Want to get more enjoyment from appreciating the birds that visit your backyard? Here are some tried-and-true tips that will get you attuned to the joys of backyard birdwatching.

Download a bird app

One of the best ways to appreciate birds is by gaining the ability to identify as many as you can. Many birding apps have great tools to help you get a solid ID on new visitors. Some even use image recognition to help you narrow your selection to the most likely choices.

Learn their sounds

Birders often spend just as much time getting to know the sounds birds make as they do getting a visual ID on their feathered friends. Because birds can be hidden in treetops, learning their songs and calls is an expedient way to identify what’s in your backyard.

Go beyond the feeder

If you don’t already have one, add a birdbath. This is a great way to attract species with insect-focused diets that don’t visit feeders. They’ll definitely come in for a bit of refreshment. You’ll be treated to an up-close look at new species!

Keep an eye on the trees

Did you know that several species of woodpeckers, along with nuthatches and creepers, can be discovered just by quietly observing the activity in the trees right in your yard? For these insect-eaters, this is a great location to pull tasty morsels of food.

Be aware of nests and nesting behaviors

Birds build nests in places you’d least expect! In addition to trees and bushes, they may also select horizontal surfaces around your home exterior, such as utility boxes and ledges. If they’re nesting in a hidden spot, such as a shrub or evergreen, being aware and observant of bird movements can reveal their nesting sites. For example, you may notice that as you pass the same evergreen bush on your way to the shed, you always seem to flush out an irate robin. That’s a sure sign that you’ve disturbed a nesting bird. From a safe distance, you can enjoy the delightful springtime scenes of parents caring for their young.


Bird Nest | Wachira Wacharapathom / iStock / via Getty Images

Practice mindfulness

When you’re enjoying some hard-earned “me time” on the deck or in the backyard, ditch the earbuds. Focus your awareness on the sounds. What bird activity do you hear in your little part of the world? Open your ears and other senses to the activity that’s unfolding around you. As a bonus, if you are still and silent, you'll eventually notice bolder species, such as chickadees, Blue Jays, and Downy Woodpeckers, coming in for a closer look at you.

Understand their seasonal behaviors

In the spring, birds are pairing off with mates and building nests. That means this is a good time of year to notice their defensive tactics.

  • Higher frequency of songs and calls
  • Chasing off rivals
  • Wooing prospective mates
  • Attacking their own reflections in car mirrors and windows

In the fall and winter, however, when the last fledglings are grown and fully independent, birds reset their social priorities. The scolding and chasing come to an end. They’re more likely to gather in flocks and look for food.

Add a feeder just for small birds

Add a feeder that’s specially designed for smaller birds. This will encourage colorful finches to venture in for a snack, and you’ll enjoy a wider variety of visitors. Lyric Finch Small Songbird Mix has all their faves, such as canola seed, nyjer seed, and sunflower kernels. Pick up a bag today!