In my backyard: Birds, birds, birds

by susan on January 14, 2010

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My experience with backyard birds hasn’t always been positive, but since Santa brought us a new bird feeder last month, it’s been a frenzy of bird feeding fun around my house. I could sit for hours watching them flit back and forth.

But when it comes to backyard bird identification, I’m a bit hopeless. I know what a cardinal looks like, and a robin and blue jay, but beyond that I’m stumped.

Our most common visitor is this little guy on the right and his kin. Note the yellow on his neck:

backyard-birds-2

We also see a fair bit of this tufted fellow:

backyard-birds-3Can anyone tell me what they are? The feeder holds only sesame seeds at this point. For those of you in Southborough with backyard feeders, what seed combination do you particularly like?

1 Emily January 14, 2010 at 4:41 PM

We have a few books that we keep by our back door to help identify our visitors. I’m no expert, but the second one is a tufted titmouse. Good luck!

2 Susan January 14, 2010 at 5:10 PM

The first one is a gold finch. The males are bright yellow in the spring to attract the females but in the winter they look drab like that.

The second is a tufted titmouse.

I love watching the birds in my back yard. If only I could keeep the huge cowbirds from scaring them all away.

3 Lisa January 14, 2010 at 6:00 PM

Susan is right I believe. We have the same birds in our area. The first is a Gold Finch. The second is a Tufted Titmouse. We use the Audubon Societies book on Northern Birds. It has some great pictures. Check it out at your local bookstore or Library for some great info on these and others.

4 Tony V January 14, 2010 at 9:41 PM

Susan is right on both counts. They bring a little bit of life to the barren winterscape.

5 Amy January 14, 2010 at 10:19 PM

Yep, Susan is right and they LOVE the black sunflower seeds. Better than TV! Note, once you start feeding you must not stop until food is plentiful in the spring. The birds come to rely on it and can die if you stop feeding. I know, another responsibility!

6 Lara January 15, 2010 at 7:47 AM

The bottom bird is definitely a tufted titmouse. We’ll look into the other ones.

7 Elsa Ray January 15, 2010 at 7:50 AM

The pair of birds was identified as winter plummage of the American Goldfinch, by Elsa Ray, age 9.

8 Judith Bailey Keneman January 15, 2010 at 11:04 AM

If you want a bigger variety of birds, you can put different kinds of seed out.
Nuthatches, woodpeckers and other birds like nuts and many companies sell seed mixes with nuts. More variety in your food will create more variety in your birds.
You can mix different varietes right in your current feeder.
The only solution to cowbirds and other nuisance birds is to use a smaller feeder. If the perch on the feeder is small, only small birds can hang on to eat. Also, some companies sell feeders with cages so only the smaller birds can fit in.
Unfortunately, then you miss out on other “good” large birds. I find a mixture of feeders and seeds attracts the most birds.

9 CE Webster January 18, 2010 at 4:18 PM

Sounds like you’re hooked already! It really doesn’t take long. Birds are so much fun to watch. We like to feed the birds black sunflower seeds. Enjoy!

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