At – 4 Farenheit, How Can they Survive?

Jeff Zablow and his dog, Petra photographed by Jenny Jean Photography

Just awoke to find out that it is true. Here in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania the outside temperature is minus 4 degrees Farenheit! Does this frozen blanket of air cover all of the U.S. east of the Mississippi  river? Thankfully, our furnaces continue to keep our home comfortable.

How, how does the wildlife that we love so dearly, survive in this subfreezing weather? With a degree in Biology and a lifetime of reading much of what is available out there, I still struggle to understand how butterflies maintain their spark of life and keep their body parts healthy in this ice ball of an existence. Some are out there as eggs, delicate, teeny tiny eggs, hidden. Other butterflies await Spring in  their chrysalis or as caterpillars, in the leaf litter in your yard or at the edge of your tree line. Mourning cloaks and others remain hidden in holes and openings in trees. All of these timeless strategies confront – 4 Farenheit. How? Yes, intellectually I understand how they physiologically adapt (glycerols, etc.) but at the same time, it is near impossible to . . .

February is days away. That encourages me enormously. February 26th is my target day, for you see I have noticed that  for many a year, February 26th is the day that we here in northeastern U.S., first notice that the snowdrops have opened, and almost within minutes, the sweet, sweet crocuses will be opening too. Good, good.

Will I get to Afton, the Keys, Mt. Meron, Sandy Hook and Karner in 2014? Ahh to dream-


3 thoughts on “At – 4 Farenheit, How Can they Survive?

  1. I have wondered that about birds, as well. It’s gotten down to 20 below here (this weekend in the Chicago area), and the birds seem fine. I was really happy to hear them singing yesterday.


    • I too feel for the birds out there. It’s their exposed feet/legs that causes me to empathize with their toleration of freezing winter days & nights. As I understand it, their feet & legs are abundantly equipped with blood vessels, and that enables them to endure. Amazing, nevertheless. Me also thinks that much of that is to buck us up, when we are out in the arctic air, and then marvel at a robin, or a cardinal or a woodpecker.


  2. Ouch, that’s too cold! The wildlife are more strong than I to survive those harsh elements of weather.. Maybe the reason they can tolerate the harsh winters is due to their continued breeding by the strong survivors?


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