Winter Birding Guide
Shades of Grey, Red, Brown and Blue Enhance Winter Landscapes
Myth: Take down bird houses in the winter
Myth Buster: Bird houses provide shelter from the weather. Song birds frequently group together overnight in a bird house, or roosting pockets, to keep warm. Birdhouses also provide a safe haven from cats, owls and other night time predators.
Winter offers a great opportunity to attract and enjoy watching the magnificent colors of birds.
- Juncos, catbirds, chickadees and nuthatches are creatively dressed in shades of grey
- Red highlights black and white patterned feathers of downy, hairy, red-bellied, red-headed and pileated woodpeckers
- Soft shades of brown are worn in distinctive designs by the Carolina wren, brown thrasher and Eastern towhee
- Blue Jays sport the brilliant blue with accents of white
- The matchless eye-catching red cardinals look like ornaments on a Christmas tree
Deciduous shrubs and trees have now lost their leaves, offering better visibility for bird watching. New, migrating visitors may also be attracted to a yard where food, shelter and water are provided. Growing numbers of hummingbirds are also now wintering in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Florida.
As temperatures fall, high-fat, high-calorie suet is the perfect food to help birds get through the long, cold nights. Filling seed and thistle feeders later in the day ensures evening and early morning food. Keep a low level of fresh water in a clean bird bath. Birds will not be bathing during the coldest temperatures of winter but do need water to drink. A bird bath heater, or the Water Wiggler, will help keep the water from freezing.
Each evening birds seek a safe place to stay warm. Birdhouses, roosting pockets and plants in the landscape, like ornamental grasses, shrubs and conifers, offer protection from the weather. After Christmas, recycle your fresh-cut tree for added shelter and a place to hang seed treats for the birds.
It’s a great time of year for bird watches of all ages to enjoy the sights. Any size birding habitat can produce a colorful flurry of activity along with their sweet songs.
Share your birding experiences with us throughout the year!