Towhee eating snow

Sunday, January 13, 2013

All animals need to drink water in order to survive. During winter when temperatures drop below freezing for extended periods of time ponds, puddles, and small streams can freeze over. Most often in Southeast Missouri there will be places along streams where running water will keep trickling, even when temperatures drop and stay below 32 degrees Fahrenheit for several days.

But woodland animals might not all have access to such a water source. This may or may not cause them to have to go a few days without a drink. Nature usually will provide a bit of snow cover just before or during a spell of cold winter weather. Resident foxes, deer, bobcats and other animals that stay the winter must find a source of liquid. Some of them can get enough moisture to sustain themselves from the foods they eat.

Many wild animals, including this male eastern towhee, will instinctively eat snow. During times of extended cold weather, snow is a blessing to our wild animals.

Through the Woods is a weekly nature photo column by Aaron Horrell. Find this column at semissourian.com to order a reprint of the photo. Find more work by Aaron at The Painted Wren Gallery.

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