The weather gets colder, the days get shorter, the leaves change color and fall off the trees. People live in warm houses and wear thick coats when they have to go outside, and they can buy the food they need to get through the cold season, but what about the animals?


Migration during winter

Animals do many different and amazing things to get through the winter. Some of them “migrate.” This means that they travel to other places where the climate is warmer or where they have more facilities to find food.

Many birds migrate in the fall. Because the journey can be dangerous, some travel in large flocks to feel more protected . For example, geese fly in noisy “V” -shaped groups, but other types of birds fly alone without problems. Birds can fly very long distances. For example, the Arctic Tern nests near the North Pole in the summer. In autumn, it flies south to Antarctica, and each spring it returns north again.

Most migratory birds travel shorter distances, but how do they find their way to the same place each year? The birds seem to navigate like the sailors did, using the sun, moon, and stars as direction. They also seem to have a compass in their brain to use the Earth’s magnetic field.

But it’s not just birds that migrate, and there are mammals, such as some bats, caribou, elk, and whales, that travel in search of food every winter as well. Many fish also migrate, having the ability to swim south or move into deeper, warmer waters.

But not only these animals … there are insects that also migrate! Certain butterflies and moths fly very long distances – for example, the monarch spends the summer in Canada and the northern US and migrates to southern Mexico during the winter. Most migratory insects travel much shorter distances, as is the case with termites and Japanese beetles, which simply move downward on the ground. Earthworms also move downward, some up to six feet below the surface.

Other ways to adapt to winter

To keep warm, the animals can have a new, thicker coat in the fall. But food is hard to find in the winter, and some animals, such as squirrels, mice, or beavers, collect extra food in the fall and store it to eat later. Some, like rabbits and deer, spend the winter foraging for moss, twigs, bark, and leaves to eat.

Other animals eat different types of food as the seasons change. The red fox eats fruits and insects in spring, summer and fall. In the winter it cannot find such things, so it feeds on small rodents.

Animals can find winter shelter in holes, in trees or logs, under rocks or leaves, or even underground. Some mice even build tunnels through the snow. Others, to try to keep warm, like squirrels and mice, may cuddle together.

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