Backyard Birding Tips

Helpful tips for backyard birding in January and February.

Q. Do birds “of a different feather” ever flock together?

A. Yes, this is very common! In fact most birds follow mixed species flocks most of the year, whether as permanent residents or migrants spending the winter in the tropics. Here in North Carolina, chickadees, titmice, nuthatches and woodpeckers make up the core of our winter mixed flocks with other species like kinglets, creepers, and warblers and vireos joining in for the winter.

Q. Is winter a good time to clean out my nestboxes?

A. It depends on the bird using the box. The time to clean your nuthatch box is late summer or early fall, as nuthatches begin nest-building as early as December by bringing in soft plant material as insulation. Bluebird boxes, on the other hand, can be cleaned through late winter.

Q. Is it better to keep suet in my bird feeder over the winter, instead of seeds?

A. Suet is a great addition to winter feeding as it has a higher fat content than seeds. Whether store-bought or homemade, suet offers birds more calories to keep their energy and body heat up when the temperature drops. Making your own suet is easy, affordable, and fun. Most recipes contain basic ingredients including shortening, nut butter, seeds/oats, and corn meal.

Audubon North Carolina protects our birds and the places they need. Learn more at