December 3, 2023

Brrrr…Birding in Winter!

Audubon Society of Rhode Island Offers Virtual and Outdoor Winter Birding Programs


Join a virtual birding workshop with Audubon and learn the basics about local bird species and where to find them in winter. Then head outside to practice your new birding skills on your own, or join an Audubon outdoor program designed with safety in mind.

(January 5, 2021) - Amusing, beautiful, and oh so hungry, birds found at winter feeders are a source of joy to many in New England. While a large number of species migrate south in the fall, there are also many birds that stick around and shift their behaviors to survive the cold.

Some birds look much plumper in winter, but it isn’t from weight gain. They fluff up their feathers to trap the warm air from their bodies. It’s like putting on a warm, downy coat. At night, when the cold really sets in, some birds have learned to drop their body temperature and huddle together to conserve energy. Species like Black-capped Chickadees and Eastern Bluebirds will find cavities or nesting boxes where they can huddle together.

Birds also have a high body temperature (approximately 105 degrees Fahrenheit) and high metabolism, so they need to be constantly feeding. Chickadees, Tufted Titmice, and Kinglets often create a mixed flock of birds that actually help each other. They comb the area for berries and seeds. If they notice their neighbor has found food, they all head in that direction. When a bird feeder first goes up in winter, many people notice that a flock of birds quickly appear all at once. That’s because certain species actually communicate where food can be found. It is a great adaptation to have when resources are scarce.

Interested in learning more about local birds? Audubon is offering online winter birding workshops with several sessions and convenient times. Learn from the experts safely at home, head outside to practice your birding skills, and then reconnect again with Audubon to have your questions answered. Take your birding skills to the next level! New birding walks are also available to compliment these workshops, all following COVID-19 safety guidelines.

Beginning Birding with Audubon
Two Virtual Sessions
Curious about the birds in your backyard? Want to get started with birding? Join Lauren Parmelee, Audubon Senior Director of Education, for a two-part virtual introduction to bird identification. Learn about local birds through photographs that highlight key features and the variety of species found in Rhode Island. Tips for finding birds, using field guides, and buying binoculars will also be shared. Participant questions are encouraged and welcome!

These virtual birding workshops are also linked to new Audubon Sunday Bird Walks in Bristol, RI that begin on February 7, 2021 and continue every Sunday through the spring.

Session 1:
Tuesday, January 19, 2021; 10:00 – 11:00 a.m.
Repeated: Wednesday, January 20, 2021; 6:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Session 2:
Tuesday, January 26, 2021; 10:00 – 11:00 a.m.
Repeated: Wednesday, January 27, 2021; 6:00 – 7:00 p.m.

Fee: $20/Audubon Society of Rhode Island members, $28/non-members
Zoom link will be sent to participants in advance. Register on line through the events calendar at

Sunday Morning Bird Walks with Audubon
Audubon Nature Center and Aquarium, Bristol, RI
Sunday mornings beginning February 7, 2021 and continuing through the spring.
8:30 – 9:30 a.m.*

Join a small group of birders for Sunday morning bird walks on the grounds of the Audubon Nature Center & Aquarium in Bristol with Lauren Parmelee, Audubon Senior Director of Education. Many birds can be found around the feeders and in the fields and wetlands of this beautiful wildlife refuge. As winter transitions into spring, who knows what birds you can find? Dress warmly and bring binoculars and a field guide if you have them.

Masks and social distancing are required for all programs. Participants must bring their own masks. Advance registration required as group size is limited. Walks are weather dependent.

Audubon Nature Center and Aquarium, 1401 Hope Street, Bristol, RI; Sunday Mornings beginning February 7, 2021, 8:30 – 9:30 am; Fee: $5/Audubon Society of Rhode Island members, $7/non-members. Ages: 12 and up. Register online through the events calendar at


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