As the colder months settle in, our gardens become a sanctuary for a variety of beautiful winter birds seeking refuge and sustenance. By simply observing and appreciating these incredible creatures, we can gain a deeper connection with nature while also contributing to their well-being. In this blog, we’ll explore ten fascinating winter birds commonly found in gardens and offer valuable tips on how to support and nurture them during winter.
One of the most iconic winter birds is the charming robin redbreast, also known as the European robin. With its bright red breast and cheerful song, the European Robin is often associated with the festive season. These birds can be seen in gardens, looking for worms and spiders under plant debris. To help them through winter, supply them with high-energy foods such as mealworms, grated cheese, and suet products. Additionally, providing fresh water and shelter can make a significant difference.
One of the most iconic birds in North America, the Northern Cardinal stands out with its vibrant red plumage. These birds are a common sight in winter, particularly against a snowy backdrop. Both males and females visit feeders, eating a variety of seeds and fruits. To aid these beautiful birds, consider setting up feeders with sunflower seeds, safflower seeds, or cracked corn. Planting fruit-bearing trees or bushes like dogwood or holly can also provide essential food sources.
The vibrant blue feathers and striking crest of the bluejay make it a sought-after visitor to many gardens. Blue jays are known for their intelligence and adaptability. They are avid seed-eaters and can be attracted to your garden with a variety of bird feeders offering different types of seeds. They will also appreciate water sources and evergreen trees for shelter.
The dark-eyed Junco, also known as the Snowbird, is a fascinating visitor to gardens during the winter season. Juncos often gather in large groups during winter, often seen searching for seeds on the ground. These birds give a gentle trilling sound as they fly, making them easy to identify. These small, gray birds with white bellies love feeding on millet, cracked corn, and black oil sunflower seeds. Keep feeders stocked regularly, and provide areas with thickets or shrubs for shelter.
The vibrant yellow plumage of the American Goldfinch is a welcome sight during the drab winter months. Goldfinches are social birds that often travel in large flocks. Their beaks are well adapted for eating small seeds, particularly those from cone-bearing plants such as sunflowers. These seed-eating birds have a preference for Nyjer (thistle) seeds and sunflower hearts. Provide finch feeders with these foods as well as fresh water sources.
The white-throated sparrow is easily recognizable with its striking white throat and yellow markings. Their song is a hauntingly beautiful whistle that echoes through the winter woods. These birds enjoy dining on various seeds, including millet, cracked corn, and black oil sunflower seeds. Additionally, creating brush or leaf piles offers them shelter from harsh weather.
Adorned with their distinctive black and white plumage, downy woodpeckers are a pleasure to watch. These woodpeckers are known for their drumming sounds as they search for insects in trees. They also enjoy suet feeders during the winter months. So satisfy their appetite with suet feeders, sprinkled peanuts, or sunflower seed hearts. Vertical perches and providing dead trees or branches can satisfy their natural need for tree cavities.
The Carolina wren’s cheerful melody and cute appearance make them a delightful winter companion. These birds are known for their loud, melodious song and are often heard before they are seen. Despite their small size, Carolina wrens are incredibly vocal and will defend their territory vigorously. Seeds, mealworms, and fruit slices are their favorites. They can be attracted to your garden by providing cover, such as dense shrubs and brush piles.
The house finch is a small, colorful bird that can be found throughout North America. House finches are known for their varied songs and stunning red plumage. The males have bright red feathers on their heads and chests, while the females have duller colors. To support them over winter, fill sunflower feeders with various seeds and millet. Nesting boxes or dense vegetation can provide ideal shelter choices.
Mourning doves are gentle and peaceful birds that are often seen in gardens year-round. They can be easily recognizable by the soft cooing sound and plump body. These birds are well-adapted to the cold weather and can be seen throughout the winter months. Also, they prefer feeding on seeds such as cracked corn, millet, and sunflower seeds scattered on the ground.
By providing food sources such as feeders stocked with seeds, suet, and fruits, you can attract a diverse array of species. Remember to create a safe habitat by avoiding the use of pesticides and providing fresh water for drinking and bathing. Enjoy the beauty and wonder of winter birds in your garden as they brighten up the season with their presence. Happy birdwatching!