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    Tractor Supply Company

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    Common Backyard Birds and Bird Watching

    Authored by Tractor Supply Company

    Being a backyard bird watcher is a fun and enjoyable pastime, and one several people picked up during the pandemic. Birding is a terrific way to teach children a love for nature and how our environment relies on birds so much. Grab a backyard birding book and start naming the feathered friends that call your yard a stop.

    Attracting different birds can be easy using a few techniques. Planting bird-attractive plants and flowers is a long-term way. Providing food and shelter with various bird feeders and birdhouses can be a quick way to watch the show. Turn your outdoor space into a warm and welcoming backyard aviary for a variety of bird species.

    Most common backyard birds

    Depending on where you live, the types of bird species visiting your yard will vary. In addition to the local stars, there are several birds that are common throughout most of the United States. These include:

    • American Goldfinch
    • House Finch
    • Blue Jay
    • Mourning Dove
    • Robin
    • White-breasted Nuthatch
    • Hummingbird
    • Sparrow
    • Cardinal
    • Oriole
    • Purple Martin
    • Blue Bird
    • Chickadee
    • Tufted Titmouse

    Backyard bird watchers in any area can usually spot these common birds with ease. Getting to know the regular visitors can bring a whole new show to your space. Another favorite that is quite common but can be hard to catch is the woodpecker. Common species include:

    • Downy Woodpecker
    • Hairy Woodpecker
    • Red-bellied Woodpecker

    Not only are these rascals fun to watch, but they are also a giant help to your local environment because they eat insects.

    Flowers to attract birds to your backyard

    Attracting birds using flowers and plants is a fantastic way to pull double duty while bird-watching. Not only are you inviting more birds, but you are also inviting pollinators and other beneficial insects to your backyard ecosystem. You don’t need to go big, simple pots with attractive plants can do just the trick. Some flowers that attract wild birds are:

    • Yellow blooms like marigold, black-eyed Susan and various sunflowers.
    • Seed-bearing flowers are great for attracting backyard birds, especially native plants. Many native plants can be natural sources of bird food.
    • It may sound familiar that using red is a great way of attracting hummingbirds. Try a trumpet vine, red cypress, coral bell or hummingbird vine. These are some colorful choices to entice these little beauties to your backyard. And don't forget to choose a red hummingbird feeder to attract them even more.
    • Brightly colored flowers and vegetation are the right plants to attract visiting birds to your yard. Coneflowers, aster, columbine, elderberry, and Virginia creeper are also great options.

    Bird feeders to bring birds to your backyard

    Supplying a consistent food source for birds is a surefire way to bring them to your yard, especially at times of the year when natural food may be scarce. Hanging various bird feeders around your space can keep the watch party going year-round. Bird feed can be generally inexpensive and readily available. You can also use a suet feeder or tube feeder to supply food for your backyard birds. Make sure to give these feeders a regular wash to keep disease away.

    Like bird feeders, birdhouses are also great options for bringing all the birds to yard. Especially during nesting seasons, birds may be looking for safe, secure shelters and will seek out these types of structures. Select just a couple of birdhouses or add them throughout your backyard to ensure housing for all your feathered friends.

    Backyard bird watching tips

    Bird watching and ornithology is a pastime that can be enjoyed by anyone, no matter age or level of physical ability. To see a variety of birds, choose the place you most wish to watch birds and place bird feeders and birdhouses strategically to get the best views.

    Keep a bird-watching journal to track who has been visiting and who is a regular. Log the times and dates of sightings, as well as other observations such as the weather. You can involve the whole family and have a contest to see who can spot the most species of birds.

    Winter birding is a fun thing to do in the cold season, when bird watching is more challenging. It also can be done from the coziness of your living room or office window. If you wish to venture outside into the cold, you may see more birds than you planned since the lack of foliage can make them easier to spot

    Equipment to use for bird watching

    Make sure to have some supplies on hand to ensure your bird watching endeavors are successful. Grab a set of binoculars and a reference manual to help name different types of birds. If you are a photographer, whether professional or amateur, you may also wish to have a good camera close by to document your backyard sightings.

    Backyard birdwatching can bring a lot of joy to your backyard, no matter what the season. By providing them with food and shelter, you can give back to your feathered friends. It’s an easy hobby to get started with, so get out there and enjoy!