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Top 10 Backyard Birds

Written by: Editorial Staff

January 1, 2012
Filed Under Nature 


A list of the top ten backyard birdsContributed by Aurora LaJambre, Top 10 Guru

Bird feeders draw a wide range of bird species to backyards.

According to the National Bird-feeding Society, top backyard birds are easy to attract whether you live in a city, the suburbs or the country. Peak times for finding these birds will vary by region, the birds’ migration and breeding season. So if you’re ready to turn your backyard into the top bird spot on the block set up a proper feeder and food and make your yard safe from predators.

Learning about these top ten backyard birds will help you identify the best food to use for each season and enhance your enjoyment with these new feathered friends.

10. Black-capped Chickadee

A list of the top ten backyard birds

Often found in the northern United States and Canada, the Black-capped Chickadee is a curious bird that makes its presence known. These guys inspect the area surrounding feeders and show special interest in humans. They have a black cap and white belly. Their large heads and short necks make their small bodies look disproportionate in the most adorable way. They don’t linger at feeders and their coloring is black and grey, which makes them difficult to spot.

9. Chipping Sparrow

A list of the top ten backyard birds

Chipping Sparrows populate both Canada and the United States. Use binoculars to identify them by brown streaks down the backs, red-orange crowns and bold black eye lines. They like non-woody plants like pigweed, wood sorrel and yellow foxtail, and prefer hopper, tube and platform feeders. Feed them white proso millet and look for nests in shrubs about 10 feet high.

8. Blue Jay

A list of the top ten backyard birds

Blue Jays stick to the central and eastern United States. You may hear this songbird’s chatty calls before you see its bright blue and black plumage. These smart birds love acorns, and are thought to have aided the spread of oak trees. These backyard birds prefer hopper or tray feeders on a post rather than hanging, and eat peanuts and suet.

7. Dark-eyed Junco

A list of the top ten backyard birds

Also known as snowbirds, the Dark-eyed Junco live in the western U.S. year round, and visit the central and eastern U.S. in winter. They grow to about 6 inches long and have grey bodies with a pink bill and white underbelly. They’re abundant in wooded areas and like to walk around on the ground. Feed them sunflower hearts and millet, and plant greenery like crabgrass and sorrel to make them feel at home.

6. Rufous Hummingbird

A list of the top ten backyard birds

You’ll have to live in the west coast of the U.S. or Canada to find the Rufous Hummingbird in your backyard. These small birds measure 3 inches in length and weigh about .2 ounces. Look for their iridescent red necks and vibrant orange or green backs. Plant honeysuckle, bee-flower, currant, lily, mint or sage to help attract them, and feed them nectar to keep them coming back.

5. Northern Cardinal

A list of the top ten backyard birds

The Northern Cardinal adds color to the eastern and central part of the U.S. These large birds measure up to 9 inches long. The males are bright red all over, the females are brown with red hues, and both have black faces and bright orange bills.

4. Downy Woodpecker

A list of the top ten backyard birds

The Downy Woodpeckers are the species most likely to stop by backyard bird feeders across the U.S., according to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Identify them by their straight bills, blocky heads and broad shoulders. Their coloring is a unique checkered black and white and the males have a small red patch on the heads. They like suet feeders, and eat black oil sunflower seeds, peanut butter and millet.

3. Tufted Titmouse

A list of the top ten backyard birds

The Tufted Titmouse is a common sight in the eastern United States year round. This backyard bird has a grey body, large black eyes and a bushy crest that resembles raised eyebrows. You’ll see them perched on the ends of twigs or flying away with large seeds in their claws.

2. American Robin

A list of the top ten backyard birds

The American Robin is at home across North America, including Alaska. These well known birds like to snack on earthworms and sing bright songs that carry across a field or yard. They have a round body with a long tail and grayish bodies with a white or orange patch on their bellies. American Robins eat fruit, prefer nesting platforms and like honeysuckle, dogwood and mulberry trees.

1. American Gold Finch

A list of the top ten backyard birds

Unlike many species that tend to live either west or east of the Rocky Mountains, the American Gold Finch lives in almost every state. Typically about 5 inches long, the males have a black forehead with brightly colored bodies in greens and yellows during mating season while the females are a dull yellow brown. They like elm, cedar and birch trees, and eat sunflower hearts.

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