I like birds. Mostly, I enjoy encountering and watching them in the world. In the past I’ve fed them from several spots in my backyard, which is as close as I come to having birds as pets.

Since moving to this area in 2002, I use the Patuxent Bird Identification site to confirm identifications of new birds, once I look them up in my trusty Peterson’s guide. In 2000, I began keeping closer track of birds I’ve seen, in order to begin a lifelist, and I continue to add to it. Visit my lifelist for general information about the birds I’ve seen, or read more detailed accounts of recent sightings.

Past yards have contained four feeders, which I still have but don’t currently use: a goldfinch feeder (filled with nyjer), a peanut feeder (filled with black oil sunflower seeds), a tube feeder (filled with Wild Bird Center‘s backyard blend), and a tray feeder (filled with safflower). I also provide water in the form of a hanging birdbath, and I get robins and catbirds at the water, in addition to all of the below-listed species. If you’re interested in attracting birds to feeders, I highly recommend The Backyard Bird Feeder’s Bible. Our yard is rich with cover and food—in the form of berries, insects, and clover—even without feeders, and I see many young birds foraging with their parents. When I refer to them as ‘nesting’ that just means I’ve seen the juveniles in our yard; the nests themselves may be somewhere else in the vicinity.

Regular visitors to the yard are:

  • European (house) Sparrows (nesting)
  • Mourning Doves (nesting)
  • White-throated sparrows (winter visitors)
  • Northern Cardinals (nesting)
  • Blue Jays (nesting)
  • Carolina Chickadees
  • White-breasted Nuthatches (winter visitors)
  • Tufted Titmice
  • Carolina Wrens (nesting)
  • Slate-colored Juncos (winter visitors)
  • Goldfinches
  • House Finches
  • Song Sparrows
  • European Starlings (nesting)
  • Northern Mockingbirds
  • Northern (yellow) Flickers
  • Hairy Woodpeckers (nesting)
  • Red-bellied Woodpeckers
  • Eastern Phoebes (nesting)
  • American Crows (nesting)
  • Brown Thrashers (nesting)
  • and, of course, gray squirrels

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