Facts About Birds in Winter

Facts About Birds in Winter

Cool Facts

Backyard birds adapt to winter in various ways. Check out how a few different birds cope with winter and falling temperatures.

  • Chickadees may use up to ¾ of their fat reserves (as much as 10% of their body weight) in one night and then replenish those fat reserves the next day.
  • American Goldfinches rarely over-winter in northern areas where temperatures fall below 0° F (-17° C) for extended periods.
  • In winter, residential flocks of American Goldfinches roam widely between food supplies and have been recorded moving more than four miles between multiple feeding stations in a single day.
  • Visiting flocks of juncos will usually stay the entire winter within an area of about ten acres.
  • Because they roost in cavities overnight and snowfall rarely hampers their ability to find food during winter, tree-foraging birds, such as woodpeckers, do not increase their body fat as much as ground-foraging birds.
  • During fall and winter many birds, including jays, chickadees, nuthatches and titmice, will hide food to retrieve and eat at a later time. This behavior is called “caching.” Caching helps birds survive during bad weather and when food sources are low. These birds store hundreds of seeds a day. Each seed is placed in a different location and they remember where each one is. They can find each site accurately, even a month later. By providing an easily accessible food source, you can help your birds with their caching needs.
  • Due to jays’ habit of burying acorns over a wide area, 11 species of oak trees have become dependent on jays for the dispersal of their acorns.

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