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Bird Feeding Tips

Tips on attracting and feeding backyard birds.

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Cold Feet? - Part 2 of 2

Posted by on in Attracting and feeding wild birds
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Last time, we explained that veins and arteries are located in close proximity in our birds’ legs….This allows warm arterial blood to raise the temperature of the adjacent venous blood before it returns to the main part  of the body. In addition, birds can constrict the blood vessels in their feet, reducing the overall amount of blood that flows there.

b2ap3_thumbnail_bird-Feeders-in-deep-snow-Robert-Tamulis.jpgPhotograph by Robert Tamulis

Birds also use specific behaviors to help keep their feet warm. If you watch carefully, you will see juncos, sparrows, and other ground-feeding birds interrupt their search for food to “rest” on the ground. When they drop their bodies over their feet and legs that way, they can use their feathers for warmth. A roosting bird that that lifts one foot off the perch and tucks it up into the feathers on its belly accomplishes the same thing, significantly reducing the percentage of uninsulated (unfeathered) surface area exposed to the air.

b2ap3_thumbnail_northern-cardinal-in-snow-Marvin-Stauffer.jpgPhotograph by Marvin Stauffer


Northern Cardinal male.  Photograph by Paul Gray

When you see a row of birds on a wire, try to determine whether any are standing on one foot. The more you observe birds adapting to adverse conditions, the great your opportunity to be inspired by them.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Junco-in-snow-Rich-Fowler.jpgDark-eyed Junco. Photo by Rich Fowler

As the late, great Yogi Berra once said:” You can observe a lot just by watching.”

I am delighted to join the Birdzilla team through this blog, sharing ideas and topics related to feeding and attracting wild birds in your backyard. Bird feeding is my life-long passion,  instilled by bird-feeding parents who raised me on an 80-acre farm in central Michigan.  After college, my wife and I served as U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer high-school teachers in Africa and then as staff members over an eight-year period.
Those wonderful times led to 30-years of bird-feeding leadership as founder of the Wild Bird Centers, franchising and supporting wild bird specialty stores across the country. I helped found the Bird Education Network and was a key financial supporter of PROJECT WILDBIRD, I currently serve as Executive Director of the National Bird-Feeding Society. Several years ago, I was asked to join “The Birder’s Team”, a working group of birding leaders selected by the National Wildlife Refuge System to recommend ways to better serve birders. millions of whom visit our extraordinary network of more than 500 Refuges. These “conservation jewels” actively protect critical habitat and conserve bird populations of all kinds. Most recently, I served as a judge to select the winning artist for the NWRS’ 2015 Duck Stamp Contest.

I now look forward to helping our readers experience the best our wonderful hobby offers. As I often say “The closer we live to each other, the closer we want to be to Nature.”

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