Snowbirds of all kinds flock to Florida during the cooler months – both people and birds travel south to escape the harsh northern winter. Florida has many birds that spend the entire year here, but additional birds can be spotted in the fall and winter months. These visitors include many interesting and colorful birds such as the painted bunting, palm warbler, yellow-rumped warbler, blue-headed vireo, belted kingfisher, tree swallow, and more. Prepare now to make your backyard a haven for migrating birds and you may see some of these visitors yourself.
Add a water source
A simple and effective way to support birds is by adding a water source in your yard. These can be elaborate, like a pond or waterfall, or simple like a birdbath or water dish. To minimize the risk of mosquitoes, add a small moving water feature such as a dripper or a small fountain and change water regularly.
Provide a diverse landscape
Birds need shelter for coverage and to raise their young. However, different bird species have different preferences for shelter. By providing a variety of groundcover, shrubs, trees, rocks, and logs, all birds can find a home they will love.
Select native plants
Although bird feeders can help supplement a bird’s diet, birds mostly rely on plants and insects for their meals. Think of bird seed as a snack. Native plants are the best choice for providing birds with nuts, seeds, berries, and nectar. Native birds evolved with native plants, so be sure to include them in your backyard habitat. Use the native plant guide at www.fnps.org to find native plants that birds will love.
What about Bird Feeders?
If you are interested in supplementing with bird feeders, remember to properly care for and clean the feeders. If not properly maintained, bird feeders can harbor mold and bacteria that can make birds sick. Clean feeders once every 1-2 weeks, or more regularly in wet or humid weather with a dilute bleach solution (1 part bleach to 10 parts water). For nectar feeders, clean with soap and hot water. Allow feeders to completely dry before adding more bird feed.