Chickadees can teach people survive the frigid winter

Chickadees can teach people survive the frigid winter, Iryna Chyrkova

You may be surprised, but this bird can teach us a lot!

According to Katrina Froese, education programs co-ordinator at Fort Whyte Alive in Winnipeg, chickadees know some very useful tricks for surviving in harsh winter weather. They do not fly away to warmer lands and spend their whole lives in the same area.

First of all, the bird prefers to eat fatty foods, and it can gain up to 10% of its weight during the day. This helps it to maintain body fat stores. Chickadees love to eat sunflower seeds or lard.

"A fluffy coat of chickadee feathers weighs about 10 percent of its entire body weight which would be the equivalent to a 200-pound man wearing a coat that weighs 20 pounds," Froese said.

The next trick is the ability of the body to lower the temperature in cold periods of the year. In winter, the bird's body temperature can be 8 degrees lower than in summer. Besides that, chickadees are team players.

"They're very smart," she said. "Those extra sets of eyes help them to find food such as your bird feeder and they also help other birds find food in the winter as well."

After the birds have eaten, they need to find shelter for rest. As a rule, it is a hole in the tree. They always bring food with them so that after the rest they have something to eat. Chickadees can predict the approach of a snowstorm. Before that, they try to consume as much food as possible, because then they may not find it.

"They stock up," Froese said. "That's something humans can learn from them — stock up ahead of a big winter snow storm event."

Chickadees have about 14 different sounds for communication with each other. Froese hopes to hear one of them in the near future.

"There's one that I think sounds like spring's here. It's a mating call. Once spring rolls around those flocks break up and they pick a spot for a male and a female to nest."

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Chickadees Fort Whyte Alive harsh winter weather
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