Don’t ruffle my feathers

Frosty the Snowman would be delighted to live in Minnesota this winter, where 20 F (-7C) is a warm (and rare) day.  Schools were closed one day this past week and will probably close some of next week, not because of snow but because of excessive wind chill in the -30 to -40F range.

The birds seem mostly unbothered by all the cold weather we humans fuss about, but I imagine they too are suffering some of the effects of the wind, as it disturbs the carefully fluffed feathers and carries away their expensively produced body heat.

A male Red-bellied Woodpecker sporting a neck ruff... created by the stiff afternoon breeze

A male Red-bellied Woodpecker sporting a neck ruff… created by the stiff afternoon breeze.

Wind coming from all directions ruffles at least some of the bird's feathers.  Sitting out in the open results in too much heat loss.

No matter which way the bird faces, the wind still ruffles some of his feathers. Sitting out in the open results in too much heat loss on this chilly day at 4 F (-20 C).

It's actually a little warmer sitting in the sun with a tree trunk to block the wind.

It’s actually a little warmer sitting in the sun letting the tree trunk block the wind.  Even the gray squirrels like to bask on this side of the buckeye tree for a few minutes.

10 thoughts on “Don’t ruffle my feathers

  1. It is so deceiving to see the brilliant blue sky and to realize that it is not providing much warmth. At least it helps to show of the flamboyant red color of the woodpecker’s head.

    • Blue sky and bright sun — what a tease. You think it looks so nice for a walk outdoors, until you get out there and are immediately very uncomfortable.

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