Winter birds: hungry and bold

Common redpoll by Liron Gertsman
Common redpoll by Liron Gertsman

When it’s cold and frosty outside most of us just want to tuck up inside with a cup of tea and a blanket, but the cold isn’t a big problem for birds. They have several layers of fluffy, insulating down to trap heat, so you are unlikely to see your local chickadees shivering! However, with the short days and long nights, each bird will need to make sure it finds and eats enough food.

The smallest birds, like kinglets and chickadees, that each weigh less than a couple of timbits need to feed throughout the daylight hours and consume as much as 1/3 of their body weight each day to maintain adequate fat supplies that they use for energy.

While you often won’t have great luck seeing a large variety of birds during summer because they are up high in the canopy or hiding in dense shrubbery, birds in winter tend to be bolder and come out into the open more.  One of the rewards for venturing outside during the cold winter days is that you really get a chance to see these beautiful birds close up.

Right now is a great time to see flocks of birds, including common redpoll, pine siskin and red crossbill, moving in busy crowds (often mixed) from tree to tree in the quest for foods. If you are curious to know what’s about in the Park at the moment, have a look at the results of this past Sunday’s monthly bird count.

If you are looking for a bit of guidance on where and how to look for birds, join us for our monthly bird walk, Birds of a Feather, on Sunday January 27 from 1-3 pm. You can read more here.


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