winter garden birds

Here in Rybotycze in southeastern Poland, we are quite lucky with winter garden birds that frequently visit our feeder. It is getting colder and birds are welcoming peanuts or sunflower seeds. In addition to that, mainly woodpeckers and tits love „smalec“ which is some sort of bacon grease. So let’s see what winter garden birds have been visiting us so far. You would be surprised as some of them are unexpected visitors and not all of them are interested in the food we put out.

Table of content

  • List of winter garden birds

    The below list contains all the birds my wife and I have been counting throughout the last couple of weeks:

    • Great tit
    • Blue tit
    • Willow tit
    • Eurasian nuthatch
    • Goldcrest
    • Greenfinch
    • Bullfinch
    • European robin
    • House sparrow
    • Tree sparrow
    • Common raven
    • Eurasian jay
    • Common magpie
    • Green woodpecker
    • Great spotted woodpecker
    • Middle spotted woodpecker
    • Lesser-spotted woodpecker
    • Gray-headed woodpecker

    Unexpected visitors:

    • Sparrow hawk (not to feed on the seeds but to chase the little guys)
    • Great grey shrike (shrikes feed on mice and our seeds also attract mice and I think there seems to be a connection)
    • Tawny owl (checking out the site)
    • Common buzzard (sniffing around)
    • Golden eagle (fly over our garden, so technically not a winter garden bird visitor)

    Observation of our most frequent garden winter birds

    I love watching the little and sometimes larger birds hanging out at our feeder. It’s a great way to observe the behavior of birds and one can learn quite a lot.

    Tits & Nuthatches

    Tits are likely the most frequent visitors at our feeder. Depending on the species these little cute birds show different behavior. Willow tits for example fly in, steal a sunflower seed and fly away immediately. Great tits on the other hand tend to sit for a longer time and can be quite picky on the seeds provided. Very often I see them picking a seed, throwing it away, and looking for a better alternative. Action is predicted when blue tits fly in as these beautiful little guys can be quite aggressive. We do have also Long-tailed tits nearby but they never visit us, unfortunately. I think the word hasn’t spread enough. Besides the tits we have one of my favorite birds visiting us on a regular base and the talk is about the Eurasian nuthatch. These little guys are often mistaken with woodpeckers as they show some similarities. In German, this little bird is often called „Specht-Meise“ which is translated into woodpecker tit. Nuthatches tend to visit our feeder and bulk as many seeds as they can carry or fly with before they take off again.

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    willow tit
    willow tit
    willow tit
    great tit
    great tit
    great tit
    blue tit
    blue tit
    blue tit
    Nuthatch winter garden bird
    Eurasian nuthatch
    nuthatch scratching

    House & tree sparrows

    Sparrows unlike tits come in tribes. On a side note, you probably didn’t know the various collective noun for birds. A group of sparrows is called a tribe, a group of crows is called a murder whereas e.g. a group of ducks is called a flush. Having said that our tribe of sparrows usually sits in a pine tree and waits for when the feeder is refilled. The birds then fly in and hang out for several minutes consuming as much food as possible. Very often I just need to refill once the little gangster squad has left the crime scene again.

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    A bit like with blue tits, when green finches check-in trouble seems not to be far. Very often it’s the greenfinches that start a fight with other winter garden birds. Interestingly green finches drop in usually at around 1 pm and stay for half an hour or so whereas other birds come and go all day long.

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    green finch
    green finch
    green finch


    We have daily visitors of woodpeckers. Some species however are very rare quests. Lesser-spotted woodpeckers we only had for a couple of visits whereas green and grey-headed woodpeckers come regularly. As it is getting colder I am sure that also the great spotted woodpecker will check in on a frequent basis. Woodpeckers love „smalec“ and enjoy the little winter snack that helps them to overcome the cold winter days. In times when the ground is not frozen mainly green woodpeckers drill holes in the hope for ants. However these days they seem to be pretty unlucky so „smalec“ is a good source of fat for them.

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    great and middle spotted woodpecker
    middle spotted woodpecker
    grey headed woodpecker
    grey headed woodpecker
    green woodpecker
    green woodpecke
    great spotted woodpecekr
    great spotted woodpecker

    Eurasian jays, ravens and common magpies

    Those three birds share one thing in common as they all belong to the Corvidae family, the family of crows and ravens. These clever birds are extremely shy compared to the other winter garden birds and only come and steal some food if the surroundings are completely human-free.

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    raven fly by

    Funny moments with our winter garden birds

    I am happy to share a couple of funny moments I witnessed that made me laugh.

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    dancing birds
    sparrow chasing great tit
    great tit
    great tit
    green finch sparrow
    willow tit
    green finches fighting

    Let me know your thoughts

    I hope this article was helpful for you. If there is anything you are looking for, please let me know and I try to find examples to discuss.

    Love an protect wildlife

    Animals are awesome and need our protection. Please don’t hurt, kill or eat animals.

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