The joys of backyard birds | Release
One of the best things about spring and summer is barnyard birds. Minnesota has several birds to enjoy year round, but once the migratory birds return for the summer, bird watching becomes fun. Here are some standard favorites, how to identify them and how to attract them.
A regular in my own backyard is the Northern Cardinal. The striking bright red male is hard to miss as he perches from tree to tree, singing happy songs. Northern Cardinals are considered resident birds and do not migrate, so we are fortunate to have them throughout the year. When it comes to attracting them in winter, black oil sunflower seeds and safflower seeds stand out. Cardinals are usually the first to feed in the morning and the last to feed at night. The nesting season is from March to August, and nests are usually built at the fork of a small tree or dense bush. I’ll be honest, a year ago I had my Christmas garland on my fountain door until spring and a female Cardinal was building a nest there!
The black-capped chickadee is among the most common backyard birds in Minnesota. They are cute little birds with a rounded body and a long tail, they have a black beanie (!) And a black bib. Black-capped Chickadees utter a slightly hoarse call “chick-a-dee-dee” and also have a soft whistled song “fee-bee-bee”. Small flocks actively fly from tree to tree. They eat in tube, hopper and tray feeders. They like black oil sunflower seeds and tallow.
It’s always fun to spot the little downy woodpecker. It is a stocky little bird with a large head and a short, stiff tail. Its beak is chisel-shaped. He is richly black and white and the male has a small red patch on the back of his head. Contrary to what one might think, they are not always found on tree trunks. Males are more often found in small plants and twigs. They are drawn to tallow feeders and also eat black oil sunflower seeds.
If we are talking about the common Minnesota birds, we cannot forget the American robin. We all know those orange breasted birds that jump across our lawns, turn their heads that way and look for food. The Robin is a songbird and hearing their song is one of the first signs of spring. Their eggs are beautifully colored “merle egg blue”. They eat insects, worms, and may eat fruit from a feeder on the ground. They also like trees and bushes with small berries.
The main reason for attracting birds is simply to enjoy them. So get out your bird feeders, or go buy something simple if you don’t have one, fill it with black oil sunflower seeds and see what you get!
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