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Bird Parenting Roles

May and June are months when we celebrate our own Mothers and Fathers, so it got us thinking about the bird “moms” and “dads” of the backyard, and how they allocate their parenting roles. We discovered some interesting facts . . . take a look!

Thrush or Thrasher?

Thrush or Thrasher?

Similar names, different families With their beautiful songs, alliterate names and often remarkable resemblances, it’s easy to confuse thrushes and thrashers. Both are Passerine—perching—songbirds, but their family tree splits into unique branches. Thrushes are part of the Turdidae Family Turdids found in Minnesota include: American Robins, Eastern Bluebirds, Veerys, and Swainson’s, Hermit and Wood Thrushes. All are known for their…

Sharp-shinned Hawk

Winter’s Raptors

During the winter, when the leaves are off the trees, is a great time to spot hawks. With shorter daytime hours, the hawks are especially busy hunting for their next meal. Here are a few hawks you may see in our area over the winter. Rough-legged Hawk These beautiful hawks visit us during the winter from the Arctic. These hawks…

Some birds that stay the winter tend to congregate in larger flocks.

How Birds Adapt to Winter Weather

While we simply get out our heavy coats, hats, gloves and boots for the winter, our backyard birds go through some amazing changes to make it through the cold and snow. Behavioral Changes We can all notice some of the behavioral changes birds make during the winter months. Some birds migrate. The other birds that stay tend to congregate in…

Silhouette of bird walking on roof

Bird Feet

Pause to consider the functions required of various birds’ feet: perching, clinging, walking, swimming, preening, carrying objects, egg rolling, mating displays, and even heat loss regulation.

Bird at different life stages

Birds’ Life Stages Defined

  GLOSSARY OF BIRDS’ LIFE STAGES Throughout our website and newsletters, you'll likely see us refer to birds' life stages by name. We thought it'd be a good idea to give a short review in case any of the terms are unfamiliar. Examples of life stages in a finch, thrush, robin, chickadee and robin HATCHLING. A bird just out of…
Warblers Cover

Minnesota’s Warblers

  Up to 20 different species of warblers pass through the Twin Cities area between mid-April and the end of May, with the bulk passing through between the 5th and 15th of May. If you’d like to catch a sighting or two of these colorful migrants—in your backyard or around town—Minnesota birding expert Bob Janssen has helped us to prepare…
Blue Jay Cover

Male and Female Look-Alikes

  Bird species in which the male and female look the same are called monomorphic. Several of our favorite backyard bird species are monomorphic, such as Black-capped Chickadees, Blue Jays, House Wrens and Mourning Doves. Other monomorphic species in Minnesota include American Crows and Bald Eagles. Here are some clues to help you figure out who’s who of the look-alike…
American Redstart

Orange & Black Minnesota Birds

  Minnesota hosts several birds that sport orange and black coloration. Let's take a closer look! Baltimore Oriole This eye-catching songbird (8-1/2 in / 22 cm) is a summer visitor throughout most of Minnesota, coming to feeding stations to dine on orange slices, grape jelly, nectar and mealworms. The male Baltimore Oriole has a black head and back with orange…
types of nests

Types of Nests

Note: this is the full article by Guest Contributor MELISSA BLOCK. An excerpt is featured in the March/April 2019 edition of our Bird's-Eye View Newsletter NEST DESCRIPTION : Cardinals Northern Cardinal on Nest Males sometimes bring nest material to the female, who does most of the building. She crushes twigs with her beak until they’re pliable, then turns in the nest…