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Backyard Birds

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Published on: Oct. 23, 2013

plenty of large trees. The black-capped is found in northern Missouri and the Carolina in southern Missouri. Similar in appearance, the black-capped has more white on its wing in winter and its call is slower. Both are frequent visitors to feeders and easily approached.

Tufted Titmouse

The scolding bird with a pointed crest atop its head. Lives year-round in forests, woodlands, and suburban areas. Makes a distinct peter-peter-peter whistling sound.

Northern Cardinal

A common permanent resident. It forages on the ground or in shrubs for insects, spiders, seeds, fruits, and berries. The “redbird” is a frequent visitor to bird feeders for sunflower and other seeds. Females are buffy tan below and grayish brown above, otherwise similar to male. By February, cardinals are in full song, singing from the tops of small trees and shrubs most of the day.

Song Sparrow

Missouri’s permanent-resident sparrow. Common year-round in weedy fields, brushy floodplains, and at bird feeders in most of Missouri, except rare in the Ozarks. Missouri has 19 different species of sparrow, and they are one of the more difficult groups of birds to identify.

Mourning Dove

The cooing lovebird. Found in grasslands, towns, and suburbs. Common year-round, though especially abundant in spring and summer, less so in fall, and rare in winter. Shaped somewhat like rock pigeons, though slimmer.

Blue Jay

Though this common permanent resident may be present all year in your yard, they are probably different individuals during each season. They frequently chase smaller birds away from bird feeders, gather up several seeds, and then fly off to cache them in a tree or in the ground. Blue jays are frequently noisy and easily detected in tree canopies. They often form groups and chase and mob hawks and owls they encounter.

stand out as being the best foods for attracting the most species of birds:

  • Black-oil sunflower seeds attract the widest variety of birds that eat seeds. It can be purchased at reasonable prices in bulk, usually 25- to 50-pound bags. It’s best to avoid buying small bags of colorful, mixed seeds. They often contain common cereal grains such as milo, wheat, oats, and rice that few birds will eat.
  • White millet, also available in bulk, is appealing to doves, sparrows, juncos, and other birds that feed on the ground. It works well to scatter it on the ground underneath a feeder that is stocked with

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