down coat and an extremely high heart rate, and they'll stay warm as long as they have enough energy to burn, so their biggest need in the winter are seeds with a high fat content. Some people even put out peanut butter.

TENPA said...

The biggest issue around here is the squirrels and even the coyotes are eating up the birdseed as fast as they can. Now, at least the coyotes aren't eating the squirrels, but I shudder to think what will happen when the big cats get to prowling again. The big cats (cougars, mountain lions) have been eating dogs and goats around here.

mr frodo said...

we have no squirrels here, or racoons in my backyard, only possums and they only like the cat food for the stray cats we leave.
this is a good reminder to me to get more bird feeders. we had three or four but now left with one. it rarely freezes here but temperatures drop into the upper 30's is not unusual for winter.
we feed most of the birds from our area in our backyard, we are blessed by them.
thank you for this~

Don said...

I hear you. The wolves around Zaisan Tolgoi are getting bolder and bolder too. They pick off the weak ones first, and there are plenty of those around, what with the Swine Flu and all. I keep my mutton supply on the ledge outside my hovel—it’s been going down to 25 below 0 F every night so it stays well frozen, and the damn ravens are going after that too. I have to keep the mutton covered with four layers of carpets. I tell you, Nature is fighting back.

TENPA said...

I've narrowed the problem. You have to lighten up on the ravens. Mahakala is very touchy when it comes to (a) black dogs, and (b) black birds.

What colour, and how big, are the wolves?

Don said...

The wolves come in just about any size or color you want, and may well be manifestations of Mahakala.

TENPA said...

Hmm.. pretty much like the Mongolian tigers, but without the vodka.