As cooler weather approaches, migrating birds are headed south. While this can mean saying goodbye to summer friends, it also means welcoming new ones for the winter. Here in Florida, I look forward to seeing birds that my friends up north enjoyed during the summer – it’s my turn now! However much I enjoy spotting these birds on a walk through the woods, though, there’s something extra-special about bringing them to my own backyard. This winter, I plan to try attract these five species (all members of the BirdsandBlooms.com “Most Wanted Birds” list) to visit my feeders.
American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis)
Though a common sight up north throughout the year, these birds only make their way to the Deep South in the winter. I’ll be putting up a finch sock filled with nyjer thistle seed before too long to see if I can’t bring them to my yard while they’re in town. They aren’t quite as brightly colored in the winter, since they’re not in breeding season, but they’re still plenty worth attracting and watching.
Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbuba)
Baltimore Orioles winter in Florida south through the Caribbean and Central America. By putting out oranges and maybe a grape jelly feeder this winter, I hope to be able to attract these brightly-colored birds when they arrive for the season.
Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum)
Cedar Waxwings are berry-eaters, and my backyard is full of native berry-producing bushes. We sometimes offer berries in seed cakes and on their own, but it seems waxwings prefer berries right from the bushes. All I can really do is hope the waxwings find my beautyberries or holly bushes and drop by when they arrive for the winter.
Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis)
Although this bird lives in Florida and the rest of the Southeast throughout the year, I’m hoping to have better luck attracting it in winter. The Eastern Bluebird is primarily an insect-eater, and in the cooler months of winter, insects will be less active. I’m offering mealworms in a covered feeder to try to lure them to the yard.
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)
Also found throughout the Southeast year-round, Northern Flickers are another bird more likely to be seen at feeders during the winter. During the summer, they forage for insects along the ground. In the winter, when insect activity dies down, they switch their focus to berries and seeds, including thistle seed. We’ll watch for them on berry-producing bushes, and we also plan to offer suet cakes with berries to bring them to us.
If you live in the Southeast and have any tips on attracting these birds to your yard during the fall and winter, drop me a line in the comments below. What other birds do you like to look for during the winter in the Southeast?
All photos by Roland Jordahl, via BirdsandBlooms.com.