Backyard Birding

Backyard Birding

April 30th, 2012 by Jennifer Williams in Getout Birding

While you're soaking up the summer sun, keep an eye out for these bright, primary-colored birds flocking to the Southeast. American goldfinches, scarlet tanagers and indigo buntings are three easy-to-spot birds to look for while you are lounging in your backyard. Indigo buntings, nicknamed "blue canaries," whistle a bouncy tune during warm months and can often be found in weedy and brushy areas, especially where fields meet forests. Scarlet tanagers are bright red with black wings and have a tendency to be secretive, so finding them could be a fun afternoon challenge. The finches sport a radiant yellow, black and white coat of feathers with a conical bill. American goldfinches are here year-round while scarlet tanagers and indigo buntings will arrive just in time for summer.

Get their attention

If you aren't seeing quite as many birds as you would like, your yard may not be attracting them. Capture the birds' attention with fruit, nuts and the proper birdseed. Songbirds enjoy fruit such as apples, bananas and oranges. Cut some into chunks or slices and lay it outside to lure the birds to your yard.

Black oil sunflower seeds (hearts or chips work, too) are most popular for a wide range of bird species, but all types of birdseed are suitable summer fare.

Nyjer or thistle seed will attract a variety of finches and a cheap way to get started is to fill up a sock feeder. The mesh material allows finches to hang on the sides and gives you the chance to observe them while they are enjoying their meal.

Birdbaths may be a little old-fashioned, but any large stone or other vessel that holds water will bring our flying friends down for a pit stop during warm months. They also attract birds that don't normally frequent feeders, but still need water.

Becoming an urban birder

Even if you live, work and play in the city, you still have options when it comes to bird watching. David Lindo, author of "The Urban Birder," works to open the eyes of urbanites to the wildlife all around them - we just have to look up!

For more information or to order his book, visit