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Robin in a tree

Bird Spotting At Christmas

Bird spotting at Christmas is a great activity for nature lovers. Birds are a big feature at Christmas; from robins on Christmas cards to the six mentions of birds in the ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’ song. The great thing about those birds is that you can spot them out in nature.

Twelve Days Of Christmas Birds

A Partridge In A Peartree

Partridge in snow

Partridges are common game birds that people like. They are part of the Pheasant family, common to the UK. You can identify them by their red beak and eye-ring as well as their soft grey and brown colouring with striped wings. They are quite charming looking birds.

Two Turtle Doves

Turtle dove on branch

Turtle doves are quite beautiful birds, which makes it no wonder that two were given to the singer’s love. They have a beautiful blue sheen to their feathers which contrasts well with their light grey colour. They also have a sort of turtle shell pattern on their wings which will help you identify them.

Three French Hens

Hen in field

Although you may not be able to just spot a French hen, you can see Hens if you visit open farms. In the song, French Hens were chosen as they are said to produce the best eggs, and therefore would make the best present to your love.

Four Calling birds

Black bird on leaf in front of flowers

Historically the song originally mentioned Colly birds, which means dark as coal or soot, which has led people to believe that they were talking about Blackbirds. You can spot them out and about.

You can identify them by their dark feathers and orange beaks and eye rings. They are very common birds and often visit gardens, so you won’t have to go far to spot one.

Six Geese A Laying

Geese flying in V formation

Geese are incredibly common and are likely to be spotted at your local body of water, whether that’s a park pond or a local lake. If you can’t spot one on the ground, then look up to the sky. They often fly in groups in a magnificent V formation when they migrate.

Seven Swans A Swimming

Swan on blue water

Swans are some of the most recognisable birds because of how white they are in comparison to their surroundings. Although, sometimes, they can be black. They are often spotted near lakes and these are another fairly common bird to come around. If you do spot one be mindful as they are a protected bird.

Are There Any Other Birds In The Song?

It’s theorised that the whole song is actually about birds and that the other components are nicknames or referencing to birds from the time. For example, twelve drummers drumming could be taken as Woodpeckers drumming at the wood. These can be identified by their white black and red feathers.

Woodpecker on tree

Another example of the other song components not being literal is five gold rings. Thought to refer to Pheasants because of their golden feathers and the distinctive white ring around their necks.

Pheasant in field

Winter Birds

Robin

Robin Red Breast

The Robin is as classic as they get when it comes to birds you want to spot during the winter. This small beauty is actually the UK’s national bird, its no wonder that some people see it as the epitome of Christmas. You can spot Robins by their distinct red-orange upper chest and soft brown-grey feathers.

Waxwing

This bird has a brilliant head of hair, to say the least. Its soft grey colour matched with its tuft make it a gorgeous bird that looks like it was made to be on Christmas cards. These birds are Scandinavian, but they often migrate to the UK during winter.

Long Tailed Tit

Long tail tit

This one is easy to spot if you look out for its long tail. We at the Christmasphere HQ think it’s one of the cutest birds out there and like the Blackbird, it likes to visit gardens. It’s a small bird with small dark wings and a teeny tiny black beak.

Chaffinch

Male Chaffinch on branch

These are a common bird in England and are common in gardens. They feed on seeds, so if you want to attract them get a feeder out. The male Chaffinch has a beautiful orange-pink breast whereas the female ones are brown.

How Do I Attract Birds To My Garden?

Food

Bird feeder with three small birds eating

Birds are happy with supplementary foods like pre-packed feeders but having plants with berries seeds will make the birds come back time and time. Growing your own bird food is a great way to get returning birds to come to your garden.

If you can’t plant berry bushes etc. then hanging a bird feeder and laying out nuts, seeds, or berries is another good way to get birds. 

Shelter

Colourful bird houses

Provide areas where the birds can shelter from the cold during winter. This will make them more likely to stay in your garden. Dense evergreen trees and shrubs are the best to have in your garden as birds will be able to hide deep within. Or hang a bird house somewhere out of reach of cats.

Water

Bird drinking water in birdbath

Like us birds need water. They clean their feathers in water and drink it. Having a birdbath will ensure the birds that do come and visit stay.

Winter Bird Watching Tips

Find The Green

Woods in winter

Some birds are hard to come by in cities because they see them as cliffs. To find some birds that aren’t used to the city, look for green areas, like large parks and woodland areas.

Wear A Coat

Girl in coat hat and winter gloves stood in snow

Remember, when you go bird spotting at Christmas, it’s winter, you will most likely get cold waiting and watching the birds. The colour of your coat doesn’t really matter as long as you are comfortable.

Look Up

Bird in tree

Whether that’s to the sky or at trees. Birds have wings and it’ll be less likely that you’ll spot them on the ground.

Enjoy Your Time

And finally, enjoy it. Knowing the birds you see is nice, but the experience of spotting birds that are not common to you is a fun one you should embrace and enjoy regardless.

We hope you have enjoyed this post on bird spotting at Christmas and how to make our small friends feel at home near your home. If you aren’t up for bird spotting at Christmas here are 203 other things you can do.

Bird spotting at Christmas

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