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Bruce's Backyard

In this section of the website you can follow along with Bruce as he attracts, feeds and observes birds in his backyard.  

Birds by the Season


Red-shouldered Hawk watching over feeders

A Red-shouldered Hawk watching over feeders at the corner of Old Carp Road and Huntmar Road on January 2, 2009. 

One of the side effects of feeder birds is that you eventually attract "birds of prey" such as hawks, owls or shrikes. With more activity comes a greater possibility of a visitor such as these. This is only a part of nature! 

During the winter months in Eastern Ontario it can sometimes be surprising how many species of birds spend this time of year in our area. Over 60 species can be found with some work and in your backyard you can attract an impressive variety to your feeders. Depending on the natural food supply , birds will supplement their diet by visiting your feeders. During the past few days I’ve recorded 12 different species of birds at my feeders, as well as 2 squirrels and a Short-tailed Shrew. Some of the more common species to be expected include Black-capped Chickadee, White-breasted Nuthatch, Blue Jay, American Goldfinch, Pine Siskin, Common Redpoll, European Starling and House Sparrow. Depending on how long you have had feeders operating and the habitat on your property, you may also have a few uncommon to rare visitors such as Carolina Wren, Tufted Titmouse or Red-bellied Woodpecker. But always remember birds attract more birds and sooner or later you maybe surprised by a very rare visitor. So keep your field guide handy and your camera nearby.

Common Feeder Birds

Check out photos and descriptions of common feeder birds for the Ottawa area. This section will grow over time, so check back often!

Backyard Bird Feeding

Choosing a Feeder

Choosing a feeder can sometimes be a challenge due to the vast variety that are available on the market. One very successful type is the cylinder feeder. In this feeder there are small tear drop shaped feeding ports which enable only small birds, such as finches to feed.

A cylinder feeder in my backyard. 

Various cylinder feeders
Various cylinder feeders in my backyard. 

Downy Woodpecker at suet feeder
Suet feeders are also popular
with some types of birds

Platform feeder with Pine Siskins
Platform feeders are also popular
and are easy to build at home.

Gravity Feeder with Northern Cardinal & Black-capped Chickadee
A Black-capped Chickadee and a female Northern Cardinal share the feeder. This is a "gravity feeder" with numerous feeding ports. These feeders are great for dispensing sunflower seeds.

Variety of Feeders
Backyard feeding is a popular winter activity.
Having a variety of feeders will increase your success.

If you feed birds you will no doubt attract squirrels. In Eastern Ontario, this will include the Gray, Black, and Red Squirrel and, during the warmer months, the Eastern Chipmunk. Also, depending where you live you might even have Northern Flying Squirrels but don't realize it because they are nocturnal. Many of the cylinder feeders are squirrel proof. Most squirrels will find plenty of seeds that have been dropped on the ground.

Red squirrel on feeder
A Red Squirrel on a platform feeder in my backyard. 

Not only will you attract squirrels, if you keep your eyes out, you may also attract many other things you didn't expect.

Deer at bird feeder
A White-tailed Deer visiting a bird feeder.

Backyard Bird Feeding Resources

Here are some great resources:

About Birds & Bird Feeding, Project Feeder Watch
Bird Feeding, Hinterland Who's Who
Backyard Bird Feeding, Ojibway Nature Centre

Bruce's Backyard Bird List

Ben with juvenile Cedar Waxwing

Here's Ben at age 8 with a juvenile Cedar Waxwing he rescued in the backyard. "Seedy" as it was called was brought to the Wild Bird Care Centre and later released. August 9, 2005.

I started our backyard list on August 24, 1999, the day we moved in. The first few species on August 24th included Mourning Dove, Black-capped Chickadee and Common Nighthawk. Situated in the village of Carp on 1 acre, I count any bird that I can identify by sight or sound as long as I am on the property. So far 161 species have been observed, including the most recent addition, a juvenile Peregrine Falcon hunting Rock Pigeons at the Feed Mill nearby on December 6, 2008. Still lots to add!

Carolina Wren.

On September 22, 2005, this Carolina Wren was trapped in our garage and I was able to capture and release it. Despite the incident is stayed till December 7, 2005.

We've had a few surprises so far, including a Great Gray Owl in February 2006 during the invasion, a Carolina Wren that visited the feeder and lived in the back ravine from September 20 to December 7, 2005, a gray morph Eastern Screech-owl that has been visiting the back ravine and even roosted in our screech-owl box. Another big surprise was nesting Chimney Swifts in our chimney!

Chimney Swift.

Chimney Swift nesting in our chimney.

If you have the time and interest, you may be surprised by home many species pass by your home.

Chimney Swift.

Chimney Swift babies from the nest in our chimney.

Bruce's Backyard Bird List 
(Last Updated January 25, 2009)

Species Notes 2009
1 Snow Goose

2 Brant

3 Canada Goose
Feb 26
4 Cackling Goose

5 Wood Duck

6 Green-winged Teal

7 American Black Duck

8 Mallard

9 Northern Pintail

10 Hooded Merganser

11 Common Merganser

12 Common Loon

13 Double-crested Cormorant

14 American Bittern

15 Great Blue Heron

16 Green Heron

17 Turkey Vulture

18 Osprey

19 Bald Eagle

20 Northern Harrier

21 Sharp-shinned Hawk
Jan 9
22 Cooper's Hawk

23 Red-shouldered Hawk

24 Broad-winged Hawk

25 Red-tailed Hawk

26 Rough-legged Hawk

27 American Kestrel

28 Merlin
Mar 9
29 Sandhill Crane

30 Killdeer
Mar 21
31 Greater Yellowlegs

32 Lesser Yellowlegs

33 Solitary Sandpiper

34 Spotted Sandpiper

35 Upland Sandpiper

36 Bonaparte's Gull

37 Ring-billed Gull
Mar 7
38 Herring Gull

39 Iceland Gull

40 Glaucous Gull

41 Great Black-backed Gull

42 Common Tern

43 Black-billed Cuckoo

44 Rock Pigeon
Jan 1
45 Mourning Dove
Jan 1
46 Eastern Screech-owl

47 Great Horned Owl

48 Great Gray Owl

49 Common Nighthawk

50 Whip-poor-will

51 Chimney Swift

52 Ruby-throated Hummingbird

53 Belted Kingfisher

54 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

55 Downy Woodpecker
Jan 1
56 Hairy Woodpecker
Jan 1
57 Northern Flicker

58 Pileated Woodpecker

59 Eastern Wood-Pewee

60 Least Flycatcher

61 Eastern Phoebe

62 Great-creasted Flycatcher

63 Eastern Kingbird

64 Northern Shrike

65 Blue-headed Vireo

66 Warbling Vireo

67 Philadelphia Vireo

68 Red-eyed Vireo

69 Blue jay
Jan 1
70 American Crow
Jan 1
71 Common Raven
Jan 2
72 Horned Lark

73 Purple Martin

74 Tree Swallow

75 Northern Rough-winged Swallow

76 Bank Swallow

77 Cliff Swallow

78 Barn Swallow

79 Black-capped Chickadee
Jan 1
80 Boreal Chickadee

81 Red-breasted Nuthatch

82 White-breasted Nuthatch
Jan 1
83 Brown Creeper

84 Carolina Wren

85 House Wren

86 Winter Wren

87 Golden-crowned Kinglet

88 Ruby-crowned Kinglet

89 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

90 Eastern Bluebird

91 Veery

92 Gray-cheeked Thrush

93 Swainson's Thrush

94 Hermit Thrush

95 Wood Thrush

96 American Robin
Mar 14
97 Gray Catbird

98 Brown Thrasher

99 European Starling
Jan 2
100 American Pipit

101 Bohemian Waxwing

102 Cedar Waxwing

103 Tennessee Warbler

104 Orange-crowned Warbler

105 Nashville Warbler

106 Northern Parula

107 Yellow Warbler

108 Chestnut-sided Warbler

109 Magnolia Warbler

110 Cape May Warbler

111 Black-throated Blue Warbler

112 Yellow-rumped "Myrtle" Warbler

113 Black-throated Green Warbler

114 Blackburnian Warbler

115 Pine Warbler

116 Palm Warbler

117 Bay-brested Warbler

118 Blackpoll Warbler

119 Black & White Warbler

120 American Redstart

121 Ovenbird

122 Northern Waterthrush

123 Mourning Warbler

124 Common Yellowthroat

125 Wilson's Warbler

126 Canada Warbler

127 Scarlet Tanager

128 American Tree Sparrow
Jan 4
129 Chipping Sparrow

130 Field Sparrow

131 Savannah Sparrow

132 Fox Sparrow

133 Song Sparrow
Jan 9
134 Lincoln's Sparrow

135 Swamp Sparrow

136 White-throated Sparrow

137 White-crowned Sparrow

138 Dark-eyed Junco

139 Lapland Longspur

140 Snow Bunting
Jan 8
141 Northern Cardinal
Jan 2
142 Rose-breasted Grosbeak

143 Indigo Bunting

144 Bobolink

145 Red-winged Blackbird
Mar 7
146 Eastern Meadowlark

147 Rusty Blackbird

148 Common Grackle
Mar 7
149 Brown-headed Cowbird
Mar 20
150 Baltimore Oriole

151 Pine Grosbeak
Jan 18
152 Purple Finch

153 House Finch
Jan 14
154 White-winged Crossbill
Jan 17
155 Common Redpoll
Jan 2
156 Hoary Redpoll
Mar 20
157 Pine Siskin
Jan 2
158 American Goldfinch
Jan 1
159 Evening Grosbeak

160 House Sparrow
Jan 14
161 Peregrine Falcon December 6, 2008 Hunting Rock Pigeons across the road a the Feed Mill.