Every winter, birds around the world must face the challenge of surviving in cold weather. While some birds migrate to warmer climates, others stay put and find ways to adapt to the conditions. This can be difficult, as many bird species are not well equipped to handle frigid temperatures. So, where do birds go in the winter?
Let’s take a closer look at this question and explore some of the birds’ strategies to get through the cold season.
Some birds, like the common nightingales, yellow wagtails, ospreys, cuckoos, migrate to warmer climates during the winter. These birds typically fly to some parts of Europe while others take a month-long journey to Africa or South America, where they can find more hospitable conditions.
Other birds, like the blue tit, coal tit, and goldcrest, stay in the UK during the winter. These species have adapted to the cold weather by changing their behaviour and eating different foods.
For example, the blue tits will flock together to create communal roosts, which helps them stay warm. The coal tits will forage for food in the cold weather, and the goldcrests will eat more insects to help them stay warm.
Birds can also be found in surprising places during the winter, like the nook of a heated house or a sheltered spot near a building. Sparrows, in particular, are known to take advantage of man-made structures to stay warm. They will roost on the ledges of buildings or fly into the attic spaces to get out of the cold weather.
How Do Birds Warm Themselves In The Winter?
Birds that brave the cold in the UK have many strategies for keeping warm in the winter. Some of these strategies include:
One way is to huddle together. This is when birds gather close to each other to create a warm mass. Flocking together in the winter is also a way for birds to keep warm. The birds can share their body heat and keep each other warm by doing this.
Some birds will also find shelter from the wind and cold weather in places like under a tree, in a bush, or some other sheltered spot.
They improve their chances of survival by sticking together since they are significantly more likely to detect predators and other dangers when in a group.
Changing their behaviour
Birds can also change their behaviour to adapt to the cold weather. For example, they might spend more time resting and less time foraging for food. They will also eat different types of food that will help them stay warm.
Blue tits and goldcrests have to consume a lot of food during the day to keep their body temperatures up and survive the long winter nights.
Some birds might also reduce their activity levels or even go into a state of torpor, which is a type of hibernation. This helps them save energy and reduces the amount of food they need to eat.
By changing their behaviour, birds can make it through the winter without migrating. This is especially important for species that cannot fly long distances.
Sheltering helps reduce the amount of energy that birds need to expend to stay warm. It also gives them a place to rest and hide from predators.
There are several places where birds can find shelter in the winter. Some birds will find a sheltered spot to roost during the day. This could be in thick vegetation, an old birdhouse, a tree cavity, or another secluded area.
Other birds will find a place to build their nest in a tree, on the ground, or in a man-made structure. Nesting is a good way for birds to keep warm since they can huddle together and keep their body temperatures up.
What Do Birds Eat in Winter?
Many birds face difficulties surviving at any time of year, but especially during the harsh winter months. Smaller birds, for example, are likely to lose heat faster than larger birds. That is why they need to consume food to help them generate heat.
Nonetheless, birds are resourceful and opportunistic feeders and will eat a variety of food items depending on the season. In the winter, birds will forage for food in the cold weather. This could be things like seeds, insects, sap, fruit, grain, and even small animals.
Even when the ground is frozen, these foods are available in the winter months. By eating these food items, birds can get the nutrients to stay healthy and survive the winter.
Some birds might also eat a higher percentage of fruits and nuts to help them stay warm. Fruits and nuts are high in energy and help keep birds’ body temperatures.
Coal tits, especially, are known to eat a lot of conifer cones during the winter. These cones are high in energy and help keep the birds warm.
Goldcrests will also eat more insects to help them stay warm. Insects are high in protein that help birds maintain their body temperature.
Birds That Stay In The UK
Many birds stay in the UK during the winter. These birds have adapted to the cold weather and know how to keep themselves warm.
Some of the most common birds that stay in the UK during winter are:
- Blue tit
These birds have all learned how to find shelter, conserve energy, and find food in the cold weather. By staying in the UK, they can survive the winter without migrating.
So, whether they migrate or adapt, birds have found ways to cope with the challenges of winter weather. By understanding where these feathered creatures go during the cold season, we can appreciate their resilience and admire their ability to thrive under challenging conditions.
Moreover, we can also learn how to help birds through the winter by providing food and shelter. We can help ensure that these animals remain an essential part of our ecosystem by doing so.