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How Do Birds Survive in the Winter?


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Basics on the topic How Do Birds Survive in the Winter?

What do Birds do in Winter? – Explained for Elementary School

How birds survive in winter is a popular topic in elementary school because you can observe how these animals spend the cold season. But not all birds can be seen in the winter. Did you know that different bird species spend the winter differently? You will learn in this text what birds do during this time of year. You will also know the answer to the question: Which birds can be observed in the winter?.

Native Birds in the Winter – Elementary School

Winter can be very cold in parts of the United States. It snows and temperatures can reach freezing digits. That's why some animals, like birds, prepare for this season in the fall. For many animals, including birds, this time of year brings some challenges, some even life-threatening.

  • They have to protect themselves from cold, ice, and snow.
  • Food is often scarce in winter. For example, when the ground is frozen, food becomes scarce as they can no longer reach earthworms and insects. In addition, the selection of berries is significantly smaller, and grains are not as easily found beneath a layer of snow or frost.

In order for birds to survive the winter despite these difficult conditions, some birds leave the cold region, where they remain until the spring. We call these birds migratory birds. The birds that remain are called resident birds.

Where do Migratory Birds Travel to in Winter?

Some native birds fly to the south in the fall, and some even as far as Central and South America. This way, they can spend the winter in warmer regions. This not only helps them escape the cold, but also the problem of food scarcity. Maybe you have already watched migratory birds in the sky, flying in a V-shape. Migratory birds usually return in spring when it gets warmer again.

What are Resident Birds?

The birds that do not fly to warmer places in winter are called resident birds. These birds spend the winter at home, exposed to the cold and the challenging search for food.

But how do these birds protect themselves from the cold?

Small birds sleep very close together in order to keep each other warm.

Additionally, birds puff up their feathers when it is cold. Maybe you have seen that before, where a bird’s feathers become very big. Their feathers trap air and then the bird warms up the trapped air with its body heat, providing insulation from the cold. The picture shows a house sparrow with puffed up feathers

Bird with puffed up feathers

Birds that are in the water also adapt to the cold. For example, ducks lower the temperature of their feet to 32 °F (0 °C) so that they don't freeze in the ice. Additionally, birds can rub their feathers with a self-produced substance called sebum, an oily liquid that’s water-repellant and can provide more warmth.

For resident birds to survive the winter, it is important that they get enough energy through their food. But what do resident birds eat in winter?

What do Birds Eat in Winter?

Even though the selection is significantly less this time of year, some berries can still be found on bushes, which resident birds can eat. Seeds are also part of their winter diet, for example, those that lie on the ground. However, snow and frost on the ground make searching for food more difficult. Many gardens also do not have enough plants that provide food for birds.

To ensure that birds can find food, you can provide them with birdseed. For example, many people have a bird feeder in their yard filled with a mixture of grains. You can also hang seed spheres from bushes or trees.

It is important to make sure that the feeding place is clean. This way, you can prevent birds from getting sick. Also, do not scatter the food on the ground. Cats and other bird predators can be lurking there.

Which Birds Can Be Found Here in Winter?

In this table, you will find an overview with examples of resident birds and migratory birds. If you look at the column with resident birds, you will know which birds you can observe in winter.

Resident Birds Migratory Birds
Blackbird Goose
Magpie Wood Stork
Chickadee Starling
Robin Crane
House Sparrow Horned Lark

Transcript How Do Birds Survive in the Winter?

It's fall and Newton is watching the birds migrate south for the winter. But not all birds fly south. What do the birds that stay behind do? Hmm, "How Do Birds Survive in the Winter?" To answer this, we will look at two types of birds. One type is called the migratory bird. These birds fly south for the winter and come back up north only in the spring. Geese, storks, and starlings are examples of migratory birds. The second type is called a resident bird. These birds stay behind during the winter. These include the blackbird and the magpie. Let's take a closer look at them. You've probably seen a blackbird before. The female has brown feathers called plumage. The male has black feathers, a yellow bill, and yellow rings around his eyes. The blackbird eats earthworms, insects, and berries. Our second resident bird is the magpie. Both male and female magpies have black and white plumage and long tail feathers. The magpie is bigger than the blackbird. It eats bird eggs, dead animals, berries, and seeds. But how do resident birds survive in the cold winter? If it is particularly chilly, they can puff up. This traps heat between their feathers, keeping the bird warm. Puffing acts like a thick winter jacket. It insulates the bird from the cold. Since resident birds use more energy to heat their bodies in the winter, they also need more food. They must find berries hanging on bushes. They can also collect seeds on the ground as long as there is no snow. But insects and other small animals can be hard to find. So, resident birds often look for bird feeders in people's yards. This helps them feed more easily over the cold winter months. Did you know? There are even special bird seed mixes that are great for feeding birds in the winter! Can you guess who especially likes these bird feeders?
Exactly! This little one! Just make sure the feeder is clean, so the birds do not get sick. Also, don't leave birdseed on the ground. This can attract cats and other predators to the area. And what is Newton up to? We'll find out after a short summary. Let's review! We learned about two types of birds. Migratory birds, like geese, storks and starlings, that fly south in the winter to find food and warmer weather. And resident birds, like blackbirds and magpies, that stay behind over the colder months. In order to survive, they need to gather extra food and puff themselves up to get through the long winter. And what about Newton? Ze has put up many feeders so that the birds living in the garden this winter can easily find enough to eat!

  1. yea it is good.

    From Abu, 4 months ago
  2. ummm it good

    From myshawn moore, 9 months ago

How Do Birds Survive in the Winter? exercise

Would you like to apply the knowledge you’ve learned? You can review and practice it with the tasks for the video How Do Birds Survive in the Winter?.
  • What are the two types of birds?


    One type of bird flies south for the winter and returns in the spring.

    The other type of bird stays behind during the winter months.


    One type is called the migratory bird.

    These birds fly south for the winter and only come back up north in the spring.

    The second type is called a resident bird.

    These birds stay behind during the winter.

  • What are some examples of migratory birds?


    Migratory birds fly south for the winter and only come back up north in the spring.

    In the table, you can see some examples of resident and migratory birds.


    Some examples of migratory birds are:

    geese, storks, and starlings.

  • What are some examples of resident birds?


    These birds are often found in urban and suburban areas.

    They are known for their distinctive black plumage with a yellow bill and eye rings.

    In the table, you can see some examples of resident and migratory birds.

    There are 3 correct answers.


    Some examples of resident birds are:

    • blackbird
    • magpie
    • swan.
  • How do resident birds survive in the cold winter?


    When it's particularly chilly, they do something with their feathers to stay warm.

    This action traps heat and acts like a thick winter jacket.

    Think about how resident birds might ensure they have enough food during the winter months when their usual sources might be scarce.


    Resident birds need to gather extra food and puff themselves up to get through the long winter.

  • What is the main difference between migratory birds and resident birds in the winter?


    One type of bird travels to warmer areas during winter.

    The other type stays in their habitat throughout the winter months.


    Migratory birds fly south and return in spring.

  • What can we do to help resident birds survive the winter?


    One way is to offer supplemental food.

    Setting up something in your yard can make it easier for them to find food.


    To help resident birds survive the winter, we can provide bird feeders with food like seeds and berries.