Do Birds Use Birdhouses in the Winter?


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Birds certainly do use birdhouses in the winter. These are cozy spots for them to rest, relax, and nest. As a matter of fact, on the coldest days, a birdhouse can be a literal lifesaver!

Of course, for it to provide the best shelter, you’ll want to prepare it for the winter – all that you need is a bit of know-how!

Do Birds Use Birdhouses in the Winter?

Not only do birds use birdhouses in the winter, but this is one of the primary times that they need them.

While birds are surprisingly hardy creatures in some ways, there are limits to their ability to withstand cold or turbulent weather.

Birds are reusing birdhouses in winter
Perfect winter birdhouse

Some birds sleeping in trees at night (without a birdhouse for shelter) may also find themselves in danger of becoming an owl or other night critter’s snack.

You can help your feathered little friends out by providing a birdhouse or two year-round, and by making it nice and warm for them in the winter!

Do Birds Reuse Birdhouses?

Some birds reuse nests, some do not.

Many will reuse a birdhouse if they really like it; but not always.

You can increase the chances of a favored bird pair stopping by again by cleaning the birdhouse out at the end of the year.

You can also clean it out again once the winter birds leave; a total of two important cleanings a year!

Nice Tip: Another way to ensure that your birdhouse gets used (and potentially reused) is by hanging a bird feeder. It’s hard for wild birds to resist the intoxicating combination of both home and shelter!

How to Keep a Birdhouse Warm in the Winter

There are some special ways that you can make your birdhouses much warmer, to keep your feathered friends comfortable this winter.

Take a look!

1. Put Hay on the Birdhouse Floor

When it comes to insulating your birdhouse, it can go a long way to place soft, fresh hay on the floor.

This will hold onto heat, helping to block out cold air.

Set up hay birdhouse for winter
Hay birdhouse

What’s more, birds love hay and other nest-like materials, and this will make them all the cozier!

2. Seal Any Cracks in the Birdhouse Off

Just as in our homes, cracks in the windows or what have you can let in drafts of chilly air.

Birdhouses are not always airtight, as many are typically built for the spring and summer (when the birds might get a bit muggy and hot).

You can always stuff foam, cloth, or duct tape in and over cracks, to see the birdhouse off, however!

3. Face the Birdhouse Away From the Wind

If you can, try to place your birdhouse somewhere it will have wind shelter.

You certainly don’t want icy air blowing right in the door! Somewhere near the house or a fence is ideal.

Don’t forget to also keep the birdhouse up high and out of reach of any predator!

4. Give Your Birdhouse Maximum Sunlight

While sheltering your winter birdhouse from the wind, you don’t want to accidentally place it in the shade.

This will cut it off from the all-important warmth of the sunlight, resulting in a birdhouse that would be much chillier! 

5. Find Birdhouse with a Low-Down Door

If you have the option, you can always find a birdhouse with a door that’s down low.

Heat rises, and this will ensure that it doesn’t rise right out a high-up door.

As a result, the birdhouse will hold onto heat a bit better!

Birds You Might See In the Winter (What Nesting Box to Get)

Depending on where you live, you may see a new crowd of birds in the winter.

Birds will come to winter nestbox
Winter bird nestbox

In Northern locations, for example, many of the warm-season birds fly south for the winter!

This means that doves, robins, and hawks are replaced by nuthatches, chickadees, and even the elusive Northern Flicker!

This means that you’ll want to plan winter birdhouses for winter birds specifically (as far as size, door location, etc.).

Foods to Provide Birds in the Winter

In the wintertime, birds will appreciate food more than ever!

Plants are neither seeding, nor fruiting, so sustenance can be a bit scarce.

Favorites among birds include black sunflowers seeds and millet. These are super fatty and calorie-rich, so they’ll get the most bang for their buck! 

For drinking, they will also immensely appreciate a heated source of water.

It’s true that birds can often fend for themselves, but there’s no reason not to make things a little easier! Winter birds are sure to appreciate a chance to fill their bellies and relax.

Some may even claim a nesting box!


As you can see, birds certainly do use – and appreciate – birdhouses in the winter.

There are steps you can take to ensure that the bird boxes are nice and cozy, providing an ideal winter bird shelter!

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