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On a Cold, Cold Night

When the weather gets cold, birds get creative!
© mikelangman.co.uk View Large

When the bitter cold of winter arrives, songbirds face an emergency: how to keep warm through the night. On normal nights, many prefer sleeping solo in a sheltered spot. But in severe cold, some kinds of birds may have a greater prospect of survival by roosting with others.

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Transcript: 

BirdNote®  

On a Cold, Cold Night

Written by Bob Sundstrom
 
This is BirdNote.

[sound of frigid weather]

When the bitter cold of winter arrives, songbirds face an emergency: how to keep warm through the night. On normal nights, many prefer sleeping solo in a sheltered spot. But in severe cold, some kinds of birds may have a greater prospect of survival by roosting with others.

The tiny Eurasian Wren is a common garden bird in England, quite similar to the Winter Wren of the U.S.

 [Eurasian Wren song, https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/173593401#_ga=2.27959161.491525157.156..., 0.01-.05 or .09] 

And both are expert snugglers.

In England, nine Eurasian Wrens hunkered together in an old Song Thrush nest, and an astonishing forty-six packed into a vacant nest box. Some of the wrens came from a mile away to seek the warm company of their peers.

In the U.S., thirty-one Winter Wrens were found squeezed together in a nest box.

 [Winter Wren call, https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/124618251#_ga=2.195785705.491525157.15... 0.15-.18]

Bluebirds and nuthatches will also cluster in nest boxes or tree hollows during extreme weather. When massed together like this, birds may crouch in layers on each other’s backs.

Some of these species also nest in cavities during the warmer months. Perhaps because of this, they may be more inclined to tuck up together in a warm enclosure on those bitter nights.

For BirdNote, I’m Michael Stein.

[sound of frigid weather]
                                                             ###
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Sallie Bodie
Editor: Ashley Ahearn
Associate Producer: Ellen Blackstone
Assistant Producer: Mark Bramhill
Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Recorded by
BirdNote’s theme was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
© 2020 BirdNote   January 2020

ID#  roost-05-2020-01-27    roost-05    Narrator: Michael Stein

[source: Alexander F. Skutch.  Birds Asleep. U. of Texas Press, 1989.]

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