Song Sparrow: Nearly Ubiquitous and Universally Delightful
Oct 28, 2020

Song Sparrow: Nearly Ubiquitous and Universally Delightful

Except for northern Canada and inland Alaska, song sparrows can be found throughout North America during some part of the year, and they are common denizens of backyards—especially under bird feeders. In the Northeast and most of the West, song sparrow is a year-round resident, but across southern Canada and the north-central states, the species is a summer breeder that heads south for the colder months.
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Ask Birdsquatch: Angry Birds!
Oct 21, 2020

Ask Birdsquatch: Angry Birds!

Dear Birdsquatch:

My girlfriend lives in a apartment complex next to a river where there are lots of ducks. The management of the complex left the following note on the exit doors of the complex:

"ANGRY BIRDS!! The angry birds are back!! Please be careful!! These birds are protected, so we cannot injure them. They like to come at your head."

Is this an Alfred Hitchcock movie come to life? What kind of birds are these and why would they attack?

—Nervous Boyfriend (Dennis B.) Waukesha, Wisconsin

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Nuthatch Essentials: What to Know
Oct 14, 2020

Nuthatch Essentials: What to Know

Nuthatches are some of the most adorable birds in North America! Want the lowdown on these birds—including what species to expect in your area, and how to attract them to your yard? We have the facts!
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Move That Water!
Oct 7, 2020

Move That Water!

You've heard it before—moving water attracts birds! It's especially true during fall migration. Birdbaths can attract species that have no interest in the food stuffs humans offer.
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Keep Your Hummingbird Feeders Up
Sep 30, 2020

Keep Your Hummingbird Feeders Up

You've probably heard the myth: Take down your hummingbird feeders in the fall or the hummers will "forget" to migrate. It's not true. Birds, including the hummingbirds at our feeders, are programmed by instinct to migrate when their inner clocks tell them to leave.
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Look Beyond the Feeders for the Best Backyard Bird Watching
Sep 23, 2020

Look Beyond the Feeders for the Best Backyard Bird Watching

Wondering what to expect as summer transitions to fall? Activity at your feeders will pick up as natural food sources wane and autumn progresses. And if you find that rewarding, try looking beyond your bird feeders and into the shrubs and foliage in your yard. Look at the sky above your yard, and listen for sounds you haven't heard before.
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Hummingbirds and Torpor
Sep 16, 2020

Hummingbirds and Torpor

Hummingbirds have evolved a unique ability to go into a trancelike state called torpor to help them survive cool temperatures and periods of inactivity, especially while sleeping at night. The birds are unresponsive and appear to be dead when in this state.
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Attract More Birds with Moving Water
Sep 9, 2020

Attract More Birds with Moving Water

Looking for great ways to attract more birds to your yard? Try adding a birdbath with moving water.
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Will Birds Starve If You Stop Feeding Them?
Sep 2, 2020

Will Birds Starve If You Stop Feeding Them?

This is a question we hear a lot at Watching Backyard Birds. Birders planning an extended vacation often worry about the birds that frequent their feeders. Where will they find food? If they leave, will they ever come back?
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8 Common Bird-feeding Myths Debunked
Aug 28, 2020

8 Common Bird-feeding Myths Debunked

Have you ever noticed how much of what we consider "conventional wisdom" is actually wrong and ridiculous? Bird-feeding conventional wisdom is riddled with bad information. But you, my friend, are in luck! I have tried most everything in bird feeding at least once, and I have made nearly every mistake possible. Why? So you won't have to!
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Watch the Moon for Southbound Migrants
Aug 26, 2020

Watch the Moon for Southbound Migrants

In 2020, full moons will occur September 2, October 1, October 31, and November 30. If the night sky is cloudless, aim your binoculars toward the moon, and watch. Most migratory land birds make their twice-yearly journey at night, including thrushes, warblers, flycatchers, sparrows, orioles, vireos, and cuckoos.
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Is It a Crime to Kill a Hummingbird?
Aug 19, 2020

Is It a Crime to Kill a Hummingbird?

Dear Birdsquatch: Is hummingbirdicide a crime? I adore eight of my hummingbirds, but Number 9, a male, is making life difficult for all the others. I want to kill him. Not really, but he must be stopped! Can I trap him and relocate him? Any advice?

—Fern B.,
Rolla, Missouri

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A Bee-resistant Hummingbird Feeder?
Aug 12, 2020

A Bee-resistant Hummingbird Feeder?

It's a question we get every summer here at Watching Backyard Birds and Bird Watcher's Digest: How can I keep the bees off of my nectar feeder? WBB editor Dawn Hewitt conducts a pseudo-scientific experiment to see which of her hummingbird feeders attracts the fewest bees.
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Birdbath Cleaning
Aug 5, 2020

Birdbath Cleaning

Keep your birdbath clean. It's a simple adage, oft repeated, but there are reasons to be scrupulous that go beyond hygiene and aesthetics. Of course, the birds' health comes first. If we're going to provide water, we owe it to them to give the bath a good scrubbing when droppings and algae foul the water. Bird droppings contain nitrogen, which is algae fuel, so the quicker we get rid of them, the cleaner our bath will stay.
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How Do I Attract More Hummingbirds?
Jul 29, 2020

How Do I Attract More Hummingbirds?

Dear Birdsquatch: Is hummingbirdicide a crime? I adore eight of my hummingbirds, but Number 9, a male, is making life difficult for all the others. I want to kill him. Not really, but he must be stopped! Can I trap him and relocate him? Any advice?

—Fern B.,
Rolla, Missouri

Hummingbirds content. Click for more!
Reminder: Wash Your Bird Feeders!
Jul 22, 2020

Reminder: Wash Your Bird Feeders!

Although it is rare—even unheard of—for humans to become sick from handling a bird feeder, there is no doubt that microorganisms flourish on their surface. That’s why it’s important for you to wash your hands after handling your feeders, including after refilling them. Much more of a threat are illnesses and diseases spread among the birds that visit and share feeders.
Mantids Threaten Hummingbirds
Jul 15, 2020

Mantids Threaten Hummingbirds

A potential threat to hummingbirds may be lurking in your yard. The photos are too gruesome to publish, but there are plenty on the internet of mantises killing hummingbirds.
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Fifteen Fun Feather Facts
Jul 8, 2020

Fifteen Fun Feather Facts

All birds—and only birds—have feathers, but how much do you know about feathers, really? WBB managing editor Dawn Hewitt shares surprising facts!
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Are You Overlooking These Summer Birds?
Jul 1, 2020

Are You Overlooking These Summer Birds?

If you're anything like me, you probably spend a fair number of summertime evenings relaxing outside with a good book and your favorite beverage, casually noting the bird activity around you. If feeders or nest boxes are nearby, you're probably noticing chickadees, hummingbirds, bluebirds, swallows, and other expected birds, depending upon where you live. But what about the many other species that are more easily overlooked, either because they don't commonly visit feeders or use nest boxes, or because they tend to stay hidden in the treetops? Here are six surprisingly common birds that may be sharing your backyard, park, or other favorite summertime space.
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Natural Bird Feeding: What Do Birds Want?
Jun 26, 2020

Natural Bird Feeding: What Do Birds Want?

How would you like to feed birds in the very best way possible—in a way that is all natural, environmentally sustainable, inexpensive, and easy to do? Get out the garden gloves and the garden trowel and leave the bird feeders and seed alone for a minute. The very best way to feed birds is to offer them the kinds of foods they would find and consume in nature and that starts with offering bird-friendly plants.
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