My New Book


Too Cold To Go Birding

It was -21 degrees Fahrenheit when I woke up this morning. So, I took a squirt bottle, filled it with hot water from our tea kettle and got the following video outside of our apartment building:

53 comments to Too Cold To Go Birding

  • Patrick Belardo

    Pretty cool! But man, that is really darn cold. We’re panicking about 18 degrees here nj NJ tomorrow. That’s nothing!

  • Anonymous

    That is very cool. I wonder if it’s cold enough here (it’s rather balmy at +10 degrees) to try it.

    Were you a middle school or a high school science teacher in a past life?

  • Jess

    Wooo! Coolness.

    Did you see Dr. Wicked’s? Everybody’s at it! As though you guys really needed more frozen water around. ;)

  • Mark

    And people here in Atlanta think 12 degrees is cold! I remember doing a similar “experiment” in college in Colorado in sub zero temps. Pretty neat.

    Now get back inside and drink some hot chocolate!

  • Lynne

    Have you ever done this by throwing a cup of hot water into the air? It makes a neat sound when it vaporizes.

  • Veery

    We’re feeling it too, though not quite as frigid! Won’t be hiking today.

    I showed the son and nieces your video, now we have to try it. ;-)

    I bet the schools are also canceled up there?

  • birdchick

    I don’t want to hear from all you people where it’s above zero. I can take it as long as it’s above zero, but on day 3 of subzero, I’m gettin’ cranky.


    NBB and I actually tried the cup of boiling water first and only about half of it vaporized.


    Some rural schools have cancelled (especially up in northern MN where it’s even colder). But here in the Twin Cities, it’s business as usual.


    I’ve never been a science teacher…at least not one that I was aware of.

    I’ve been given the suggestion of the banana hammer, but I don’t have any bananas today. I have to go in and do the park ranger thing today and the coffee kiosk usually has bananas, so I may give that a shot later.

  • John

    That’s pretty darn cold.

  • NW Nature Nut

    Oh Birdchick, that is too d*!m cold! Me, being the sissy Pacific Northwesterner that I am could not handle those kind of temps! I bet you enjoyed the “warm” days in Atlanta!

  • Susan

    You are extremely cool, Birdchick! Love your blog and visuals. With windchill factored in, it was -37C here (just east of Ottawa, Ontario) the other day – so believe me, I know what cool is.

  • dguzman

    Man, and I was thinking that 12 degrees was cold. I guess this won’t work for me, huh? Maybe if I do it with cold water?

    It’s cool to see ya!

  • mawmawpurple

    This is a comment about the Ruby Crowned Kinglet. I had never heard of that bird until I saw it on your site. Just a few weeks before we had some come to our feeders here in Austin, Texas. I thought it was strange that the kinglet on your video looked like the “gold finch in winter” which is what I thought it looked like. The very week that you posted your video, we saw it flash its crest in our yard! We were SO excited. Thank you, thank you, thank you for you time and effort.

  • Mike Hendrickson

    Label: ass cold

    That’s funny!!Sharon you are south of me and we are at -45 degree below wind chills and -25 air temp this morning.

    At least this weekend it will be 20 above up here and some snow.

  • Susan

    This was really neat. We never have cold temperatures here, so we will never be able to do this experiment. I had my 8 year old grandson watch it, too. Both of us were just mesmerized! Thank you for the science lesson! I’ll try to send some of our warm air your way!


  • KatDoc

    Sharon, Lynne, and Mike:

    You people in Minnesota are freakin’ NUTS!!! I have been watching the weather reports and wondering how you all kept your sanity when it was so cold and now I know – you don’t!!

    Predictions for southern Ohio tonight are -4 degrees actual temperature and -20′s with the wind chill. For someone so close to the Mason-Dixon line, this is pure torture. I don’t mind the teens and 20′s, but once with get into the single digits and lower, I start to shiver.


  • danielle

    I offered to trade our MN weather with someone from MA–she declined, saying that we’re where she looks to remind herself that it’s colder in some places of the country (other than the icebox we call Alaska, that is…).

    Sharon, you’re so cool figuring out ways to have fun and amuse us even when no one really wants to get out of bed in the mornings.

    And Veery, no, schools never close up here, at least not the post-secondary schools….not that I don’t keep hoping/praying for it…

  • Anonymous

    That is cool…you should visit Phoenix while it’s freezing up there. We were in the mid 70′s today.

  • dAwN your category label of “ass cold”!

  • Nathan

    -40 C and -40 F are the same temperature. Just sayin’.

  • Anonymous


    Awesome ^0^


  • Alan Parekh

    Nice example! I should have given that a try yesterday. Up here in Winnipeg it was -50 with the windchill. :)

  • Froc

    Hi there!
    other cool things you can try, when its “ass cold”: Soap-Bubbles.
    or just google “frozen soap bubbles”
    Dunno know if -20 is cold enough, but I’m curious about it.
    Greeting from freezing Germany, Froc

  • Marjorie

    Love it! I don’t think iI want to be anywhere that’s that cold, but on the other hand, I do want ot try the whole ‘blowing frozen bubbles ‘ thing. Does anyone know anywhere that I can suspend the laws of science in order to chaive that?

  • Marjorie

    or achieve, of course..

  • Anonymous

    Make sure Cinnamon is nice and warm! Otherwise you’ll be disapproved of harshly.

  • Reid Knuttila

    Up in the Mesabi Iron Range we used to do the same experiment, except with our own spit. Times were tough.

  • Anonymous

    It’s -25 here in Iowa. I feel your pain! Very cool effect with the hot water. Thanks for sharing!

  • birdchick

    Holy Crap, I’m on Boing Boing, Digg, and MAKE.

    I tried the frozen bubbles, but it’s really hard to communicate that with my camera. I blew, they froze.

  • Anonymous

    Hey Birdchick. Your Blog has been on our todays webtip on FM4, the best radiostation in Austria.
    Too cool!

  • Zeolite

    I saw you on Boing Boing! Congrats! Wearing your NPS ear flappy hat -they should pay you for the good publicity :)

  • Anonymous

    My husband keeps saying it has to be -40 to freeze soap bubbles, but I’m thinking it might be warmer than that. I just remember watching them crack outside my apartment building about 13 years ago (the year the boiler died — gosh that was fun!).

  • Larry Sheldon

    I put the feeders and stuff where I can see them from the warmth of the house–was -13 yesterday, it is a balmy 20 at the moment on the bird deck.

    Many years ago I was a sailor aboard ship in the way-north north Atlantic–I don’t remember what the temperature was, but I do remember that we had to wear foul-weather gear that included a mask, and that most of us were sick, which made the mask a mixed blessing.

    But the funny part was that I went into the room just off the deck where I was on watch aloft and got a cup of scalding hot coffee in one of those heavy pottery mugs the Navy used to use, took it outside and discovered that it had frozen solid before I could set it down.

    This winter is looking like the one of 1989-1990 when I moved here. I recall talking to the docent (ranger?) at DeSoto Bend about moving here from California. She looked at me quizzically for the longest them and then said “WHY!!!??!?”

    I still am not msure sometimes.

  • Spiky Sandy

    Even my 14-year old son said that this was cool!

    Spiky Sandy in Pinellas Park, FL

  • Owlman


  • Castle_Arts

    and I thought it was cold enough here. I’m just sitting here, trying to paint little pictures with the heater beside me and not getting much done. ;P

  • Anonymous

    just to let you know i saw your video on

    i guess its a hit!

    BTW we do that here in Canada too

  • wildwose

    Hi Sharon,
    Been enjoying watching you have your 15 minutes of fame. I just had to go read some of the silly little children and their comments on YouTube. (They really are mostly kids, either in literal age or mindset) and I gave my thumbs down to all the little foul ones. Except for the one about being in a bikini. You must admit, that would be a trick. As a kid, we used to get in hot tubs outdoors in western Colorado, once we were hot and our hair wet, we would stand up and run around in the snow, steam pouring off us, and would freeze our hair into weird shapes.

  • birdchick

    I generally don’t read YouTube comments. I think George Clooney once said it best, “You’re not as great as people say you are and you’re not as bad as people say you are, you’re somewhere in the middle.”

    I did get a little weirded out when a friend started forwarding Digg comments to me. I thought it odd that people saw that hat and write, “Yeah, I’d tap that.”

  • Lisa

    I’ve been telling people about that trick here in MT where is gets that cold sometimes. But to link cold with bird watching: I used to live in Richfield MN and was a backyard birder. Like many, I provided water to the birds with a heated bowl. On one of those -20 or less days a group of 4 not so bright starlings decided to take a dip. They immediately turned into starling-cicles and flopped around covered in ice. I know, I know, they were just starlings but I rushed outside, grabbed them and put them in a box and kept them in the house until their feathers deiced and they dried off. I never had the water available on such cold day again.

  • Michael Nelson

    Yes, its been so so cold this winter, my home is just outside of Toronto and we have tons of Snow now as well as cold days after cold days. I try to go birding every once in a while and I learned to enjoy birding by car :-)

  • Daniel Melilli

    Really cool! I should try that in Canada when its -50

  • CJ Millisock

    Pretty cool!

  • ButtercupRN

    Yikes! I live in S Florida now so I’ll keep my mouth shut about what the temperature was when I thought it was cold the other day. :O

  • Anonymous

    Your laugh is very charming!

  • Shehan

    Reason #45345 why I miss and love Minnesota girls.

  • bizwon

    extra points for “ass cold”

    You’d fit right in here in Canada.

  • Mary

    This is *totally* geeky. (And I never consider “being a geek” to be a bad thing.)

  • Adriel

    Right around the :09 mark, there appears to be something moving upwards in front of the camera.

    I could be (must be!) wrong, but it really looks like there’s a fly drifting upwards right before you squirt the water.

    In below-zero temperatures?! Wow.

  • John

    “To show the world that you can be a birder without being a geek.”

    You certainly came across as a bit geeky in this video. :)

    (it’s charming!)