A Sentiment

God knew what He was doing when He sent a gentle breeze and brought a lovely butterfly to set my heart at ease. The happiness of your friendship and the gentleness of your words have touched my life in special ways and now I feel assured. Thank you for your loyalty and for reading everyday. I only hope you find things to make a happy day.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Winter Survival

I have been wondering about our friends who live in the out of doors throughout the winter. Some animals remain and stay active in the winter. They adapt to the changing weather. Many make changes in their behavior or bodies. To keep warm, animals may grow new, thicker fur in the fall. Food is hard to find in the winter. Some animals, like squirrels, mice and beavers, gather extra food in the fall and store it to eat later. We watch them taking food from our feeders and hiding it. A squirrel buries nuts...how do they find where they have buried them? Some, like rabbits and deer, spend winter looking for moss, twigs, bark and leaves to eat. Other animals eat different kinds of food as the seasons change. The red fox eats fruit and insects in the spring, summer and fall. In the winter, it can not find these things, so instead it eats small rodents.
Animals may find winter shelter in holes in trees or logs, under rocks or leaves, or underground.I have a big barrel in the woods, laid on it's side, to make a home for some creature. I have found nesting material in it in the spring. To try to stay warm, animals like squirrels and mice may huddle close together. The biggest problem for most animals in the winter is finding enough food. If an animal's main source of food is very scarce in the winter, like insects or green plants, it may solve this problem by hibernating. This deep sleep allows them to conserve energy, and survive the winter with little or no food.
Most hibernators prepare in some way for the winter. Some store food in their burrows or dens, to eat when they awake for short periods. Many eat extra food in the fall while it is plentiful. It is stored as body fat to be used later for energy.If an animal lives in an area where the winter is mild, it may hibernate only briefly, or not at all. However, even when the weather is severe, hibernators may wake up for short periods every few weeks to use their "toilet rooms" and eat if food is available. So, in reading this...I have been thinking about how nice it is for the mice, who come into our basement...They must think that it is Heaven on earth. All toasty warm and inviting until...SNAP goes the mousetrap. Also the moles who burrow in our back yard and make tunnels across the lawn...are they down there taking a snooze? The little vole, who leaves a track of bare lawn next to Blue...is he hibernating or just chilling out? Are the critters in the woods hiding in crevises and holes in trees....looking for me to fill the feeders. I am watching what I think are Common Ravens right now. Two huge black birds with craggy necks and a huge wing span, strutting around our garbage cans. The are marching like soldiers on a mission. They are out for food...roadkill and garbage. They almost dare you to hit them with your car. They are survivors. The little birds are so active in the winter...trying to keep warm. We feed them all. When I came in to my computer two bluejays were on the feeder and little juncos waiting underneath for a tiny seed to drop. Here are some ideas on how to attract birds.

(1) String popcorn and cranberries on a long, doubled piece of thread. String whole peanuts on another thread.

(2) Slice fruit crosswise, about 1/4-1/2 inch thick. Poke a hole about 2/3 of the way across each slice, thread a 12 inch piece of string through it and tie the ends together.

(3) Put peanut butter or suet into the holes in a pine cone. Tie a string to it.

(4) Cut suet into large pieces and put it into an onion bag.

(5) Hang food from trees and bushes in sheltered areas, where you can see it. Be patient. It takes time for birds and animals to find the food. Try different locations. Note: If you choose to begin feeding the birds regularly, try to do it throughout the winter. They start to depend on you and may have trouble finding other sources of food later in the winter.
This is a cold day and I have compassion for all creatures great and small. I am going to go and fill the feeders and then make a warm breakfast for Joe.


Roses and Lilacs said...

This is a critical, life or death time for our birds. With all their natural foods covered with snow and ice, many will not survive. In weather like this, I not only fill the feeders, but sprinkle seed on the ground for the juncos and other birds that don't adapt to the feeders. Yesterday I had 5 downeys at the same time visiting the suet feeders.

Do your winter birds eat fruit. Mine never have. All the fruit eaters seem to have migrated.

Balisha said...

Hi Marnie...When I filled them this morning, I too sprinkled some under the feeders.I put some raisins in the feeders and sometimes cranberries, if I have them, and they are always gone. I don't know who eats them.....maybe not the birds, but the other visitors.

Anonymous said...

What a breathtakingly lovely photo, Balisha! You are so right about feeding the critters, and once you start, you must continue as they have become dependent on you. We do trap mice inside the house, and even have two lazy cats, but they are not bothered outside. The compost with leftover human food seems to be a grocery store for many. What is tossed into it one day will be gone the next. We have brush piles along the property lines that we know are filled with critters finding safety and warmth there. It is good to help them as much as we can.

Barbee' said...

All our feeders are busy, and a flock of robins came through and stripped the berries from the hollies.

Anonymous said...

I love the idea about the pine cones with the peanut butter. I have several pine trees and the cones are everywhere. I will certainly try this one. You asked about a pie. There is a recipe on my blog called Fantastic Fudge Pie that is real easy and real good! I usually just make pumpkin pies for Christmas and jam cake. When I make the fudge pie I could eat the whole thing myself! lol. I have a great chocolate cookie recipe I am getting ready to put up, too. I am a chocoholic and this one sure hits the spot if you are craving something chocolate.

Balisha said...

Hello Ladies,
I thought that I would answer all of you with this one comment. We must continue feeding these creatures...once we start...I know. When my feeders are getting low...they all seem to look in the window at me...while I'm eating at the table and say, "Can we have your scraps?" I have never been able to eat in front of anyone. Even my dog.

Oh, Barbee...that's where my robins are...and Judy I'll check your blog for that pie recipe.

Doreen said...

I just love this post...I am a big one for feeding the birds and animals..especially this time of year. I love watching nature from inside my home and I love knowing that I am helping them get through the cold winter months.

This pictures in your post is absolutely wonderful!

So happy to have found your blog,

Balisha said...

HI Doreen,
I'm glad that you enjoyed this post. Come again soon. I'll have to come over and read your blog. Have a wonderful weekend.

coolwaterworks said...

Hi Balisha!

I'm back...

This is such a nice post - it is so nice of you to think of the other lovely creatures during winter... And to take time to feed them...

Your pic is amazing! :)

btw, my site is now: