I have an awesome bird feeder pole that holds multiple feeders (and is thus far impermeable to squirrels). The feeders are visible from my couch in my sitting room. I can sit and watch all the birds come and go and even photograph some of them from this vantage point.
I do my best to create good habitat for wildlife including birds in my garden. I leave the seed heads on in fall and winter, provide decent cover, and supplement with bird seed and a bird bath.
As a result, I get to enjoy the common and not-so-common feathered friends that stop by my bird feeder during the year. So, in celebration of National Bird Day, I thought I’d talk about some of my favorite feathered visitors to my yard and garden.
I have to say, birds with blue feathers are probably my favorites. Last year I enjoyed both blue grosbeaks and indigo buntings at my feeders. Here are some of my favorite shots from my spot on the couch.
Blue Grosbeak (Passerina caerulea)
Blue grosbeaks migrate to my neck of the woods in summer for breeding. They are often found in grassy areas like old fields. They will nest and rear their young along habitat borders (i.e. field edges adjacent to forests where shrubs and small trees are abundant).hey feed mostly on insects and seeds.They spend their winters in Central America. Learn more and hear its call at the Audubon Guide to North American Birds.
Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea)
Sighting an Indigo Bunting eluded me for many years, but over the last 2-3 years, I have seen at least one at my bird feeders. The males really stand out with their bright showy blue feathers while the females are brown with a little blue on their wings.
They spend their summers in middle to eastern North America and winters in Central America. They feed mostly on insects and seeds. Indigo Buntings prefer grassy areas with some brush – especially habitat edges of fields/forests. Learn more and hear its call at the Audubon Guide to North American Birds.
Listen to their call here: https://www.audubon.org/sites/default/files/INDBUN_1.songnum1_IAkc_1.mp3?uuid=5684378b5000e
Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens)
I enjoy the woodpeckers that visit the feeders, though they’re usually feeding on the suet. This downy wood pecker decided to eat the seeds.
This little bird is a year-round resident in Mississippi and most of the United States. He resides in wooded areas that have large openings and you’ll be sure to find them in many backyards. They climb up and down trees and flit to the nearest feeder. They primarily eat seeds and insects.
Males have the red spot on the back of their head; females look the same but without the red spot. Learn more at the Audubon Field Guide.
American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis)
This brightly-colored male goldfinch arrives in Mississippi in the winter and spends its summers in extreme northern part of the state and goes all the way up into Canada for breeding. Their migration is quite a fun time to bird watch. You can’t miss their bright yellow feathers among the green leaves.
They spend most of their time in fields with tall plants and grasses. They spend most of their time eating seeds, particularly thistle. Learn more at the Audubon Field Guide.
I see many of our common, non-migratory birds at my feeder. Some of my favorites are Mourning Doves (they feed below the feeder on the ground), Northern Cardinals, Tufted Titmouses, Carolina Chickadees.
Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris)
I can’t forget these little guys. They are so much fun to watch as they zip around my garden feeding on flowers and the sugar-water in the feeders.
While you’re thinking about birds – check out the bird call quiz on the National Bird Day website. It was a lot of fun. I got all but one correct!
Pick up a National Bird Day Teacher’s Pack here: http://www.nationalbirdday.com/g_teacher_pack.php