Backyard Birds are wonderful! You can put out feed for them, and
watch them all year long. If you sit in your backyard and close your
eyes, you can hear all of the different nature noises, including the
birds. After awhile you will recognize their sounds and know which
bird is in your yard even before you see it! Here are some North
American birds that children and adults can enjoy and learn from.
The Black-Capped Chickadee:
A wonderful, cheerful little bird that flits from tree to tree and will eat in any position, even upside down! It feeds of insects, seeds and fruit. It lays from 5 to 10 brown spotted eggs that are only about a 1/2 inch big. They are very brave, and will usually come to the feeder all winter long!
The Blue Jay:
A pest to some people, but children love them. They are twice as big as Sparrows and are several shades of blue. They make all kinds of loud and soft noises. Sometimes they seem to be singing and then they will be almost screeching. Blue Jays will eat many seeds, and corn if you put out feeders. They can be a little pushy when they are hungry, but the other birds get enough too. They like making their nests in evergreen trees if they can, and their eggs are a greenish gray color with brown spots. They stay all year round in the warmth and cold!
We can't forget the beautiful Cardinal! The male bird is the brightest red, but the female Cardinal is still pretty with her softer pinkish color. They are very picky and will probably only come to a feeder if you give them sunflower seeds. They love them! Kids love to look out the window and see the Cardinal flying from a snowy branch to the feeders! They are so bright against the snow. Their nest is shaped like a cup made from twigs, leaves and fibers. They line it with grass for the eggs, which have reddish brown spots.
The Cedar Waxwing:
The Waxwing is a beautiful bird that I have only seen twice in groups on trees with berries. It has an almost wax like appearance and seems like a fairy tale bird because it is so pretty. It likes to eat grapes, cherries, and other berries. It does go south for the winter, so that is why it groups together to migrate like ducks or geese do. Be sure to watch for it in the berry trees! It has a large loose nest that can be 5 foot or up to 50 foot off the ground.
What a wonderful site to watch a Hummingbird eat nector from flowers or feeders! They are so tiny and yet so quick. It can fly backwards, sideways or straight upwards! It is only about 3 1/2 inches long. It's weight is equal to a penny, and it's eggs are only about 1/2 inch in size. The Hummingbird migrates south for the winter also. In the midwest we put our feeders out with sugar water around Mother's Day in May. You can also plant flowers such as Trumpet Vines, that will attract this small bird.
The Sparrow is considered a very common bird. They
are everywhere! For children they are
a friendly bird friend who will eat their
bread crumbs or seeds and they are not
as shy as some song birds. You can
lure sparrows to your yard in the city
and the country. They don't scare other
birds, and they will eat whatever seed you
put out for them. You can throw it on the
ground or put it in the simplest feeder.
Sparrows are not picky! For children
they are amazing creatures that can be
a backyard friend. They are easy to
identify, so the kids will be able to look
them up in a bird book from the library.
One of our favorite birds; it
flits from tree to tree looking for food and
eating upside down! It has a black cap on
it's head and a blue back, white face, throat,
breast and belly. It likes to eat insects and
ants, but it will also come to your bird feeders
in the winter. Be sure to listen for an unusual
type of high pitched fast chirping. Once you
learn how the nuthatch sounds you will always
know when it is out there!