How Animals Weather The Winter

Michigan Wildlife Council Show Us How Animals Weather The Winter

So what are some things that you can do at home to help these animals out? Holly recommends you plant some plants that keep their berries year round, like crab apple trees and dogwoods. You can also set up a bird feeder to help tide them over to spring time, which Holly says is on it's way!

"We've been seeing some Red-winged Blackbirds around here today which is an excellent sign that spring is coming, and then both the Cardinals and the Chickadees start singing, and the Chickadees have a very definite spring-time song, and it sounds like 'cheeseburgers,'" says Holly.

So start listening for "cheeseburgers," the song of spring.

While the cold may make you want to bundle up and hibernate, or even fly south for the winter, you may be surprised to see that many critters like to stay and play right here in Michigan. Our friends at the Michigan Wildlife Council introduced us to Holly Vaughn, the Wildlife Communications Coordinator for the DNR, to answer our questions about animals in the winter. "People are often very surprised when they see a robin in the winter here in Southeast Michigan, but it is actually really common," Holly explains. "Because our winters are a little less harsh, and we tend to have a lot of ornamental trees, like crab apples, with fruit that stay all winter long."

Robins aren't the only ones to call Michigan home during the winter months, plenty of other animals have adapted to the cold as well. Holly told us that many mammals grown a thicker coat this time of year to stay warm, while birds stay warm by trapping air between their feathers and their body, fluffing up their feathers. Birds remain quite active during the winter, and squirrels do as well unless it is very cold. In that case, squirrels will hang out in their nests which they build in the tops of trees. Larger mammals like coyotes and foxes will roam around and start establishing their territory this time of year. Holly says they are also expert hunters in the snow, "they can actually hear mice under a couple feet of snow, they have such good hearing."