Last winter, during a snowstorm with an impressive northern wind, a mourning dove perched on a maple in my mother’s yard. It stayed there for hours.

Mom called me with deep concern, not the least of which was a fear it would be blown away.

“I don’t understand. How is it hanging on?”

The last few days has brought severe weather to many parts of the United States. Sunday night, my town was issued a tornado warning. Lots of strong wind reminded me of my mother’s call.

Waiting Out the Storm

Wind affects different birds in different ways. For sure, all birds will be less likely to visit your birdfeeders when the weather is dicey.

Small birds like titmice, chickadees, wrens, and the like don’t normally fly long distances. Not surprising, when the wind howls, they tend to fly even less.

Cavity dwellers like bluebirds and woodpeckers will stay inside… it’s another great reason for putting up nest boxes. These birds will take advantage of any small space, like under the eaves of your house or spaces under your deck.

Others hide out in dense foliage and when they do fly will take shelter along the way.

Tall dense grasses shelter solitary birds as well as those that group together for warmth.

Pine trees and other evergreens are favored because of their density.

Passerines (birds that perch) can hang on to branches remarkably well in windy conditions… even when sleeping.

Passerines have a reflex that causes their talons to lock on when they touch a branch. Since it’s a reflex, there is no use of extra energy to “hang on.” Instead, while sleeping, their feet automatically hang on.

Mother Nature has an amazing ability to take care of herself.


If you’d like to read more about birds and how deal with the weather, check out How Do Birds Cope with Hot Weather and What Happens to Birds During Heavy Rain.