One of the most common questions we get asked here at OBS is: “What do you do with the birds in the winter?”
With the temperatures dropping and the winter upon us, we are completely ready for the colder weather. Winter preparations here can begin as early as the end of October. Our goal is to have everyone settled into their winter housing situation by Thanksgiving.
The majority of our birds are native species who are used to the temperatures that Ohio can dish out. They stay outside in their mews all winter long. We do provide heat sources for our two peregrine falcons and for our turkey vulture who stays outside. These heat sources are turned on when the daytime temperature drops below freezing.
For the remaining birds in our care, whether they are migratory, elderly, or simply a special case, we bring them inside. For example, Phoenix, our Harris hawk, is a desert species, so we bring him inside to live in a room with a window into the office. Since Phoenix is a human imprint, he enjoys the social interaction and likes to be “in” on everything happening in the office.
New this year, we decided to try out giving our migratory songbirds a heated space outside so that they can have a little help if it gets really cold but can still be out on mild and unseasonably warm winter days. We constructed a space attached to our Aviary and insulated it, then added perches and a heat source. The birds are free to come and go as they please and have adjusted well to using the space on cold days.
Stay tuned for a new blog post each week in December about our birds in the winter!