Are you from California and eager to feed birds in your backyard during the winter times? Well, good news for you, friend; we’ve researched and collected all the necessary information in this blog post regarding feeding winter birds in California.
Here you’ll get the information about the best winter bird feeders, what sort of foods bring more birds to your food station, why you should feed them, a list of common Californian winter birds you may see, and overall winter bird feeding in California guideline for those birds.
Read Also: Feeding Winter Birds In Texas [Details here]
What to Feed Winter Birds in California
The best and most common winter bird foods to put in a bird feeder:
And other usual bird foods that are available in a pet store. But, you can also provide some homemade foods from your kitchen.
In addition to those, you can definitely provide some commercial foods that you can from online. According to our research and observation, a high-protein bird food you can try in your feeder.
Related Blog: Feeding Winter Birds In Pennsylvania [Read here]
How to Set Up a Winter Bird Feeding Station in California
Bird feeding stations for winter need different setup and arrangements. There are multiple ways you can provide food. However, you have to remember that the visitors to your station will vary depending on your feeder and food.
We’ve discussed here the five most frequent and effective bird feeders and the probable visitors each one will receive. So, read about all of them, and decide the best ones for you.
One of the most common and effective bird feeders in winter for California or any other place is the tube feeder. This feeder is easy to clean and maintain. Besides, it doesn’t hold much snow or water. So, this is an excellent choice as a winter bird feeder.
Sunflower seed, cracked corn, and crushed peanuts are the best choice to fill the tube feeder with. And the usual visitors of this feeder are the finches.
Our recommended product for a tube feeder that may interest you.
Winter birds definitely love hopper feeders. But remember to buy one with a spacious tray. Fill this one with different types of seeds (except milo) to attract the most birds. Hopper will bring visitors like- titmouse, sparrows, etc.
If you happen to be looking for a hopper feeder, check this product.
A suet feeder is a great choice to bring out the woodpeckers and the birds that won’t go for seed. You can also fill the suet with peanuts and mealworms. That will bring more birds to your food station.
As we have mentioned before, the frequent visitors of a suet feeder are woodpeckers. However, the presence of woodpeckers in California during the winter isn’t very healthy.
For a suet feeder, our recommendation lies with this one.
A thistle feeder is a good alternative for a tube feeder. Also, many birds prefer hopping around during eating. Thistle can be the best solution for that. Try to fill this feeder with mixed seeds.
Thistle feeder draws finches, doves, and similar birds to your food station. From our research, the best thistle feeder on the market at a low price:
If you are looking for a thistle feeder, then check this one.
Other than those four, you can try a ground-feeding table that is simple to set up but a little bit maintaining. The snow can cover this feeder easily and increase your work. However, the best side of the ground feeder is that you can set it anywhere you like.
This type of feeder attracts doves, sparrows, and similar birds around the area.
One of the best choices for a ground feeder that we loved.
And don’t forget to put a birdbath near your food station that will bring more birds to your feeder. If you’re looking for a birdbath to buy, you can check this product.
A heater is necessary to keep your birdbath going during the winter. So, don’t forget one put one. Here’s our suggestion you can check.
Why Feeding Winter Birds in California
By nature, birds aren’t dependent on us for food or survival. They’re capable of handling the changes of weather or the surroundings. Even in the harsh weather, a medium-sized bird can go 1-3 days (24-72 hours) without food and water.
So, as you see, birds are fine without any help from us. So, are we discouraging you not to feed birds in the winter? No, that’s not it. Who wants to live without access to food and water? No one, and the birds don’t either.
You may know that bird reduces their movement and daily activity to keep the body warm and save the energy, they have left. Since there is less food source in the winter. Therefore, replenish the energy is a bit difficult. That is another reason why we have a low bird presence during the winter.
Therefore, your birdfeeder can be appreciable help for them to stay active even in the hard times. Also, they won’t need to travel far in search of food and water.
Although, the winter in California isn’t rough as in Alaska, where the temperature becomes -30 Â° F.
As you can see in the graph, the coldest month of California is in December, and the average temperature is 38.3 Â° F. This is better than most other states at that time. So, the weather in California is a little better than most. And if we look at the snow record:
Here we can see, February has the highest snowfall in California that is only 0.4 days. And in December, it is 03. Days. This also indicates that we have better winter weather than most.
However, it is still enough to make life hard for most birds. That is why feeding winter bird is a good thing. Even though until now, we have avoided the main point that is the joy and happiness brought by the birds to us. This is the leading cause we set up a bird feeder in our backyard or porch.
Another reason we need to mention here is that the little birdies first winter can be dangerous. They have no experience with developing body; it’s hard for them to find food in the winter. Even they can find one, and it could be difficult for them to compete with the adult birds for the food.
What Are the Most Common Winter Birds in California
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The above table shows the percent presence of winter birds who visited sites for a specific time in the previous winter. Here you can also find the ten most common birds you see in California on cold days.
Other than these ten, you may see Pine Siskin, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Spotted Towhee, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, and others.
Now, weâ€™ll discuss those 10 most common winter birds features, their food habit, and the foods to attract them to your food station.
1. House Finch:
From the family of finch and native to Hawaii and western North America is house finch. They are considered a part of the American rose finches. And the House finches are one of the smallest winter birds in California and the most frequent one. They can reach up to 16 cm in length.
The adult house has a long tipped brown tail with dim-brown color on its back. Most of the time, heads, shoulders, and necks are a bit reddish for males. Also, the coloration of male house finch varies with the season. They prefer urban and suburban areas for living in their territory.
The house finch’s diet consists of berries, fruits, and forage for vegetation, grains, and seeds on the ground. The change in their coloration comes from the fruits or berries they eat during the time. They also eat aphids and small insects.
However, if you are trying to bring them to your bird feeding station, Nyjer is the best choice. You can also try different seeds with high oil content. From our experience and research, we suggest this bird food for house finch.
2. Anna’s Hummingbird:
The second most common winter bird in California is Anna’s Hummingbird. They are from the family Trochilidae. These mid-sized species are native to North America’s western coastal regions. The interesting thing about this one is- they are bred, especially in southern and northern California.
Anna’s can grow up to 3.8-4.4 inches long and weigh around 0.1-02 oz. It has a bronze-green color that changes colors by looking at them from different angles. The pale grey belly and chest are identical to this species of hummingbirds. The bill is straight, slender, and long. Sometimes, the crimson-red iridescent on the male is visible.
Anna’s hummingbirds primarily eat nectar from different flowers. They also fed on small insects and gleaned from different vegetation. So, their wild diet can vary a bit. However, if you want to attract them to your feed station, provide sugar water mixtures.
The best hummingbird feeder you can buy on amazon.
3. White-crowned Sparrow:
North America’s native bird white-crowned sparrow, is a medium-sized bird from the sparrow family. The usual length is around 14-17 cm. Sometimes you may get confused them with the white-throated sparrow.
The white-crowned sparrow has a white stripe on the upper head with a grey marking on its face. The upper parts of their body have brown smears with grey lower parts. Crowned sparrows prefer brushy areas for living and breeding. The western USA and north side of Canada are their usual habitat.
The diet of white-crowned sparrows consists primarily of grasses and weed seeds. They also eat different insects like wasps, caterpillars, and beetles during the midsummer. However, to bring them to your food station in the backyard, try sunflower and other sorts of seeds in the feeder.
This is one of the best choices of seeds to buy for feeding white-crowned sparrows.
4. Lesser Goldfinch:
Lesser Goldfinch is a cousin bird of American goldfinch, and they are part of the finch family. Similarities are visible between these two. However, the lesser goldfinch has a yellow or red forehead, while the other has black or green.
It is one of the smallest American songbirds with a length of 8 to 12 cm and weighs around 8 to 12 g. Although, the male lesser goldfinch has bright yellow lower parts with white patches on its tail. But the female has grayish olive-green lower parts with a narrow white stripe on its wings and yellowish underparts.
The usual habitat of the Lesser goldfinch is southern USA states, Peru, and Venezuela. They prefer shrubs and trees without thick forest areas.
In the wild, their primary diet of lesser goldfinch consists of seeds and insects. And, if you want to bring them to your bird feeder during the winter, try sunflower, weed, and other different seeds.
According to our research, the best food for lesser goldfinch you can have.
5. Dark-eyed Junco:
It’s a small and grayish species of the junco family. The dark-eyed junco is part of the new world sparrow and related to fox sparrow. The usual habitat of this bird is warmer parts of North America and the Arctic during the summer.
The white belly, gray heads, breasts, and necks with brown or gray wings are expected for most adult Dark-eyed junco. And they can reach around 5.2-7 inches in length.
The primary diet of Dark-eyed junco is seeds and insects from the wild. But, to attract these birds to your food station, provide cracked corn, millet, and mixed bird seeds.
If you want more dark-eyed junco on your feeder, try this product.
6. Mourning Dove:
These are also known as American dove, turtle dove, or rain dove, and are part of the dove family, and it is the most common and plethoric bird of North America. Mourning Dove is well-known to all. It’s the leading gamebird in the United States of America.
The mourning doves have mild brown and grey with dull in color. And there is no visible difference between males and females. However, a mourning dove can reach around 30-33 cm in length and fly at 80-90 km/h speed.
The mourning dove has a high breeding capability. In a year, six broods of two young raised by a couple.
Different seeds consist the 95% of the diet of a mourning dove. In the wild, they also munch on weeds, grass, berries, and herbs. To bring them to your food station, fill the feeder with mixed seeds.
The presence of mourning doves will increase if you put this bird food in your food station.
7. California Scrub-Jay:
As the name suggests, the California Scrub-Jay is one of the common birds in California during the winter. This bird is a part of the scrub jay family and is native to California, western Nevada, and the south part of British Colombia.
The California scrub jay prefers the urban areas with low scrub for living, as they don’t migrate to another location during the winter or any other time of the year. So, they are frequent visitors to the bird feeders all around the cities.
It’s a medium-sized bird with an approximate length of 26 to 32 cm and weighs around 70 to 80 g. California scrub jay can be identified with a blue head and tail, wings, white eyebrows, grayish lower parts, and the back with gray-brown color.
The California Scrub jay eats nuts, fruits, seeds, fruits, berries, and insects in the wild. They like to eat in groups or pairs. To attract them to our feeder, fill the feeder with peanuts and sunflowers seeds for the best result.
California scrub jay loves this food in the feeder.
8. California Towhee:
Another typical winter in California that native to California, the coastal area of western Oregon and are some parts of Mexico. There is debate among the researchers on California towhee about their origin. They prefer living in the brush, open woodlands, and brushes.
The coloring is a chestnut strip on its throat and overall light brown with lust-colored lower parts. And a California towhee can reach around 19 to 26 cm in length. However, males and females have different body weights.
The California towhee’s diet consists of insects and seeds. They also eat grain, weeds, fruits, and grasses occasionally. However, for your bird feeder, try sunflower and mixed bird seeds to bring them to your backyard.
This black oil sunflower seed is a great choice for attracting California towhee.
9. Oak Titmouse:
It’s the passerine avian that is from the family Paridae of tit. The oak titmouse is the part of the plain titmouse. And it’s a small bird with tuft and brown-shade grayish color. However, the lower part has light gray with a plain face.
The oak titmouse is from southern Oregon, the pacific slope, California, and Baja California, of Mexico. They prefer living in dry oak, oak-pine, warm woodlands, and the forest with oak trees.
The diet of oak consists of insects, fruits, twigs, seeds, and trunk or brunches. The best way to attract them to your feeder is to fill it with different birdseed and sunflower seeds.
The oak titmouse wouldn’t mind this high-energy bird food in the feeder.
10. Golden-crowned Sparrow:
Another bird on this list from the new world sparrow family is from the western part of North America. The golden-crowned sparrow has a total of five species in the genus. It also has some similarities with the white-crowned sparrow.
The golden-crowned sparrow can grow up to 19 cm with a weight of around 36 g. it’s a relatively large bird for an American sparrow.
The long and square-tipped tail is typical for most sparrows. The crown on its head is kinda peaked. The plumage is similar for both males and females. The color has a high presence of gray, brown, and a bit black.
The golden-crowned sparrow loves to eat from the ground by scratching and pecking. They also eat insects from the midair. Try to use ground feeders by filling them with sunflower and other different seeds to attract them to your food station.
This cherry flavor mixed bird food could be a great choice to attract sparrows.
As the winter months approaching before us, some birds starting to move out, and others are preparing for it.
If you’re planning on feeding winter birds in Pennsylvania, the common birds you can expect on your food station are House Finch, Anna’s Hummingbird, sparrows, and the other birds mentioned above.
Therefore, if you are trying to bring them to your food station, different seeds, crushed peanuts, cracked corns, and other common winter bird foods, also, you can try something from your kitchen. And remember that your birdbath needs a right heater to keep going in the winter.