birdhouse winter

Do Birds Use Birdhouses In The Winter? Find Out Here!

The vast majority of birds migrate to warmer climates during the winter months, but not all birds do. In fact, some species that don’t fly south in search of warmth have adapted well to the cold winters by using birdhouses as a roosting. Birdhouses provide a comfortable roosting spot for some birds during the winter months.

For those species that don’t migrate to warmer climates, birdhouses offer protection from predators and keep them warm enough, so they can easily regulate their body temperature, so that they can survive through the winter.

What Birds Don’t Migrate in The Winter?

The 62 backyard birds listed below do not migrate in the winter.

  • Bushtit
  • Northern Cardinal
  • Black-capped Chickadee
  • Chestnut-backed Chickadee
  • Carolina Chickadee
  • Boreal Chickadee
  • Cassia Cross bill
  • Verdin
  • Hutton’s Vireo
  • Rufous-capped Warbler
  • White-headed Woodpecker
  • Red-cockaded Woodpecker
  • Pileated Woodpecker
  • Nuttall’s Woodpecker
  • Ladder-backed Woodpecker
  • Golden-fronted
  • Gila Woodpecker
  • Downy Woodpecker
  • Black-backed Woodpecker
  • Acorn Woodpecker
  • Hairy Woodpecker
  • Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • House Finch
  • Carolina Wren
  • Bewick’s Wren
  • House Wren
  • Bluebirds
  • Pinyon Jay
  • Blue Jay
  • Stellers Jay
  • Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay
  • Yellow-eyed Junco 
  • Black-billed Magpie
  • Yellow-billed Magpie
  • Common Raven
  • Northern Mockingbird
  • Pygmy
  • Brown-headed Nuthatch
  • House Sparrow
  • Arizona Woodpecker
  • Eurasian Tree Sparrow
  • Seaside Sparrow
  • Rufus-crowned Sparrow
  • Olive Sparrow
  • Abert’s Towhee
  • White-throated Thrush
  • Clay-colored Thrush
  • Tufted Titmouse
  • Oak Titmouse
  • Bridled Titmouse
  • Black-crested Titmouse
  • Varied Bunting
  • White-winged Cross bill
  • Vermillion Flycatcher
  • Black Rosy finch
  • Rosy-Finch
  • Brown-capped Rosy-Finch
  • Cassin’s Finch
  • Lawrence’s Goldfinch
  • Black Phoebe
  • Three-toed Woodpecker


Birds are very creative creatures and will build a nest for their eggs during the summer and spring months. The nesting process usually takes place when they find an appropriate location with the right temperature, protection from predators, and food sources.

Some birds choose to nest in trees while others prefer to make their nests on the ground or near water sources. Nesting is important because it provides them with a safe place for their young until they can fly out of the nest themselves.


Birds need a place to roost during the day and at night. This is where they will get out of bad weather or have shelter from the sun if it’s too hot outside.  Roosting is when birds use something as a perch or resting spot.

It can be on the ground, branches of trees, and many other places they might find comfortable enough for them to sleep at night or during bad weathers like rainstorms or snow storms.

When there’s bad weather outside, it’s important that birds have somewhere they can go and feel safe from anything happening to them.

Providing Winter Roosting Areas

The winter is a tough time for birds. Predators are out in full force, and it’s often cold and wet outside. This means that many birds have to find shelter from the elements if they want to survive until springtime.

Birdhouses provide protection against predators like cats and hawks, as well as weather such as rain or snow which can make finding food more difficult than usual.

Image by Thomas B. from Pixabay

How do birds use their feathers to keep warm in winter?

Birds are warm blooded animals, but they still need protection from the cold. Their feathers help to keep them warm during winter and also regulate their body temperature. Feathers can be used for insulation in a number of ways.

They insulate by trapping air between the downy barbs that cover the outside of each feather on a bird’s body. The tiny spaces created by these barbules trap layers of air around themselves and this makes it more difficult for heat to escape from the animal’s body.

Birds have been known to cuddle together in a large group in order to benefit from the group’s body heat. It is believed that when birds cuddle, they are trying to conserve as much of their body heat as possible so that it does not escape into the cold air.

Cuddling also helps maintain blood flow and breathing rates, which would otherwise decrease due to reduced activity. The warmth created by multiple bodies may help lower the amount of energy needed for flight or migration 

How to help birds in the winter?

Winter is a difficult time for birds. The cold weather and snow make it hard to find food, shelter, and water. In order to help the birds out during this tough time of year, we recommend providing them with a good quality birdhouse made from natural materials like cedar wood, with a hole diameter of no bigger than 1-1/4″ wide for easy entry and exit.

The birdhouse should be mounted on a 10ft pole for best protection from predators. Providing some birdseed and an outdoor heated birdbath are optional, and it’s also an excellent way to keep them coming back to visit your garden.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you get birds to use a birdhouse in winter?

Birds are hard to find in the winter. The trees and bushes that they feed on have lost their leaves, making it difficult for them to find food. One way to attract birds during this time is by placing a birdhouse nearby, but how do you get them to use it?

The best way to get the birds in your area to visit your birdhouse, make sure that there is plenty of water available nearby, as well as natural nesting materials such as twigs or branches near the house.

You want it in an area that will get some sunlight, but not too much, and in a spot with lots of foliage for protection from predators, but also close enough that they can easily fly back if something goes wrong.

Hanging a new birdhouse from an existing tree branch is one way to provide nesting space in your backyard. The birdhouse entrance hole size should also be considered when selecting a birdhouse, optimal hole diameter for most birds is 1.25″.

What direction should a birdhouse face?

Birds need to be able to fly out of their birdhouse in order to maintain flight. A birdhouse needs ventilation, but a south-facing opening is often not enough because the sun heats up the inside of the house and that can suffocate birds.

If you live in an area with windy weather, it is recommended that you install your birdhouse, so that it faces the northeastern direction or opposite from winds as those directions are typically less windy than other directions.

Do birds sleep in the birdhouses in the winter?

Winter is a time when many birds need to find shelter for the night. They are looking for a safe place where they can sleep in peace and safety, away from predators. Winter is a harsh time for many species of birds.

As the weather becomes colder, the bird population will need to find shelter or risk death from freezing. Providing a safe and comfortable place for them to nest and stay warm is vital in order to keep them alive during this season.

A good winter sanctuary can be as simple as placing an old-fashioned birdhouse near your home’s entrance, or putting up one on your property that has plenty of room for all types of birds to stay warm.

Backyard birds that use birdhouses in the winter

  • Western Bluebird
  • Mountain Bluebird
  • European Bluebird
  • American Robin
  • Brown-Headed Nuthatch
  • White-Breasted Nuthatch
  • Brown Creeper
  • Red-Breasted Nuthatch
  • Tree Swallow