Wild Birding Tips & Facts

Enjoying wild birds is one of the most popular outdoor pastimes, only second to gardening.  Learn more about how to attract some of nature’s most beautiful creatures to your own backyard. We invite you to share your tips and tricks with the birding community. Click here to submit your best tips.

Wild Birds

Did you Know? 

There are more than a dozen types of finches in North America.  All are small, active birds.  The most common are the American goldfinch, purple finch and house finch.

 

Nesting Finches
Goldfinches line their nest with soft, downy materials like thistle down (their favorite!), dandelions, down from cattails and even cotton batting.  They also use spider silk to fasten their nest to branches.

 

Playing Finches

Finches tend to be very active. They like to fly around in small flocks and stay in touch with each other using different sounds and calls.

 

Singing Finches

Finches love to sing.  Each species has its own special songs and sounds.  Finches often sing while flying.  Their cute little voices add to their charm.

 

Finches and Feeding
Finches enjoy dining on an assortment of small seeds.  Their favorites are Nyjer® seed and fine sunflower chips.  Finches don’t require elaborate feeding stations, they love to cling to soft mesh sock feeders and easily pluck seeds from it.  They prefer sock feeders, hands down, to plastic tube feeders.

 

Did you know?

While we are most familiar with the Northern Cardinal, there are actually 42 different types of birds in the Cardinal family, including grosbeaks, buntings and tanagers.  Cardinals are year-round residents in the Eastern half of the U.S.

 

Nesting Cardinals
The female Cardinal will build the nest and lay about 3-4 eggs.  A little known fact about cardinals is that the male will finish rearing the first set of chicks while the female starts a second clutch in a new nest.

 

Singing Cardinals
Both males and female cardinals sing to each other and as mates, they share song phrases. Their song is a series of whistles which ends with a slower ‘cheer, cheer, cheer, what, what, what, what.’ Their alarm call is a sharp, loud ‘chirp.’

 

Cardinals and Feeding

The Cardinal’s strong bill has adapted to eating one of their favorite foods, safflower seeds. The Cardinal’s strong bill has adapted to eating their favorite foods, such as black oil sunflower and safflower seeds.

 

Did you know?

There are dozens of different kinds of woodpeckers with many distinguishing marks.  One of the largest is the Pileated Woodpecker, which is about 18 inches tall.  It was the model for the cartoon character, Woody Woodpecker.  Other species include the Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Red-bellied Woodpecker and the Red-headed Woodpecker.

 

Woodpeckers and Feeding
Woodpeckers enjoy dining on oil and striped sunflower seed, peanuts, nuts and corn.  Grasping tree trunks is a very important behavior of woodpeckers.  To do this, they have two toes facing forward and two toes facing backward.  This helps them climb up and down tree trunks to find food.

 

Did you Know?
There are three types of chickadees in North America – the Black-capped Chickadee, Carolina Chickadee and Mountain Chickadee.  All of them have very similar markings; so similar that they sometimes can’t tell their own species apart and have to rely on their songs.  Chickadee songs are almost like a language to communicate different types of information.

 

Playing Chickadees
Chickadees are very curious and friendly.  They are fast and flighty and will fly from the feeder to a tree branch to crack the seeds. They will even take food and hide it for later.  These little birds can sometimes be trained to eat out of your hand if you have a little patience.

 

Chickadees and Feeding
Chickadees are attracted to seed blends that include black oil sunflower, small mixed seeds like Nyger® and nuts.  They will also eat insects and berries when in season.

 

Singing Chickadees

A chickadee’s song sounds like they are saying their name, chick-a-dee-dee-dee.  You may also hear fee-bay or fee-bee-fee-bee.  There have been extensive studies done on the chickadee call and it was found to contain 13 distinct patterns of communication to signal food, feeding young, coordinate group movements and alarm calls.  The number of extra ‘dees’ and the speed will indicate the level of threat.