Dandy Designs
How Birds Find Food in Winter
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Let me see, where did I put those seeds?


Many kinds of birds do not migrate to warmer climates during the winter, but they survive in cold areas where the ground is often covered with snow. How can they find the food to survive when the sources of food are under the snow?

Some winter birds store food. This is true of crows, nuthatches, chickadees, and jays. Those birds may make up to 200 different storage places burying food in the crevices of tree bark and hollow limbs or under leaves. They leave no marks to identify these storage places but they are able to return to find the food up to 6 months after leaving it. To prove that this is actually a case of memorizing where the food is stored, some Toronto researchers captured nine chickadees after recording the places where the birds stored their food. Twenty-eight days later they released the birds. The chickadees flew to the places where the food had been stored. They had obviously remembered where they stored their food.

Researchers have determined that this memory is made possible in the part of the bird’s brain known as the hippocampus. Scientists removed the hippocampi from the brains of chickadees and then the birds were unable to locate their food sources even just after placing the food there. Twenty-three species of North American birds have been analyzed by scientists and the results show that birds that store their foods have much larger hippocampi than those who do not.

It appears that certain birds have been specifically designed to have the capacity to remember where their food storage places are, enabling them to survive the harsh winter environment. It is a truly remarkable design which indicates a Designer.



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