Blackbird adult male feeding on RSPB garden bird table in snow

Birds in winter

If birds don't come to your bird table, don't give up hope. They will discover it eventually!

My bird table is vacant. Have they died of cold?

Very unlikely during normal winter weather.

Many birds do die through starvation in winter, but it's only if freezing temperatures continue without a thaw in the daytime for several days in a row that there's a likelihood of mass deaths.

Changes in winter weather often cause a disappearance or appearance of birds on feeders, which does not necessarily follow a pattern that to us humans would seem logical.

Great tit feeding on RSPB hanging bird table in snow

Why is the food I've left out for birds untouched?

Where are the birds? Has something happened to them?

Many birds that come to bird tables spend the autumn and winter months travelling around in flocks. Birds are creatures of habit - each flock will regularly visit the same feeding stations. 

Because of this, you will either have plenty of birds visiting your garden, or very few, all depending on whether your garden is on a flock’s route or not. 

If a new feeding station is set up after the flocks have established their routes, it's likely to get ignored until another regular feeding site becomes unavailable and the birds will need to look for new ones.

Robin in snow

How you can help

Buff-tailed bumblebee Bombus terrestris, pollinating a Globe thistle Echinops

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