For those of us who enjoy the outdoors, cold rain is surely the least welcome weather. While we can dress for frigid days, maneuver through the snow with boots or skis and endure the summer rains with a simple parka, cold rains chill you to the bone and few humans choose to venture outside. Such is the weather today in mid Missouri, with intermittent rain and temperatures in the thirties.
Unlike modern humans, wild creatures have little choice but to carry on with their daily routines. Their food does not come packaged for indoor consumption! Our backyard feeder, offering high calorie food without the energy expenditure of foraging, is busier than normal. The usual songbirds are visiting and a mixed group of fox and gray squirrels are searching the ground for fallen seed. Downy wood-peckers, chickadees, nuthatches and a couple of Carolina wrens are working on the suet block, which will be targeted by starlings later in the day.
Of course, these creatures would do just fine without our handouts and plenty of their wild cousins are out there in the cold rain, scouring the fields and woodlands for sustenance. And though some humans still live off the land, most of us are free to sit inside, munch on snacks and complain about the weather.