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Birding Tips for All Seasons

BluebirdsHere are a few techniques for enjoying the fun of birding. Most are things you can do in your own back yard.

Although we've sorted them by season, several of these tips are useful any time of year.


Summer

Bluebird

The Summer Birdbath
Sometimes fresh, clean water is all it takes to make a bird's day. Water will attract all kinds of birds, including those who don't usually come to feeders. Like bluebirds, flycatchers, and even hummingbirds.

 
Rubythroat

How to Attract Hummingbirds
It's utterly easy to attract hummingbirds. Just offer them some sweet water and announce it with a bit of red. Here are some tips on feeding hummingbirds and enticing them to nest in your back yard.

 
View from the Boat

Birding from a Boat
Some of the best birding in summer is from a boat. Birds sing and are active along the river even when summer doldrums have made some birders hang up their binoculars. Here is Michael and Diane's account of boating on the Skunk River in Iowa in summer.

 

Blue Jay

Jay Talk
Listening to jays screech, whistle, whisper, croak, rattle, and sing queedle-queedle-queedle, a person needs a dictionary of jay talk. But sometimes even without knowing exactly what it's all about, we get the drift.


Fall

black-capped chickadee

Why Feed Birds in Fall?
Wild birds scout out their winter food sources in fall, and that means they are deciding which backyards they will grace with their presence in winter. Here's how to let the birds know you want their business when the weather gets rough.

 

Brush Pile

Brush Piles for Birds
As birdwatchers we can help to put habitat back. One way is to construct a brush pile.It's easy. Here is a recipe for building a brush pile, and a suggestion of what to expect if your build one.

 

Winter

Eastern Bluebird

Winter Water
Birds need water, even in winter. Especially when ponds and streams are frozen. That's an opportunity for birdwatchers to attract birds to the backyard.

 

Tufted Titmouse

Feeding Birds in Winter
One of the chief pleasures of winter is to be inside a warm house and look out at the wild birds at the feeder. You get terrific entertainment all winter long. Here are some tips for beginners on how to keep the birds coming back in winter

 

copyright Debby Kaspari

Hand Feeding Wild Birds
Your backyard birds can be eating from your hand this winter. This story, "Seeing Eye to Eye with Birds," tells how to win the trust of your backyard birds.

 

black-eyed susan

Planting Flowers for Birds
Plans begin in winter, when the seed catalogs arrive in your mailbox, to plant a garden whose blossoms will invite birds of all kinds into your yard.

 
downy & hairy

Downy vs. Hairy Woodpeckers
Many beginning birders have been fooled by the look-alike downy and hairy woodpeckers. The hairy is bigger, but it can be hard to judge size when you see one alone. How to distinguish them? The most important field mark is the bill.


Spring

magnolia warbler

Watching Birds with your Ears
Learn to see through the leaves and around buildings, to hidden birds like this magnolia warbler. And a guide to bird song CDs that you can purchase online.

 

baby bird

Helping Baby Birds
Here's what to do when your kids bring home a baby bird and ask if they can keep it.

 

robin at bath

Bird Baths
The best bird bath we ever had was one we made from a section of a fallen tree. Of course, now that we live in Iowa, where it freezes in winter, we prefer a heated bath.