Do you want to feed birds in your backyard in winter? And if you happen to be from Pennsylvania, this blog post is dedicated to you. Here, we’ve discussed everything you need to know about feeding winter birds in Pennsylvania.
From 400 bird species in Pennsylvania, you may encounter only 35-40 of them during the winter. Many birds migrate to other locations with better weather conditions and more food accessibility, and others remain in the same place. So, feeding them could be a generous act with great fun and entertainment.
Here, we’ve covered the Pennsylvania winter bird feeding guidelines, what to provide, why you should feed them, the best way to set up a feeding station, the most familiar birds in Pennsylvania during winter, and more.
If you are from California, hereâ€™s an article for you.
What to Feed Winter Birds in Pennsylvania
Several types of foods are available that you can provide to a winter bird. Starting from â€“
- Commercial bird food
- Mixed seed
- Cracked corn
- Nyjer/thistle seed
- Safflower seed
- Black-oil sunflower seed
- Homemade food from your kitchen
Note: All links take you to Amazon. However, if you are looking for the best commercial bird food, then check this product.
How to Set Up a Winter Bird Feeding Station in Pennsylvania
Winter bird feeder needs a different setup than usual, as the snow can cover or block your feeding station. You can set up five common types of bird feeders for winter in Pennsylvania.
#Ground-feeding table: This type of feeder is easy to set up and preserve, though it can get covered with heavy snow. And, it’s a bit high maintaining winter bird feeder. However, you can put this one anywhere you like, whether you want it to your deck, patio, backyard, or rooftop.
This low platform feeder can attract Mourning Doves, Sparrows, Juncos, and other ground-feeding birds in the area.
However, if you’re looking for the best ground feeding table, we recommend this product on Amazon.
#Sunflower seed bird feeder tube: One of the best choices during the winter for any state is a tube feeder. It doesn’t catch the snow much, and cleaning or refilling is easier. Black oil sunflower seed, crushed peanuts are great choices to fill up a tube feeder.
Tube feeder attracts Black-capped Chickadees, White-breasted Nuthatches, Tufted Titmouse, and House Finches.
Here’s our best pick for a winter tube bird feeder.
#Hopper feeders: Another excellent choice for winter bird feeders is hopper feeders with wide trays. Use sunflower seed with birdseed to fill this up. Other than those, you can try crushed nuts and white proso millet to mix it up a bit. It will attract more birds like- cardinals, doves, titmouse, and sparrows.
According to our research, this is one of the best hopper feeders you can try.
#Suet feeder: A suet feeder is the best alternative for the birds that don’t go for seed. To bring the birds from the seed feeder, fill the suet feeder with peanuts to attract them.
The usual visitors of this feeder are- woodpeckers, nuthatches, and Carolina Wrens. Although, fruit and nuts are favorites to nuthatches and woodpeckers.
Our favorite choice for a suet feeder.
#Thistle feeder: The Thistle bird feeder is another feeder you can consider during the cold time of the year. This one is similar to the tube feeder. Therefore, you can set it too for your porch or backyard tree. This feeder attracts house, goldfinches, Cassin’s finches, and purple.
In our observation, one of the best choices for a thistle feeder.
Another thing you need to consider while setting up the bird feeders in Pennsylvania, keeping the birdbath warm. Otherwise, birds have to go to another place to look for the water. And because of that, visitors will shift to another feeder with water access.
An excellent choice of the birdbath with rustproof and weather resistance.
A good quality water heater is essential for your food station to keep it going. If you don’t have one already in store, check this product here.
Why Feeding Winter Birds in Pennsylvania
The weather condition is pretty harsh in Pennsylvania during the winter.
The average high temperature of Pennsylvania in the mid-winter is (December-February) 31.6 Â° F and the average low-temperature 19.8Â°F. By looking at the graph, it is evident the weather isn’t suitable for most birds.
And the average snowfall in January is 4.49″. That can pretty much cover all the usual food sources for the birds and make their life hard. Therefore, providing a food station can be helpful during this time of the year.
However, a common misconception developed in people’s minds that birds leave the city during the winter. But that’s not entirely true. Yeah, most birds move to another location with a warmer temperature. However, some birds remain in the city and fly here and there, searching for food and water.
Hardy birds can survive a little harsh weather without any help from us. And during the coldest time of the year, they move to the warmer areas. Some birds come to Pennsylvania from further northern territory to survive cold weather.
However, half-hardy birds need some help from us to survive the winter comfortably. And migrating birds need food and water during their journey. So, providing a food station can help the local and migrated birds.
Also, during the mild winter times, some birds remain in Pennsylvania. A bird feeder can help them too. Although, most cities have heat islands. Towns remain warm even during the winter than the countryside. In there, you can help many birds with a bird food station.
Baby or young birds can face a hard time finding food and water, and a backyard bird feeder can help them with necessary food supplies.
Even though having a bird feeder is more beneficial to us than the birds. We’re the ones to enjoy the beauty and cheerful presence of the birds and experience nature around us. Watching them gives us a peaceful mind and joy in the heart.
What are the Most Common Winter Birds in Pennsylvania
In the above table, you can find the data of common birds you can see in Pennsylvania during the winter. It shows the percentage of sites visit of a particular bird in between a specific month. Here, we present data of the mid-winter months November-February).
There are more feather friends you will find in your backyard. But we picked the most common ones here:
1. Northern Cardinal:
The most frequent bird of Pennsylvania is the Northern Cardinal. In the southern, eastern, and central US, N.C.s are one of the favorite feeder birds. They have a nifty crest on the head, long tail, and mid-size length.
Compared to other songbirds, these are fairly large. Male NCs have brighter color than the females. Bright red with black feathers are typical for males with a heavy bill. However, the male has a black mask, and the females having simple grey.
Northern Cardinals have a body length of 8.3-9.5 Inches.
All sorts of seeds are favorite to the N.C.s, especially sunflower, safflower, and the large ones. 90% of their diet consists of grains, fruits, and weed seeds in the wild. They prefer ground feeding and hopping around while eating.
Northern Cardinals wouldn’t mind this food in the feeder.
2. Dark-eyed Junco:
Small and grayish species of the junco family are dark-eyed. Their usual habitat is the warmer part of North America and the Arctic during the summer. Dark-eyed junco could be related to fox sparrow.
The white belly, gray heads, breasts, and necks with brown or gray wings are common for most adults. Dark-eyed junco can reach around 5.2-7 inches in length.
In the wild, their usual diet consists of insects and seeds. You can provide any sort of bird seeds for them with millet and cracked corn.
A good bird food for the winter bird station for dark eyed juncos.
3. Downy Woodpecker:
The smallest and widespread species of the woodpecker from North America is Downy. They are the lively bunch in the eastern territory, frequently visiting the city parks and towns.
Their usual habitat is varied from woodlots, willows, forests, shade trees, river groves to suburban yards. However, the deciduous trees in the mentioned locations are the best place to find them.
Downy woodpeckers are mainly black in wings, upperparts, and tail. The white spotting is visible on the belly and throat. And their average length is in between 13-19cm. The plumage pattern on the large hairy ones is virtually identical.
In the wild, insects, ants, beetles are the main diet of this small woodpecker. However, if you want them on your feeder, try suet feeder to attract them.
The Downy Woodpecker will love this food in the feeder.
4. White-breasted Nuthatch:
The small songbird from the family of Nuthatch is the white-breasted. They are frequent in the warmer regions of North America. It has a large head, strong bill, stocky, and short tail.
The identified visuals of the white-breasted Nuthatch are- flanks, white face and chest, black cap, chestnut lower parts with the blue-gray upper body.
The white-breasted birds forage for trunks, branches, and insects in the wild like any other nuthatch. The seeds make up a substantial part of their diet during the cold weather. They are the familiar visitors of the bird feeders with seed, peanut, and suet in it.
Wanna see more white-breasted on your feeder? Try this bird food.
5. Tufted Titmouse:
The small songbird of the chickadee family from North America is also known as the black-crested titmouse. The usual habitat is southern and central Texas. They can reach up to 17 cm. Tufted Titmouse prefers living in the areas with parks, shrublands, woods, and gardens.
Gray birds with large black eyes, round bills, and small in length are common visuals of Tufted Titmouse. They are frequent visitors to your bird feeders. In the wild, the primary diet contains bugs, insects, and seeds. However, insects are the major food source for tufted titmouse.
However, if you want to bring them to your bird feeder, try peanuts and seeds.
The Tufted Titmouse can’t resist this bird food.
6. Mourning Dove:
They’re also known as American dove, turtle dove, or rain dove, and are part of the dove family. The most common and plethoric bird of North America Morning Dove is well-known to all. It’s the leading gamebird in the USA.
Mourning doves are mild brown and grey with dull in color. There is no visible difference between males and females. Mourning dove can reach up to 38 cm in length. They have a high breeding capability. In a year, six broods of two young raised by a couple.
The seeds consist the 95% of the diet of a mourning dove. In the wild, they also eat weeds, grass, berries, and herbs.
Mourning doves will be highly interested in this food.
7. Red-bellied Woodpecker:
Red belly is the medium-sized woodpecker from the Picidae family. Male red-belly woodpecker has a murky belly because of adjacent feathers. The plumage on its head is more eminent than the belly. So, you could say the name is somewhat confusing.
There is also have redheaded woodpecker in relative, but they look different from the red-bellied. In the back, the black and white pattern is quite visible of the red-bellied woodpecker. Their length varies from 22.50 to 26.8 cm.
Red-bellies are omnivores, and their diet contains more than 50% of the plant or plant matter. If you want to attract them to your feeder, try using crushed nuts, seeds, and commercial bird food.
The red-bellied woodpecker love this food.
8. American Goldfinch:
Another small feather friend from the North American territory is the American goldfinch. They are the migratory bird to North Carolina, Alberta, Mexico, and Canada-US border areas.
The male American goldfinch has vibrant yellow in summer. And in the winter, they turn olive color. On the other hand, females have faint yellow-brown that brightens a little in the summer.
Open country with thriving weeds and meadows are the preferred location to the American goldfinch. And they are strict vegetarians. Their diet consists of plants, trees, sunflowers, tree buds, etc. you can attract them with different small seeds.
This is the number one selling bird food that you can buy for American Goldfinch.
9. Blue Jay:
The passerine bird blue jay is from the family Corvidae. They are native to the central-eastern USA and North America. Frequently found in Canada too. It prefers the deciduous trees and residential area to live on.
The blue on the blue jay is eminent with white underparts and the chest. The U-shaped black collar is easily identifiable along with a blue crest. It ranges 20-31 cm in length and weighs around 60-100 g.
Blue jay’s main diet consists of nuts, and seeds, while occasionally bite on small vertebrates. You can try peanut, cracked corn, and sunflower seeds to attract them to your feeder.
For Blue Jay, you can try this product for your winter bird feeder.
10. Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus):
The most familiar face of the wren family, the Carolina Wren. They live around Canada, the northeast of Mexico, and the Eastern half of the U.S., It is also South Carolina’s state bird.
The Carolina Wren can grow up to 15 cm in length. There are seven renowned subspecies, and all of them have similar growth. Carolina Wren differs slightly from the other groups in appearances and songs.
Carolina spends most of the time on the ground looking for vines and vegetation in search of food. They also eat different invertebrates. And for your feeding station, you should consider peanuts, suet, fruits, and sunflower seeds.
You can try this highly rated food for Carolina Wren.
11. House Sparrow:
A common bird around the world is the house sparrow. This small bird can grow up to 17 cm (6.7 inches). The males are brighter black, while the young and females are grey and pale brown in color. House sparrows are native to a large part of Asia and Europe.
For living, house sparrow prefers rural and urban settings and avoids the wide grass, woodlands. In the wild, this bird eats grains, weeds, seeds, and insects. However, try birdseeds, milo, sunflower seed, and millet if you want them on your bird feeder.
For the house sparrow, this is the best food to buy.
Winter gives nature a pretty acute time. For a nature lover, this can be painful. To bring the joy and happiness of the summer in your backyard, feeding winter birds in Pennsylvania or anywhere else can be a great idea.
The common birds on your food stations in Pennsylvania during the winter are Northern Cardinal, White-breasted Nuthatch, Dark-eyed Junco, Tufted Titmouse, Downy Woodpecker, Blue Jay, and other mentioned birds above.
So, if you want them in your feeder, try seeds, crushed peanuts, cracked corns, and different types of bird foods. You can also try some from your kitchen.
And don’t forget to set up the birdbath with a quality heater to keep the water warm.