two small birds sitting in a snowy bird house

5 Essential Tips For Winter Bird Watching

Make the most of the season with our top 5 tips for winter bird watching, including finding the best bird watching notebook & researching winter species.

At first thought, winter might not seem like the best time of year to head out bird watching. However, in actual fact, the change of season provides amazing opportunities to see new and unique species. There is less leaf coverage in the colder seasons making it easier to spot birds through the gaps in the trees - you’ll also get the chance to gain unique sightings of seasonal visitors. Get the most out of the colder months with our top 5 tips for winter bird watching. 

Make A Master Species List Of Winter Birds

Doing your research and making a list of the species that you’re most likely to see in a bird watching notebook will help you to maximise your winter bird watching opportunities. Not only will this help you identify species more easily, it will also give you clues on how to attract various species. A reliable bird watching notebook is a must-have for this. Rite In The Rain’s Birder Journal is fully waterproof making it perfect for the winter season. It also contains useful reference information, as well as designated space for sketches and notes.

Rite In The Rain Birder's Journal

Use Covered Bird Feeders

For the days when it’s simply too cold to go outside, why not set up a bird feeder in your garden so that you can watch the birds flock to your garden. Birds have less options for food during the winter, and so they’re likely to visit more often and for longer if you leave out some tasty treats for them to enjoy. Try to place the feeder in a relatively sheltered area of the garden if you can, and make sure to keep cleaning it out (to avoid unwanted visitors) and topping it up - birds will come to rely on it in times of adverse weather. 

small bird eating from covered bird feeder dusted with snow

Provide A Reliable Water Source

Providing a reliable water source is just as important as providing a food source for birds, particularly at this time of year when a lot of their usual water sources are frozen over. Where possible, try to keep a bird bath clear of ice. If birds have a predictable place to grab a drink, this will help with your winter bird watching by attracting birds in the same way that a feeder would. You can actually get bird bath warmers that help to prevent freezing over in cold weather.  

robin drinking from a bird bath

Visit A Bird Sanctuary

Most bird sanctuaries are open all year round, and as these areas are protected and away from traffic, birds enjoy nesting there during the winter. This is a great way to see more unique and interesting species that you might not be able to see in your back garden. Bird sanctuaries are little havens of paradise if you’re looking to escape the noise of the city and enjoy some peaceful bird watching in winter.

pair of cardinals perching on a snowy branch

Get The Right Gear

It might seem like an obvious point, however the importance of dressing appropriately for winter bird watching can’t be overemphasised. The best idea is to wear layers, however avoid wearing bright, flashy colours that will make you too noticeable and scare the birds away. Remember to bring a flask to help keep you warm, and bring waterproofs just in case. Rite In The Rain’s waterproof notebooks and pens are perfectly suited to winter bird watching as they will be durable and reliable in any weather conditions. 

sketch/notes pages of Rite In The Rain Birder's journal with front cover on grassy background