Winter in Iowa hosts cold, short days, with long, dark nights, and is a time of hunger. To avoid these extreme living conditions many of our wild neighbors will migrate to greener pastures, many will go into a deep sleep till the spring sun warms them awake, but many still will stay active and awake.
Lots of us like to help birds through the winter by providing seed, suet, and water. This kind act attracts bright song and festive feathers to our otherwise forlorn yards. There are however, many more hungry mouths to feed and those mouths need more than just seeds.
These wild neighbors are tough and their presence keeps us from being lonely as we all wait out the long winter together. In order to survive they need to consume a lot of calories to keep warm. For them and frankly for all of us, it is incredibly important that there are healthy and diverse habitats to live in and collect resources from. These places must have clean water sources, host a diverse community of plants and animals for food, provide shelter from piercing winds, have clean air to breathe, and encompass enough space for each winter survivor to find the resources needed to keep their bodies warm and well fed.
If you were to visit one of these healthy habitats during the winter you would find all the food needed to survive the winter.
Below is a winter menu locally available at the “Loess Hills Café” also known as a healthy, diverse habitat, followed by close ups of the locally harvested fare. Discover some of the foods that make up an omnivorous diet during the winter months.
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