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As the temperatures continues to stay in well below the seasonal average, right now we are sitting at -31 °C and the the average for this time of year is -7 °C, one starts to wonder how wild animals are able to cope with long periods of these extreme temperatures. Animals such as birds can obviously take shelter in dense foliage or in tree cavities or snow caves to get shelter from wind, but when the temperature reaches the extremes that it has been doing over the last few days, that will only go so far. The answer is in fluffing up the feathers to increase their insulating capacity and by stoking the metabolism by increasing energy intake. For example, Black-capped Chickadees, one of our most common and iconic winter bird consume up to 10% of their body weight during the day and burn it over night. As it turns out the chickadee has another trick up their…, er…, feathery sleeves to cope with the most extreme temperature. Chickadees have the ability to drop their body core temperature allowing them to tolerate lower temperatures by reducing the amount of energy required for generating heat.
May the curiosity be with you. This is from “The Birds are Calling” blog (www.thebirdsarecalling.com). Copyright Mario Pineda.