Winter Connection #3 – Winter in the Animal World

It’s easy for me to assume that because I am snug and warm inside my house, all of God’s creatures feel the same. Not so. However, those creatures which are out and about in winter often have adaptations allowing them to find food, stay warm and thrive.
Here’s some info tidbits about various animals who thrive in winter.

Boys’Club – Mountain sheep finish mating in late December to early January. Males then leave the females and return to their bachelor herds. The sexually segregated groups survive the winter on south-facing grasslands, pawing through snow to find food.

GhostHooter – The snowy owl, the largest birds species in the Arctic, feeds on up to 1,600 lemmings a year. During its daytime hunts, the male snowy owl perches over the open tundra, still and silent, camouflaged by its white plumage.

SupremeEagle – Stellar’s sea eagles are large, powerful raptors with wingspans up to eight feet. Many migrate in winter from their frigid arctic breeding grounds along the coast of far eastern Russia to feed in the open waters off Japan’s coasts.

WetRide – In North America, flocks of red-necked grebes proceed to the Atlantic and Pacific coasts to winter, spending nearly all their time on the water. They usually inhabit sheltered coves, inlets and river mouths.

SingASong – The humpback whales’ song is a complex acoustic display of nature. It can be heard with growing frequency as fall progresses into winter and whales swim to their breeding grounds, sometimes a journey of thousands of miles.
ThickSkin – Beluga whales have a layer of blubber up to five inches thick that allows them to endure freezing Arctic waters. Beluga means “white one” in Russian, but only mature adults are white. Calves, born gray, become white within eight years.

IcyJellies – The lion’s mane jellyfish lives year-round in the icy Arctic Ocean. Individual jellies can grow to eight feet in diameter with tentacles 150 feet in length, which makes them the world’s largest animals.

ColorCoded – The Atlantic cod’s coloring reveals its home environment: red or green tints derive from an abundance of algae, whereas pale gray hues come from dwelling on a sandy ocean floor. Adult cod can live in temperatures below 14 degrees F.

(Today’s information came from Chris Hardman’s Ecological Calendar 2013.

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