Do Birds Stick to Metal Feeders In Winter?

Do Birds Stick to Metal Feeders In Winter?

Alisa Opar
Published: 02/13/2010


I learned an important lesson from the movie A Christmas Story: Don’t lick metal in winter. That didn’t stop me, of course, from licking my finger and pressing it to a metal pole in sub-zero temperatures to see if it would stick. It did, and boy was I glad I had conducted my experiment with a digit instead of my tongue. All the cold weather and snow we’ve had recently reminded me of that trial, and also got me wondering: Will birds stick to metal feeder parts during subfreezing temperatures? World-renowned ornithologist Steve Kress has the answer.

“Our fingers may stick to metal ice cube trays because moisture freezes on contact with frigid metal,” explains Kress. “However, a bird's feet are covered with dry scales, so there is no surface moisture to freeze to metal perches. Eyes, tongues, and beaks are usually safe from exposure to metal feeder parts. Rapid reflexes prevent the eye from coming in contact with foreign surfaces, and the beak is protected by a horny, dry surface.”?  [From Audubon magazine]

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