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The Ultimate List of Birds Homeschool Nature Study Resources Using the Outdoor Hour Challenge

You can enjoy a simple birds homeschool nature study with these resources we have gathered for you to use in your own backyard. It is such a delight to study and learn about these beautiful creatures!

Birds Homeschool Nature Study

This is not required, but it is always good to have some birds homeschool nature study references on hand for your part of the world. Here are some bird resources I have shared about:

Review of Peterson Field Guides for Young Naturalists

Peterson Field Guides for Young Naturalists – What would the world be without birds? Birds are a favorite subject for young children as they spy birds in their yards and at near-by parks. Nurturing a love of birds is easy when you have one or two of Peterson Field Guides for Young Naturalists on hand. These compact field guides are beautifully illustrated and feature many of the birds you can find right outside your own window. They are enjoyable to page through and you will find yourself sharing these books over and over with your family.

It is such a delight to study and learn about these beautiful creatures! You can enjoy a simple birds homeschool nature study with these resources.

Favorite Bird Field Guides and Resources by Tricia – everything from each child choosing a favorite bird to study to bird field guides with bird songs, a window observation feeder and a suet recipe.

John James Audubon quote and bird chalk pastel art lessons.

A Homeschool Bird Study with Chalk Pastels by Erin – A chalk pastels bird study with Nana is a wonderful way to introduce bird art lessons in your homeschool. Chalk pastels are perfect for preschoolers to adults. They are super easy to use with no long art supply list needed. You’ll love adding these vibrant birds to your next homeschool nature study or in preparation for the Great Backyard Bird Count!

The Great Backyard Bird Count Homeschool by Heather – It’s that time of the year when citizen scientists everywhere are gearing up for the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC). It’s easy to participate and the bird count is a great way to contribute to actual data being used by ornithologists. You can have a Great Backyard Bird Count Homeschool!

Bird Study Outdoor Hour Challenges in Homeschool Nature Study Membership

All of the birds homeschool nature study resources listed are available as an Outdoor Hour Challenge in our Homeschool Nature Study membership. If you have a membership, you will be able to pull up the Outdoor Hour Challenge curriculum and print any notebook pages, coloring pages, or other printables for your birds nature study.

Birds course Handbook of Nature Study Outdoor Hour Homeschool Curriculum
  • Autumn Bird
  • Winter Bird and Migration – Winter Outdoor Hour curriculum
  • Winter Birds – Winter Wednesday Outdoor Hour curriculum
  • Spring Bird Bird Song –  Spring Outdoor Hour curriculum
  • American Dipper – Bird Set #1 Outdoor Hour curriculum
  • Baltimore Oriole – Summer Nature Study Continues
  • Belted Kingfisher – Autumn Nature Study Continues
  • Catbird – Autumn Outdoor Hour curriculum
  • Chickadee – More Nature Study Winter Outdoor Hour curriculum
  • Chicken – Autumn Outdoor Hour curriculum
  • Clark’s Nutcracker – Bird Set #1
  • Common Raven – Forest Fun Outdoor Hour curriculum
  • Crane- Bird Set #1
  • Egret – Bird Set #1
  • Flicker –Winter Nature Study Continues
  • Goose – Autumn Outdoor Hour curriculum
  • Hawks – Autumn Nature Study Continues Outdoor Hour curriculum
  • Horned Lark – Bird Set #1
  • House Sparrow – More Nature Study Autumn
It is such a delight to study and learn about these beautiful creatures! You can enjoy a simple birds homeschool nature study with these resources.
  • Hummingbirds and Nests – More Nature Study Summer
  • Magpie – Bird Set #1
  • Owl and Owl Pellets – Summer Outdoor Hour curriculum
  • Owl Study and Printable Notebook Page
  • Pelican – Bird Set #1
  • Quail – Forest Fun
  • Robin – More Nature Study Spring
  • Sandhill Crane – Bird Set #1
  • Sapsucker – Autumn
  • Snipe – Bird Set #1
  • Starlings
  • Swallows – Autumn
  • Swan – Bird Set #1
  • Turkey – Autumn
  • Western Tanager – Forest Fun
  • Woodpeckers

This collection of Outdoor Hour Challenges features an incredibly interesting group of birds: pelican, sandhill crane, Clark’s nutcracker, egret, American dipper, horned lark, magpie, swan, and snipe.

Learning all about birds Handbook of Nature Study Outdoor Hour Homeschool Curriculum

This Homeschool Nature Study Course is a collection of the Birds By Color series with custom notebooking pages, clear images, and lots of links and resources for you to use in your bird nature study. You can access this book by purchasing an Ultimate or Journey level membership here on the Handbook of Nature Study website.

 Studying Birds By Color

  • Red Birds – Robins, Cardinals, House Finches
  • Blue Birds – Jays and Bluebirds
  • Yellow Birds – Goldfinches and Meadowlarks
  • Hummingbirds – Flight
  • Brown Birds – House Sparrows, House Wrens, and mourning Doves
  • Black Birds – Crow, Red-Winged Blackbird, Starling, and Cowbird
  • Black and White Birds – Woodpecker, Chickadee, Nuthatch, Towhee
  • Gray Birds – Pigeon and Mockingbird
It is such a delight to study and learn about these beautiful creatures! You can enjoy a simple birds homeschool nature study with these resources.

Follow our Bird Nature Study Pinterest Board!

Even More Misc. Bird Study Ideas

We encourage you to take a closer look at these bird study ideas:

  • Feet
  • Flight
  • Eyes and Ears
  • Beaks
  • Feathers
  • Wing and Tail Shape
  • Starting a Bird Life List
  • 10 Ideas for Keeping a Bird Life List
  • Birding By Ear
  • Bird Study and Nature Table Printable
  • Bird Field Guide Cards Printable

Additional Homeschool Nature Study You May Find Helpful

Join the Homeschool Nature Study Membership for Year Round Support!

Join The Homeschool Nature Study Membership for Year Round Support

Can you believe all of these bird resources you will find in membership? You will also find a continuing series on bird nature study, bird watching and attracting birds plus all the Outdoor Hour Challenges for nature study in our Homeschool Nature Study membership. There are 25+ continuing courses with matching Outdoor Hour curriculum that will bring the Handbook of Nature Study to life in your homeschool! In addition, there is an interactive monthly calendar with daily nature study prompt – all at your fingertips!

-First published by Barb January 2011 and updated by Tricia January 2022

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Outdoor Hour Challenge – Robin, Cardinal, and House Finch

Red+Birds+@HBNatureStudy.jpg

Outdoor Hour Challenge

Red Birds – Robin, Cardinal, House Finch

From the Archives and from the Learning About Birds ebook

 

Here we go with a new series of nature study topics from the Learning About Birds ebook! I’m super excited about focusing on birds during our outdoor time as the spring weather draws us outdoors. I’m looking forward to seeing the spring migrant birds, observing an increase in bird activity in the neighborhood, and hearing the sweet spring sounds of birds when we wake up each morning.

Are you looking forward to learning more about your neighborhood birds?

The way this set of Learning About Birds challenges is organized gives you several birds to look for each week, grouping the birds by color. Organizing the birds this way offers a variety of birds to read about with your children so there should be something of interest for everyone! I highly recommend reading the pages in the Handbook of Nature Study before your outdoor time as a way to inspire more interest. Plus, have on hand a bird field guide for your family to use if you spot a different bird. Point out to your children that most field guides have birds grouped by color, making it easier to find a bird you spot during your outdoor time.

Use the All About Birds website to look up more information about any birds you study this week: All About Birds. Just type the bird name into the search box for loads of interesting facts and information for your research. I always love to click on the “sound” tab to hear each bird’s particular song.

Use the archive link at the top of this entry to get started with a study of a few red birds.

Learning About Birds 3D cover

This red bird challenge is from the Learning About Birds ebook here on the Handbook of Nature Study. It is found in the Ultimate and Journey level memberships for you to download and use with your family. If you would like to gain access to this ebook, you can purchase a membership now and have instant access.

Ultimate Naturalist Library September 2017 @handbookofnaturestudy

Use the discount code BIRDLOVER5 for $5 off an Ultimate Naturalist Membership.

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December Extraordinary Things

We had a snowstorm that brought inches of glorious sparkling snow! I used the opportunity to see the extraordinary in the ordinary as part of last week’s Outdoor Hour Challenge.

Extraordinary Observations

I love the silence that comes from the snow. I was up several times in the night to watch the snow fall…there is something about the first snow of the year that makes it magical. This was the first time in a very long time that I didn’t have boys at home to go out early to enjoy the fresh snow. Times have changed.

The birds flock to our feeders just after a snowfall. They shelter in the shrubs and in the tree branches just beyond the feeders. They seem to come alive with the snow and every feeder is busy all day long. Finches, sparrows, juncos, jays, and even the hummingbirds come in numbers that I don’t see at other times.

I put out extra seed this morning and they still ate most of it up. I had to refill the hummingbird feeder the next morning…it had frozen overnight.


Cold air is invigorating. It is a smack in the face at first but then it stimulates many senses..the numbness of the nose and hands or the stinging tears that come from freezing air. The trees hold the snow until later in the afternoon and then as it melts it makes avalanches of snow underneath. One time I was bombed with snow on the head and it was cold!


The snow crunches and gives way under my boots as I tour the yard with the Kona dog and my camera. Kona thinks snow is fun and spends time chasing snowballs, eating snow, and generally racing around the yard in circles.


Colors are more vibrant and pop out from the white background. Reds, yellows, oranges, greens…all seem more brilliant in a snowy landscape. We gathered a few colorful items for a project that I will share later in the week…look for it.

December shared its snowy extraordinary side this week…just in time to share for this challenge. I look forward to hearing about your extraordinary in the ordinary observations. So much to be thankful for.

Nature Study Bundle Button

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Spring Birds and Blue Skies

We had a flock of Cedar Waxwings come through yesterday and I was able to capture some pretty images of them up in the trees. They don’t ever stay long but I love to watch them…..we usually hear them before we spy them up in the trees. They have such a distinct sound.

So enjoy a couple of images of my friends the Cedar Waxwings.

They came on a Project Feederwatch day when I was observing the feeders. We have had fewer birds but more of a variety now that the season is changing. I say bring on the springtime weather!

The trees all continue to pop out with colors and this finch was spotted up in the tree just singing away.

What a great time of year to observe some birds and record the experiences in your nature journal.

So what birds have you seen in your yard this week?

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Project Feederwatch Continues – More December Birds

I had in mind a totally different post for you this week but our internet has been down for over a week so working online has been limited. Instead, I have a collection of recent bird photos that show some of our feeder birds that we enjoy everyday. As the leaves fall from the trees, observing birds becomes much easier. We also have more of a variety to enjoy this time of year and keeping track of them for Project Feederwatch becomes our normal routine at least two days a week.


The Outdoor Hour Challenges this month focuses on the weather and we have been noting how the weather affects the birds in our yard. We have had ice on the birdbaths quite a few mornings this week and if I don’t go out and break it up, the birds skid around on it which makes me laugh.

House finches can seem common at the feeders…oh, just another finch. But, when you see these colored birds through the eye of a camera, you realize they are not just another bird. They come in varying shades of pink, orange, red, and purple…they come day after day and provide a happy bird song (listen on All About Birds to hear the sweet sounds of a finch).

Our backyard Anna’s hummingbirds are still at the feeders every day. They have a particular tree they sit in and most days it is on the same little branch that hangs over one end of our deck. I can hear them making their little chattering noises whenever I am outside. In this image the feathers look black but it is just the way the light is hitting him. If he tilts his head in just the right way or the sun hits him just right, his chin and throat are the most brilliant pink and his body is a dazzling green. I always thought that hummingbirds were delicate creatures but I have seen them at my feeder in the pouring rain and when we have snow. All About Birds says that they weigh the same as a nickel….imagine that!


The return of the Dark eyed junco is complete for the season. We started having one or two a day under the feeders but now I am counting 12-20 every day. They mostly poke around under the seed feeders to glean some food but I have noticed that they are hanging out at the suet feeder as well. They do give the woodpeckers first chance at the suet but as soon as the woodpecker flies away, they hop on and have a meal.

Our Northern Mockingbirds make daily appearances at the berry vines in our front yard. I read on All About Birds that they switch to an almost all berry diet in the fall and winter. The other fact I learned about the mockingbird is that they don’t sing at this time of the year. The website says that they sing from February to August and then from September to early November. Isn’t that interesting? I am going to record the dates I hear them sing in my neighborhood…a little extra project for me.

The Nuttall’s woodpecker is a frequent diner at the suet feeder. We seem to have a female that is rather shy but I have observed her quite a bit as she hops up and down the trees near the feeder. She shares the feeder many times with the little White-breasted nuthatches.

The excitement this season is that we appear to have a wintering Red-breasted nuthatch who comes daily to the trees outside my window. At first I thought he was my usual White-breasted nuthatch but I read online that the Red-breasted has an eye stripe….sure enough, our nuthatch had an eyestripe. He is super quick and I have yet to capture a clear image but you can see in this one that he definitely has an eyestripe! Hopefully I will get a good image of him for my  nature journal sometime this winter.

Project Feederwatch has helped bring my bird observation skills to the next level. In just a few minutes a day, I have learned so much more about the bird life right outside my window. What a gift this activity gives…hopefully you enjoy seeing my bird friends and are inspired to start learning about your own backyard birds.

Take it one bird at a time and enjoy!

Bird Sleuth button
There is a wealth of birding information on the internet but I have not found a more homeschool-friendly site than the ones sponsored by Cornell University. I would love to encourage you all to subscribe to their homeschool blog (click the logo to pop over there now).

You can also follow them on Facebook .
You can download their FREE Homeschool Guide to Project Feederwatch.
Of course, my favorite resource is their AllAboutBirds website which is a great tool for identifying and learning more about birds in your own neighborhood.

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Early Spring Flowers – Nature Study and Art Project

Finch on the Feeder Spring


Our Pansy Study and Early Spring Flowers Challenge

What a splendid time to be out in the garden! Our neighborhood is coming alive with spring blossoms and the birds are flocking to our feeders in record numbers. We have an abundance of house finches this year and they vary in color from light pink to purple to almost orange. Amazing display of creation!

Daffodils and Lavender 2

The early spring bulbs are all up and many are blooming. The daffodils and the grape hyacinth are blazing with color. The forsythia is starting to blossom and the lavender has new flowers for our bees to buzz in. The tulips and iris are all up but just showing lots of green leaves so far.

Daffodils in Vases

We arranged dozens of flowers in the house and our kitchen table is so cheerful and happy. I got out all my vases and dusted them off for the season. I seem to collect pretty vases and I love it even more when they don’t match exactly. Even my hubby had a smile on his face when he spied the colorful flowers on the table.

Pansy Study Collage

So our pansy study consisted mostly of admiring them and recreating them in artwork since we have studied them closely in the past. Mr. B and I had pansy art time on a rainy afternoon. There really is no better way to make yourself examine a subject better than to apply your attention to an art project. Slowing down to discover the shapes, form, and patterns makes a big impression.

Pansy Art - Markers

Mr. B always chooses to work with markers if given the choice but I am still working on feeling comfortable with acrylics. I think these pansy creations are going to be framed and hung in my bathroom vanity area. I have a small collection of floral artwork done by children there already so it will be a perfect fit.

Pansy Art - Acrylics
I played around with the acrylics and a small canvas panel I had from Michaels. I tried not to take myself too seriously and just have fun. Art therapy….even for moms.

So now we are officially finished with the More Nature Study Book 2 – Winter 2012 challenges and we will be going over a few of the suggested Charlotte Mason Exam Questions that are included in the ebook. The thing about Charlotte Mason style questions is that they ask the child to tell back in some way what they know about a topic and never to find out what they don’t know. I do not grade these assignments and look at them as a way for Mr. B to review what we learned and enjoy a little more time together discussing things that are fresh in our minds. I recommend you give it a try if you have the More Nature Study ebook and see how it goes.
More Nature Study Book 3 Cover image
Don’t forget to send me your Outdoor Hour Challenge Blog Carnival entries directly since the carnival website is not working.
harmonyfinearts@yahoo.com

As a reminder, we will be starting the new More Nature Study Book 3 – Spring Splendor series on March 23, 2012. Just in time for the first days of spring! I look forward to another season of nature study with all of you.

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Handbook of Nature Study – December Bird List with Two New Birds!

December Bird List – 
Our Family’s On-Going Record of Our Bird Sighting 
A Life Project

We have had a busy and full month watching birds in our yard and as part of our December travels. Project Feederwatch has become a natural part of our weekly routine and helps us take a few minutes two days a week to count birds that come to our feeders. First a few interesting photos and then this month’s bird list!

White Breasted Nuthatch 3

First off, our sweet and fabulous White-breasted nuthatch resident…or at least one of the three that entertain us everyday with their acrobatics on our backyard tree trunks. Ups and downs and lots of pecking are observed as we watch out the window. They also have a very distinct bird sound that they make and we are alerted to look up when we are outside and they are present. If you click the link above and click the Pacific song, you will hear what our nuthatch sounds like (there is an Eastern song as well).

White Breasted Nuthatch 2
I had to zoom this one in and crop it to show you this cute little guy and his expression.

California Towhee and House Sparrow in the Feeder

Our beloved California Towhee in the feeder….usually he scratches around under the feeder but today he showed up for pictures. Isn’t he interesting with his pink-orange rump and pink-orange around the eye? There is always a pair in the yard and they don’t ever stray very far from each other. We learned that the colored patch under the tail is called the “crissum”.

California Towhee - Tail View

Here is the other half of the pair….up on the branch, waiting for a turn in the feeder. (Males and females look alike.)

Spotted Towhee with seed

Since we started participating in Project Feederwatch, we have seen three of these Spotted Towhees in the yard. They are strikingly beautiful birds and since they are not year-round residents we try to enjoy them while they are here.

Sparrow
I love the way this bird friend is clinging to the twig and posing. You can see the dried up blackberries on the vine that we left from the summer garden. The birds are seen frequently stopping by for a purple snack.

Western Bluebird
The Western bluebird enjoys a little bath this time in our front yard. I still get excited when he comes to visit. They usually come in a small bunch and then leave all at the same time. Lovely.

Anna's Hummingbird
Here is the very best shot of the Anna’s Hummingbird at our feeder that I could capture to share. The flash accidentally went off but that really shows his beautiful ruby/pink/iridescent color. We have one or two at a time in the feeder these days, usually a male and a female. There might be more than two since the feeder is emptied frequently even at this time of the year.

In Our Yard – mostly at the feeders

  1. Spotted towhee
  2. Dark-eyed junco
  3. House sparrow
  4. White-crowned sparrow
  5. Mourning dove
  6. Western bluebird
  7. Mockingbird
  8. Western scrub jay
  9. American robin
  10. White-breasted nuthatch
  11. California towhee
  12. House finches
  13. Lesser goldfinches
  14. Anna’s hummingbird
  15. Oak titmouse
  16. Ruby-crowned kinglet
  17. Acorn woodpecker

Out and About:

  1. American crow
  2. Northern flicker
  3. California quail
  4. Steller’s jay
  5. Wild turkeys
  6. Brewer’s blackbird
  7. Pigeons
  8. White-tailed kite ***New to our life list
  9. Red-tail hawk
  10. Barn swallow
  11. Bewick’s wren ***New to our life list
  12. Downy woodpecker – hanging on a tall weed (more on that later)

Bird Sleuth button
There is a wealth of birding information on the internet but I have not found a more homeschool-friendly site than the ones sponsored by Cornell University. I would love to encourage you all to subscribe to their homeschool blog (click the logo above to pop over there now).

You can also follow them on Facebook .
You can download their FREE Homeschool Guide to Project Feederwatch.
Of course, my favorite resource is their AllAboutBirds website which is a great tool for identifying and learning more about birds in your own neighborhood.

I would love for other families to join ours in watching your feeder birds. It is super easy and you just need to devote a few minutes a week to getting to know your feeder birds one bird at a time. Email me with any questions you have about the program.

So which bird photo did you like the most? I think I like the California towhee in the feeder the best since it is one that I have been trying to snap for awhile now.

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My Fine Feathered Friends and Those With Bushy Tails

Tweet and See button

It’s been a week for the birds…..

Finch 3
Who are you looking at?
Finch 4
Camera shy…or is this his better side?
Finch 5
Me and My Gal!
Snow Day Goldfinch
Who you callin’ yellow?
Finch 2
Playing Statue.
American Robin in the Tree
Puffed Up With Pride….King of the Tree…Lord of the Flock.
Finch in the Blossoms 1
Snacking on the Pink Stuff.



Now on to the furry friends…

Gray Squirrel in the Tree
Gray squirrel, gray squirrel, swish your bushy tail.
Fox Squirrel on the Road
Late for the fun…snow storm slowed me down…just a little.

“Where have you seen a squirrel? Does the squirrel trot along or leap when running on the ground? Does it run straight ahead or stop at intervals for observations? How does it look? How does it act when looking to see of the coast is clear?” Handbook of Nature Study, page 236.

If you have a squirrel to observe, I highly recommend looking at Lesson 57 in the Handbook of Nature Study. There are quite a number of questions to answer and to record in your nature journal. In this section Anna Botsford Comstock also gives the account of “Furry” their pet squirrel in journal style that you might like to read for fun to your children.

Hope you enjoyed taking a look at my friends.

House Finch ID

Goldfinch ID

As part of Tweet and See, here is our list of February 2011 birds observed for the month:

  1. Mourning dove
  2. Acorn woodpecker
  3. Nuttall’s woodpecker
  4. Northern flicker
  5. Oak titmouse
  6. White-breasted nuthatch
  7. American robin
  8. Cedar waxwing
  9. Spotted towhee
  10. California towhee
  11. White-crowned sparrow
  12. Dark-eyed junco
  13. House finch
  14. House sparrow
  15. Canada goose
  16. Western scrub jay
  17. Anna hummingbird
  18. Lesser goldfinch
  19. Red-shouldered hawk
  20. American crow
  21. Brewer’s blackbird
  22. Turkey vulture
  23. Rock pigeon
  24. California quail

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GBBC and Birdzilla and Our Enthusiasm

Birds flying
Our “squirrel-proof” birdfeeder is very popular with the finches and sparrows.

The excitement for the Great Backyard Bird Count mounted last week all over the blogging world, especially among homeschoolers. I could feel it here at the Handbook of Nature Study as so many families prepared to participate. Birdzilla was the talk of the bird blogs….check it out for your state.

Little bird big seed
Black oil sunflower seeds are the seed of choice at our feeders. You can read some more tips HERE.

Our family has been a long time fan of the GBBC but the enthusiasm I felt became a little contagious as the boys helped me count birds most of Friday afternoon from our windows, watching our feeders and trees. Much to our surprise, the day before it had snowed so Friday was cold and there were patches of snow on the ground. The birds didn’t seem to mind.

Friday’s Count:
American robins – 5
Mourning doves – 2
Acorn woodpeckers – 2 (tapping on the side of our house!)
Nuttall’s woodpecker – 1
Norther flicker – 1 (he has become a regular visitor to our back grass)
Oak titmouse – 1
White-breasted nuthatch – 1
Spotted towhee – 5
California towhee – 2
White-crowned sparrow – 14
Dark-eyed junco – 15
House finch – 5
House sparrow – 5
Cedar waxwing – 57

Cedar Waxwings 2 18 11
Cedar Waxwings

Yes, we saw fifty-seven cedar waxwings and it was the spot of the day. Here is the story. We were about to finish up our counting and I said to one of my boys that I was disappointed that we didn’t see any cedar waxwings. We changed windows for a last look and honestly….a flock flew into the tree in our neighbor’s yard at that very moment. It was amazing. I truly would have been satisfied to have seen the flicker again but the cedar waxwings made the whole thing perfect.

American Robin in the Snow

We woke to snow on the ground again on Saturday and I was up early looking out the windows. The bird spotting of the day was to see the robins sitting in the snow-filled tree outside our window.There were a dozen of them sitting in the frozen morning world, quiet and still.

CA Tohwee on branch
California Towhee

The snow melted quickly and we had another bird filled day. We counted at our feeders again but when we went on our afternoon walk we heard and then spotted a red-tailed hawk flying high over our heads. I felt like he appeared just for us. Thanks Mr. Red-Tail.

Scrub jay in the feeder

The only other bird we added to our list for Saturday was the Western Scrub Jay. He can be a very aggressive bird but isn’t he pretty in the morning sunshine? The Western Scrub Jay’s brilliant color almost makes up for not having any cardinals in our part of the world. Almost. The rest of the numbers were higher for most of our regular visitors on Saturday since the weather was actually quite nice by the afternoon hours.

GBBC buttonIt is not too late to join in the fun and you can spend as little as fifteen minutes looking for birds if that is all you can spare. Read more about the Great Backyard Bird Count and share your list with the Outdoor Hour Challenge too!

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House Finch: A Frequent Flyer Around Our Feeder

Female House Finch or is it a female purple finch?

The House finch is what you would call a “regular” in our yard. You will see one or two just about every day perched at the feeder and enjoying a fine meal.

The Backyard Bird Book said this about House finches, “These lively red and brown birds may become the most frequent visitors to your bird feeder.”

We had some trouble at first determining whether we had a House finch, a Purple finch, or a Cassin’s finch. It took us some time but we finally determined that we had House finches with regularity, Purple finches at certain times of the year, and an occasional Cassin’s finch. (see the link below to view their photos)

I still have trouble and the photos in this entry could be of purple finches. (I know that many of you think I am the expert but I am truly learning right alongside you.)

How do you tell the difference? They are all on the same page of our field guide and the Peterson’s Field Guide to Western Birds shows the field marks to look for on page 343. The males have very distinct coloration differences and once you know what to look for, you can easily distinguish the three birds from each other. This clear indication of the field marks is what I really like about the Peterson Field Guides.

Here is a link to a very clear description and photos to tell the three very similar birds apart:
Tricky Bird IDs-House Finch, Purple Finch, and Cassin’s Finch (Cornell Birds)

Here is another website that has the song of the House finch:
Learning Bird Songs: House Finch

This photo really shows the color of the finches that we have in our feeder. Some day I will get a good photo of one of this beautiful birds.

Another mystery to us was this orange finch.

We discovered that there is a variation in the house finch where sometimes it is orange like this one that comes daily to our feeders.

House Finch coloring varies widely, and research shows that most of the variation is caused by diet. All male House Finches have the same potential for yellow, orange, or red coloration.”
Project Feeder Watch

Other birds we observed this week:

  • 2 gorgeous red-tailed hawks soaring over my dad’s house
  • Canadian geese flying over our house
  • Crows
  • Western scrub-jays who were building their nests and are very vocal right now
  • Titmouse
  • Dark-eyed juncos
  • Wild turkeys-whole flock in the road with one male showing his big, fluffy tail
  • Robins singing in our tree-my middle son said that they woke him up yesterday morning with their very long song
  • Some kind of yellowish brown finch in the bushes alongside our trail
  • Turkey vultures soaring in the afternoon sun
  • Cedar Waxwings-about two dozen in the tree at once
  • Mourning doves-a pair of them my son spotted in the lawn and then under the feeder
  • California towhees

It has been a busy birding week around our place. When we take our afternoon walks now we can hear lots of different birds…it is as if a whole world is awakening around us. I love it.