More than 900 bird species have been recorded in North America. But which summer birds are you most likely to see in your backyard? The answer depends on where your yard is located and how bird-friendly it is.
Top 10 Backyard Summer Birds
Not all birds visit backyards, and it's unlikely that you'll see terns, sandpipers, or eagles in your yard regularly. However, there are many beautiful birds that easily visit bird-friendly yards such as:
1. Ruby-Throated Hummingbird The most widespread North American hummingbird and the only one regularly found east of the Mississippi River, ruby-throats sip from nectar-rich flowers and nectar feeders alike. They visit all summer and are found in the central and eastern part of the continent. In the west, watch for black-chinned and broad-tailed hummingbirds instead.
2. Northern Cardinal Male northern cardinals are boldly red while females are softer brown brushed with red, but both are attractive year-round visitors through the central and eastern United States, as far west as Texas and into southern Arizona. These birds with their powerful, triangular bills are experts at snacking on sunflower seed and safflower seed.
3. Blue Jay A bold, loud guest that often travels in a crowd, the blue jay is striking with its barred plumage and jaunty crest. These birds are widespread throughout the eastern and central United States year-round, but in the west, look for the plainer but no less blue Woodhouse's scrub-jay. Both jays are nut aficionados and will quickly empty feeders of whole or shelled peanuts.
4. Mourning Dove Softly colored with black wing spots and a long tapered tail, the mourning dove is named for its mournful cooing. These birds are year-round guests throughout the continent and move further north into southern Canada in summer. In the yard, they're often found cleaning up spilled seed beneath feeders. In the southeastern United States, also watch for the Eurasian collared dove, while in the southwest, the white-winged dove is another popular guest.
5. American Goldfinch Also called the wild canary because of its bright yellow plumage, the American goldfinch is found year-round in the United States, though it's only a summer guest in northern areas. These small birds readily visit Nyjer feeders, and also perch on sturdy flowers to nibble at ripening seeds. In the southwest, watch for the somewhat duller but no less charming lesser goldfinch.
6. Baltimore Oriole The most familiar oriole in the eastern United States, the Baltimore oriole is unmistakable with its bright orange and black plumage. They're common summer birds, and happily visit feeders offering oranges, jelly, or nectar. In the west, look for the similar Bullock's oriole – the birds are so similar, in fact, they were once considered one species, the northern oriole.
7. Black-Capped Chickadee Curious and spunky, the black-capped chickadee is a year-round guest in the northern United States and Canada. These birds feast on sunflower seeds and nuts, often carrying off a morsel to eat or cache. In the southern United States, look for the nearly identical Carolina chickadee instead, and in the Rocky Mountain region, watch for the stripe-headed mountain chickadee.
8. Downy Woodpecker The smallest North American woodpecker, downies have black-and-white plumage and tiny bills. These energetic birds visit backyards year-round in search of sunflower seeds, peanuts, and suet. Stay alert for the similar but significantly larger hairy woodpecker, which is also widespread but less common in backyards.
9. American Robin The early bird gets the worm! American robins are early risers, starting their singing before the break of dawn when they start looking for worms and insects to eat. They are also avid fruit eaters, especially in the fall and winter. Look for these cheerful grey and orange birds around your area, as the American robin is the most abundant bird in North America with a population of more than 370 million.
10. Barn Swallow Swooping over fields and soaring high in summer skies, the barn swallow is a graceful bird with a deeply forked tail and iridescent blue upperparts. These summer birds are widespread and frequently nest on porches or under overhangs. Also watch for all-dark purple martins and even speedier chimney swifts during the summer months.
These are just a few species most likely to come to backyards in the summer, and the more birds you attract, the busier your yard will be. That activity will catch the attention of even more birds, creating a diverse and dynamic summer flock to enjoy.
If you are looking to stock up on seed before more birds show up this spring, find a store near you that sells Kaytee Wild Bird Seed.