Creatures of the Cold

December 11, 2013

In case you haven’t noticed, it has been downright cold lately. Here in Missouri it has dropped down into the single digits at night so I had to start the little heater up in the well house to keep our water from freezing. As I sit writing this week’s edition, I’m looking out the window at a windy mix of freezing rain and snow. It is so bleak outside, I’m not even experiencing my usual, “Why am I in here when I could be out there taking pictures?” guilt trip.

Often on windy, cold nights when we can hear ice pellets hitting the windows in our living room, Joyce and I commiserate about all of the little songbirds, such as titmice and cardinals, and the mammals, especially white-tailed deer, that have to tolerate such miserable conditions. Although we are fully aware that wild animals are perfectly adapted to the harsh conditions of their surroundings, we still can’t help but feel sympathy for them, hunkered down in whatever cover they can find.

I thought this would be a great week to feature some images of wild animals that I’ve captured on the coldest of days. As I’ve watched and photographed these critters over past years, I’ve been reminded of their indifference to conditions that would make humans hide under the covers.

For example, in the featured image of a ring-necked duck at Busch Conservation Area, you might be surprised to hear that the little diver slid into the water for a quick dip at least four to five times every hour before returning to its favorite spot on the ice. Also, as you can see, the look in the ringneck’s eye does not convey, “I’m cold!” Instead, it just says, “Why don’t you leave me alone and go photograph somebody else?” Oh yeah, I know that look from a mile away!

Don’t forget, you can click on the images below to enlarge them for viewing.


Just another day in paradise for a northern harrier at Busch Conservation Area.


Yes, that is ice on the pelican’s back. In case you are wondering, the protuberance in its pouch is the tail of a huge silver carp. Not enough room down the hatch! (Mississippi River)


Ice building up at the end of an eagle’s bill on a 5-degree day. (Mississippi River at Clarksville, MO)


A whitetail’s face is obscured by steam from it’s nostrils. (Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary)


Trumpeter swans at the interface of ice and water. (Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary)


A common grackle waiting for a space at the bird feeder here at the farm.


Eastern bluebirds in a dish of fresh water on a 10-degree day here at the farm.


A river otter doesn’t even notice the surrounding ice on a bitter day. (Busch Conservation Area)

I hope you enjoyed these chilly images of Missouri wildlife going about their daily business, regardless of the weather. If these critters are anything like me, they are much more miserable in summer than winter.

Happy Holidays,

Danny Brown

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12 comments on “Creatures of the Cold”

  1. That makes me feel warm and toasty!

  2. What a great idea for a post. They all look sufficiently cold to fit the theme.

    • Thanks Lyle. Always plenty of unused images in the files that are itching to get out. Take care.

  3. Thanks for sharing Danny, thoes were some pretty amazing shots. It makes you wonder, how all of the animals can surviive in such harsh temps. I glad that I have a nice warm house. Looking at thoes pictures, makes me want to head to Ca. too
    which I am. See Ya.


  4. Even on a borrowed, ratty connection in Ahmedabad (a western Indian city)..the images are stunning! Thank you, may the snowflakes continue to bless readers like me with more such photos!

    • Thanks Deepa…..I’m blessed that I can send Nature Frames to wonderful readers, all the way to Ahmedabad!

  5. I enjoyed the cold weathered pics this week. I often think of the animals being so cold. I have to agree with you, the cold is much easier than the hot summer days!

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