Backyard Birds In Arizona (28 Species with Pictures)

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Arizona is home to a variety of wild birds. In this article we’ll take a look at some of the most recognizable and well-known birds in Arizona, especially those that can be found close to home. Some of these species live in Arizona all year long, others are only migratory, part-time residents. So let’s take a look at 28 backyard birds in Arizona and learn a little about each species.

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After that I’ll show you how to attract them to your yard, give you a crash course in the 10 different types of bird feeders you can use to do so, and even mention a few birdwatching hotspots and birding organizations in Arizona. 

How many different species of wild birds are in Arizona?

It’s difficult to get an exact number on how many bird species are found in North America, the United States, or even in the state of Arizona. Especially in a state like Arizona that shares a border with Mexico, you can get a lot of species that cross the border sometimes but may not take up residence in the U.S. However, according to Wikipedia, there are at least 562 species included on the official state list.

One source claims there are 2,059 species in North America, another older source says there are just 914. So I’m not sure how much I trust these numbers, but they do give us a rough idea of the number of species.

For the purposes of this article we are just going to look at some of our favorite backyard species found in Arizona. 

28 backyard birds in Arizona

Below we’ll look at 28 species of backyard birds in Arizona, some are year-round residents and some aren’t. These obviously aren’t all the species in the state, or even close to it, but they are some of the more notable and recognizable Arizona backyard birds, many of which you can see at your bird feeders. Let’s get to it!

1. House Finch

Male and Female House Finch

Scientific name: Haemorhous mexicanus
Length: 5.1-5.5 in
Weight: 0.6-0.9 oz
Wingspan: 7.9-9.8 in

The House Finch is a common backyard bird across both the eastern and western parts of the country. If you attract them, which is fairly easy to do, they usually show up in groups at your feeders. Males are mostly streaked brown in color with some red on the head and chest, females are all brown.

House Finches are year round residents throughout Arizona.

Like other finches, house finches often visit thistle feeders. They are seen at seed feeders more than Goldfinches, so try some black sunflower seeds to attract them as well. 


2. Mourning Dove

Scientific name: Zenaida macroura
Length: 9.1-13.4 in
Weight: 3.0-6.0 oz
Wingspan: 17.7 in

It's never too late to start feeding hummingbirds. Here's a quick list of things you'll need to get you started!

  1. Hummingbird feeder poles
  2. 12oz hummingbird feeders
  3. Ant moats (optional)
  4. Make your hummingbird nectar at home
Fill your feeders with the nectar, and put them out! Hummingbirds can start showing up anywhere between late February and early May, depending on where you live.

About the size of a pigeon, doves are very common in backyards and will often sit perched on telephone wires or in groups in trees. I sometimes see them on my tray feeder, but more often than not they are seen walking around on the ground. Mourning doves are mostly gray with black spots on top, a pale peachy color below, and pink legs.

Mourning doves are found all year throughout the whole state of Arizona.

Doves will often visit seed feeders, but prefer scouring the ground for seeds that have fallen. Try a ground feeder with a mixed seed blend, or simply scatter some seeds on the ground.


3. European Starling

Image: pixabay.com

Scientific name: Sturnus vulgaris
Length: 7.9-9.1 in
Weight: 2.1-3.4 oz
Wingspan: 12.2-15.8 in

100 starlings were set loose in New York in the 1890s and they have since taken over the country. They destroy other birds’ nests, kill their young, and will overtake feeders not allowing other birds to get any of the food that you put out. They are mostly all dark with white specks on their backs and wings, and have yellow beaks and feet. Starlings can also be a purple and green iridescent color and in the right light can actually be quite pretty.

Unfortunately this invasive species is found in every one of the lower 48 states year-round, Arizona included. 

European Starlings will eat almost anything. They are an invasive species so we suggest you do not attempt to attract them, they’ll show up anyway.


4. Verdin

Verdin | Image by Alan Schmierer via Flickr

Scientific name: Auriparus flaviceps
Length: 3.5-4.3 in
Weight: 0.2-0.3 oz

Verdins have a color pattern that is easy to identify. These small birds have a light gray body, yellow head, and reddish-brown patch at the top of their wing. In order to cope with living in hot, dry places, they are often more active in the morning and become quiet in the heat of midday. They are agile when hunting for their main meal of insects and spiders. They also drink nectar from flowers by either sticking their head into the flower or piercing the base of the flower. 

Verdins are year-round residents in the southern and western parts of Arizona, but are rare or absent in the north and east.

While Verdins won’t eat seed, they will sometimes visit nectar feeders put out for hummingbirds. You can also attract them with flowering shrubs. 


5. White-breasted Nuthatch

Scientific name: Sitta carolinensis
Length: 5.1-5.5 in
Weight: 0.6-1.1 oz
Wingspan: 7.9-10.6 in

White-breasted nuthatches are very common feeder birds found in most backyards within their range. Nuthatches get their name from the fact that they stuff nuts and seeds under tree bark, then use their sharp beaks to hatch the seed from the shell. These birds also have the ability to walk vertically on trees better than many other types of birds. White-breasted nuthatches have a thick black stripe on top of their heads, with white on either side and on their bellies. Their wings are mostly gray and black.  

White-breasted nuthatches are found year-round throughout most of Arizona, but may be rare or absent along the western and southern borders.

Nuthatches will visit most seed feeders, offer them mixed seed blends, black sunflower seeds, peanuts, or suet. They usually like to grab and run, taking a seed and immediately flying off to eat it or cache it in a nearby tree.


6. Gila Woodpecker

Gila Woodpecker | image by Mike’s Birds via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific name: Melanerpes uropygialis
Length: 8.7-9.4 in
Weight: 1.8-2.8 oz
Wingspan: 15.8-16.5 in

The gila woodpecker is an expert of living in treeless deserts, as long as there are Saguaro cactus that is. The gila digs out its nest at the top of the cactus, then waits for the pulp to dry out before moving in.  Gilas have a tan head and belly with bold black and white barring along the wings and tail. Males have a red patch on their forehead while females do not. 

Gila woodpeckers live year-round in deserts in the southern half of Arizona.

If you live near their habitat, they may visit backyard feeders, especially if you offer corn, suet and nuts. 


7. House Sparrow

Scientific name: Passer domesticus
Length: 5.9-6.7 in
Weight: 0.9-1.1 oz
Wingspan: 7.5-9.8 in

Generally look at as pests, houses sparrows are the only other species of wild birds in the U.S. besides starlings that you can legally trap and humanely kill. Like starlings, they were introduced in New York in the 1800s and have since spread across our country like wildfire. They are mostly brown in color, with some black and brown streaking on their wings and buffy chest. They are overall aggressive towards other birds, especially around nests. 

House Sparrows are found throughout Arizona all year.

Like the European starling, house sparrows are invasive and pose a threat to native species. They will eat almost anything.


8. Lesser Goldfinch

Image: Alan Schmierer

Scientific name: Spinus psaltria
Length: 3.5-4.3 in
Weight: 0.3-0.4 oz
Wingspan: 5.9-7.9 in

The male Lesser Goldfinch has a black cap, yellow underbody, and white patches on its dark wings, as pictured above. There is also another plumage variation that may be present in Arizona where they can appear a dark glossy black all along their entire head and back. Females are yellow below with a more olive colored head and back.  You’ll often see these finches in a mixed flock with other goldfinches, house finches and sparrows. 

The Lesser Goldfinch can be found year round throughout most of Arizona. In the northeastern corner, they may only be present during the spring and summer.

Lesser Goldfinches will readily visit bird feeders and eat sunflower seeds and nyjer (thistle) seed.


9. Curve-billed Thrasher

Curved-billed Thrasher | image by Alan Schmierer via Flickr

Scientific name: Toxostoma curvirostre
Length: 10.6-11.0 in
Weight: 2.1-3.3oz
Wingspan: 13.4-13.6 in

The curve-billed thrasher is a dull gray-brown with a pale throat and spotted belly. They have a sturdy black beak that curves downward and a yellow-orange eye. I assume they are called thrashers because of the way they sweep their beak back and forth through leaf litter looking for bugs. They also eat fruit, seeds and even flowers. Their call is described as being similar to the whistling sound someone makes when hailing a taxi. 

Curve-billed thrashers can be found in the southern part of Arizona all year.

Curve-billed thrashers don’t usually visit bird feeders but may pick up seeds on the ground or from large platform feeders. Offer cracked corn, sunflower and millet. You can also attract them by providing water.


10. Common Raven

Image: Neal Herbert

Scientific name: Corvus corax
Length: 22.1-27.2 in
Weight: 24.3-57.3 oz
Wingspan: 45.7-46.5 in

Common Ravens are solid black in color, and quite large in size. They are also know for being highly intelligent problem solvers, like their cousin the crow. They seem equally at ease living alongside human activity as out in very remote wilderness. Ravens can make a large number of different vocalizations, the most common sound like a series of croaks.

Ravens are found year round throughout Arizona.

Common Ravens are omnivorous and generally do not visit bird feeders, they are much too large. But keep an eye on your trash or outdoor pet food.


11. Red-winged Blackbird

Scientific name: Agelaius phoeniceus
Length: 6.7-9.1 in
Weight: 1.1-2.7 oz
Wingspan: 12.2-15.8 in

Among the most abundant birds in all of North America, male red-winged blackbirds are unmistakable because of their red and yellow “shoulders” that stand out amongst their black bodies. The females of this species however, look quite different and are mostly brown with light streaks. They are known as a polygynous species, meaning males will have up to 15 different females that they are mating with. Unfortunately they sometimes show up at feeders in flocks and gobble up seed quickly.  

Red-winged blackbirds can be found throughout Arizona all year. 

Red-winged blackbirds visit most types of feeders and will eat seed as well as suet. 

 


12. White-winged Dove

Scientific name: Zenaida asiatica
Weight: 4.4-6.6 oz
Wingspan: 18.9-22.8 in

Like their cousins the mourning doves, white-winged doves are commonly seen pecking around on the ground for food rather than at bird feeders. These doves are mostly pale-brown all over but have white-tipped tails and white inner wings, with black outer wings. They also have a prominent blue ring around their eyes. Though white-winged doves do visit backyards, they are often found in the Sonoran Desert where they feed on saguaro cactus fruits. 

White-winged Doves can be found throughout southern Arizona, and are usually present all along the western border of the state during the spring and summer breeding season.

White-winged doves do not often visit seed feeders, but they’ll pick up scraps on the ground around them.


13. White-crowned Sparrow

Image: _Veit_ / flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

Scientific name: Zonotrichia leucophrys
Length: 5.9-6.3 in
Weight: 0.9-1.0 oz
Wingspan: 8.3-9.4 in

White-crowned sparrows spend the summer far north in Canada and Alaska, then migrate back down across the United States during the winter. One of the easier sparrows to identify, white-crowned sparrows have a bold black and white striped head while the rest of their face, chest and belly remain a plain buffy brown-gray. They like to forage in fields, and along the edges of roads and trails. These sparrows will come to bird feeders, but are most likely to stay on the ground and pick up spilt seed. 

These sparrows can be found throughout Arizona, but only during the fall and winter.

White-crowned sparrows readily visit feeders and like to pick up fallen seed below feeders. Offer sunflower, millet and mixed seed blends.


14. Northern Mockingbird

Scientific name: Mimus polyglottos
Length: 8.3-10.2 in
Weight: 1.6-2.0 oz
Wingspan: 12.2-13.8 in

Mockingbirds get their name from their ability to mimic the songs of other species of birds. It’s estimated that a male mockingbird can learn up to 200 different songs in its lifetime. These medium sized backyard birds are mostly gray and white in color and can also be recognized by their rather long tail feathers. They are often seen living in tall bushes and can often be quite aggressive of intruding birds. 

Northern Mockingbirds are found in western and southern parts of Arizona all year, but tend to only be present during the spring and summer breeding season in northern and eastern parts of the state. 

Northern Mockingbirds are very common in backyards, but don’t really visit bird feeders. Entice them to your yard with some of the other tips below such as fruit bearing bushes or a bird bath.


15. Yellow-rumped Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler (Audubon’s) | Image by Jacob W. Frank via Yellowstone National Park’s Flickr

Scientific name: Setophaga coronata
Length: 4.7-5.5 in
Weight: 0.4-0.5 oz
Wingspan: 7.5-9.1 in

The color pattern on the Yellow-rumped warbler can vary depending on it’s location. In Arizona, you are most likely to see the “Audubon’s” variety, which has bright yellow on the throat, rump, and sides. You may even see a dash of yellow on top of their head. Females share the same color pattern, but the colors may appear duller overall and markings less distinct than males. Like most warblers, their colors will be the most crisp and bright in the spring, and fade considerably during the winter. 

Yellow-rumped warblers are often found in Arizona during the winter, however there are pockets in the central and southwestern parts of the state where they can be found during the spring and summer breeding season. 

Yellow-rumped Warblers will occasionally visit bird feeders. Try attracting them with sunflower seeds, suet and raisins.


16. Black Phoebe

Black Phoebe |USFWS Pacific SW Flickr

Scientific name: Sayornis nigricans
Length: 6.3 in
Weight: 0.5-0.8 oz

Black phoebe’s are sooty and dark all over except for their white belly. They have a thin black beak, and the top of their head often appears to be peaked. Black phoebe’s are a member of the flycatcher family, and as the name suggests their diet is almost exclusively insects such as flies, beetles, spiders, bees and grasshoppers. You can often see them perching low to the ground, and pumping their tail up and down. 

Black phoebes are mainly found in the southern half of Arizona, some stay year-round while others migrate out during the winter. 

Since they are insect eaters, Black phoebes won’t visit a birdseed feeder. You may be able to attract them by offering mealworms, or having native plants that support insects.


17. Gamble’s Quail

Gamble’s Quail | image by Jean via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Callipepla gambelii
Length: 9.8 in
Weight: 5.6-7.0 oz
Wingspan: 13.4-14.2 in

Look for the Gambel’s quail in morning or late afternoon in shrubby or thorny areas where they like to forage in large groups. They are capable of flying, but prefer to run along the ground. Both sexes have a gray body with chestnut-brown wings striped with white, tan on their belly and a black comma-shaped crest that falls forward off their head. Males also sport a brown cap, black face and black bellly patch. In Arizona, you’ll find them almost everywhere you can find western honey mesquite.  

Gambel’s stick around in Arizona all year within their preferred habitat, which is mainly found in the western and souther portions of the state. 

Gambel’s quails will visit yards if you have scattered seed on the ground such as corn, millet, milo and sunflower.


18. Great-tailed Grackle

Great-tailed Grackle | image by Alan Schmierer via Flickr

Scientific name: Quiscalus mexicanus
Length: 15.0-18.1 in
Weight: 3.7-6.7 oz
Wingspan: 18.9-22.8 in

Great-tailed grackles often appear black in color, but in the right light you can see hues of blue, green, and purple. They sometimes will roost with other types of blackbirds, and appear in massive flocks numbering in the millions of birds. Males are easy to identify by their solid coloring, long narrow body with extra long tail, and yellow ringed eye. Females are about half the size of the males, and while they share the yellow eye they are a dark brown above and paler brown below. 

These grackles are found throughout the state of Arizona all year. 

Great-tailed grackles are foragers and will eat just about anything, they are often thought of as pests because they chase away smaller birds. They are often too large for traditional bird feeders but will eat what falls to the ground and use platform feeders.


19. Eurasian Collard-Dove 

Scientific name: Streptopelia decaocto
Length: 11.4-11.8 in
Weight: 4.9-6.3 oz
Wingspan: 13.8 in

As you might suspect from its name, the Eurasian collared dove is native to parts of Europe and Asia. During the 1970’s, some of them escaped from a pet shop in the Bahamas and flew to Florida. It is thought that these escaped birds, and some set loose in the south Caribbean on Guadeloupe, began the colonization of the U.S. Today they can be found across much of the U.S. and Mexico. They are similar to a mourning dove, but with a chunkier body and longer tail. They lack the black spots on their back that a mourning dove has, and instead have a plain back with a black stripe across the back of their neck. 

The Eurasian collared dove can be found in Arizona year round. 

Eurasian collared doves will come to backyards to eat seeds and grain, usually from platform feeders or scattered on the ground. They especially enjoy millet.


20. Northern Cardinal

Scientific name: Cardinalis cardinalis
Length: 8.3-9.1 in
Weight: 1.5-1.7 oz
Wingspan: 9.8-12.2 in

Northern Cardinals are among the most recognizable and common backyard birds in North America. Males have bright red feathers and a black mask, females have duller colors and are more pale brown with some reddish coloring. Both males and females are easily recognized by their “mohawks” and reddish orange beaks

Northern Cardinals stick around in Arizona all year, and are more commonly found in the central and southern parts of the state.

Cardinals will visit most seed feeders, offer them mixed seed blends and black sunflower seeds.


21. Pyrrhuloxia

Pyrrhuloxia | image by Alan Schmierer via Flickr

Scientific name: Cardinalis sinuatus
Length: 8.3 in
Weight: 0.8-1.5 oz

The pyrrhuloxia is related to the more widespread northern cardinal, but is only found in the hot deserts of the southwest. They have gray bodies, fat yellow beaks and red highlights. Males have red on the face and chest where females do not. While they are territorial during the breeding season, they will join together in the winter into huge flocks. 

Pyrrhuloxias tend to be found most commonly in the southwestern part of Arizona.

Pyrrhuloxias will visit backyard feeders, but may be more comfortable eating from the ground or platforms. They especially like sunflower seed. 


22. Abert’s Towhee

Abert’s Towhee | image by Alan Schmierer via Flickr

Scientific name: Melozone aberti
Length: 8.3-9.1 in
Weight: 1.5-1.9 oz
Wingspan: 10.4-11.6 in

The Abert’s towhee blends in well with its Sonoran desert surroundings. Males and females appear the same, with sandy brown all over, a pale bill and warm reddish-brown underneath the tail. They like to spend their time in brushy habitats, especially near cottonwoods and willows. This towhee, like others, eats mostly insects that it finds in leaf litter or loose soil. 

Albert’s towhee stays in Arizona all year and is mainly found in the southern and western parts of the state. 

You can attract Albert’s towhee to your yard by offering water, native plants and seed scattered on the ground or on a low platform feeder.


23. Northern Flicker

Image: Richard Griffin/ flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific name: Colaptes auratus
Length: 11.0-12.2 in
Weight: 3.9-5.6 oz
Wingspan: 16.5-20.1 in

These medium to large sized woodpeckers are quite common in backyards throughout the United States, though not extremely common at feeders. In my opinion they are also among some of the most colorful birds in North America. Flickers feed mainly on insects and unlike other woodpeckers, often like to find them on the ground rather than trees. Identify them by the black spots on their bellies, solid black bib, barred black and gray wings, and brown face on a gray head. Males have a red “mustache” that females do not. In Arizona you get the “red-shafted” variety, and they have bright red feathers on the underside of their wings and tail.

Northern Flickers are common throughout the majority of Arizona all year, however may only be present during the winter months in the southwestern corner of the state.

Northern Flickers may not visit feeders as often as other woodpecker species, but they will still come to suet feeders. If you have some leaf piles in the yard, you may see them digging around for bugs.


24. Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Image: Fyn Kynd / flickr / CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Regulus calendula
Length: 3.5-4.3 in
Weight: 0.2-0.3 oz
Wingspan: 6.3-7.1 in

This tiny kinglet is an olive green with white wing bars, yellow edged wing and tail feathers and a white eye-ring. The male has a small patch of bright red feathers on top of his head that he can flash when excited, however these are usually hidden. High energy foragers, they are often darting through shrubs and trees and flicking their wings. This constant wing-flicking can help with identification. For such a small bird, they can lay up to 12 eggs at a time!  

For much of Arizona, the ruby-crowned kinglet is a winter visitor. However some may stick around all year in the northern and eastern parts of the state. 

Ruby-crowned Kinglets may visit bird feeders. Try to attract them with sunflower chips, suet, peanut pieces and mealworms.


25. Pine Siskin

Pine Siskin | image by Shenandoah National Park via Flickr

Scientific name: Spinus pinus
Length: 4.3-5.5 in
Weight: 0.4-0.6 oz
Wingspan: 7.1-8.7 in

Pine siskins are tiny members of the finch family with sharply pointed beaks. They are brown and white streaked all over, and in fact can look a lot like female house finches. However the pine siskin will always have yellow (of varying brightness) along their wings and sides of their tails. They are considered nomadic and can move erratically each winter following good seed crops, with their favorite food source being conifer seeds. This is why some winters you may see a lot of them, while others you may not see them at all.  

Pine siskins can be found in most areas of Arizona year round, however in the southeast they may be more common in the winter only. 

Pine Siskins will readily visit nyjer (thistle) feeders, and may also eat millet or hulled sunflower.


26. Ladder-backed Woodpecker

Ladder-backed Woodpecker | image by Bettina Arrigoni via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Dryobates scalaris
Length: 6.3-7.1 inches
Weight: 0.7-1.7 ounces
Wingspan: 13.0 inches

When you think woodpeckers you probably think of dense forests thick with tall trees. But the Ladder-back has specialized to live in the scrubby desert areas of the south. Once called the “cactus woodpecker”, they can be found in deserts and scrubland. In Arizona they love undeveloped scrubland dominated by mesquite and prickly pear cactus. They are named for the horizontal striping on their back that can appear like “rungs on a ladder.”

Ladder-backed woodpeckers are found all year in most of Arizona except for the northeastern corner. The western and southern parts of the state provide the most habitat.   

Ladder-backed Woodpeckers may visit feeders if you live near their habitat. Like many woodpeckers they will eat suet, and may even visit nectar feeders.


27. Dark-eyed Junco

Image credit: Oregon by Robb Hannawacker, Pink-sided by birdfeederhub.com

Scientific name: Junco hyemalis
Length: 5.5-6.3 in
Weight: 0.6-1.1 oz
Wingspan: 7.1-9.8 in

Juncos are often thought of by people in the U.S as winter birds, since they spend their summers up in Canada. There are multiple sub-species across the U.S. that have slightly different color variations. In Arizona you can see the Oregon, pink-sided, gray-headed, red-backed and cassiar varieties, and maybe even others!  A good bird ID book should help distinguish them. Two good things to look for when recognizing dark-eyed junco’s that are found on all varieties are their pale pink beak and roundish body shape. They are also usually darker on the head and back, and lighter on the belly.  

Dark-eyed Juncos will typically only be seen in Arizona during the winter months, however in the northeastern corner of the state some may stay all year.

Juncos will sometimes visit feeders, but typically prefer to eat seed from the ground underneath your feeders that other other birds are dropping. They like mixed seeds.


28. Cactus Wren

Cactus Wren | image by Robb Hannawacker via Joshua Tree National Park Flickr

Scientific name: Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus
Length: 7.1-8.7 in
Weight: 1.1-1.7 oz

The cactus wren has a rounded body and brown back with heavy streaking. The tail is barred and the throat and belly light with dark speckles. Like most wren’s, their bill is long with a slightly downward curve, and they have a distinctive white “eyebrow”. They are always on the move and can often be seen fanning their tail and being noisy. You’ll always find them around cholla or prickly-pear cacti where they make their nests. They also like to sit on the top of cacti to call. 

The cactus wren can be found all year throughout the southern half of Arizona.

If you are near their habitat, you may attract this wren with hulled sunflower or suet. Planting native cactus is another way to attract them to the yard.


How to attract birds to your yard

Interested in attracting some of these birds to your backyard? Take a look at these 5 simple tips, starting with the most obvious.

1. Put out bird feeders

The best and most obvious way to attract birds to your yard is to put out a bird feeder or two. I suggest starting with a simple tube feeder, hopper feeder, platform feeder, or a window feeder. See below for suggestions for each. 

2. Add a water source

A pedestal birdbath like this one on Amazon is great, but you can also use something as simple as a terra cotta flower pot saucer, like this one. Birds need water not only to bathe in but also to drink and adding a water feature to your yard will only increase your chances of attracting birds. Also consider adding a solar fountain since moving water will entice the birds to visit the water even more. 

3. Offer birdhouses

Many species of birds will readily take up residence in birdhouses if put out in the right spot at the right time of year. Eastern Bluebirds are among the most common sought after birds to attract to birdhouses. I have this birdhouse in my backyard and a mating pair of bluebirds were checking it out the same day I installed it.  

4. Provide shelter

Make sure that your yard has trees, bushes, and shrubs that the birds can dart back and forth to when they sense danger. This is their main defense from predators. If your yard is perhaps in a new subdivision with no mature trees then do your best to add some landscaping features that will allow birds to look at your yard as safe.

5. Add native plants

For many birds that eat nuts, berries, and seeds, having native plants that produce these things will only aide your efforts to attract more birds. Not only that, but native plants foster caterpillars and other insects that feed many birds and support nesting birds since most songbirds feed insects to their hatchlings. Try to avoid invasive and non-native plants that can out-compete the native plants that foster a healthy ecosystem. 


10 different types of bird feeders

Here are 10 of the most common bird feeders people set up in their yards. 

  1. Hopper feeder – Hopper feeders get their name because they have a compartment in the middle, the hopper, that holds the bird seed. There are perches on the sides for birds to land on and eat from. Many hopper feeders are in the shape of a house and are covered on top to keep the seed dry. Use black sunflower seeds or mixed birdseed for this type of feeder. Here’s one of my favorite hopper feeders, it’s squirrel-proof too. 
  2. Platform feeder – Sometimes called tray feeders, platform feeders are open on top and can usually be hung from a tree or hook, or pole-mounted. They are great for feeding most types of birds and are easy to get set up. Though since they are completely open, every animal in your yard that can reach them will eat from them. Use black sunflower seeds or mixed birdseed for this type of feeder. I’m using this platform feeder in my backyard right now. 
  3. Tube feeder – Tube feeders are nothing more than clear plastic tube-shaped bird feeders. They can range in size from holding a few cups of seed to holding 5 lbs or more. They are great because they keep your seed fresh and dry while also allowing you to easily seed when it needs to be refilled. Many types of birds will use a tube feeder. You can use black sunflower seeds and mixed seeds in tube feeders. Squirrel Buster makes some of the best tube feeders on the market, this one is great and is of course squirrel proof. 
  4. Suet feeder – Suet feeders are for one type of bird food, suet cakes. They are a very simple concept, usually made of nothing more than a metal wire cage, sometimes with a tail-prop coming down for larger birds. Suet feeders are popular in the winter time when birds are looking for high-fat foods and are frequently visited by woodpeckers. I suggest getting a suet feeder with a long tail prop so you can attract larger woodpeckers, like the Pileated and Northern Flicker. 
  5. Window feeder – Window feeders are small bird feeders that typically mount right onto a glass window by means of suction cups. They are similar to tray feeders in that they are open on top and you just pour the seed into the tray area to refill them. These feeders are popular with many different types of birds, are super easy to get started with, and great for people who don’t have big yards. Use black sunflower seeds or mixed birdseed for this type of feeder. This is by far the most popular window feeder on Amazon, and maybe the most popular bird feeder on Amazon overall. 
  6. Thistle feeder – Thistle feeders, aka Nyjer feeders, are specialized bird feeders made especially for thistle seed. The main types of birds that thistle feeders attract are birds in the finch family, which includes the American Goldfinch and House Finch whom are both on this list. Thistle feeders are often in a tube shape and have tiny holes all along the sides of the tube allowing the birds to pick out the thistle. Here’s a good thistle feeder from Droll Yankees. 
  7. Ground feeder – Ground feeders are more or less tray feeders that sit on ground level. They will be very popular with birds like Mourning Doves and Juncos as well as squirrels, raccoons, and any other type of ground animal. Use black sunflower seeds or mixed birdseed for this type of feeder. You might like this ground feeder made from recycled plastic. 
  8. Oriole feeder – Oriole feeders are another type of specialty feeder for pretty much one type of bird, orioles. The feeder itself is often orange in color and usually has little plastic or glass dishes made for holding jelly, which orioles love. They also allow you to stick orange halves onto the feeder, another food that orioles relish. Here’s a simple oriole feeder with 4 jelly trays that holds for orange halves. 
  9. Hummingbird feeder – Nectar feeders, aka hummingbird feeders, are designed specifically for hummingbirds to extract sugar water. Even though they are designed for hummingbirds, I frequently see Downy Woodpeckers at mine who also loves that sweet nectar. See this article to learn how to make hummingbird nectar without boiling the water. Hummingbird feeders are simple and inexpensive so there’s no need to spend much on one, here’s one that I’ve personally used and had success with. 
  10. Peanut feeder – Similar to thistle feeders, peanut feeders are tube-shaped and usually composed of a metal wire mesh material. Only the holes in the wire mesh are much further apart to allow for either whole unshelled or shelled peanuts to pass through the holes. These feeders attract birds like Blue Jays and as the name suggests, should be filled with peanuts. If you want to keep squirrels out of your peanut feeder, then this one by Squirrel Buster is your best bet. Otherwise this simple one will do the trick. 

Bird watching in Arizona

Arizona has plenty of options if you want to take the hobby outside of your own backyard. The Arizona Audubon Society has meetups, workshops, field trips, and birding tours, should you want to get a little more involved.

If you are an Arizona resident and would like to add some new species to your life list, then take a look at this list I’ve compiled some popular birding locations in Arizona.

Arizona birding locations

Learn more about what each of these locations has to offer from birdwatchersdigest.org

Find even more hotspots with Audubon Arizona Important Bird Areas.

About Melanie

Melanie has been a birding hobbyist for years and loves feeding and photographing birds of all types.