My Backyard Bird List

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Here’s a list of the birds I’ve seen in my backyard so far.

  • Common Grackle
  • House Finch
  • American Goldfinch
  • House Sparrow
  • Cardinal
  • Rose-breasted Grosbeak
  • White Throated Sparrow
  • Yellow Rumped Warbler
  • European Starling
  • American Robin
  • Gray Catbird
  • Northern Mockingbird
  • Brown Thrasher
  • Carolina Chickadee
  • Tufted Titmouse
  • Red-breasted Nuthatch
  • White-breasted Nuthatch
  • Carolina Wren
  • Blue Jay
  • Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • Downy Woodpecker
  • Mourning Dove
  • Eastern Screech Owl (never actually seen it, but hear it most nights in the summer)
  • Chimney Swift
  • Ruby-throated Hummingbird
  • Herring Gull
  • Turkey Vulture
  • Red-tailed Hawk

A couple of these were uncommon observations for my yard.  The Rose Breasted Grosbeaks showed up at my safflower seed feeder and stayed for a couple days.  There were at least 3 or 4 of them.  I spotted the Brown Thrasher rummaging under some bushes one day and haven’t seen one since.  The Red-Tailed Hawk was spotted circling over my yard one afternoon.  The Vultures hung out on top of my barn for a couple days once and, thankfully, left.

A couple cool obervations I have made in town, but haven’t seen in my yard were a flock of Cedar Waxwings feeding on a berry bush (I spotted them while I was sitting at a stop sign), a Killdear with babies in a field down the street from my house, regular Bluebird sightings at the old school building in town, Purple Martins at the Town Wharf, a Nighthawk observed doing an ascending circle and sudden descent display at a friend’s house, and a Bald Eagle that flew over my mother’s yard while I was mowing her lawn.

I’m sure I’ve seen other birds in the yard and just don’t know what they are.  Part of my goal is to become familiar enough with these birds to positively identify them and add them to my list.


Places called “Bird”

Out of curiosity (or boredom), I did a mapquest search for “Bird.”  According to Mapquest, there are two places in the United States called Bird; Bird, Lousianna and Bird, New York.

Bird, LA seems to be a section of Baton Rouge.  Bird, NY  is in the southwest part of the state of New York.  I didn’t find anything on either place on Google because all the search results were about birds in Louisianna or New York. 

Does anyone out there live in Bird?  Post a comment and let me know what it’s like.

Tough Love

A Carolina Wren that I just saw hopping around my backyard got my attention.  Then I noticed a smaller bird following along behind it.  The Wren came on my back porch, jumping around and perching on various boxes and tools.  I noticed that it had what looked like some sort of moth or other winged insect in its beak.  Every time the little one caught up, the larger one waived the insect at it and hopped away to a new perch.  The little one kept squawking and opening its mouth, but the big one just waived the insect at it and moved on.   My guess it that this was a parent wren either encouraging it’s baby to fly, or trying to entice it back to the nest.  I had never seen anything like that before.

The Sound of Heat

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We’re having a heat wave here in Virginia.  The temperature has been in the upper 90’s all week.  When I walk out into my backyard, this is what I hear.  It’s actually the sound of Cicadas “singing,” but my mind associates it with HEAT.  (Cicadas are bugs that live in trees).  It’s a crazy ringing and creaking sound that seems to come from everywhere and nowhere in particular.  When I was younger, I didn’t know what caused the noise and because the sound came with the brutal heat of summer, I imagined that it was the sound the earth makes in extreme heat, creaking and groaning as it heats up and dries out.  I think I like that version better than bugs in trees.

I’m a Feeder Watcher!

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Or, I will be starting in November.  I just signed up for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Project FeederWatch.  Every year from November to April, people from around the country record the birds that show up at their feeders.  The information is used by the Lab and other organizations for research and conservation efforts.  I’ll post more when I get started in November.  Link for information on Project FeederWatch.

Better Late Than Never

I never got around to putting out my hummingbird feeders this year.  So, I decided to put them out this weekend and see if it was too late to attract hummers.  I filled two feeders with sugar water (1 part sugar to 4 parts water) and hung them by my screened porch yesterday afternoon.  While I was sitting on the porch this morning having my morning coffee, I heard that familiar “humm,” and looked up to see a hummingbird checking out both feeders.  He came back a little later to feed again.  He seemed to prefer the feeder that is a little further away from the house.

 So, I guess the end of July isn’t too late to start feeding hummingbirds.

Inaugural Post

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Here I am, with my brand spankin new blog.  About 10 years ago I bought an old Victorian style house on about a half acre of land in the nice, little waterfront town of Onancock, Virginia.  As I planted gardens and worked in the yard, I became fascinated by the variety of birds that I saw.  Over the years, I’ve tried to make my yard attractive to birds.  This blog will track my efforts to attract as many different types of birds to my yard as possible. 

This blog is attached to my website,, where I will share information about backyard birding.