Birding Basics for Wild Birds

Cardinal

It’s colorful. It’s educational. It’s birding!

Watching and feeding wild birds, or birding, is America’s second most popular outdoor pastime (after gardening). Attracting these beautiful creatures to your yard is easy, and it can make you more aware of your environment. 

A fun part of birding is learning what wild birds are visiting your backyard habitat. Identifying wild birds can be rewarding and exciting for you and your kids. Most of the wild birds coming to backyard feeders are songbirds, or perching birds, which have similar characteristics. By studying their size, body shape, colors, markings, beak shape, feet, and wing shape in flight, you can identify your friendly visitors.

Birding is most fun when you can attract many birds of many varieties. That means the right environment, the right food, and the right feeders.

Top-quality feeders, such as Kaytee Finch Station, Hanging Feeder Station for Suet, or Songbird Station, attract colorful songbirds to visit you on a regular basis. Once they’re visiting your backyard, try adding other types of feeders and food. You'll soon be seeing incredible birds and hearing wonderful songs in your backyard.

In North America there are:

• 3 types of chickadees
• 12 types of finches
• 42 types of birds in the cardinal family
• Dozens of types of woodpeckers

Imagine all the birds that could visit your backyard!

Feeding Wild Birds

Here are some tips to get started:

  • Keep Food Fresh
    Store fresh seed in a sturdy plastic or galvanized metal waterproof container with a tight fitting lid. Keep containers in a cool, dry location, such as a garage or shed.
  • Change Seed When...
    Seed that is clumped together, or smells musty has gone bad. Dispose of it so that birds and animals cannot get to it.
  • Water, Water, Water!
    Providing water, especially moving water, attracts more birds to your yard. Remember that birds like shallow water (such as a bird bath), so avoid water deeper than 2-3 inches.
  • Open Location
    Birds are most comfortable when they have a clear view of potential predators and a place to escape. Put feeders on open ground near shrubs or trees.
  • Prevent Freezing
    Heated birdbaths or heating elements for standard birdbaths help keep water from freezing. Some birders pour warm water in birdbaths to help melt the ice. However, never add salt to birdbath water to keep it ice-free.
Wild bird