Attracting and feeding Winter Birds In Arizona

So, the winter is around the corner, and you would have a great chance of feeding winter birds in Arizona. As the winter arrives, several birds from North America also migrate to Arizona and stay here for a few months. Thus, it is a fantastic opportunity for making new neighbour birds in your backyard.

In Arizona, you can enjoy the beautiful snowfall in winters. But, since a blessing for one might be a curse for others, it is troublesome for most winter birds here. Wondering how? As most of their natural food resources get covered in snow, their survival gets even trickier in this harsh world. This way, they highly depend on the artificial feed people as you keep in their backyard’s feeder to keep them healthy. Even in the coldest days of Arizona, where many birds even die searching for food, they look for heroes like you to make an extra effort and get the best feed in feeders hanging outdoors, so without disappointing them you should give your best and focus on attracting backyard birds in Arizona.

Winter Birds of Arizona:

Other than saving their lives, with a beautiful feeding set up in your backyard, you can draw the attention of various beautiful birds that many people are willing to spot at least once in their lifetime. So, here we are listing some of those birds along with their basic information and tips about them. This way, you can make them your feeder’s regular visitor at least for one entire winter season.

  1. White Crowned Sparrow
  2. Gila Woodpecker
  3. Anna’s Hummingbird
  4. Aberts Towhee
  5. House Finch
  6. Yellow Rumped Warbler
  7. House Sparrow
  8. Mourning Dove
  9. Lesser Goldfinch
  10. Gambels Quail
  11. Northern Cardinal
  12. Black Chinned Hummingbird
  13. Blue Birds

1. White Crowned Sparrow 

When it comes to Feeding winter birds in Arizona, White Crowned Sparrows are commonly spotted here. Still, most people can not identify them and get confused. So, to recognize them, you should know their size and colours. It is a large-sized bird with a long tail and a small bill. At your first glance, you will find them to be pale grey birds. However, the black and white stripes on their head and pinkish-yellow beaks complement its beauty. 

As the winter season arrives, an enormous group of White Crowned Sparrow migrates to Arizona. Usually, they arrive here in December and leave at the end of February. And in between these few months, you have a significant opportunity to see the White Crowned Sparrows. Although they can come to Arizona in large groups, there are still some tricks to increase your chance of feeding a White Crowned Sparrow in your backyard this winter. 

When it comes to the seeds, the sunflowers are at the top of the hierarchy in drawing their attention. They also like other seeds. But, none would match the will they have for sunflowers. Moreover, they usually fly over several bird feeders in the search of sunflower seeds. Thus, if you also get some of it, in your feeder, they are likely to give you a surprise visit and may become a daily visitor to your backyard. 

When it comes to the feeder, you will hardly ever see them resting on the suet feeder. However, they mostly love platform feeders that come with a roof at the top to protect them from the snow falling out there. Among many options out there, most people prefer Birds Choice 18X12 Fly-Through Platform because of the great results it is producing. Since these are big enough for all sized birds, it will also invite many birds other than White Crowned Sparrows. Furthermore, White Crowned Sparrows like to eat their seeds from the ground. So, you can also put some on the ground to bring them to your backyard. 

2. Gila Woodpecker 

You can find Gila Woodpeckers easily in the western part of Mexico and several states of the US. Overall, they have grey and brown colour patterns. Along with that, they have beautiful black and white bars covering their tail, wings and back. Moreover, the male birds are likely to have a red patch of feathers right at the centre of the crown. 

These medium sized Gila Woodpeckers are a delight to have in your backyard. And you can also have one of them as a regular visitor to your feeder setup. In the last few years, their number declined in California quite frequently. Yet, while feeding winter birds in Arizona, you can see them quite commonly. Especially, Southern Arizona is the most ideal spot you can have to feed these winter birds in the backyard. Moreover, most Gila Woodpeckers do not like to migrate much in their lives. So, if you get to attract one to your backyard, you can expect them to be your permanent neighbours. 

Unlike other birds of Arizona, they do not like to have a man-made birdhouse. Instead, try to have a dead tree in your yard along with a natural cavity in it. Since almost all types of woodpeckers, like such birdhouses, you may end up inviting various types of woodpeckers in your yard. 

Furthermore, for their feed, get a suet feeder that is made especially for woodpeckers. Among several options out there, Birds Choice SNPS Recycled Double Cake Pileated Suet Feeder is one of the top choices for attracting woodpeckers. Since its landing area is specially designed for birds who like to cling to it, this would be one of the best choices you can make. Moreover, you can use it throughout all seasons from summer to winter. 

Concluding, add a suet cake or ball to your feeder along with a dead tree with a natural cavity, and you will see the results that woodpeckers will come flying over several other yards directly into yours.

3. Anna’s Hummingbird 

These birds are mostly covered with grey and green feathers, and unlike most other hummingbirds, they do not have any marks or patched feathers on their body. However, the male Anna’s Hummingbirds have reddish-pink feathers that complement their beauty in good sunlight. In contrast, in dull lighting, they may seem to be grey or a darker shade of brown. 

Anna’s Hummingbirds stay in Arizona year long without migrating. Thus, you can also spot these beautiful birds quite regularly around your area. Nevertheless, you can find them in large numbers in central and southern Arizona. These are very friendly birds, and you can easily find them in residential areas and parks. Therefore, these are one of the easiest birds to attract to your backyard. Even if you have a general feeder setup for Feeding winter birds in Arizona, you can still get them to your backyard. Along with a regular hummingbird feeder and mix the feed with 4 parts of water and 1 part of sugar. As the mixture of water and sugar will make it sweeter, it’s the way they like it. In contrast, you should be avoiding honey or any other artificial colour and taste because Anna’s Hummingbirds only prefer the completely natural feed for themselves. 

Since they do not like the idea of migrating from one place to another quite frequently, they will be staying in your neighbourhood for a long time. So, you should also prepare yourself for it by starting to cultivate species that they like to have. Plus, having a few flowering plants would be a great bonus point to retain them in your garden.

4. Aberts Towhee

These are large sized sparrows with a slightly longer body as compared to other sparrows with a long tail. Other than that, they also have a much smaller conical bill for their body in pale greyish colour. And body’s upper part is covered with greyish brown colour and is slightly rusty from the bottom. Plus, they have a black outline for their bills dragging till their eyes. 

Abert’s Towhee does not migrate much even in the changes of seasons. They mostly adapt to the conditions rather than looking for a new home. Furthermore, they are permanent residents of Arizona and are mostly found in Southern and Western regions. And especially in Arizona’s capital phoenix, Arizona birds like Abert’s Towhee would have already visited your backyard quite a few times and seeing them might not be something out of a blue for someone like you. If not, there is a high chance that you did not recognize them. 

They heavily depend on the feed that people put in their backyard’s, and once they get the perfect meal for lunch in a feeder, they will keep coming. Yet, they like to eat seeds from the ground. In this case, the best choice would be to get a low platform bird feeder that can withstand the winter season of Arizona. Other than that, when it comes to the seeds, they are not very picky about it. They can eat all sized seeds from small to large. 

Moreover, if you want to make them your permanent neighbours, you can also make or buy a Birdhouse. Usually, birds like to make it themselves but are not easy as it sounds. So, giving them a ready-made house will help them a lot especially in Arizona’s winter. So while buying one make sure it looks natural because they do not like handmade bird houses.

5. House Finch

These are small sized birds with flat heads and long beaks. Its short wings are covered with streaky brown feathers. Moreover, their faces are in rosy red colour that looks beautiful especially in snow, and during their flight, red rump stands out the most. 

While Feeding winter birds in Arizona, you can easily find these birds. They are largely Inhabit in the Sonoran Desert. Nevertheless, you can also see them all across Arizona and North America. If you are also interested in feeding House Finch this winter, then you should know what things they like. The habitat environment for a House Finch would consist of agricultural areas like ranches and small towns. Moreover, they also make their nests in the desert. But, near water resources only. 

Therefore, if you also want to feed them, then you must have some water resources along with your bird feeder. For feeding, they are not picky eaters. Actually, they love to have all types of seeds, vegetables and buds. Among all these seeds, some of its favourite seeds are thistles, dandelions, mistletoes, and sunflowers. Other than these, they also eat insects but to a much lower extent. Among all the things you can feed to a House Finch, I would recommend you to use small-sized black oil sunflower seeds. As a result, you are likely to see a few House Finches in your backyard and if they liked the environment around, then you should not be surprised if a flock of more than House Finch comes to visit your feeders. 

There is also a fun fact about House Finches. As they start adding more fruit to their diet or changing it entirely, their feather’s colours also start changing with it. 

6. Yellow Rumped Warbler

These birds are about the same size as a Black-capped Chickadee. In their adulthood, you will see them with a sturdy bill, large head, and narrow yet long tail. These birds also change their colours as per seasons. In summer, you are going to see them as grey birds and yellow flashing in the wings and face. On the contrary, in winter, their feathers get paler brown. Meanwhile, the flashing yellow feathers on their face and wings remain constant. That’s why they are called “Yellow Rumped Warblers”

Since they live in Arizona without migrating to other parts, they are available here in large numbers. Still, they become some of the uncommon birds to spot in Arizona’s winter season. Because birds from the city and crowded areas shift to the Sonoran Desert due to better temperature. However, despite that they spend most of their winter in central and southeastern US, you can still draw their attention to your backyard. 

Instead of sticking with a single type of feed, Yellow Rumped Warblers like to consume almost everything they get a chance to eat. It includes suet, peanut butter, sunflower seeds, raisins, and insects. Moreover, for eating they like to cling to trees branches and trunks. So, you should try to keep your backyard’s set up for winter birds as natural as possible. Moreover, especially during winters, fill your feeder with fruits and suet because these are the two most important things Yellow Rumped Warbler search for especially when they are low at energy. So, if they get that from your feeder, they may come back with their friends too. 

7. House Sparrow 

House Sparrow have a quite different shape as compared to most other North American birds. Unlike North American birds, they have a rounded head, shorter length tail, fuller from the chest and a heavier bill. In size, their length is between 5.9 – 6.7 inches, and it is about the exact size of a regular Dark-eyed Junco, yet House Sparrows are slightly stockier than them. 

If you are feeding winter birds in Arizona, you must have seen them several times each day. Since they are permanent residents of Arizona and like to live in residential areas, you can see them all day long in almost every town of Arizona. Since they are living in such a huge number, they also need to have a big feeding system, especially during the winter. 

House Sparrows are not the birds of Arizona. In the 20th century, they were brought to Florida from several European countries to fight against the increasing number of pests there. However, in just a few years, House Sparrows had a rapid growth rate and entirely controlled the pest problem. Still, they like to have a pest in their feed, but they are slightly harder to find in Arizona’s winter, so they highly depend on the feed people keep in their feeder for them. This is also the reason for them to live near residential areas and make a nest near houses where they can find several feeders. 

Mostly, people do not appreciate the visits from House Spparows to their backyard because they sometimes become a threat to native birds in Florida. Moreover, you can easily see them in your area without giving them a special feed. Yet, if you are looking to feed them in Arina’s winter, then try using sunflower seeds, millet, and corn in your feeder and they will come flying to your feeders. 

8. Mourning Dove

The Mourning Doves have quite a unique shape among all doves in North America. These are medium sized birds with a length of 9.1 – 13.4 inches and weighing 96 – 170 grams on average. Now coming to their colour patterns, they have light brown feathers all over their body along with several black spots on their wings and backside of the body. And all these with bordered tips with black to the tail. 

These are also the birds that have the widest backyard spread all over the United States. It’s because, during winter, their natural resources of food get covered with snow, and the only option they are left with is to look for the feeders in the residential areas. Therefore, feeding winter birds in Arizona becomes crucial for their survival. However, you can also find them in every woodland, grain field, and farm. In other words, they keep moving from place to place in search of high-quality feed. 

So, to get a few of them to your backyard, you should consider having a platform feeder or you can also put their feed on the ground if you do not have one. Yet, if you are going to put their feed on the ground, make sure there are no cats around because they are likely to attack the birds. Furthermore, when it comes to the seeds, you should use cracked corn, sunflower, and black oil. 

If you want a pair of Mourning Dove to start living in your backyard, then you should get a nest platform like FITOOL Bird Feeding House. Moreover, you should add it to your backyard well before their breeding season arrives in Arizona. By applying all these tips, if you successfully attract a breeding pair of Mourning Dove, you should not be surprised to see three birds in your nest. Among them, one male and female will stay for long. Meanwhile, the other male will leave after a few days and make a nest for his upcoming pair. 

9. Lesser Goldfinch

Various species of Finches in Arizona are natives here. Similarly, Lesser Goldfinch is also one of those finches that live in Arizona without migrating their entire lifespan. Their colour patterns are unique and also make them stand out even among a crowd of birds. From the bottom, their feathers are bright yellow and the upper part of their body and wings are covered with glossy black feathers. 

Lesser goldfinches have a very friendly nature. They are not like other birds who fight over territory and feeders. Instead, they like to enjoy and share their seeds with other species too. In other words, with a feeding setup for Lesser Goldfinch, you will be feeding winter birds in Arizona other than this specific species. Usually, they mix with American Goldfinches, Pine Siskins, House Finches, Western Bluebirds, and White-crowned Sparrows. 

As they like to invite several birds to your backyard, most people like to feed them in the winters. Similarly, if you also want to attract them, you should have a few tube feeders because it is their favourite type among all. Moreover, getting one with no perches would be a great plus point as it will give some space to every bird, and they will not be fighting for a spot to eat. 

To fill those tube feeders, you can use their favourite sunflower family along with hulled and thin seeds of Nyjer Thistle. Other than these, Lesser Goldfinch also loves to have elderberry, coffeeberry, along with madrone fruits for their nutritional needs. And occasionally, they also have insects for their diet. So, if you have a tree in your backyard (which you should have) they can find those all by themselves without you making any additional effort. 

10. Gambels Quail

These are medium sized birds with small necks and square tails. Furthermore, they also have shorter wings for their size. Nevertheless, these birds are known for their quirky colour patterns. Mostly riched with grey coloured feathers and excellent camouflage design over their body. In other words, you are going to see no bird being better at camouflage than Gambel Quail, at least in Arizona. However, the female Gambels Quail’s feathers are slightly greyer in colour as compared to the male. 

These are also native to Arizona and live here throughout the year without migrating. As winter arrives, They get joined in several Coveys and stay together till the start of spring. So, if you are planning to feed Gambels Quail in winter, you should keep this factor in mind that they are most likely to come in a group of up to 16 birds rather than being alone. 

As they have a ground feeding nature, you should use a few platform feeders to attract them to your backyard. Plus, you can also have some water at ground level to make their hustle much effortless for them. Furthermore, to attract them, use their favourite feeds that include milo, millet, cracked corn, and sunflower seeds. But, make sure that you are offering them water because they have a desert bird’s nature and always get attracted to backyards and feeders with some water supply. 

11. Northern Cardinal

These are yet another fairly large sized bird with thick red bills and a long tail. It also has a simple yet unique colour pattern on feathers. Its face is covered with black, and other than that, its bill and rest of the body are coloured in reddish. And these colours also make them poke out in huge groups of birds. 

Arizona is one of the few western provinces that have Northern Cardinals. Unless and until you are living in Northern Cardinal’s range, attracting them to your backyard would be no big deal. One of the reasons would be that they do not need a specifically made feeder to attract them. Instead, these are one of those birds who can eat on all types of feeders. So, feeding winter birds in Arizona with an average setup can also draw their attention to your backyard. 

Even though they do not care much about the feeder, you need to make sure they get the best feed to retain them. Most northern birds like to have a mixture of different fruits and seeds in the same feeder. Moreover, they also love to have corn, tulip-tree, sumac, blackberry, and sedges. Other than relying on artificial feeders, they also catch insects like moths, butterflies, centipedes, and flies. However, if you want to make Northern Cardinal your neighbours, then you must use sunflower seeds. Plus, you can also leave some of these seeds at all corners of the backyard, and you are likely to see a cardinal starting to make a nest in your backyard. 

12. Black Chinned Hummingbird

Black Chinned Hummingbirds are native to Arizona, and you can expect to see them much more often between April to September. Usually, most of them leave as fall starts. Yet, a vast majority of Black Chinned Hummingbirds stay within Arizona. 

These are small sized birds with an average length of 3.5 inches only. Still, they have quite a long straight bill for their size. And when it comes to their colour pattern, as the name is indicating, their chins are covered with black feathers. On the other hand, their head has very dull metallic green feathers that almost look like black. 

If you want to make a natural environment for them, you should have a few tall trees. If not, you can also work with a few dead branches and hang a few feeders. Since they have been living in residential areas for a long period, they are habitual to eating from artificial feeders. Mostly, they fly over several towns in search of a perfect feeder, and when they found, they start visiting it daily at least till the winter ends in Arizona. 

You can easily attract them with regular seeds and flowers in your backyard. Even though you are using artificial feeders, keep the feed natural because they always choose the natural and colourless feed over artificially added tastes. 

13. Blue Birds

There are several species of Bluebirds in Arizona. As its name is suggesting, these birds are mostly covered with blue coloured feathers. Among them, the wings are coloured in a slightly darker shade of blue. 

However, these are easy to find birds in Arizona, and if you also aim to get one to your backyard, then getting a human-made nest would be a great choice. 

To bring them to your backyard, you should hang a few platform feeders and fill them with insects. Even though finding insects in winter might be tricker, so is the case for bluebirds and they struggle through this entire season, and if you are offering them in a feeder specially made for them, they are going to come and visit your feeders on daily basis for sure. 


Many birds are native to Arizona, and you are going to see them in large numbers throughout the year. Even though they do not migrate, does not mean their life is a bed of roses in Arizona. They still face several ups and downs throughout their lives, and the winters are the hardest days for them to survive. Since most of their food resources get covered in snow, and the insects are harder to find, they keep moving from one town to another in search of a kind person having a few feeders and some water for feeding winter birds in Arizona. So, you can also be one of those kind people by just making a few small efforts. 

Since Arizona has a wide variety of native birds, you should be trying to attract different ranges of these birds. This way, you will be helping more birds, and your backyard will also look a lot more beautiful and colourful. So, to get them to your backyard and treat them well, you should offer them some sugar water and always try to keep your feed natural with no artificial colours and taste because artificial feeds usually compromise on nutrition. And try to hang different types of feeders for attracting and feeding various winter birds in Arizona. 






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