Backyard Birds

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Published on: Oct. 23, 2013

sparrow, prefer to feed directly on the ground. Cardinals and blue jays will feed either on the ground or on a platform. Goldfinch and chickadees also will visit small, plastic feeders that are fixed to the outside of a window by a suction cup. Because feeding birds is primarily for your own pleasure, place your feeders where you can see them from a favorite, inside vantage point.

What Are the Best Types of Foods?

A report by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service — based on almost 750,000 observations of birds choosing between two or more seed types at specially constructed feeding stations — shows that those species that prefer large seeds are highly attracted to sunflower seed. The most favored is the smaller, black-oil sunflower seed and not the more familiar striped varieties. The study included several seed types, but three

Common Winter Birds

Here a just a few of the birds you might spot at your feeders this winter.

Downy Woodpecker

The tiny, black-and-white backed woodpecker. Common year-round in forests and wooded neighborhoods. Especially attracted to suet feeders and sunflowers. Males have small red patches on the backs of their heads.

Eastern Bluebird

Missouri’s state bird. The bright blue bird with a reddish chest is seen year-round, but is less common in winter. Find them in grasslands with scattered trees, open areas, and backyards in rural areas. They will often nest in boxes mounted on fence posts.

White-breasted Nuthatch

The upside-down bird. Common year-round in woodlands, parks, and suburban areas. Forages for insects, seeds, and berries. Often walks upside down on tree trunks and branches.

Dark-eyed Junco

The busy “snowbird” on the ground under your feeder. Common in shrubs and brushy areas in winter; spends the summer in Canada and northern United States. They flock to feeders in groups and are sometimes the most frequent feeder visitors.

Northern Mockingbird

The birdsong impersonator. Common year-round in shrubs and brushy areas. Song is varied and mimics other birds. Often seen walking along the ground opening and closing its wings.

American Goldfinch

In summer, the canary-yellow bird with black wings. Found year-round in grasslands and suburban areas. They stick together in flocks and have a noticeable undulating — or dipping — flight pattern. Their yellow color fades to olive in winter.

Black-capped Chickadee / Carolina Chickadee

The common feeder birds that call chickadee-dee-dee. Common year-round in forests, woodlands, and neighborhoods with

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