There has not been a lot activity on the reserve during the winter months. Why do you think this might be?

Animals have different ways of coping with the severe winter weather. Some animals, especially birds, stay active during the winter and we have seen this through the bird cam. A few species of bird migrate to warmer countries and return in the summer. Look out for posts later in the year when the reed warblers return to nest in the Heart of Reeds

a5 foraging birdsDuring the winter, many animals hide away and become dormant and some hibernate.

This might be because there is not enough food or it might be because they would not survive the cold weather

Hibernation is a long period of deep sleep that allows some animals to survive the extreme weather in winter. However, true hibernation only occurs in small mammals. During this special sleep their heart rate, breathing and body temperature become very slow and they only need a small amount of energy to stay alive.

a7 grey squirrel

Animals that hibernate usually eat lots of food in the autumn to build up large fat reserves in their body which will provide enough energy to keep them alive during their hibernation. The pipistrelle bats that feed along the Winterbourne stream hibernate during the winter because of their small size and the lack of insects to hunt. However the grey squirrels that live in the woodland area remain active all winter.

Amphibians and reptiles are cold blooded which means their body temperature is the same as their surroundings. They cannot stay active in the winter and they also become dormant. This is known as brumation (similar to hibernation). They may spend the winter either underground, under logs or in an old rabbit hole. Some common frogs may also hibernate in the bottom of a pond and are able to ‘breathe’ through their skin.

As winter becomes spring many animals will be more active and soon animals will awaken from hibernation.