By, Caroline Ladd These past few weeks have been incredibly cold. So cold, in fact, that for the second year in a row Lake Champlain ha...

Winter Temperatures

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By, Caroline Ladd

These past few weeks have been incredibly cold. So cold, in fact, that for the second year in a row Lake Champlain has frozen all the way across. The record low temperatures that we have been experiencing across the northeast are all over the news and the topic of many conversations. Going outside in these temperatures is, well... unbearable.


These temperatures can be discouraging but we hold onto the hope that spring is somewhere in the near future. While we bundle up in layers of sweaters, coats, hats, and mittens to stay warm, do you ever find yourself wondering how can birds possibly stay warm living outside?


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Public Domain Photo of a Cardinal during the winter


An interesting article (worth a read), was published on the Smithsonian website addressing how these little creatures can possibly stay warm. Birds’ feathers are actually an amazing and extremely useful source of heat. Have you ever noticed while putting on your coat that it might be filled with feathers? That is because feathers are an incredible form of insulation.


Have you ever felt silly wearing an extremely puffy winter coat? Well, birds wear them too, their own feathers. In preparation for the winter months, birds fluff up their feathers to trap as much air in as they possibly can. Their body heat is able to then heat up the air fluffed into the feathers to keep them warm. That is the same thing that we do when putting on a down filled coat. Our own body heat is strong enough to heat up the air that is fluffed between the feathers in the coat (this is why down coats are often puffy) and therefore keep us warm in temperatures like today!


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Public Domain Photo of a Barred Owl Taken in March here in Vermont


Birds are incredible creatures and their ability to stay warm in subzero temperatures is just one of their many redeeming qualities. The Lake Champlain Basin Program will be holding an event on March 12, from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. as part of the  Love the Lake Speakers Series where Bird Diva Consulting’s Bridget Butler will be talking about one of the many types of birds that we have in the Lake Champlain Basin: Owls.



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