what birds fly north for the winter

Winter migration and the backyard birds that stay behind can raise many questions about how a bird survives such journeys and temperatures.

When the winter snow starts falling in many parts of the country, some backyard birds have already departed for warmer climates, while other birds are migrating into backyards from further north. Only the heartiest of colder climate wild birds, which have evolved for winter weather, have stayed behind. One is bound to wonder, “Who are these resilient birds, and how the heck do they survive the seemingly near arctic tundra of the winter season?”

The menagerie of winter bird species can vary and change depending on where you live, what your yard looks like and how the weather is acting. Below is a list of many of the commonly seen birds of winter that will frequent backyards throughout the country during the snowy season:

Many of you may be wondering how these birds are able to stay warm in the near-freezing temps and sometimes ceaseless winds that winter brings. It is quite simple actually. Think of yourself in a puffy down coat or under a big down comforter. When youre cozy and settled in, the down traps your body heat into little pockets of comfy warmth. The same is true for birds. To create insulation, our warm-blooded bird buddies fluff up their feathers and create their own little air pockets in between them. In a very short time, the air warms and the birds are wrapped in a blanket of cold-busting heat. In order to keep up this warmth though, the birds must eat a great deal of fat-rich food to generate the necessary heat. That is where the great importance of your backyard bird feeders comes into play! By feeding the right foods this winter, you can make the lives of winter birds much easier.

Birds That Fly North For The Winter: How Pribilof Rock Sandpipers Survive Alaska’s Coldest Months

“As the tide drops, you can see the mud flat flash-freezing in Cook Inlet, Alaska,” said Dan Ruthrauff, a USGS wildlife biologist at the Alaska Science Center. Even in extremely cold temperatures, rock sandpipers remain at the water’s edge where they follow the tides, searching for microscopic clams concealed in the mud. According to Ruthrauff, shorebirds should be in Mexico and Panama at this time of year. However, he studies Pribilof rock sandpipers, which spend the winter close to Anchorage, Alaska. “Life at 61 degrees North is very cold. And these birds stay here for the entire winter, searching through the mud for food and eking a living. ”.

How? Between summer and winter, the physical characteristics of the rock sandpipers can vary significantly. The birds show “a lot of flexibility; they can alter their body composition throughout the season,” according to Ruthrauff’s scientific research. ”.

Many questions about how a bird survives such journeys and temperatures can be raised by observing backyard birds that stay behind during winter migration.

Depending on your location, the design of your yard, and the current weather, your winter bird species menagerie can change and vary. The list of winter birds that are frequently spotted and seen in backyards across the nation during the snowy season is as follows:

Some backyard birds have already left for warmer climates when the winter snow falls in many parts of the country, while other birds are migrating in from further north. The only wild birds that have remained are the hardiest of colder climates, having evolved for the harsh winters. It is inevitable to ask oneself, “Who are these strong birds, and how in the world do they survive the winter’s near-arctic tundra?”

Many of you are probably curious about how these birds manage to stay warm during the nearly freezing temperatures and occasionally nonstop winds that winter brings. It is quite simple actually. Imagine yourself snuggled under a large down comforter or wearing a puffy down coat. Your body heat is trapped by the down when you are comfortable and settled, creating small, cozy pockets of warmth. The same is true for birds. Our warm-blooded bird friends fluff up their feathers and make their own tiny air pockets between them to act as insulation. The air quickly warms, enveloping the birds in a scorching blanket of warmth. However, to maintain this warmth, the birds need to consume a lot of food high in fat in order to produce the heat that is required. This is where your backyard bird feeders come into play! You can greatly ease the wintertime struggles faced by winterizing birds by providing them with appropriate food this winter.

Sharing the Arctic’s Newest Discoveries

“Usually, a bird’s game is over the moment it gets any ice on it.” But not for the rock sandpipers that spend the winter on Cook Inlet’s mudflats in Alaska. Despite having ice on its feet and feathers, this bird species endures the harsh Alaskan winters and thrives.


Do birds fly north for winter?

Birds that nest in the Northern Hemisphere tend to migrate northward in the spring to take advantage of burgeoning insect populations, budding plants and an abundance of nesting locations. As winter approaches and the availability of insects and other food drops, the birds move south again.

What birds do not fly south for the winter?

Which birds do not migrate? The list of non-migrating birds includes some specific, well-known species – Blue Jays and Northern Cardinals – and also includes large groups of birds including black birds, chickadees, doves, finches, nuthatches, sparrows and woodpeckers.

What North American birds fly south for the winter?

Some of the more well-known species that take part in the annual tradition include Canadian geese, hummingbirds, doves and cranes. Some of the birds are thought to fly only a few hundred miles, while others fly entire continents, depending on what their particular ecosystem needs are.

What birds fly away for the winter?

Some birds breed in the high arctic and fly south to temperate areas, such as ducks and geese. Others breed in temperate areas and migrate south towards the tropics, for example warblers and swallows.