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Where Do Birds Go in the Winter? 5 Places You Might Not Know!

Written by Clinton Atkins / Fact Checked by George Dukes

where do birds go in the winter

Birds are cherished creatures that make people’s hearts flutter with their beauty and songs. And when the snow starts to fall, where do birds go in the winter to maintain their 105 degrees Fahrenheit body temperature? Like humans, the avian species struggle to survive the cold weather. But unlike people, birds don’t have the luxury of artificial heat sources.

During the winter, birds migrate to warmer places, but there are also non-migratory birds. Thankfully, there are safe spots for the birds to roost and sleep in the winter. And as for food, humans install bird feeders.

what-direction-do-birds-fly-in-the-winter

Where Do Migratory Birds Go in the Winter?

When winter visits North America, 80% of the avian species migrate to the southern part of the country, where it is warm. The migratory birds fly to South America to survive, as well as to find good food sources. And when the cold months are over, they come back to the north.

A couple of migratory birds are American crows, goldfinch, robins, tree sparrow, Anna’s hummingbird, band-tailed pigeon, orioles, black-capped chickadees, black-chinned hummingbirds, eastern bluebirds, blue jays, downy woodpeckers, pine warbler, and more.

Places Where Birds Stay During the Winter

where-do-birds-fly-in-the-winter

The freezing temperature in winter is certainly not ideal for the health and mortality of birds. Therefore, during the cold season, birds either migrate to a warmer climate or stay and face the frost. And the non-migratory birds do find ways to survive the harsh winter months.

Finding the right spot is the primary objective of birds to stay alive while they’re surrounded by snow. The good news is that there are a couple of places where avians can stay to weather the cold.

Plus, birds get stuck up on protein-rich foods prior to winter. They need body fat to convert into heat in the winter season to aid their feathers in warming their bodies.

#1: Trees

The freezing temperature in winter is certainly not ideal for the health and mortality of birds. Therefore, during the cold season, birds either migrate to a warmer climate or stay and face the frost. And the non-migratory birds do find ways to survive the harsh winter months.

Finding the right spot is the primary objective of birds to stay alive while they’re surrounded by snow. The good news is that there are a couple of places where avians can stay to weather the cold.

Plus, birds get stuck up on protein-rich foods prior to winter. They need body fat to convert into heat in the winter season to aid their feathers in warming their bodies.

Aside from migration to the south, where do birds fly in the winter? Dense trees are the usual destination of the avian species when the snow starts to grace the earth.

The birds hide in the tree cavities and heavily enclosed branches. Some birds snuggle together to keep warm, and mostly they use their feathers to maintain their body temperature.

To stay warm, birds take in calories from food and burn them into heat. They also have a technique to melt snow through their body heat for drinking.

#2: Birdhouses and Bird Feeders

Thanks to the birdhouses installed in many family backyards, the birds have a place to stay during the winter months.

Avians that are usually seen in birdhouses are wrens, chickadees, sparrows, bluebirds, cardinals, and other non-migratory avians. This kind of bird shelter is perfect for the birds to keep warm and find sustenance in terms of fuel for the body.

In the winter months, birds take flight to bird feeders to consume their favorite seeds, fruits, and other foods. They feel safer and more secure when they find feeders that are weatherproof.

Indeed, birds are more comfortable with large feeders that can accommodate multiple birds and provide shelter.

#3: Heated Birdbath

Birds live in the winter in places where they can find warmth, water, and food. And so it is a great idea to attract the non-migratory birds to a heated bird bath so the avians can find comfort during the winter. The birds can drink fresh water and then roost warmly during the snowfalls. It is also a good thing to put bird seeds on or near the birdbath.

Related: 6 species of birds stay warm in the winter.

#4: Abandoned Buildings

Abandoned buildings are usually the go-to places for birds when they can feel the season change to winter. These structures are perfect as hiding places because they have closed spaces and provide warmth for the avian species. Plus, the birds can hide from the predators in abandoned buildings to roost in peace.

#5: Chimneys

Chimneys are also spots where birds go when it’s cold, especially the Chimney swifts. The avian species love the warmth that they provide, and they usually roost inside when the weather is cold. The swifts prefer chimneys, but there are also other kinds of birds that seek shelter in flues. And avians usually stay in groups to keep warm.

How to Help Bird Species Thrive in Winter

birds-live-in-the-winter

When winter comes, the freezing temperature makes it super difficult for birds to find natural food sources and a place to roost. The snow typically kills the insects, and the plants are not abundant. Thankfully, humans can aid in the survival of the avian species while it’s snowing. Let’s see how you can help birds thrive in the frosty months.

  • Create bird shelter – Birds require a good shelter while the snow envelops North America. You can provide this for the avian species by installing large bird feeders, birdhouses, roost boxes, and even unused plant pots.
  • Just make sure that all the bird shelters you will provide are clean and weatherproof. Most importantly, check if the places are free from predators.
  • Use fat-rich foods – birds usually hunt for food in bird feeders during the cold season, mostly because of the scarcity of natural food sources. And during the winter, birds require high fat and calorie-rich foods to stay warm. So in restocking your feeder, consider these foods: oil, sunflower, suet, and peanuts.
  • Offer fresh water – because most natural water sources are frozen during the winter, it’s challenging for birds to find water to drink.
  • You can help the bird with this problem by ensuring that your heated birdbath is always filled with fresh water. Make it a point to change the water at least once a day to clean the drinking water.
  • Pay attention to the shelter – If the birdhouses, bird feeders, and roost boxes are exposed to the snow, you can add tree branches for extra protection.

You may need to use poles, plant them on the ground near the shelter, and attach tree branches with lots of leaves. However, don’t cover the whole shelter so the avians can still see them. It’s also ideal for attracting birds by scattering bird seeds.

Conclusion

Now you have a clearer picture on where do birds go in the winter. You need to understand that you play a huge part in the survival of the avian species during the cold months.

The non-migratory birds need places to roost while the snow falls, and they need food and water. You can provide for their needs through birdbaths, bird feeders, and other ways to feed the birds.

Kindly share this post so other birders can gain new information about the birds during winter. And feel free to share your experiences with sheltering birds in the frosty weather.

5/5 - (3 votes)
Clinton-Atkins


Clinton Atkins

Author

Hi, I'm Clinton. Rocky and I became friends after a birdwatching trip with our new group. And we have been enjoying every adventure together. When he told me the idea of establishing a site that shares our experiences and fun, I immediately agreed. After trials and errors, here we have Thayerbirding.

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