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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

North Texas birds' adaptations to cold weather


As long as they can get enough food, water and shelter, north Texas’ wild birds have evolved to survive a cold spell fairly well. Since birds obviously need to stay light enough to fly, they can’t just pack on a heavy layer of insulating fat for the winter like most animals do. They’ve developed other adaptations for cold-weather living.

  • At night, their body temperature drops by as much as 20 degrees, so they can conserve what little fat preserves they have.
  • In winter, they naturally grow about 29% more feathers, for extra insulation.
  • They eat high-energy food voraciously after a cold night, which is why feeders are usually busiest first thing in the morning.

       Help them by providing extra food in cold periods. And by keeping birdbaths full of clean water (only clean feathers will trap insulating air).

Despite these measures, many small songbirds don’t make it through cold weather. The possibility of death by dehydration, starvation or exposure is always facing them. Birds brighten our short, gray days just by being there, and often singing through it all. Helping them is the least we can do in return.

Help me with a dilemma please. I've been mingling bird trivia and north Texas landscaping tips together in this blog. And I'll keep mingling the two since there's clearly a relationship. But I need to know, from you, which should predominate.



  1. I like the way the posts have been co-mingled. The landscape tips have been timely - inserted as needed when seasons change or as suits a particular bird story. The birds probably take priority, but I don't think you need to change a thing.

  2. i agree with the post above. love the mutual responsibilty of land to birds. don't change a thing, bird hero.

  3. are the vultures protected in Denton? TWU pops big guns shots at night. curious for their protection. they roost with babies.

    1. Normally, vultures are protected by the federal Migratory Bird Act, but there are certainly loopholes that a state university could use. There's public health and the fact that there is a high concentration of students, and a"roost" even with juveniles, may not be a "nest" .Sorry; I just don't know enough about that particular situation.