Yesterday, after a long morning walk in the snow, my dad joined us for hot chocolate and pancakes. We were watching the birds at the feeder--we get a remarkable variety here. Two flashy pairs of cardinals, purple finches incognito, a red-bellied woodpecker, juncos (juncoes?), red-breasted nuthatches and white-breasted ones too, and our real joy, a carolina wren.
My dad asked Ben, hoping to stump him, "How do birds keep their feet warm?"
Ben opened with a joke, "Well, they don't wear boots," he said, with a smile. "They are very, very cold, getting seeds in the snow. Their feet have talons," he said, holding his hands up jaw-height and curling his fingers down like eagle talons.
My dad said, "Yes, but how do they keep their feet warm?"
Ben pondered the birds, darting down from the big spruce tree onto our patio feeder and back again to the deep green cover.
"They have boots in their nests, that's how."