Black-capped chickadees stay warm and active in the winter through a combination of warm down ad eating calorie-dense foods.

Steely cold seeped through my gloved fingers as they gripped the lock on my front door. The chill of winter had found an easy path through this dense metal, and gave me a frosty preview of what waited outside. Pulling my hand back, I zipped my jacket higher, pulled my hat lower, and looked at the thermometer: 14 degrees. With a burst of resolve, I flipped the lock and braced for impact.

The frosty air I had so dreaded was bracing and fresh on my face, and pale, rising sunshine painted an ever-changing water color behind the lace of trees. With a deep breath, I relaxed, and had myself a very enjoyable hike. I love winter, but it still takes some willpower to leave the warm cocoon of my house.

Grouse feet

Ruffed grouse grow their own combination of snowshoes and grippers each winter, in the form of a comb-like fringe along the sides of their toes. The grouse foot on the left is from winter, the one on the right is from a summer grouse.

(Copyright © 2021 APG Media)

Load comments