Dec 14, 2015 | Featured Web Article

Do You Keep a List of Your Backyard Birds?

According to the lists we keep here in Marietta, Ohio, dark-eyed juncos often make their first appearance about October 10, and leave about the 25th of April.
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Many of us enjoy keeping track of the bird species we see in our yards. It's both satisfying and enlightening to keep a list from year to year to see how the mix of species changes with the seasons, and to note the arrival and departure dates of migrant visitors. For example, here in southeastern Ohio, home of Watching Backyard Birds, we know that cardinals and chickadees can start singing in late January. Dark-eyed juncos often make their first appearance about October 10, and leave about the 25th of April. Ruby-throated hummingbirds return in the spring about April 15—a tax-day bonus! Keeping your list can be as simple and low-tech as writing down the birds you see in a journal or on a printed checklist. Or, you can keep your list online using software, websites, and apps. No matter how you keep the list, it’s a fun way to keep track of the comings and goings of your backyard birds.

About Bill Thompson, III

Bill Thompson, III, was the team captain for Watching Backyard Birds from its inception 23 years ago through his death on March 25, 2019. So much of what he wrote is timeless and remains informative, helpful, and inspiring.


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  • I am excited to have my daughter’s tree this year, since my landlord has removed the lovely yew next to my patio, which was the only shelter for birds at my feeder.
    by pmalcpoet, Mon, 20 Dec 2021
  • Goldfinches will continue as long as Swiss chard is available. I'm watching one eating chard right now (mid-November in Vermont).
    by Brian Tremback, Sun, 14 Nov 2021
  • Birds are on the decline though sunflowers are rarely touched and for weeks hardly .eaten. I'll try a few sparing nuts on the table and a fat ball broken for jackdaws and tits but mealworms were a summer favourite being my go to choice
    by Paul Harabaras, Thu, 04 Nov 2021
  • I’ve been enjoying goldfinches eating coneflower/ echinacea seeds in my new pollinator garden! I will leave the plants out all winter for them if the seeds keep that long? Or should I deadhead and put them in a dry area? Im in CT and thought they migrated, but didn’t know they put in winter coats! What do they eat in winter without bird feeders?
    by Anne Sheffield, Sat, 04 Sep 2021
  • Hi Gary, I will pass your question along to Birdsquatch next time I see him. He knows infinitely more about nocturnal wildlife than I do. Where do you live? That's pretty important in figuring out the answer. But the thief could be raccoons, deer, or flying squirrels. Do you live in the woods? Are there trees near your feeder, or must the culprit climb a shepherd's hook or pole? Dawn Hewitt, Watching Backyard Birds
    by Dawn Hewitt, Mon, 30 Aug 2021