Feeding Winter Birds in Florida | Birds Advice
A winter bird feeder is a perfect way to bring some extra life to your yard during the cold months. Winter birds are hungry, and they need a little help in winter. And Florida has a slightly warmer temperature compared to other states. So, feeding winter birds in Florida is very entertaining.
However, feeding winter birds need a moderately different approach. This article covered what to feed Florida winter birds, why you feed them, how to set up the food station during the winter, and the typical winter birds in Florida.
Check out our previous article on the same topic “Winter bird feeding in New York“
Read Also: Feeding Winter Birds In Illinois
What to Feed Winter Birds in Florida
When you decide about feeding winter birds, whether it’s in Florida or any other state of the USA, the first thing that comes to mind is what you can feed the birds in winter.
Well, there are several foods you can offer to winter birds through the bird feeder. However, the most common and effective foods that will bring more visitors to your feeder are:
- Crushed Peanuts
- Nut and Fruit
- Cracked Corn
- Thistle Seed/Nyjer
- Sunflower Seed
- Fat Ball
- Mixed Seeds
- Bread crumbs
Also, you can find some good bird foods in a nearby pet store. And providing something from your kitchen is always an excellent option.
In addition to those mentioned before, some commercial foods that you’ll find online could be a great alternative too. From our research and experience, this high-protein bird food can be a great addition to your arsenal to bring the highest number of visitors.
How to Set Up a Winter Bird Feeding Station in Florida
Not all bird feeders can do well during the winter. Some are performed better than others and attract more birds. Moreover, the visitors will vary according to your feeder setup and the foods you’re offering.
However, as we’ve researched a lot and find the most suitable winter bird feeders that can do fine in the colder seasons, we’ve covered the five most practical and frequent bird feeders you can try and the best food with the probable visitors you may receive.
One of the easiest bird feeders to have in your backyard or anywhere you prefer. It doesn’t need any extra setup or anything else to go on. Just put food on it and leave it where the birds visit most.
However, if your area has high snowfall, this isn’t a great choice. Because it’s a bit maintaining, it’s a suitable winter feeder that attracts birds like Roadrunners, Sparrows, Towhees, and Juncos. Grosbeaks, Anis, Doves, Cardinals, Pigeons, and Starlings.
This is one of the best ground feeders we like, and you can put almost every bird food in this feeder.
The tube feeder is an effective and frequent winter bird feeder in most Florida and other states. It’s also easy to set up, refill, and cleaning. Moreover, the tube feeder doesn’t catch much rain or snow. Therefore, it’s a great choice as a bird feeder during the winter.
Moreover, you can fill a tube feeder with Sunflower seed, cracked corn, crushed peanuts, and other seeds. And the usual visitors to a tube feeder are house finches, grosbeaks, lesser goldfinches, black-capped chickadees, American goldfinches, and some species of sparrows.
Here’s our recommended tube feeder that may interest you.
A thistle feeder is an excellent alternative to a tube feeder. The features between these are similar except for the thistle part. It gives space for multiple birds to eat simultaneously. Also, this feeder keeps the squirrel away a bit. Moreover, the maintenance, refill, and cleaning are easy to perform.
Therefore, it’s the right choice for feeding winter birds. And about feeling a thistle feeder, using different seeds will be the fair call. Besides, this type of feeder will bring visitors Finches, Sparrows, Towhees, and Doves Quail.
However, if you’re looking for a thistle feeder, this feeder is a good pick at a low price.
Hopper feeder is a great pick for winter bird feeding in Florida. However, you need to consider while choosing one, try to buy one with a spacious tray. It’ll give space to the birds to stand during eating and keep the scattered food on the feeder.
Moreover, a bigger shade is preferable for a hopper feeder. The best foods for hopper feeders are seeds (except milo) and corn. And this type of feeder attracts birds like Grosbeaks, Titmouse, Finches, Jays Sparrows, Buntings, Cardinals, and Chickadees.
If you’re looking for a hopper feeder, our recommendation is this one.
A suet feeder is a suitable alternative for the birds that won’t go for seed. Moreover, woodpecker loves suet feeder. But, this feeder needs to be shaded from the squirrels and day heat to keep intact.
The peanuts and worms could be a great addition to this feeder. There are suet feeders that have extra spaces to provide other foods. So, while picking one, ask for those.
And the usual visitors a suet feeder will receive woodpeckers, jays, Wrens, starlings, Nuthatches, Chickadees creepers, kinglets, some warblers, and Cardinals.
From our observation, this is one of the best suet feeders you can try for your backyard in the winter season.
Another thing most people forget while setting up the food station in winter or for any other time has a birdbath. Without it, birds have to go to a different location searching for water.
Here’s our recommended birdbath that is rustproof and environment-friendly.
Also, a heater is necessary to keep warm as the winter makes the water cold and non-drinkable or freeze. If you happen to be searching for one, check this heater.
Why Feeding Winter Birds in Florida
In Florida, the weather temperature is comparatively warm and better than most other states in America. We don’t experience snow here in the winter, which is a common phenomenon in other states.
As you can see in the above graph, the average temperature in the winter season is around 60-70 Â°F or 15.5-21.1 Â°C. And the lowest temperature is 61.9 Â°F, recorded in January.
In our other articles regarding winter bird feeding in a particular state, we showed the snowfall chart. Since Florida doesn’t encounter snowfall, we are presenting the average rainfall during the winter. So, you could understand the weather situation in Florida during the winter.
Therefore, if you’re from Florida, you already know the fact about the weather here. So, Florida has better weather conditions for the birds to spend the winter here. A lot of birds will come to this location by migrating from other places.
Even though natural resources may be enough for the birds, your bird feeder may help a lot of migratory birds who still don’t know where to look for food. Also, the presence of the birds will brighten up your day.
Therefore, feeding winter birds is a great way to spend some quality time and leisure activity.
What are the Most Common Winter Birds in Florida
In the above table, you can see the common birds in Florida during the winter. It shows the percentage of the site visit of those birds from November to February for the year 2020-2021.
Here we picked the ten most frequent birds you may encounter during the winter season in Florida. These are not all.
Birds like American Crow, American Goldfinch, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Chipping Sparrow, Eastern Phoebe, Gray Catbird, Painted Bunting, Ruby-throated Hummingbird; Yellow-rumped Warbler, etc. are also the usual visitors.
However, in this blog post, we’ll discuss only the ten (mentioned in the table) of the most common winter birds in Florida. Their preferred feeder and food, and how to attract them to your food station.
1. Northern Cardinal:
Northern Cardinal is one of the most common winter birds throughout the United States of America. It’s also the most frequent bird in Florida and a popular visitor at your bird feeder.
The Northern Cardinal is comparatively large from other songbirds. It’s a medium-sized bird with a nifty crest on its head and a long tail. This bird can reach around 8.2 to 9.3 inches in length with a weight of about 59 g.
The female Northern Cardinals have a dull color than the males. Also, male Cardinals have black masks, while the females have grey. Moreover, the male is a bright red color with black feathers. And it’s usual for most males.
It prefers a location with a garden, shrublands, wetlands, and woodland areas for living. And can be found in Canada, Eastern USA, Mexico, and Hawaii.
The Cardinal’s diet consists primarily of fruits, grains, seeds, and weeds. And they prefer different seeds like sunflower, large ones, and safflower. Moreover, they like ground feeders for taking foods from.
Therefore, if you want to bring them to your feeder, try different seeds with a ground feeder or open type ones.
To increase the number of Northern Cardinals to your feeder, you can try this bird food.
2. Mourning Dove:
The rain dove, American mourning dove, and turtle dove are the usual name for the Mourning Dove. It’s from the family of Columbidae dove. It’s is one of the most plethoric and widespread North American birds you may encounter.
It’s also a primary game bird with 25 to 70 million shots in a single year. However, prolific breeding makes it sustain under pressure. The Mourning Dove makes an unusual whistling sound while landing and taking off. And it can reach the speed of 88 km per hour.
The male and female Mourning doves have similar appearances. They are mild brown and grey, and the color is comparatively muted. They live in places like prairies, urban areas, grassland, farms, and wooded areas with less density.
Mourning Doves diet consists of 99% of seeds. However, occasionally they may eat insects, grass, berries, herbs, weeds, and snails. Therefore, if you want to bring them to your feeder, try mixing different seeds for a better result.
However, the presence of mourning doves will increase if you put this food in the food station.
3. Red-bellied Woodpecker:
The red-bellied woodpecker is from the family of Picidae and is found in Florida, the eastern United States, and part of Canada. It’s a medium-sized woodpecker and very common in most parts of the USA.
The male has a murky belly, that’s because of the adjacent feathers. And the prominent red part is the plumage on its head which is more visible from the belly. Therefore, the name of this bird is somewhat misleading.
The red-bellied woodpecker is a relative of the redhead. However, their differences are identical. The black and white pattern on the back of the red-bellied is more eminent than the redheads.
And the average length of the red-bellied varies from 22- to 27 cm and weighs around 90 g. They prefer dead trees for nesting. And in the wild, they eat beetles and other insects and different plant or plant matters.
However, try crushed nuts, seeds, and commercial bird food to attract them to your food station.
Our recommendation for bringing more red-bellied, check this product.
4. Blue Jay:
One of the most common passerine birds in Florida in winter is Blue Jay and is part of the family Corvidae. And they can be found in Eastern North America and some parts of Canada.
The blue color on its body is clearly identical. The Blue Jay has a white chest and lower parts with a blue crest. The upper part is mostly blue with a u-shaped black collar around its neck.
Moreover, the Blue Jay can reach around 12 inches or 30 cm in length with a weight of about 100 g. Males and females are similar in plumage and size. They prefer deciduous and coniferous forests and residential areas for living.
Seeds, nuts, insects, and acorns are their primary diet in the wild. However, to attract more Blue Jay to your food station, try suet, cracked corn, and seeds.
Consequently, as per our research and observation, Blue Jay would not mind this food in the feeder.
5. Tufted Titmouse:
From the chickadee family, Tufted Titmouse is the small songbird that can be seen in winter. The black-crested titmouse is another name for the Northern American bird. This bird can be found in southern and central Texas.
The Tufted Titmouse is a gray bird with round bills, black eyes, and a small length. The Tufted Titmouse can reach around 16 cm or 5.5-6.3 in and weighs around 25 g. The black-crested areas like woods, gardens, parks, and scrublands for living.
Also, it’s a usual visitor to your bird feeders in the colder season. The Tufted Titmouse feeds on insects, bugs, and seeds. However, insects are the primary food source of this bird. Therefore, to attract them to your bird feeder, try seeds, peanuts, and corns.
To bring more of them to your backyard, this bird food could be the one you are looking for.
6. Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus):
The Carolina Wren is one of the most familiar faces of the wren family. They live around the South Ontario of Canada, the Eastern half of the United States, and Northeast of Mexico. They prefer areas like suburban areas, farm edges, and densely covered forests for living.
The Carolina Wren can grow about 15 cm or 5.5 inches in length and weighs around 24 g. Also, there are seven renowned subspecies, and all of them have similar growth, and appearances are slightly similar. However, the Carolina Wren differs moderately from the other groups in songs and appearances.
The diet of the Carolina Wren is made of vines and vegetation in the areas. Also, they eat different invertebrates. However, if you plan a bird feeder, try peanuts, suet, fruits, mealworms, and sunflower seeds to bring them to your backyard.
Therefore, for your feeding station, you can consider this highly rated food for Carolina Wren.
7. Carolina Chickadee:
Another common passerine bird from the family of Tit. The Carolina Chickadee is another usual bird you will see in Florida. They are native to Florida, Texas, Kansa, and New Jersey. And their preferred area for living is wood-covered places.
The Carolina Chickadee can reach about 14 cm in length in adulthood and weighs around 12 g. A bib and black cap with white sides on its face are identifiable. And the rusty brown color in the lower parts with a comparatively long tail to its short wings and bills.
This bird spends a lot of time looking around the tree branches for spiders and insects. The Carolina Chickadee also eats different fruits in the winter season.
However, to attract them to your food station, fill the feeder with seeds, suet, peanut butter, and worms.
Moreover, if you are looking for something to feed the Carolina Chickadee, check this one.
8. Downy Woodpecker:
The smallest North American species from the woodpecker you’ll see. It’s also a common winter bird in many states of the USA. This lively bunch is most widespread throughout the North American territory and frequently visits towns and city parks.
The Downy woodpecker’s living areas varied to different locations. They may be found in river groves, suburban yards, forests, shade trees, willows, and woodlots. But, the deciduous trees of those locations are the best place where you may find them.
The black upperparts, wings, and tail are typical for Downy woodpeckers. And their belly and throat have visible white spotting. Besides, the usual length is about 18 cm, with a weight of around 33 g.
Another thing that needs to be recalled here is the sizeable hairy plumage pattern is the identical beauty of the Downy Woodpeckers. A variety of insects, especially beetles, ants, caterpillars, gall wasps, and others, are their main food in nature besides the seeds and berries.
However, to attract more to your feeder, try suet, seeds, worms, and berries for better results. If you happen to look for suitable food for the Downies, check this product.
9. Northern Mockingbird:
The Northern Mockingbird is one of the permanent residents of the Northern American territory. They visit the South during the harsh weather in the winter. Their mimicking ability makes them famous to people. And the name came from that too.
The grey to brown upper feathers and the pale belly are salient of the Northern Mockingbird. Also, the white patches on its tails and wings are identical during the flight.
In the wild, the mocking birds are omnivorous species, and they feed on insects, fruits, and seeds. Therefore, if you want to attract them to your feeder, provide suet or seed in it. Besides them, sliced fruits and oranges may interest them too.
Here’s good bird food that’ll bring more mockingbirds to your food station.
10. House Finch:
The House Finch believes to be part of the American rose finches. And they are from Western North America and Hawaii. It’s one of the smallest birds that can be around 15 cm in length. Consequently, the weight is about 22 g.
An adult House finch has dim-brown color on its back and a long tipped brown tail. The House’s head, neck, and shoulder are a bit reddish. And the coloration also varies with the season for the males.
The House finch prefers urban and suburban areas for living. And, their diet consists of grains, berries, seeds, and other different vegetation. The change in color also happens from their diet.
However, House finches prefer Nyjer seeds in the feeder. Therefore, if you want to your feeder, try this highly rated product. You can also offer seeds with high oil content.
Even though the winter in Florida isn’t much harsh, there will be many local birds and migratory ones during the colder season. Therefore, feeding winter birds in Florida can be a great way to help them.
And suet, peanuts, cracked corns, and different seeds are the perfect way to fill your feeder. However, you should pick suet, ground, hopper, tube, or thistle feeder for winter in Florida.
Consequently, the expected winter visitors or the most common winter birds in Florida are Northern Cardinal, Mourning Dove, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Blue Jay, Tufted Titmouse, Carolina Wren, Carolina Chickadee, Downy Woodpecker, Northern Mockingbird, and the House Finch.
- Image Source: canva.com/photos