Winter Survival for Birds in the Freezing Midwest

As we sit smack dab in the middle of this bitterly cold Wisconsin winter (-20 this morning), I am looking out my window at my heated birdbath and to my amazement see some big fat robins taking a bath and having a blast taking drinks and splashing in the water!  I first of all could not believe the heater worked in these freezing cold temperatures and was truly amazed there were robins out! I was always told that robins were the first sign of spring! 

Being a big believer of bird baths and bird feeders in the summer I now realize just how important it is in the winter as well. Not all birds fly south! My feeders have birds at them all winter long and they eat like crazy before a weather change. They are out there all winter swinging on my feeder. This one is by far my favorite feeder:

There have been up to 10 birds on it at a time! Perfect for sunflower seeds and nuts.

Even though I see birds eating and drinking at my feeders and birdbath I often feel bad when I notice how few neighbors actually feed the birds. I started doing some research as it makes me wonder, how do these little furry creatures survive these brutal temperatures when they advise us to not be outdoors for more than 5 minutes to avoid frostbite? I found out that yes, birds do need the water to keep their feathers healthy when wet they fluff their feathers to keep warm. The food we can provide as homeowners is also critical. For shelter they huddle in pine trees and very interestingly they can lower their body temperatures to survive. I also found this article very interesting at the drsfostersmith.com. Again, reiterating the need for food and water in the cold months for our feathered friends.

In summary I just wanted to share these interesting facts with you and show you what I do to help these beautiful feathered friends. Now that I did my reading I feel a bit better about how they can survive these frigid temperatures as we all patiently await spring!