Crows are habitual of warm and cold environments, depending on the species, as some birds can survive cold weather, while others are habitual to live in warm climates.
How Do Crows Survive The Winter? Crows can survive in winter by getting in a torpor state, roosting in large groups, fluffing their feathers, producing more heat by shivering, tucking feet and beaks, moving to warmer places, and storing food. Some crow species migrate towards warmer areas, while others prefer to stay in their local habitats. They can bear a cold up to -20 to -22 Celsius or -4 to – 7.6 Fahrenheit.
Birds have skills and instinct traits to bear the snowy and cold weather because they are warm-blooded and maintain their body temperature in winter. Crows are also adaptable to survive in cold environments because they use different tricks to maintain their body temperature in changing weather.
How do crows survive the winter season?
Crows can survive in warm and cold environments like many other birds because they can find suitable conditions in changing climates and thrive in the cold seasons.
Get into a torpor state
Crows get into a state called torpor when the extreme winter season arrives, such as they lay down on the ground with their beaks half open and slowing down the body’s activities to conserve energy.
It helps to maintain the body temperature and slow the metabolism rate, which does not allow much energy to dissipate from their bodies.
In a torpor state, these birds also slow their breathing and heart rate, which causes the body heat to remain moderate, and they survive in extremely cold weather.
Many birds get into a torpor state like animals and rodents hibernate during snowy and winter seasons. The torpor state is reversible and controlled physically and lasts for a short time compared to hibernation.
Roosting in large groups
Crows are social and like to communicate and fly in large groups because it helps them share information about food and prevent potential risks from predators.
In winter, they gather in hundreds and thousands of numbers and roost together on tree branches around their habitat.
They gather in thousands to survive the harsh and cold environment as they sleep and sit to maintain their body heat.
They transfer the heat from their bodies to one another, which is essential to survive because an individual bird cannot survive and maintain its body temperature in snowy weather when it gets separated from its group.
These birds use the same roosting place every year, as a roosting place in New York has been observed as old as for approximately 30-40 years, and they gather here every year.
Feathers provide insulation to birds, such as the thick feathers acting as a jacket to prevent the cold air into the body. Some birds show a distinct feature of growing more feathers before the winter season, which helps them to maintain their body temperature.
Crows, like many other birds, fluff up their feather in cold weather to prevent heat loss from their inner skin and maintain warmth.
They trap air by fluffing the feathers, such as the more air packets in their feathers, the more warmth they get. Air is not a good conductor of heat, so these air packets around their bodies will not allow the body temperature to lower and be less affected by the outside weather.
They press their feathers close to the body in summer because it will allow the heat from their bodies to pass into the environment and maintain a lower body temperature.
Stay warm by shivering
Birds have a higher metabolism than humans and many mammals because the chemical reactions in birds are higher than in humans.
Their bodies produce more heat due to high metabolism, such as they conserve more energy in maintaining life and doing various activities. Their heat loss to heat generation ratio in bodies is higher than in humans and some animals.
Crows can have more body heat when they shiver because many muscles group together, increasing body temperature and metabolic rate.
Shivering helps these birds to get warmth and increase the body temperature, as the skeleton muscles move when they shiver, which generates heat.
Tucking the feet and beaks
Tucking is a common behavior observed in birds, as they tuck their beaks and one leg into the feather to hide the exposed body parts from the cold.
Crows also tuck their beaks into their neck to provide warmth to the exposed bills and maintain the body temperature by rubbing the beaks around their neck.
Some birds fold one leg around the body with thick feathers to get heat from the inside body parts, such as the belly.
They tuck their bills for two reasons: to maintain the temperature and get warm air for better breathing because the oxygen level in cold air is low.
Local movements to warmer places
Crows move towards the local areas near their habitat, such as thick trees and large tree cavities hide from the cold weather.
They usually roost on the roadsides, streetlights, and electrical wires from transformers in rural areas but prefer to make local movements to warmer places around their nesting areas if the nests are in colder places and exposed to wind.
These displacements and movements are for a short time, as they return to the nests when the winter season ends, or the severity in cold weather reduces.
Food sources for these birds are limited in winter, and they prefer to store large quantities, such as nuts, seeds, and other eatables to consume in cold weather.
They forage food in group forms and eat anything available because they cannot survive without food in any season.
They use their problem-solving skills to restore the stored food, such as utilizing twigs and sticks to get food from dug holes in the ground and tree cavities.
Crows are intelligent and have a sharp sense of smell, such as they can sense the food from its smell and eat it instantly.
They do not forget the nesting areas where they bury food for winter and reach the locations where food scarcity occurs around their habitats.
Do crows migrate in the winter?
Some crow species can migrate in winter if no food source is available, and the harsh weather causes survival difficulties.
Crows in America and the Canadian coast remain in their territories the whole year and do not migrate too far away. However, the northern American crow population and Canadian birds can migrate towards the southern parts in winter for breeding and food sources.
The five subspecies of American crows, such as Eastern, Western, Southern, Florida, and Northwestern crows, show different behaviors in winters about migration.
Florida and Southern American crows prefer to remain in their permanent territories, while eastern, western, and northwestern species migrate toward warmer areas to survive.
Hooded crows in Europe also migrate in winter because they need adequate food sources and suitable breeding grounds.
However, these birds return to their nesting areas when spring arrives because they prefer to lay eggs in their permanent habitats.
Crows do not migrate too far in winter because they will return there after cold weather such as The eastern and western crows on the US coast can travel 300-310 miles.
Why do crows not get cold?
Crows usually do not get cold in winter because their bodies are adaptable to changing climates and maintain their body temperatures in different weathers.
They have a circulatory system in their bodies, which allows the blood to flow and regulates the body temperature according to the outside environment.
They do not flow much blood toward their feet and legs, which prevents heat loss from the exposed body parts.
They are adaptable to changing weather conditions and, therefore, are less prone to cold and other problems due to cold environments.
How cold can crows survive?
These birds can survive snowy and cold weather, depending on the species, food sources, age, and health of the crow, as a healthy and adult bird can survive climate changes.
They can survive a temperature up to -20 to -22 Celsius, or you can say they can thrive as low as a temperature of -4 to -7.6 Fahrenheit.
However, these birds cannot survive for a long time if they are exposed to cold or snowy weather for the long term without adequate food sources and shelter.
The birds can maintain their body temperature if they get enough food because they have a high metabolism and consume more energy in different activities.