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Birds use their special techniques to survive winter cold
by Tribune Staff
Jan 04, 2012 | 1147 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Courtesy Photo/Jacque Lowery
American goldfinches are migratory birds that can be seen in Nevada as they go from the Canadian border to Mexico for the winter.
Courtesy Photo/Jacque Lowery American goldfinches are migratory birds that can be seen in Nevada as they go from the Canadian border to Mexico for the winter.
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RENO — From food consumption to feather adjustments and shivering, birds use a variety of techniques to stay warm during winter, according to experts at Reno Wild Birds Unlimited.

Food is the most essential element, providing birds with the energy, stamina and nutrition they need to stay warm. Birds will expend energy very quickly, some losing up to 10 percent of their body weight on extremely cold nights. An ample supply of high-calorie foods, such as black oil sunflower seeds, peanuts and suet can be crucial to a bird’s survival.

“We can play a vital role during cold conditions,” said Jacque Lowery, manager of the Reno Wild Birds Unlimited in the three Moana Nursery locations. “At these times, a reliable supply of food can mean the difference between life and death for a bird.”

Most birds will also keep warm by adjusting their feathers to create air pockets.

“You will often notice the birds look fatter or ‘puffed up’ during cold weather,” Lowery said. “This is because the birds are fluffing up their feathers; the more air space, the better the insulation.”

While birds are equipped to withstand most winter weather, survival can be made easier by providing food, a heated, open source of water and protection from the elements with natural plant cover or a roosting box.

Wild Birds Unlimited, located inside all three Moana Nursery locations in Reno and Sparks, can provide products and information residents can use to help our feathered friends.

For more information, visit www.reno.wbu.com.
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