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Landscaping to Attract Birds in South Florida



While we have a large population of native birds that always need food, fall and spring are critical times to provide food for migrating birds.  Adding a few native shrubs and trees to your landscape can be very beneficial to our wildlife population.  -- Gene
 
FLORIDA HORTICULTURE DEPARTMENT OF ORNAMENTAL HORTICULTURE FACT SHEET
Florida Cooperative Extension Service Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences University of Florida, Gainesville John T. Woeste, Dean for Extension
 
Landscaping to Attract Birds in South Florida
By Timothy K. Broschat and Stephen D. Verkade

Associate Professor - Tropical Ornamentals, and Associate Professor - Ornamental Horticulture, Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center, IFAS, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.
 
One benefit of Florida living is the enjoyment of plants and wildlife in the landscape through most of the year. By proper plant selection, you can enhance your landscape to attract, feed, and shelter birds for year-round enjoyment. When selecting plants to incorporate into the landscape, keep in mind the need for birds to obtain shelter from inclement weather and from predators. A number of plant species can also attract birds by providing fruits as a source of food. Flowers of some species attract insects, which are in turn eaten by other types of birds. Migratory birds are particularly abundant along the coastal ridges in southern Florida. These birds can be attracted to landscapes by use of plants that provide seeds, fruits or insects during the fall and spring migrations. These food sources can be complemented by one or more bird feeders which must provide high quality seed with regularity. A good bird feeder should be conveniently located for viewing and large enough to hold food for at least 2-3 days, protect the seed from rain, and minimize seed spillage. Many bird guidebooks provide information on the bird species attracted by various seed types. Keep in mind that many of south Florida’s songbirds are migrants or winter residents, and will thus require food or cover during the fall, winter, and spring months only.
 
Landscape Principles to Attract Birds
 
Solid design concepts are important in any landscape project, and references on design principles are listed in this fact sheet under the heading of ‘Recommended References’. The following are additional considerations to remember when landscaping to attract birds.
 
· Provide shelter to entice birds into your yard and to protect them from the elements or predators.
 
· Select a variety of plants which offer a consistent supply of food over an extended period of time.
 
· Select plants that flower or fruit during the spring migrations and attract insects. Insects, in turn, attract insectivorous birds. In some areas in southern Florida, the flowering gumbo-limbo (Bursera simaruba) attracts  large numbers of warblers in their spring breeding plumage as they migrate northward.
 
· Design plantings which offer enough food to meet the needs of the birds.
 
· Provide a source of water for drinking and bathing. Moving water in a gently sloping basin or trough is particularly attractive to birds.
 
These criteria can be met by careful planning during the design phase of the landscape project. Select a variety of plants to extend the fruiting period for a year-round supply of food. Group plants together to create habitats attractive to birds. Be sure to include enough plants of each species to provide food in a volume great enough for the dietary needs of the birds attracted to your yard. The following listing is designed to assist you in selecting plants which have attributes particularly attractive to birds.
 
Table 1. Listing of plants for south Florida which attract birds; noting origin, plant type, plant part of value, season, and birds attracted.
 
Scientific Name
Common Name
Origin
Plant Type
Value
Season
Birds Attracted
Ardisia escallonioides
Marlberry
native
shrub
fruit
fall;
winter
Fruit-eating birds
Asclepias curassavica
Scarlet Milkweed
exotic
shrubby perennial
flowers
year-round
Hummingbirds
Bauhinia blakeana
Hong Kong Orchid
exotic
tree
flowers
winter;
spring
Hummingbirds, Orioles, Warblers
Bursera simaruba
Gumbo Limbo
native
tree
fruit
summer
Mockingbirds, Vireos
Calliandra haematacephala
Powderpuff
exotic
shrub
flowers
winter
Hummingbirds
Callicarpa americana
Beautyberry
native
shrub
fruit
fall; winter
Mockingbirds, Cardinals, Catbirds, Thrashers
Calyptranthes pallens
Spicewood
native
shrub
fruit
fall
Fruit-eating birds
Cestrum spp.
Day and night-flowering jasmine
exotic
shrub
fruit
spring; fall
Mockingbirds, Blue Jays, Cardinals, Woodpeckers
Chrysobalanus icaco
Cocoplum
native
shrub
fruit
summer
Fruit-eating birds
Coccoloba diversifolia
Pigeon Plum
native
tree
fruit
fall; winter
Mockingbirds, Catbirds, Robins, Woodpeckers
Coccoloba uvifera
Seagrape
native
shrub; tree
fruit
year-round
Fruit-eating birds
Coccothrinax spp.
Silver palms
native
tree
fruit
summer
Mockingbirds, Blue Jays
Colubrina arborescens
Coffee colubrina
native
tree
flowers
spring
Warblers, Gnatcatchers, Vireos, Flycatchers
Dipholis salicifolia
Willow bustic
native
tree
fruit
summer
Fruit-eating birds
Eriobotrya japonica
Loquat
exotic
tree
fruit
winter
Mockingbirds, Cardinals, Woodpeckers
Eugenia uniflora
Surinam Cherry
exotic
shrub
fruit
spring
Mockingbirds, Waxwings, Orioles
Ficus spp.
Figs
native;
exotic
tree
fruit;
cover
year-round
Mockingbirds, Catbirds, BlueJays, Waxwings, Woodpeckers, Parrots
Forestiera segregata
Florida Privet
native
shrub
flowers
spring
Warblers, Vireos
Guapira discolor
Blolly
native
shrub;
tree
fruit
summer
Fruit-eating birds
Hamelia patens
Firebush
native
shrub
flowers
year-round
Hummingbirds
Ilex cassine
Dahoon Holly
native
tree
fruit
fall; winter
Cardinals, Mockingbirds, Waxwings
Juniperus silicicola
Southern Red Cedar
native
shrub; tree
fruit; cover
fall; winter
Tree Swallows, Waxwings, Mockingbirds, Flickers, Sapsuckers
Justicia brandegeana
Shrimp Plant
exotic
shrub
flowers
year-round
Hummingbirds, Orioles, Buntings
Lysiloma spp.
Wild Tamarind
native
tree
flowers
spring; summer
Warblers, Flycatchers, Gnatcatchers
Malpighia glabra
Barbados Cherry
exotic
shrub
fruit
year-round
Fruit-eating birds
Malaviscus arboreus
Turk's Cap
exotic
shrub
flowers
year-round
Hummingbirds, Painted Buntings
Morus rubra
Red Mulberry
native
tree
fruit
spring
Woodpeckers, Kingbirds, Blue Jays, Mockingbirds, and other Fruit-eating birds
Murraya paniculata
Orange-jasmine
exotic
shrub
fruit
summer;
fall
Mockingbirds, Cardinals
Myrica cerifera
Wax myrtle
native
shrub
fruit
fall;
winter
Warblers, Vireos, Tree Swallows, Cardinals, Mockingbirds, Catbirds
Myrsine guianensis
Florida Myrsine
native
shrub
fruit
fall;
winter
Fruit-eating birds
Parthenocissus cinquefolia
Virginia Creeper
native
vine
fruit
summer;
fall
Mockingbirds, Robins, Thrashers, Woodpeckers, Greta-crested Flycatchers
Persea americana
Avocado
exotic
tree
fruit
summer;
fall
Woodpeckers, Blue Jays, Orioles
Psychotria nervosa
Wild Coffee
native
shrub
fruit
summer;
fall
Cardinals, BlueJays
Ptychosperma elegans
Solitaire Palm
exotic
tree
fruit
year-round
Mockingbirds, Blue Jays
Pyracantha coccinea
Firethorn
exotic
shrub
fruit
winter
Mockingbirds, Catbirds, Blue Jays, Waxwings, Woodpeckers
Quercus laurifolia
Laurel Oak
native
tree
fruit
fall; winter
Woodpeckers, Blue Jays, Warblers, Vireos
Quercus virginiana
Live Oak
native
tree
fruit
fall; winter
Woodpeckers, Blue Jays, Warblers, Vireos
Roystonea regia
Royal Palm
native
tree
fruit
fall; winter
Mockingbirds, Robins, Blue Jays
Sabal palmetto
Cabbage Palm
native
tree
fruit
fall; winter
Blackbirds, Blue Jays, Mockingbirds, Robins
Sambucus canadensis
Elderberry
native
shrub
fruit
summer;
fall
Fruit-eating birds
Simarouba glauca
Paradise Tree
native
tree
fruit
spring
Fruit-eating birds
Sophora tomentosa
Necklace Pod
native
shrub
flowers
winter;
spring
Hummingbirds, Warblers, Vireos
Tecomaria capensis
Cape Honeysuckle
exotic
vine
flowers
year-round
Hummingbirds, Catbirds, Orioles
Tetrazygia bicolor
Florida Tetrazygia
native
shrub
fruit
spring
Mockingbirds and other Fruit-eating birds
Thrinax spp.
Thatch Palms
native
tree
fruit
fall
Mockingbirds, Jays, and other Fruit-eating birds
Trema micrantha
Florida Trema
native
shrub
fruit
summer
Fruit-eating birds
 
 
 
 

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