Guelph, Ontario

Seasonal Birds

There are several, less-frequent backyard visitors that are found in our region for only certain months of the year. Keep your eye out (and your feeders full!) for these exciting birds in your yard!

Spring & SummerMale Rose-breasted Grosbeak on WBU Feeder

Rose-breased Grosbeak

This beautiful bird is unmistakable! The male wears the rose breast, and the female is simply brown and white. Grosbeaks are about the size of a cardinal, and therefore need  a large perching space. They are attracted to black oil sunflower and safflower seeds.

 

Indigo BuntingMale Indigo Bunting on WBU Dinner Bell Feeder

This goldfinch-sized bird stuns birdwatchers with its bright blue dress! Indigo Buntings'  favourite seed is nyjer, although they will also eat sunflower chips (striped sunflower seeds without the shell). This Indigo Bunting is eating sunflower chips from our Dinner Bell Feeder.

 

Baltimore OrioleMale Baltimore Oriole onWBU Oriole Feeder

Baltimore Orioles frequent large deciduous forests, where they prefer to nest. If you see this bird in your yard, put out a nectar feeder right away! Use a 6:1 ratio of water to white table sugar. Orioles also love grape jelly, orange slices, and mealworms. Our WBU Oriole Feeder allows you to offer all of their favourite foods! Read more about our Attracting Orioles and using Specialty Foods.

 

American Robin on WBU Ground Tray FeederAmerican Robin

Although these birds are not attracted to seed feeders, you can entice them to visit your yard by offering dried fruit. Raisins (soaked in water) and dried cherries have been a popular choice with our customers. This Robin pictured to the right is visiting a ground tray feeder for a snack of raisins. Another great way to invite them to your yard is by putting out a bird bath or fountain! Read more about attracting birds with Water.

 

Late Fall & Winter

Dark-eyed JuncoDark-eyed Junco

Commonly referred to as the "snowbird", the Junco has an uncanny tendency to arrive with the first snowfall! These are very socialable birds, which means that they will usually visit your yards in flocks from several to several dozen. Juncos prefer to eat at ground level, so you can put out a ground tray feeder, or simply sprinkle seed on the ground. They prefer white millet seeds, as well as nyjer.

 

Common RedpollCommon Redpoll

Redpolls are a bird of the far north, and only come down into our area during winters when their food supply is unusually low. Therefore, you will not see Redpolls every winter, but only during "irruption" years. However, if your nyjer feeders are full, keep an eye out for this brightly coloured, finch-sized bird!

 

Pine Siskin on WBU Finch FeederPine Siskin

Very similar in size and shape to the American Goldfinch, you can determine it's a Pine Siskin by its dark streaking all over its body. Occasionally there is a hint of yellow in its wings. Also similar to the Goldfinch, the Pine Siskin loves nyjer seed, as well as sunflower chips

Native Sparrows

Although it is tempting to group any brown bird as a "sparrow", it can be a fun challenge to learn the differences. For most of the sparrows that visit the backyard, it is not very difficult to tell them apart once you know what to look for!

 Sparrows all prefer to feed at ground level, so sprinkle some white millet beneath the feeders or near some shrubs, and watch them hop around and "double-scratch" the snow or soil to uncover the seeds! American Tree SparrowThey love coniferous trees or bushes, and brush piles (see The Bird-Friendly Backyard for tips on how to create a brush pile).

American Tree Sparrow

Despite their name, they prefer to forage close to the ground, also in flocks. The American Tree Sparrow has a plain grey breast with a single central spot, as well as a rusty-red cap. Another unique feature is that it has a bi-coloured bill of yellow and black!

 

White-crowned SparrowWhite-crowned Sparrow

A stunning sparrow, of larger size than most sparrows. The "skunk head" pattern is distinctive, although it may be confused with the White-throated Sparrow (below). Watch for the pinkish bill, and the lack of white patch beneath on its throat.

 

 

White-throated SparrowWhite-throated Sparrow

These large sparrows tend to be less social, so watch for one or two flitting about either in spring migration or fall migration. The white throat patch stands out the most. Note that the "white" stripes on the head vary from white to tan. They also have a single yellow spot in front of the eye. 

 

 

 

Chipping SparrowChipping Sparrow

The smallest of our sparrows, the Chipping Sparrow is perhaps also the plainest. They have a rusty-red cap, a black stripe through their eye, and a plain grey breast.

 

 

 

 

Song Sparrow

Song Sparrow

The only other sparrow with a central dark spot on its breast. Otherwise, Song Sparrows are heavily streaked in brown. As you can imagine from their name, they have a beautiful song which has a cadence something like "maids, maids put on the tea kettle!" (Visit Rightbird.com to hear its song.)