Sunday, December 21, 2008

201 - Winter World: The Ingenuity of Animal Survival; Bernd Heinrich

I have had this book on my shelf for a few years. Yesterday, after receiving about 10" of snow here in New England, it seemed like the perfect reading choice for me. I curled up near the fireplace and front windows where the bird feeder sits, and watched some of my tiny feathered friends brave the elements to fill their bellies. I quickly became fascinated with the book: Winter World; Bernd Heinrich.

The author is a biologist, and an illustrator, and this book has the most wonderful hand drawn illustrations. By exploring the the woods and studying the environment, mostly here in New England (Maine and Vermont) we learn some of the survival approaches employed by turtles, mice, squirrels, bats, bears, beavers, bees, beetles, birds and butterflies.

The general question is how do animals survive winters, when food may be scarce and temperatures extreme? We learn how birds, mammals, amphibians and insects are able to survive and some even thrive in the cold and snow covered lands. The chipmunk, for example, builds a 12 foot burrow system that includes a nest chamber three feet underground, several food storage chambers, and escape tunnels as well as the main channel. They hibernate not only when it's cold but, also when there's a low food supply.

This book full of amazing facts and details that answered a lot of the questions I've had for years about the challenges our furry and feathered friends face each winter. A perfect winter read. RECOMMENDED!


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