Do Birds Use Birdhouses in the Winter? [Purpose + Preparation]

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Have you ever wondered do birds use birdhouses in the winter? Many people think that because it’s cold outside, birds must move to warmer places and don’t need birdhouses anymore.

But many different types of birds stay in their homes throughout the winter!

This guide will show you which birds stay in their habitats during winter, how to keep your birdhouse clean and hospitable for birds all year long, and what you can do to make your yard more bird-friendly.

So whether you have a birdhouse or not, keep reading to learn more about how birds use them during winter!

READ MORE: How to Remove a Birds Nest With Eggs

What Do Birds Use Birdhouses For?

hanging birdhouse

Birdhouses are a popular addition to many yards, providing a charming decoration and a place for birds to nest. [3] But what do birds actually use birdhouses for?

Most people are surprised to find out that a bird will get some use out of a birdhouse within the winter. Not every bird species will migrate to a warmer climate during the winter months.

A birdhouse can provide a bird with a secure and warm place to roost out of the cold during the winter months.

Here are some more uses of birdhouses.

1- Roosting

tiny bird roosting

Roosting refers to an area a bird uses to rest or sleep. [2] A bird will certainly need an area to use to urge out of inclemency during the summer, but during the winter, finding a dry warm place to rest is crucial.

A birdhouse can provide a secure place for a bird to urge out of the cold. In the winter, these houses are commonly mentioned as roosting boxes.

2- Nesting

Some birds use their birdhouse as a nesting site, while others may build nests on top of it or inside it.

You might also notice that some species like to build their nests under the eaves of houses or buildings where they can be protected from rain and other weather conditions.

3- Breeding

When breeding season comes around, many birds will use their birdhouse as a place to lay eggs and raise chicks (or babies).

Some species may even choose two different homes at different times of the year depending on what they need at any given moment!

4- Shelter & Protection

cute birdhouse covered with snow

Nests provide a safe and warm place for birds to lay their eggs and raise their young. However, nests can also be vulnerable to predators and elements.

That’s where birdhouses come in. By providing a safe and protected space for birds to nest, birdhouses help to give them a fighting chance against the many hazards they face.

Birdhouses can also provide shelter from the cold and heat, making them an essential part of any bird’s life.

CHECK: Do birds throw babies out of the nest?


Winter is a tough time for birds. Not only do they have to find enough food to sustain them through the cold months, but they also have to deal with freezing temperatures.

bird getting warm in the winter

So how do birds keep warm in the winter? Well, it all starts with their feathers.

Birds have a layer of feathers that provides insulation against the cold [1]. They also have a layer of down feathers that helps to trap heat and keep the bird’s body warm.

In addition, some birds will fluff up their feathers to create pockets of air that further help to insulate their bodies. Another way that birds stay warm in the winter is by huddling together.

By huddling together, they can share body heat and stay warm even on the coldest nights.

In addition, many birds will migrate to warmer climates during the winter months in order to escape the cold weather.

By understanding how birds stay warm in the winter, we can better appreciate the amazing adaptability of these creatures.

How to Prepare a Birdhouse for Winter (4 Easy Steps)

Every fall, as the weather starts to cool and the days grow shorter, many species of birds begin to think about finding a cozy place to spend the winter.

bird getting inside the birdhouse

If you have a birdhouse in your yard, you may be wondering how you can prepare it for its winter guests. Fortunately, there are a few simple steps you can take to make sure your birdhouse is winter-ready.

#1 Clean the Bird House

First, give it a good cleaning. Remove any old nesting material and give the inside of the birdhouse a good scrub.

This will help to prevent the spread of disease and also make it more comfortable for the birds. Replace any cracked or broken parts, and make sure that all of the joints are tight.

#2 Insulate the Birdhouse

First, inspect your birdhouses and make sure that there are no cracks or holes that could let in cold air or moisture.

A layer of straw or shredded paper will help to keep the interior warm, and you can also add a piece of felt or burlap over the entrance hole to further reduce drafts.

#3 Add Some Perches

Birds need to stay together during winter in order to keep warm. Adding some perches will ensure there’s more space for more birds.

#4 Provide Water and Food

birds eating while snowing

Water sources often freeze in the winter and the average bird’s beak simply isn’t tough enough to go past the ice to get some water. Without water, birds will easily die of dehydration.

CHECK: How to Make Homemade Bird Water Feeder


How do you winterize a birdhouse?

Start winter-proofing your birdhouse by sealing the ventilation and drainage holes to keep warm air trapped inside.
You can seal holes with rags, hay, foam weatherstripping, adhesive tape (on the outside), or any material which will prevent wind from entering.

Do birds use birdhouses year-round?

cute birdhouse with heart shape door

Yes, they do. Not all birds migrate to warmer climates during the colder winter months, and not all birds nest in trees or shrubs.
Birdhouses provide birds with an area to roost and stay out of the cold during the winter.

Do birds make nests in winter?

No, most birds don’t make nests during the winter. Instead, they look for safe places to perch.

Final Thoughts

So, do birds use birdhouses in the winter? The answer is yes!

While there are some species of birds that migrate during the winter months, many other types of birds will take up residence in a birdhouse to escape the cold weather.

By providing a warm and safe place for these birds to live, you can help them stay healthy and happy all winter long.

BIRDHOUSE in the winter

Do you have a birdhouse in your yard? Please share below!


  • 1. M. McNamara J, Ekman J, I. Houston A. The effect of thermoregulatory substitution on optimal energy reserves of small birds in winter. Oikos. 2004;105(1):192-196. doi:10.1111/j.0030-1299.2004.12188.x
  • 2. Grüebler MU, Widmer S, Korner-Nievergelt F, Naef-Daenzer B. Temperature characteristics of winter roost-sites for birds and mammals: tree cavities and anthropogenic alternatives. International Journal of Biometeorology. 2013;58(5):629-637. doi:10.1007/s00484-013-0643-1
  • 3. Dearborn N. Bird Houses and How to Build Them. U.S. Government Printing Office; 1914. Accessed June 10, 2022.

Deanna is a passionate animal lover. She is the mom of several guinea pigs and sugar gliders.
When she’s not writing, Deanna loves listening to country music, or watching Dancing With The Stars.
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