How to Attract Birds To Your Feeder During Winter?


Attracting birds can be made easy by supplying high energy, high-fat foods that are vital for birds during these challenging months. Running water using a heated source along with good shelter will attract some beautiful wintertime birds to your yard!


Wintertime can be the perfect season to attract unique bird species and enjoy the spectacle of nature around your yard feeders surrounded by glistening white snow and crisp winter air—if you know how to attract birds during the winter month, that is! Thankfully, there are many ways that you can attract birds to a feeder in the winter; if you’re stumped for ideas, consider the following ways that you can increase the chances of birds flocking to your feed throughout the winter season.

Table of Contents

How to attract bird to your yard in winter?

1. High-fat foods 

Birds who stick around during the winter season need foods that are high in oil and fat, as these will help give them enough energy to make it through the winter. Stock your feeders with food options such as sunflower Seeds, millet, peanut piecesSuet, and Nyjer, which are higher in oil and fat content compared to other types of bird food. You may be able to find “winter friendly” seed mixes available, which can help you save money in the long run.

Another option is to create your own! This simple video shows four fantastic ways to make DIY food for birds specifically in winter!

2. Squirrel proof feeder

Squirrels are one of the most common food hogs during the wintertime, and they will gladly eat up all your birdseed and food if you aren’t careful. If the squirrels are hogging the food, you won’t be able to find many birds around! The best way to handle this is to simply buy a weight sensitive feeders that will keep squirrels at bay and eventually force them to find another source for their winter meals.


Another option is to use baffles such as this Squirrel Guard which is very effective at stopping squirrels, and other rodents, from reaching your food source in the first place!

3. Sheltered Feeders / Bird Houses

If you want to make sure birds keep coming back in the winter, you need to keep the feeders well stocked! If they stay empty for too long, birds will avoid coming around and they will spread the word, making it harder and harder to attract birds to your yard during winter. So make sure that the feeder is kept full—though use common sense and avoid trudging out in the snow when it’s below freezing or otherwise too dangerous to be outside for long. 

Many birds’ species will appreciate a place to rest and take shelter from the cold, especially if it’s near a food source such as your feeder. You can increase the chances that birds will want to stop by through bird houses, which should be installed close (but reasonably far enough away) to the feeder. 


You can buy a bird house in your local store or on Amazon quite easily but a fun solution is to buy a build your own bird house. It can be a great present for someone or an activity to do with kids. 


If you don’t have the money or time to install multiple bird houses, you can create a natural shelter by piling up fallen twigs and leaves on the ground. This will act as a natural shelter for birds during particularly harsh weather conditions, and it won’t cost you anything but the bit of time it takes to create a pile!

4. Flowing Water

Birds need water in the winter just as much as they do during the rest of the year, and one of the most unique ways to have birds flocking to your feeders in the cold season is to have liquid water available during the day. Most freshwater is frozen during the winter, which forces birds to search for melted snow and ice to drink; if you use a heated birdbath to provide birds with water throughout the season, you’ll see a lot more birds opting to choose your yard as a stopover for a fresh drink. Make sure that the water is constantly changed to keep it clean, otherwise, you will risk spreading illness.

5. Platform Feeder 

If you want to be able to offer the widest variety of bird-friendly winter foods, then consider switching to a platform feeder which will allow you to fit not only a higher quantity of bird food but a wider variety as well. Platform feeders can hold various cakes—such as suet cakes, seed cakes, and even baked (bird-friendly) treats featuring nuts or fruits. Once “word” gets out that your yard is home to such nourishing food, birds will begin flocking there in no time! 


Attracting birds to your home during the winter is not as difficult as it seems. You need to start preparing for winter well ahead of time so that birds will associate your yard with both safety and food, and you need to be ready to employ the above tips and tricks that will encourage birds to stop by your yard throughout the winter season.

Why do birds migrate over winter?

Birds migrate over winter to be around resources. It’s important for a bird to have access to food, water and shelter, which is why they seem to move around so often. For example: many birds rely on nutrition from insects to keep them fed, fat and happy – throughout the colder months, these insect populations begin to drastically shrink.


To combat a reduction in essential resources, many bird species will head to where their living requirements exist in abundance. This might be to scout for food, shelter, or even for a mate! During the colder months, birds will (usually) migrate south, and similarly, during the warmer months, they might return to their northern familiarity.


Many species of birds migrate to unique, exotic and remote locations in every corner of the world. Flying in flocks across hundreds of miles over the sea, before eventually settling down over the winter months.


You might be wondering: why do birds migrate in the winter? Where do they go, or what do they do? Does every species of bird move cross-country for their own winter-break?


Not every species of bird makes that journey. Those that do migrate may not travel over hundreds of miles – in fact, they may only travel from one state to another. Some birds prefer the comfort of their home the whole year round, whilst others are seemingly always on the move.


Different species of birds will generally travel to different corners of the globe; after all, they adhere to different necessities, and different climates will likely provide more for some bird species than they would for others.

Not every species will migrate, though; some are perfectly content to stay at home throughout the colder months. One example of a somewhat common non-migrating (or sedentary) bird is the common raven!


Sedentary birds will stay put for a multitude of reasons, but it usually boils down to one key point: they can acquire all that they need to survive the winter, without having to leave town.


Scavenger birds, for example, are sedentary; their market becomes much less saturated once their competition leaves to find warmer ground, meaning that there is ample food and shelter to ‘scavenge’ in their absence.

Sedentary birds also don’t need to spend their energy by taking flight for HOURS at a time – this focus can instead be applied to raising their young or foraging for food.

How do birds survive winter?

Bird survive winter by storing fat in the day in order to survive the long night. Birds with thick plumage will also fluff out their feather – it might look strangely comedic, but it’s a fantastic way to trap the heat.

As birds are generally so small, it’s hard to imagine how they’d survive through the winter! Birds are actually very efficient creatures – they’re constantly adapting to new environments throughout the course of a year to boost their chances of survival. Once a bird has found shelter, it can begin the process of conserving heat. There are a few ways that different species can actually alter their bodies to stay warm in even the coldest of conditions!


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About Us

We are avid bird-watchers who recently retired, allowing us more time to travel the world. Fortunately, we have managed to visit numerous countries around Europe, Asia, and America. Watching and photographing birds has been a passion for many years and we are making the most of the extra time on our hands!

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