California is a special place for those who want their nature fix. The Golden State is home to several familiar bird species, but you’ll also find many that are unique to the region. California is also on the Pacific Flyway migration route, which provides even more opportunities to see new species.

What’s the most common feeder bird in California?

The House Finch takes the top spot when it comes to the most frequent visitor to the bird feeder. The range of these beloved red birds was once limited to the Western U.S. That changed when they were freed in New York’s Central Park in 1940 after being sold as “Hollywood finches” in pet stores.

Other backyard birds of note found in California:

  • The California Scrub-Jay is also a common feeder bird in California. This intelligent bird has amazing spatial abilities — they can recall thousands of hiding spots where they’ve cached acorns and other food.
  • Anna’s Hummingbird. Plant colorful blooms, and you’ll be richly rewarded with sightings of this bird with jeweled plumage hovering for sips of nectar.
  • The Black Phoebe is a handsome black bird found all along the California coast. They may grab dried berries from your feeder, but they’re a gardener’s friend as they feast on backyard insects.

How do you attract songbirds to a feeder in California?

Many colorful backyard birds found throughout California eat some combination of seeds, fruits, nuts, and insects. When the colder winter weather arrives, your feathered friends will be searching for supplemental food sources. Set out feeders with a nutritious mix of seeds, dried fruits, peanuts, and other nuts. A great option is Lyric Fruit & Nut High Energy Mix. This all-natural gourmet blend is packed with nutrients that many feeder birds will enjoy.

To attract birds that primarily eat insects:

  • Provide a freshwater source for good hydration.
  • Suet with nut pieces and/or mealworms will draw in woodpeckers and nuthatches.

The ultimate list of feeder birds in California

Here, we compiled a list of feeder favorites, as reported by the 500-some citizen birders who took part in Project FeederWatch from November 2020 through April 2021 throughout California.

  1. House Finch
  2. Anna’s Hummingbird
  3. Dark-eyed Junco
  4. Lesser Goldfinch
  5. Mourning Dove
  6. White-crowned Sparrow
  7. California Scrub-Jay
  8. California Towhee
  9. Oak Titmouse
  10. Pine Siskin
  11. Bewick's Wren
  12. Black-headed Grosbeak
  13. Chestnut-backed Chickadee
  14. Golden-crowned Sparrow
  15. Yellow-rumped Warbler
  16. House Sparrow
  17. American Goldfinch
  18. American Crow
  19. Ruby-crowned Kinglet
  20. Spotted Towhee
  21. Black Phoebe
  22. Northern Mockingbird
  23. Nuttall's Woodpecker
  24. White-breasted Nuthatch
  25. Allen’s Hummingbird
  26. Song Sparrow
  27. Bushtit
  28. Eurasian Collared-Dove
  29. Orange-crowned Warbler
  30. Acorn Woodpecker
  31. Northern Flicker
  32. Purple Finch
  33. American Robin
  34. Band-tailed Pigeon
  35. Downy Woodpecker
  36. Fox Sparrow
  37. Hermit Thrush
  38. Steller's Jay
  39. Townsend's Warbler
  40. Mountain Bluebird