With cold weather lurking just around the corner, the thoughts of many backyard wildlife enthusiasts have turned to providing winter roosting sites for their backyard bird neighbors. As such, some are winterizing nesting boxes or erecting roosting boxes. These measures help birds that roost in cavities such residents as Carolina chickadees, brown-headed nuthatches, and eastern bluebirds. However, little thought is given to providing winter roosts for birds that do not use natural or manmade cavities as nighttime roosts.
The truth of the matter is most backyards such as sparrows, finches, robins, mockingbirds, cardinals, doves, and a host of others roost in vegetation. One such bird is the American goldfinch.
The American goldfinch roosts in dense vegetation. The birds often roost among the needles of conifers. When they cannot locate such a roost site and are forced to spend the night in an open spot, their risk of succumbing to the cold dramatically increases. In fact, when they roost in thick leafy vegetation, they can use one-third less energy to survive a frigid night than they would if they roosted in a more exposed spot. The energy saved can mean the difference between life and death.
Do you have any thick shrubs or trees in your yard that goldfinches and other birds could roost for a winter roost site this winter?