Your window to nature.

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Summer seasonal tips and observations

Your Summer Backyard Checklist

  • Our Feed and Fill service will take care of your birds while you are on vacation. Call our Wayzata store at 952-473-4283 for more details.
  • Bluebirds may nest 2 or 3 times in the same house if you remove the old nest material and debris between nestings.
  • Goldfinches are our latest nesting songbird, nesting in July and fledging young in August. Attract more goldfinches with The Best Nest builder nesting material.
  • Unlike most songbirds, goldfinches feed their young a slurry of seed such as Nyjer. Keep your feeders clean and full to attract them.
  • Because smaller birds and new fledglings fly off when Blue Jays fly in, provide and in-shell peanut feeder to draw the Blue Jays away from the other feeders. Place it in a tree under a hanging squirrel baffle well or on a shepherd’s hook with a baffle well away from other feeders. Blue Jays are beneficial because they alert other birds to the presence of predators such as hawks and cats.
  • Additional birdbaths will help birds beat the heat in your backyard. Moving water attracts more birds and prevents mosquitoes from laying eggs in stagnant water. We recommend the Water Wiggler. The unique agitator action creates continuous ripples in the water.
  • Add Bird Bath Protector to your just cleaned birdbath to provide healthy drinking water. Clean baths with 9 parts water to 1 part bleach, rinse well.
  • Plant additional sunflowers from seed July 1 to provide blooms into the fall. Goldfinches, house finches and chickadees will eat from the seed heads as the plants mature.
  • Help adult birds to feed their young by providing mealworms, suet pellets and suet.
  • Remember—most fledglings do not need human assistance. Adult birds are nearby and will return to feed the young after you leave the area.
  • Mint extract on nectar ports helps to repel bees, wasps and bald faced hornets. Hanging the feeder from an ant trap prevents ants from reaching the nectar.
  • For some birds migration begins in August. Replace your “Window Alert” decals every six month to prevent window strikes.
  • As birds gather in pre-migration flocks, avoid large numbers of grackles and starlings at feeders by filling feeders with golden safflower or white safflower. Use Bye, Bye Starling to provide a sunflower mix but still discourage European Starlings.
  • Hummingbirds are active at nectar feeders and flowers into October with the females and juveniles staying the latest in the fall.
  • Orioles visit backyard feeders through the first week of September for mealworms, nectar, grape jelly, oranges or dark grapes.
Many hummingbirds feed at once from a dish-style feeder
Hummingbirds are active at nectar feeders and flowers into October with the females and juveniles staying the latest in the fall.

Remember—most fledglings do not need human assistance. Adult birds are nearby and will return to feed the young after you leave the area.

Seasonal Observations

  • Meteorological summer starts June 1. Astronomical summer begins June 21. June is the first of a three month stretch that is historically snow free in Minnesota.
  • The first week of June, Cedar Waxwings are building nests, young Red-tailed Hawks are ready to practice flying and the air is filled with bird songs. Especially vocal are Song Sparrows, House Wrens and Common Yellowthroats.
  • By the second week of June, orioles are feeding nestlings and Purple Martin eggs have hatched. Fledgling Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers come to suet feeders with the adults. Eastern Pee Wees are calling. We see our earliest sunrises of the year from June 10-20.
  • Mid June-mid July is the best time to see the 15 species of fireflies in MN. Dragonflies are numerous and are eating many mosquitoes.
  • By the third week of June adult Canada Geese and Trumpeter Swans begin to shed their flight feathers, entering their flightless stage.
  • In late June, many bird are fledging young from the nest including House Wrens, Song Sparrows, Blue Jays, cardinals and orioles.
  • Robins sing bright and clear at about 4:30 am and sing for 40 min after sunset.
  • The fourth week of June the first Monarchs butterflies of the new generation are on the wing. Swamp milkweed begins to bloom.
  • July is our sunniest, warmest month historically. Goldfinches, our latest nesting songbird, nest in July and fledge young in August.
  • Mid-July bird song decreases dramatically as for many species nesting season is completed. Some birds have two or more broods a year such as Eastern Bluebirds, House Wrens, Mourning Doves and Northern Cardinals. Such species continue to sing and call to declare territory.
  • The second generation of Eastern Swallowtail butterflies emerge and Monarchs lay eggs on Common Milkweed.
  • Great Blue Heron juveniles fledge but young Osprey are still in the nest.
  • In the third week of July Canada Geese are flying again now that their molt is over.
  • Bird migration season begins as several shorebird species such as Lesser Yellowlegs and sandpipers begin migrating. Many species of shorebirds nest in the tundra and migrate through Minnesota to places as far south as Argentina.
  • In the last week of July, juvenile Canada Geese begin to fly, testing their new flight feathers and mallards are on the wing again after their molt.
  • The second brood of Barn Swallows hatches and other birds are busy feeding their second broods as well.
  • By the first week of August Mourning Doves are on their third clutch of eggs. They can have five broods a year.
  • In Mid-August the White-lined Sphinx moth, often called the hummingbird moth, feeds during the daytime on petunias and other garden flowers. The second generation of Monarchs is on the wing.
  • Some warblers such as the Nashville Warbler and Yellow Warblers begin migrating.
  • Common Nighthawks migrate through in the afternoons and early evenings eating insects on the wing. They are headed for South America.
  • In the third week of August clusters of Monarchs in the trees signals that migration has begun.
  • Chimney Swifts, Franklins Gulls and various shorebirds are in migration.
  • Great Egrets gather a dozen or two at a time along shorelines.
  • As the second brood of Barn Swallows leave the nest, they join adults perched in long lines on utility wires. This is their “early staging” prior to migration.
  • By the last week of August, migrating Monarchs are flying south one by one- anywhere from ground level to 7,000 feet up. Migrant Monarch butterflies live for up to 11 months. Non-migrants live for 30 days.
  • After their second brood fledges, House Wrens become much less vocal.
  • This is the peak time for fall warbler migration.