Floridian Nature

Learn about Florida's beautiful and unique nature.

Florida Nature: Common Florida Birds
red-wing blackbird in FloridaRed-Winged Blackbird- Male Red-winged Blackbirds are hard to mistake. They're an even glossy black with red-and-yellow shoulder badges. Females are crisply streaked and dark brownish overall, paler on the breast and often show a whitish eyebrow. Because of its fascinating red patch, this bird is sometimes simply called a "red-wing, even though the entire wing is not red. When the red winged blackbird gets excited, small muscles raise a few black feathers revealing the bright red feathers underneath. Researchers who captured some of these birds and covered their red patches discovered that these birds lost both their territories and the ability to attract mates, showing how vital the unique red patch on this bird really is! The Red-winged Blackbird is a stocky, broad-shouldered blackbird with a slender, conical bill and a medium-length tail. Red-winged Blackbirds often show a hump-backed silhouette while perched; males often sit with tail slightly flared. One of the most abundant birds across North America, and one of the most boldly colored, the Red-winged Blackbird is a familiar sight atop cattails, along soggy roadsides, and on telephone wires.

beautiful male northern cardinal in FloridaCardinal- The cardinal is one of the most popular and beloved birds, so much so that seven states list the cardinal as their state bird. The male cardinal is a bright red bird with a pointed crest on the top of his head. The female is mostly buff brown in color with some red on her head, wings, and tail. Both have small black masks on their faces that surround the bill and eyes. Cardinals are permanent residents throughout their range. At Your feeder you may see what is referred to as mate feeding. What you'll see is the male picking up a seed, hop over to the female, and the two momentarily touch beaks as she takes the food. Mate-feeding continues through the egg-laying and incubation phases of breeding. The female builds the nest while the male keeps a close eye on her and the surrounding territory for predators and other males. The female will be the only one incubating the eggs.

gray catbird in FloridaGray Catbird- Gray Catbirds live amid dense shrubs, vine tangles, and thickets of young trees in both summer and winter. In summer, Gray Catbirds eat mainly ants, beetles, grasshoppers, midges, caterpillars, and moths. When fruits are available they also eat holly berries, cherries, elderberries, poison ivy, greenbrier, bay, and blackberries. They are sometimes garden pests, eating or damaging raspberries, cherries, grapes, and strawberries. Females build the nests, with males sometimes supplying materials. Nests take 5-6 days to build. The final product is a bulky, open cup made of twigs, straw, bark, mud, and sometimes pieces of trash. It has a finely woven inner lining of grass, hair, rootlets, and pine needles. Finished nests are about 5.5 inches across and 2 inches deep. Catbirds usually build nests on horizontal branches hidden at the center of dense shrubs, small trees, or in vines The male Gray Catbird uses his loud song to proclaim his territory. He uses a softer version of the song when near the nest or when a bird intrudes on his territory. The female may sing the quiet song back to the male. The Gray Catbird’s long song may last for up to 10 minutes.

baby carolina chickadee birds in FloridaCarolina Chickadee- The Carolina Chickadee is one of the seven chickadee species that occurs in North America. This bird is a southern version of the Black-capped Chickadee and is found in Florida year round in northern and central Florida. Carolina Chickadees look quite similar to the northern bird but they do not have white edges on their wing feathers. The chickadee says it name when it calls "chick-a-dee-dee-dee"! Carolina Chickadees are popular with backyard bird feeding enthusiasts. These birds are omnivorous with a diet consisting of seeds of ragweed, mulberry, pine, redbud and sunflowers, and of insects such as aphids, treehoppers, ants, bees and others. Carolina Chickadees are cavity nesters. A woodpecker cavity, nest box or other suitable cavity may be used. In decayed wood, both parents may excavate their own cavity. Sexes are similar. Carolina Chickadee pairs remain mated for long periods that may last over two or more nesting seasons. Banding studies show that the Chickadee may live more than 10 years. The female incubates from 5 to as many as 8 eggs that hatch in about 2 weeks. Both parents care for the young that leave the nest in about two and a half weeks.
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