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Before the cold season begins, cranes, storks, swifts, house martins and the like migrate to the warm south. Other bird species winter here. We present 15 resident birds that are native to Germany.

In a nutshell

  • Migratory birds spend the winter in the warm south
  • Resident birds have adapted to the conditions and stay in one area all year round
  • more and more former migratory birds are becoming resident birds due to climatic changes
  • Resident birds feed on grains, nuts and seeds in winter
    Gardens that are close to nature offer resident birds shelter and food

Native winter birds

Who can resist the fascination of bird life? In winter, the bird feeder in front of the window offers the chance to see birds up close. Resident birds that spend the winter with us have adapted perfectly to the conditions. When there are only a few worms and insects left, they feed on nuts, grains and seeds.

Birds from A - D

Blackbird (Turdus merula)

  • Male: black with yellow beak
  • Females: brown
  • Length: 25.5 centimeters
  • Call: dag-dag
  • Singing: loud, fluting
  • Habitat: parks, gardens, forests
  • Food: worms, caterpillars, fruits, grains
  • Breeding season: April
  • Characteristics: The black winter bird is not shy and is well accustomed to human contact.
  • Other names: Blackbird

Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs)

  • Males: Reddish brown chest and cheeks, blue-grey cap, white wing bars, gray bill
  • Female: green-brown, less conspicuous than the male
  • Length: 15 centimeters
  • Reputation: pink-pink
  • Singing: loud, trilling
  • Habitat: Deciduous and mixed forests, orchards, parks
  • Food: Insects, spiders, seeds, grains, beechnuts
  • Breeding season: April and June
  • Characteristic: Males overwinter in the same place, females move further south.
  • Other names: noble finch

Great spotted woodpecker (Picoides major)

  • Male: black, white and red plumage, red stripe on back of head
  • Females: black, white and red plumage
  • Length: 23 centimeters
  • Reputation: kix
  • Habitat: Forests, gardens, parks, cemeteries
  • Food: Worms, caterpillars, spiders, bird eggs, young birds, nuts, grains
  • Breeding season: April
  • Characteristic: great spotted woodpeckers overwinter in tree cavities. Their knocking can be heard from afar, especially during courtship.
  • Other names: tree chopper

Jackdaw (Coloeus monedula)

Jackdaw, Corvus monedula
  • Males and females: black with iridescent reflections, back of head and nape gray, short beak and tail, light blue eyes
  • Length: 36 centimeters
  • Reputation: kjakk
  • Singing: chattering, polyphonic in large groups
  • Habitat: Caves in trees and rocks, holes in walls, gardens, parks, mixed forests
  • Diet: Insects, larvae, snails, worms, berries, seeds
  • Breeding season: April to June
  • Characteristics: Jackdaw stocks have declined significantly in recent years. The intelligent winter bird is on the Red List of Threatened Species.
  • Other names: little monk

Birds from E - G

Jay (Garrulus glandarius)

  • Males and females: light red-brown body, black and white wings with iridescent light blue feathers, black beard stripe, light blue eyes
  • Length: 34 centimeters
  • Call: Screams reminiscent of cat meows
  • Habitat: oak forests
  • Food: insects, spiders, caterpillars, seeds
  • Breeding season: April to May
  • Feature: The intelligent sedentary bird is able to imitate the voices of other birds.
  • Other names: gardener of the forest

By the way, the jay can transport up to ten acorns in its throat pouch. The impressive winter bird buries the acorns in the ground, creating supplies for the winter. With this peculiarity, the sedentary bird, which does not recover all its acorns in winter, ensures the proliferation of oak trees.

Siskin (Carduelis spinus)

  • Male: Yellow-green breast, rump, wing-bars, black forehead and throat, long beak
  • Females: rump, yellow-green wing bars, light gray head, long beak, breast dashed
  • Length: 12 centimeters
  • Reputation: teterett
  • Song: chirping (only males sing)
  • Habitat: Coniferous forests and mixed forests with alder and birch
  • Food: birch and alder seeds, grains, nuts
  • Breeding season: April and July
  • Characteristic: The winter bird looks confusingly similar to serins and greenfinches.
  • Other names: stocking weaver

Bullfinch (Pyrrhula pyrrhula)

  • Males: red belly, light gray back, black head. Females: grey-pink belly, gray back, black head
  • Length: 14 to 17 centimeters
  • Call: tue
  • Singing: soft, chatty, melancholic
  • Habitat: coniferous forests
  • Food: berries, seeds, fruit tree buds
  • Breeding season: April and late June
  • Feature: The hopping locomotion gave the bullfinch its name. The Bavarian word "gumpen" means "to jump". Other names: bullfinch, bloodfinch

Notice: Don't cut back all the perennials in your garden in the fall. The faded flowers make it easier for the bullfinch to hibernate, as they provide the beautiful resident bird with valuable food in winter.

Greenfinch (Carduelis chloris)

  • Male: Olive green body, prominent yellow markings on wings, light bill
  • Female: grey-olive green, less conspicuously marked than the male
  • Length: 15 centimeters
  • Call: jüpp or djüp-rup-rup
  • Vocals: trilling
  • Habitat: Settlements, parks, gardens, cemeteries, light forests
  • Food: seeds, grains, rose hips
  • Breeding season: April to June
  • Characteristic: The sociable winter bird can usually be observed in groups at the aviary. Other names: Grünling, Zwuntsch

Birds from H - L

Black redstart (Phoenicurus ochruros)

  • Male: black body, red tail
  • Females: gray body, red tail
  • Length: 15 centimeters
  • Reputation: jirr tititi
  • Vocals: not melodic, pinched
  • Habitat: caves
  • Food: insects, spiders, worms, larvae, seeds, berries
  • Breeding season: May to June
  • Trait: The winter bird used to be a rock dweller. Today it is also native to the lowlands.
  • Other names: redstart, shelduck, sootybird

Notice: Garden owners can support the small resident bird during the winter by hanging up a semi-cave.

House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)

  • Male: Grey-brown plumage, black throat, gray crown, brown stripes on sides of head, brown back with white stripes, strong beak
  • Females: dull brown
  • Length: 14 to 15 centimeters
  • Reputation: cheep
  • Habitat: villages with agriculture, parks, gardens
  • Food: Grains, seeds
  • Breeding season: April and June
  • Characteristic: The term "dirty sparrow" refers to the small birds' preference for bathing in the sand.
  • Other names: sparrow, house sparrow

Nuthatch (Sitta europaea)

Nuthatch, Sitta europaea
  • Males and females: Blue-grey back, beige-brown belly, long pointed bill, black eye-stripes, white neck
  • Length: 12 to 15 centimeters
  • Reputation: wi-wi-wi
  • Habitat: Deciduous and mixed forests with lots of mature wood
  • Food: insects, spiders, caterpillars, seeds
  • Breeding season: April to May
  • Feature: The sedentary bird can run headlong down the tree trunks.
  • Other names: woodpecker

By the way, the name of the nuthatch comes from the word "sticking". The sedentary bird has the ability to reduce the entrance of its breeding cavity by sticking small balls of clay on it.

Great tit (Parus major)

great tit
  • Males and females: yellow belly, black head, white cheeks
  • Length: 14 centimeters
  • Call: pink-pink, in spring: si-si-däh
  • Vocals: varied, metallic
  • Habitat: Forests, gardens, parks, cemeteries
  • Food: Worms, caterpillars, spiders, nuts, grains
  • Breeding season: April and June
  • Characteristic: Northern great tits are partial migrants and overwinter in warmer regions. Most great tits in Germany are resident birds.
  • Other names: finch tit

The name of the great tit has nothing to do with the cabbage vegetable. It arose because of the black head, reminiscent of coals.

Birds from M - Z

Buzzard (Buteo buteo)

  • Males and females: Gray-brown banded, white crop with vertical stripes, rounded tail
  • Length: 48 to 55 centimeters
  • Call: like the meowing of cats
  • Habitat: trees, buildings
  • Food: mice, small animals, birds, carrion
  • Breeding season: March to June
  • Characteristics: Many common buzzards from Scandinavia overwinter in Germany.
  • Other names: cat eagle

The term buzzard comes from Middle High German. The word part "Buse" means cat and "Aar" stands for eagle. The bird of prey's courtship call, which resembles a cat's meow, gave it its name.

Robin (Erithacus rubecula)

  • Male: Head and chest tinged red, olive-brown back, white underbelly, black eyes
  • Female: Same coloration as male, only slightly duller
  • Length: 14 centimeters
  • Reputation: zig
  • Singing: bell-like
  • Habitat: Gardens, parks, mixed forests
  • Food: Insects, berries, seeds
  • Breeding season: April to May

Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis)

  • Males: Head red, black and white, back and chest light brown, tail feathers with white spots. Females: Same coloration as males, only slightly duller
  • Length: 12 to 13 centimeters
  • Call: stiglit, didelit, didilit
  • Vocals: bright, trilling
  • Habitat: settlements, gardens, parks, mixed forests
  • Food: Insects, herbs, seeds
  • Breeding season: April to July
  • Characteristics: Goldfinches even live in cities and often breed in schoolyards.
  • Other names: Goldfinch, Augsburg night watchman

Tip: If you want the colorful goldfinch to feel at home on your property, you should not tidy up your garden intensively in winter and should never use chemical weed killers.

frequently asked Questions

Does it make sense to feed birds all year round?

No, nature conservation organizations do not recommend year-round feeding at the aviary. The endangered species that are native to Germany do not come to the bird feeder. Year-round feeding leads to an oversupply of individual species such as tits.

How can resident birds be supported?

The best protection for birds is the preservation of biodiversity. Provide nesting opportunities for birds and small animals. Avoid chemical pesticides. Don't completely declutter your garden. The berries on the bushes are the best fodder for bird species native to our latitudes.

What should be considered when feeding at the bird feeder?

Only use suitable bird seed. Bread crumbs or other leftover food do not belong in the bird feeder. Do not use fat balls in plastic nets. Birds can get tangled in it. Keep the bird feeder clean. Mount the bird house so that cats cannot reach it.

How do resident birds keep warm in low temperatures?

Resident birds, which are native to Central Europe, have a so-called wonder net. It is the principle of heat exchange that keeps the birds' feet warm. The warm blood from the body is continuously exchanged with the cold blood from the feet. The delicate legs are protected from freezing. The fluffing up also helps in cold temperatures. Many species spend the night together. The community offers shelter from the cold.

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