What do wildlife do when it’s cold?

We know how the cold impacts us as humans – the insides of our noses freeze, our cars are slow to start, and the air inside feels dry and unpleasant. We bring our pets inside, suit up our dogs with booties and vests, and smear Vaseline on our roosters.

But what if you’re a critter that lives outdoors? Many animals enter a state of torpor. They slow down their metabolism and appear to be sleeping. Species have adapted to cold climates in other ways through the ages, through storing fat, growing additional fur or feathers, and developing arteries and veins in close proximity to each other – warm blood from the heart passes cold blood from extremities, and heats it up.

These adaptations even include fish. According to the Smithsonian, “Luckily, ice floats because water is most dense as a liquid, allowing fish to swim freely in not-quite-freezing temperatures below the solidified surface. Additionally, fish may lack the cold-sensing receptor shared by other vertebrates. They do, however, have unique enzymes that allow physiologic functions to continue at colder temperatures. In polar regions, fish even have special “antifreeze proteins” that bind to ice crystals in their blood to prevent widespread crystallization.”

If you want to help chilly wildlife this winter, there are a few things you can do! Click here to check out this post from Discover Wildlife for more information.

It’s almost time for the Great Backyard Bird Count!

Every February, thousands of volunteers across the planet participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count. CLC is hosting an event at Ooms Conservation Area February 16. 

What’s the Great Backyard Bird Count? Here’s what Audubon has to say:

The Great Backyard Bird Count is a free, fun, and easy event that engages bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of bird populations. Participants are asked to count birds for as little as 15 minutes (or as long as they wish) on one or more days of the four-day event and report their sightings online at birdcount.org. Anyone can take part in the Great Backyard Bird Count, from beginning bird watchers to experts, and you can participate from your backyard, or anywhere in the world.

Each checklist submitted during the GBBC helps researchers at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society learn more about how birds are doing, and how to protect them and the environment we share. Last year, more than 160,000 participants submitted their bird observations online, creating the largest instantaneous snapshot of global bird populations ever recorded.

The 21st annual GBBC will be held Friday, February 16, through Monday, February 19, 2018. Please visit the official website at birdcount.org for more information and be sure to check out the latest educational and promotional resources.