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Sunday, January 13, 2013

Birds sometimes share roosts on cold nights


In winter, birds often share warm, protected roost cavities with others of their species; everyone benefits from the cumulative body warmth. Usually, for example, Bluebirds share roosts with young Bluebirds they raised earlier in the year, but on particularly wet, cool or windy nights, a dozen or more unrelated birds may pile into a single roost cavity to keep warm, if they can find one.

    At our home, we simply set some sturdy boxes around, with entry holes near the bottom (so birds’ body heat can rise, but not escape). Unused birdhouses may work - depending on where the entrance hole is, it may have to be turned upside-down so the heat doesn't escape. Since birds roost at night, you may never actually see them, but you'll know they don’t die out in the cold, plus you'll have more birds around in coming seasons.

Survival of the fittest trees              When high winds blow down twigs and branches, we’re witnessing a little bit of evolution in action. Think about it. Those “blown off” leaflets, if not dead already, were the weak /insect-prone ones. The seeds associated with them, will never grow – the seeds from strong, remaining branches will!  Throughout the year it happens, and every year the trees’ “gene pool” gets a tiny bit healthier.

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