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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…

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…
Spring Arrival Dates

Spring Migrant Arrival Dates

  Prepare Your Yard for Spring Migrants To be sure, one of the joys of feeding birds is hosting migratory birds for a brief time each spring as they make their way to summer breeding grounds. With some preparation—and a little luck!—you may be able to entice one ofthese migrants to stay and raise their broods in your own backyard.…

It’s Time Again for Winter-Visiting Finches

Photo by Jim Weisman Welcome Pine Siskins and Common Redpolls This is the time of year when you may begin to see some less-common visitors to your backyard feeding stations. Every few years, we experience an "irruption"—an influx of typically northern-dwelling birds—into our Twin Cities Metro Area and beyond in Minnesota. The irruption is often due to poor crops of…

Winter Water

American Goldfinches on a heated birdbath (Photo by Jim Weisman) Want to attract more birds to your yard this winter? Supply a source of open water! When temperatures drop, birds are in a constant struggle to maintain their body temperatures. A steady source of fats and proteins will help to nourish and fuel birds' metabolic needs and keep them warm.…
American Goldfinch in autumn

Transition Season

REPRINTED FROM OUR BIRD'S-EYE VIEW ARCHIVES: SEPT/OCT 2017 Minnetonka Manager Carol Chenault shares how she readies her backyard for the change in seasons Addressing Nectar Feeders As I bid the Baltimore Orioles farewell the first week of September, the transition to fall backyard bird feeding begins. Taking down the oriole feeders, washing them well with soap and water and disinfecting…
checking nest box

Fall Task: Clean Out Birdhouses

Why it's important to clean birdhouses Cleaning out the birdhouses in your yard is one way to protect your backyard birds from pests and disease while making your birdhouses more attractive for new nesting birds. The fall clean up is very important. Dirty birdhouses can harbor rodents, insects, feather mites and bacteria that can spread disease to nesting birds and…

Turn Your Starling Problem Upside-Down!

As the autumn migration ramps up, you may find that you have increased numbers of European Starlings passing through your backyard. Starlings' greedy and aggressive behaviors can intimidate other feeder birds and drain your food sources. Here's an easy tip for serving suet to your smaller clinging birds while discouraging starlings. Upside-down suet feeders are difficult for starlings to use…