Winter survival for chickadees

Mountain Chickadee Black-capped chickadees, chestnut-backed chickadees and mountain chickadees spend the winter in the Kimberley Nature Park. Have you ever wondered how these little birds survive our harsh winter weather? Chickadees eat insects, berries, and seeds for much of the year, and they have beaks that are well-adapted to cracking oil- and energy-rich conifer seeds, their main winter food. They have even been seen eating energy-rich fat from animal carcasses opened up by predators and scavengers. This diet allows chickadees to add body fat amounting to 10 percent of their weight each day, and to use it up each night to generate heat. On the human scale, imagine if you gained five to

An Abundance of Hares

If you are out snowshoeing or skiing in the park this winter, it will be hard not to notice the fresh tracks of snowshoe hares. These close relatives of rabbits (hares are to rabbits as goats are to sheep) have wildly fluctuating population levels on a roughly 10-year cycle, and right now it seems they are near their peak. They like to hang out in areas with lots of brush or young trees that provide cover from predators, so look for them in parts of the park with dense thickets of deciduous shrubs or conifer regeneration. You are most likely to see them around dawn and dusk, which is when they do their most active foraging. Side-by-side tracks of snowshoe hares along the Upper Army Road Whil

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