Birds Do Shiver When it is Cold


Cardinal digging in the snow for a meal.

I got this search on my blog which took the reader to How Do Birds Keep Warm in Winter. I did mention that birds shiver, but they use flight muscles to do so.


Sharp shinned Hawk looking for ground feeding songbirds.

It is not like I watch if they are shivering or puffed up to stay warm in the wild, but I do have a tropical cockatoo that will shiver when cold. So to answer the reader’s search, yes birds do shiver.


Two European Starlings in the bird feeder.

Many species of birds are coming to the feeders. The wind is wicked and I refill the feeders constantly, another day of in and out feeder filling.

My cockatoo is happy to be indoors and eating his steak and eggs as the outside birds have seed and suet, fare the cockatoo turns his beak up at. I do give my parrot’s uneaten seed to the wild birds.


Really Bad hair Day…

Temperatures are low with snow and wind gusts of up to 45 mph, yet warming of 42 degrees is in the offing.

Birds are having trouble flying to and from the feeders or staying perched on limbs in the wind. Hawks like in this post, will take off by facing into the wind. But the wind is not a friend to photography…


Male Cardinal and Goldfinch

I could only take decent photos when the wind subsided. Since I take most of them from indoors where I am warm, at least I am not outside shivering then. Indoor photos through the window are not the best.


Angry Bird

Nobody liked the wind today, me or the songbirds.


Happy little Goldfinch

Honestly though, it was a bit comical how the birds feeding seemed a bit annoyed.


Male Cardinal in the wind.

I raised the ISO to compensate for all the movement of crests and tails blowing.


House Finch

Not to mention the wind was tossing me around as well. So I was between being in and outside the house photographing. Below outside the house – inside through a window above. Nicer photos are taken outside, generally.


Black-capped Chickadee

Some of the birds take it in stride dealing with this weather, never bothering them.


Female Downy Woodpecker

The pear tree was filled with woodpeckers and nuthatches. A flock of eight goldfinch was in residence too, along with many very chilled doves.


Three Goldfinch

The garden had five pair of cardinals, three pair of Downy Woodpeckers, six nuthatch and a large flock of starlings during the day.

The hawk came in and cleared everybody out but only until moving on did the birds return. The little birds still looked skyward to see if he would return. I am his biggest nemesis when I am outside with the songbirds.


Tufted Titmouse

He is looking for unsuspecting ground feeders and I ruin his bird buffet often. There are many hawks too.


All the birds were back minutes after it left though. That is unusual coming back that fast after a predator was around, but I guess they like me as a guard dog.


White-breasted Nuthatch

Some were caching food in the pear tree like little machines. It was a very busy bird day, expected due to how hard it was to find food for the birds in their natural wildlife habitats.

Feeders are often filled with mixed birds when the temperature sinks and the snow covers landscapes.



Some dined in, others enjoyed a drink at the bar…


Three Sparrows at the sipping bar.

Singing, Hail, Hail, The Gang’s All Here! Life at the feeders.

About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at:
This entry was posted in Birds, garden and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to Birds Do Shiver When it is Cold

  1. The weather was nasty yesterday. Thanks for taking the time to capture shots of birds in the wind.

  2. Denzil says:

    It’s fascinating to read your captions and compare North American and European bird names, Donna. Your goldfinch is totally different to ours, but looks like our chaffinch! Your sharp-shinned hawk looks very similar to our sparrowhawk. I don’t think we have the equivalent of cardinals over here. Your house finch looks like our greenfinch dipped in pink paint! Your downy woodpecker looks like our lesser spotted woodpecker. We don’t have a tufted titmouse, but a crested tit! Your nuthatches look similar to ours. And I recognize those starlings!

    • Amazing to have similar birds in Belgium. Northern Cardinals are mostly in large areas in the US, but not everywhere. Hawaii has a very pretty cardinal that has white in it, but they also have the Northern Cardinals that were brought to the island.

  3. Vicki says:

    thanks for sharing these photos, they are lovely.

  4. We are enjoying watching the birds on our feeders close to the house at the moment. It is good seeing the different birds you get.

  5. karen says:

    So many birds in your garden. You are so lucky. I love the angry birds. They really do look put out by the weather. That tufted titmouse is so pretty. Thanks for sharing.

  6. swo8 says:

    You have some amazing pictures Donna. The weather has been rather nasty and I think we are in for some more.

  7. David says:

    I really like the photos with the cardinals’ crests blowing in the wind. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a cardinal photo like that before. Nice captures.

  8. aussiebirder says:

    Lovely little collection of small birds Donna, you really have a nice selection of eating accommodation available for them. I wonder how the sparrows feel standing in the snow rimmed bird bath.

  9. alesiablogs says:

    It’s cold here too! Hummingbirds seem out of place , but hey keep coming to my backyard..

  10. Always wondered about this…and also knew about puffy birds being warm and happy birds…stay warm and puffy up there in NY!

  11. germac4 says:

    Lovely to see such lovely clear photos of your birds. I enjoy our Australian birds visiting our birdbaths, so it is wonderful to see the pretty Northern Hemisphere birds too.

  12. Oh gosh, I think your photos through the windows are amazing. I do believe I’ve seen birds shiver … and fly amazing maneuvers back and forth between their shelter spots and the feeders when it gets very cold. The Juncos and the Chickadees are particularly impressive little flyers!

  13. Lovely to see your photos and know you were warm taking them. Looks cold and is harsh weather for small birds. Here in UK no sign of promised snow for Christmas. Mild again but filling the bird feeders too. Have a warm and festive Christmas

Comments are closed.