Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum

Top 4 birds to see at Westonbirt this winter

Posted: January 24, 2024 at 13:06 pm Author: Dale Richards

Winter is a great time to start birdwatching at Westonbirt Arboretum, many trees are without leaves, making it easier to spot them and get a closer look. And, during the winter months some birds are pretty vocal, making their presence known!

Here are some of our top woodland birds to look and listen out for at Westonbirt Arboretum this winter.

1. Treecreeper

This small, brown, white and yellow-gold woodland bird, with a downcurved bill is found amongst the mature trees at Westonbirt Arboretum.

Treecreeper (c) Martin Mecnarowski

Treecreepers need mature trees with cracked, gnarled bark in which to find insects and invertebrates to feed on.

Watching how they behave is a good way to identify them. They start at the base of the tree and work their way to the top and then flutter to the neighbouring tree to start the process all over again!

2. Nuthatch

This handsome bird has a slate grey back and black eye stripe, white cheeks, and an orange breast. They can be found amongst the deciduous trees at Westonbirt Arboretum where they nest in holes in the trees in spring.

Nuthatch (c) Ron Knight

They can be seen clinging to the sides of the trees or hanging upside down! During the winter they feed on nuts and seeds which they stash in gaps in the bark for later.

They’re loud birds and make their presence known so listen out for their call to help you identify them. They make a loud and rapid 'twit-twit-twit-twit'.

3. Tawny Owl

Less seen and more heard at Westonbirt Arboretum, this woodland loving owl makes hooting calls throughout the winter.

Tawny owl (c) Anil Öztas

Tawny owls are well known for their distinctive a ‘huhuhuhooo’ call. It is the male that makes the drawn out ‘hooo’, followed by a brief pause, before a softer ‘hu’. Females usually make a ‘keewik’ call.

They’re chestnut brown in colour, with a round head and forward-facing eyes. They feed on mice and voles and even earthworms! They’re early breeders laying eggs in March.

4. Redwing

Redwing only visit the UK in winter, leaving us in April for Iceland and Scandinavia. They’re usually seen in fields and hedgerows but when it’s really cold they can be pushed into parks and gardens.

Redwing (c) Tova

These berry-loving thrushes feast on rowan and hawthorn berries, earthworms and even apples. They have a super-power – ultraviolet vision, which allows them to detect berries with waxy coatings that reflect UV light.

Visit the bird hide in the Old Arboretum

With the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch (26-28 January) this week why not come and test your bird identification skills at Westonbirt Arboretum. The well-stocked bird feeders in the bird hide in the Old Arboretum is the perfect place to see Great tits, Blue tits, Coal Tits, Long-tailed tits, Chaffinch, Dunnock and Great spotted woodpecker and even a cheeky Grey squirrel.

Buy your bird seed and feeders at the Westonbirt Shop

The Westonbirt Shop sells everything you need to get started feeding the birds in your garden.

Bird related products for sale in the Westonbirt Shop

Select a bird feeder to suit your garden. We have hanging, ceramic, wooden and window feeders in stock.

Choose from a range of food including seeds, peanuts, premium sunflower hearts, fat balls and even special treats like ‘peanut cake!’ to give your birds a helping hand through this cold snap.

Continue your birdwatching journey by purchasing a bird identification book. We have a great range of bird books to choose from in the shop.

Plus remember with a Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum membership you receive a 10% discount in the shop.

Happy birdwatching! We’d love to hear about your bird sightings, you can share them with us on Facebook and Instagram @FriendsOfWestionbirtArboretum