By Angela Minor
Whether you plan vacations to hotspot birding locations or have just purchased your first bird feeder, these ten common backyard birds will make your checklists.
10 Common Backyard Birds:
Northern Cardinal (possibly year-round). This familiar red bird" is the official bird of seven U.S. states. The female is one of only a few female songbirds on the continent that actually sings.
Indigo Bunting (spring, summer). Nyger® and mealworms might just coax this strikingly blue avian to your feeders. These birds create local arrangements of songs specific to their area.
Downy Woodpecker (year-round). Challenge your skills of observation with this suet-loving acrobat. Is it a Downyor a Hairy Woodpecker?! They are quite fond of millet and black oil sunflowers, as well as peanut butter.
American Robin (year - round). As a familiar sight pulling worms from suburban lawns, these common backyard birds also eat fruit. Winter roosts can number up to 250,000 individuals.
Great Plains U.S.
Tufted Titmouse (year-round). This friendly, talkative species is a consistent visitor at the feeders selectively plucking out the sunflower seeds and munching on suet. They store food within a 130-foot radius of feeders; and shell seeds prior to stashing them away.
Harris's Sparrow (migrating, winter). Amongst sparrows, this bird breeds only in Canada (and nowhere else) and is the largest of the North American species. Recognizable for their striking colors, they enjoy cracked corn, small seeds and sunflower seeds.
Northern Flicker (year-round). If you see a woodpecker on the ground, it's likely a
flicker. A flash of red in the wings (and yellow in the eastern states), and a white rump patch will be obvious. Known to drum as loudly as possible, these birds' rhythms have been heard thousands of feet away.
Steller's Jay (year-round based on topography). A familiar sight in forests and backyards, these crested jays build nests from mud. They are exceptional sound mimics imitating a cat's meow, a dog's bark and a telephone's ringer.
Verdin (year-round). With a bit of luck, these small and restless songbirds might visit a hummingbird feeder and/or your flower garden in early morning. As a master of survival in hot, dry climates, this species continually builds nests for roosting year-round.
Anna's Hummingbird (summer, possibly year-round). Along the Pacific coast, this flying jewel can be a year-long visitor at the feeders. With an active body temperature of 107°F, they're able to conserve energy (at night and/or in cooler temps) in a state called “torpor" by lowering their temperature to a staggering 48°F.
Keep a close watch, and you might discover that the common backyard birds from other parts of the country also live in your neighborhood! Check your favorite bird guide for range map specifics.