birdberrysketchThis table provides you with specific management techniques to attract the birds you desire to your backyard. Only 63 of the most common species found in Florida yards have been included. Creating high quality habitat for these species will inevitably attract many more.

Florida birds fall into four groups: year-round residents, summer breeders, winter visitors and seasonal migrants. This table lists the geographical part of the state (north - N, south - S) and the time of year you are likely to encounter the bird (year-round - R, summer breeder - SB, winter resident - WR, migrant - M). More detailed occurrence information on all Florida birds is available from the FWC (see "For Further Information").

We have described the birds' desired natural foods and nesting sites so you can be sure your backyard habitat is complete. You will also be able to note whether birds you especially want to attract are likely to use a feeder or a nest box (link to details). Finally, special management and landscape considerations are listed for each species.

Barred Owl Eastern Phoebe Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Blue Grosbeak Finches Rufous-sided Towhee
Blue Jay Grackles Screech Owl
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher Great Crested Flycatcher Sparrows
Brown Thrasher Mocking Bird Summer Tanager
Buntings Northern Bobwhite Tufted Titmouse
Cardinal Nuthatches Vireos
Carolina Chickadee Orioles Warblers
Catbird Pine Siskin Wrens
Cedar Waxwing Purple Martin White-crowned Pigeon
Doves Red-winged Blackbird Wood Thrush
Eastern Bluebird Robin Woodpeckers
Eastern and Gray Kingbird Ruby-crowned Kinglet Yellow-billed Cuckoo


BIRDS
(Common Name)
Cardinal
Blue Grosbeak
Buntings
Purple Martin Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Location (North - N, South - S) and Time of Residence (year-round - R, summer breeder - SB, winter resident - WR, migrant - M) Cardinal
N (R), S (R)
Blue Grosbeak
N (SB), S (M)
Indigo and Painting Bunting
N (SB), S (WR)
Purple Martin
N (R), S (SB)
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
N (SB), S (R)

Preferred Natural Food Mostly seeds of wild and cultivated grasses, some insects.  Cardinals eat more than 100 kinds of fruits. Vast quantities of insects. Flower nectar, tiny insects and spiders.

Preferred Nesting Site Thickets, vines, dense stands of young saplings, other brushy plants Natural cavities, holes and crevices in sides of bluffs or cliffs. Limb of low tree, often overhanging water.

Will They Use Feeders? Yes No Yes

Nest Boxes? No Yes No

Special Management and Landscape Preferences Cardinals prefer mixed gardens with hedges and lawns backed by a variety of trees; have a strong preference for sunflowers seeds.  Buntings and grosbeaks like brushy pastures and woodland edges; like an exposed perch to sing on; feed on ground; feed on white proso millet at feeders.  Buntings are shy and require heavy cover near feeders. Prefer open meadows and lawns near water. Have learned to nest in gourds and special apartment houses placed in suitable habitat.  Don't use pesticides nearby! Garden with variety of plantings is ideal, including herbaceous flowering borders, running water, and special sugar water feeders.  Strongly attracted to red tubular flowers like native firebush.

BIRDS
(Common Name)
Eastern Bluebird Blue Jay Carolina Wren
House Wren

Location (North - N, South - S) and Time of Residence (year-round - R, summer breeder - SB, winter resident - WR, migrant - M) Eastern Bluebird
N and S (R)
Blue Jay
N and S (R)
Carolina Wren
N and S (R)
House Wren
N and S (WR)

Preferred Natural Food Primarily insects, some fruits and berries. Acorns, other nuts and berries, insects, small reptiles and mammals. Mostly insects

Preferred Nesting Site Natural cavities in trees, old woodpecker holes in trees and fence posts. Variety of trees 10 - 30' off the ground. Cavities, or crotches of trees of shrubs.

Will They Use Feeders? Rarely Yes Yes

Nest Boxes? Yes No Yes

Special Management and Landscape Preferences Prefer orchards, old fields with scattered trees, open, second growth woodlands. Birds are strongly territorial, so place next boxes 100 yards apart (detailed plans available). Commonly use birdbaths. Restricted to rural and agricultural areas in south Florida. Prefer yards with large numbers of trees, especially oaks, beeches and pines.  Water is a major attractant.  Peanuts are especially attractive at feeders. Like wooded gardens with dense shrub undergrowth. Will nest in almost any cavity around homes; try hanging a gourd under house eaves. Loves peanut butter/suet cakes.

BIRDS
(Common Name)
Mockingbird
Catbird
Brown Thrasher
Carolina Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
Screech Owl
Barred Owl
American Kestrel

Location (North - N, South - S) and Time of Residence (year-round - R, summer breeder - SB, winter resident - WR, migrant - M) Mockingbird
N and S (R)
Catbird
N and S (WR)
Brown Thrasher
N and S (R)
Carolina Chickadee
N (R)
Tufted Titmouse
N (R)
Screech Owl
N and S (R)
Barred Owl
N and S (R)
American Kestrel
N and S (R)

Preferred Natural Food Insects, grubs, fruits and seeds Insects and many plant foods Mice and insects.

Preferred Nesting Site Dense, thorny shrubs or vines conceal basket-like nests. Brambles ideal. Natural cavities and abandoned woodpecker holes. Cavities.

Will They Use Feeders? Yes Yes No

Nest Boxes? No Yes Yes

Special Management and Landscape Preferences Edge situations provided by gardens excellent for mockingbirds; native berries are important food source. Catbirds like access to water. Thrashers forage on the ground where leaf litter is plentiful. Yards with mature deciduous and evergreen trees supported by dense shrub and small tree understory are best. Chickadees prefer to dig own cavities in partly rotted trunks or stumps, especially pine and birch. Hanging suet feeders and sunflower seeds are especially attractive. Like gardens with many old trees close to open, unmowed areas for hunting. Prefer cavities in hardwoods and old woodpecker holes in pines. Readily use appropriate nest boxes. Will use water if provided.

BIRDS
(Common Name)
Woodpeckers Robin
Wood Thrush
Rufous-sided Towhee
Orioles
Summer Tanager

Location (North - N, South - S) and Time of Residence (year-round - R, summer breeder - SB, winter resident - WR, migrant - M) Woodpeckers (Red-headed, Red-bellied, Downy, Flicker, Pileated)
N and S (R)
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
N and S (WR)
Robin
N and S (WR)
Wood Thrush
N (SB), S (M)
Rufous-sided Towhee
N and S (R)
Orchard Oriole
N (SB), S (M)
Spot-breasted Oriole
S (R)
Northern Oriole
N and S (WR)
Summer Tanager
N and S (SB)

Preferred Natural Food Major consumers of forest pest insects, grubs and eggs, ants, beetles; and also berries, nuts and seeds. Forage on ground for insects; also eat fleshy fruits and berries. Insects, fleshy fruits, especially berries.

Preferred Nesting Site Cavities in dead or dying trees. Towhee - on or close to ground under dense shrub cover. Wood
Thrush - shrub or small tree 6 - 12' high.
Oriole - shade, street trees, preferable near water.
Tanager - deciduous trees, often oaks.

Will They Use Feeders? Yes

Robin and thrush - rarely.
Towhee - yes

Yes

Nest Boxes? Yes
(except pileated)
No No

Special Management and Landscape Preferences Pileated and red-bellied prefer old growth forests with mixed hardwoods. Downy and flicker common in gardens with mix of deciduous and coniferous trees and shrubs, some open ground. Optimum garden for red-headed has lawns and shrub beds, a few large pines and oaks and some dead snags nearby. Maintain snags in your yard for all woodpeckers. Leave stumps and fallen logs as foraging habitat. Will eat suet; red-headed likes bread on platform feeders. Wooded gardens with densely planted understory. Robins like lawns with scattered trees, berry bushes in winter. Towhees fond of brush piles, prefer to forage under feeders on ground, close to cover. Shaded, ground-level birdbaths or pools with close cover of shrubs excellent. Prefer high feeding stations with fruit; northern orioles enjoy suet. Attracted to gardens with mixed fruit trees, especially orchard trees, dogwood, mulberry, tupelos, wild cherry and blackberry. Orioles attracted to fruit at feeders, especially oranges.

BIRDS
(Common Name)
Cedar Waxwings Nuthatches Doves
White-crowned Pigeon

Location (North - N, South - S) and Time of Residence (year-round - R, summer breeder - SB, winter resident - WR, migrant - M) Cedar Waxwings
N and S (WR)
White-breasted Nuthatch
N (R)
Brown-headed Nuthatch
N and S (R)
Morning and Ground Dove
N and S (R)
White-crowned Pigeon
S (R)

Preferred Natural Food Abundant fleshy fruits on shrubs and trees. Also, buds and flowers of hardwood trees. Insects, seeds and nuts. Insects, seeds, nuts and fruits. All except pigeon are ground feeders.

Preferred Nesting Site Not in Florida Cavities in dead trees or old woodpecker holes. Pigeon - often nest in mangroves, usually on offshore islands.
Dove- varies, from ground to shrubs, vines, etc.

Will They Use Feeders? Rarely

Yes

Yes

Nest Boxes? No Yes No

Special Management and Landscape Preferences Manage your property to include many fruiting natives; roving flocks of waxwings will devour dogwood, holly and red cedar berries in late winter. Don't cut snags! Many hardwoods and pines are preferred cavity trees. Suet and sunflower seeds are feeder favorites Need dense cover of shrubs near open fields or lawns with scattered trees.  Provide water on the ground - birds like to bathe daily.

BIRDS
(Common Name)
Northern Bobwhite Finches
Pine Siskin
Yellow-billed Cuckoo

Location (North - N, South - S) and Time of Residence (year-round - R, summer breeder - SB, winter resident - WR, migrant - M) Northern Bobwhite
N and S (R)
Goldfinch
N and S (WR)
Purple Finch
N (WR)
Pine Siskin
N (WR)
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
N and S (SB)

Preferred Natural Food Seeds, acorns, some fruit; some insects and spiders. Buds, soft fruits, seeds, insects in summer. Caterpillars, grasshoppers, other insects.

Preferred Nesting Site Ground nest in brushy open grasslands and open pine woods. Not in Florida 8-12' high in shrubs or on horizontal tree branch.

Will They Use Feeders? Yes

Yes

No

Nest Boxes? No No No

Special Management and Landscape Preferences Comes readily to seed on ground. Requires heavy brush for daytime cover. A brush pile is ideal. Sweetgum and sycamore fruits are prized winter foods; water is one of the best attractants. Most prefer high feeders; goldfinches will feed on the ground. All love sunflower seeds and niger (thistle) seeds. Best natural controller of tent caterpillars. Generally prefer trees with dense canopies, such as oaks.

BIRDS
(Common Name)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Eastern Phoebe
Great Crested Flycatcher
Eastern and Gray Kingbird
Red-winged Blackbird
Grackles

Location (North - N, South - S) and Time of Residence (year-round - R, summer breeder - SB, winter resident - WR, migrant - M) Ruby-crowned Kinglet
N and S (WR)
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
N and S (R)
Eastern Phoebe
N and S (WR)
Great Crested Flycatcher
N (SB), S (R)
Eastern and Gray Kingbird
N and S (SB)
Red-winged Blackbird
N and S (R)
Common and Boat-tailed Grackle
N and S (R)

Preferred Natural Food Tiny insects gleaned from foliage high in trees. Kinglets also eat wax myrtle berries. Mostly catch insects, bees, etc. midair; also eat grasshoppers ants and some fruits. Mostly seeds and grains, some insects.

Preferred Nesting Site Gnatcatchers nest on horizontal limbs 25' or higher; use many kinds of trees. Often near water; kingbird likes medium shrubs or trees.
Great crested - natural cavities.
Phoebe - bridges, rafters and eves.
8-12' high in shrubs or on horizontal tree branch.

Will They Use Feeders? Yes

No

Yes

Nest Boxes? No Yes, except kingbird No

Special Management and Landscape Preferences Prefer mature, diverse garden with good mix of evergreen and deciduous trees. Occasionally visit small hanging suet feeders. Rarely found in urban south Florida yards. Like deciduous and mixed woods, edge situations. Attracted by gardens with streams, pools with small waterfalls, other sources of running water. Favor many wild fruits Best natural controller of tent caterpillars. Generally prefer trees with dense canopies, such as oaks.

BIRDS
(Common Name)
Warblers Vireos Sparrows

Location (North - N, South - S) and Time of Residence (year-round - R, summer breeder - SB, winter resident - WR, migrant - M) Warblers:
Orange-crowned and Yellow-rumped
N and S (WR)
Parula, Pine and Yellowthroat
N and S (R)
Vireos:
Red-eyed
N (SB)
White-eyed
N and S (R)
Yellow-throated
N (SB)
Blacked-whiskered
N (M), S (SB)
Sparrows:
Chipping Sparrow
N and S (WR)
Song, White-throated and other migrant sparrow
N and S (M)

Preferred Natural Food Insects, some seeds Insects and spiders, some fleshy berries prior to migration. Feed on ground, mostly weed and grass seeds, some insects.

Preferred Nesting Site Large trees, except yellowthroat, shrubs near water. Parula uses Spanish moss to construct nest. All suspend hanging nest in trees from 3'-4' off ground (white-eyed) to tree tops (yellow-throated). Chipping-near ground in dense thickets, but rare breeder only in N. Florida

Will They Use Feeders? Suet feeders only

No

Yes

Nest Boxes? No No No

Special Management and Landscape Preferences Many resident and migrant warbler species will be attracted to a diverse, richly-planted garden with many canopy layers, including mature trees. Oaks provide good source of caterpillars. A water source will bring in seldom seen species. Yellow-rumped, pine and orange-crowned commonly seen a suet feeder. Same as warblers. Black-whiskered vireos favor mangroves. Require mixed garden vegetation with close shrub cover. Will visit ground feeders regularly. Liberally use water if provided


FWC Facts:
Butterflies taste with their feet.

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