26 Backyard Birds In Minnesota (with Pictures)

This article contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking a link, we get a small commission at no cost to you.

Minnesota 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 Minnesota, especially those that can be found close to home. Some of these species live in Minnesota all year long, others are only part-time residents. So let’s take a look at 26 backyard birds in Minnesota and learn a little about each species.

Great gift idea for the bird lover: Birds stained glass sun-catcher! 50% OFF WITH FREE US SHIPPING - BUY NOW ON ETSY

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 Minnesota. 

How many different species of wild birds are in Minnesota?

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 Minnesota. However, according to Wikipedia, as of 2020 there were 446 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. There can be a big difference between a bird that accidentally wanders into a location versus a bird that regularly visits a location. 

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

26 backyard birds in Minnesota

Below we’ll look at 26 species of backyard birds in Minnesota, 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 Minnesota backyard birds, many of which you can see at your bird feeders. Let’s get to it!

1. 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 are found throughout the southern half of Minnesota all year. 

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


2. Chipping Sparrow

Scientific name: Spizella passerina
Length: 4.7-5.9 in
Weight: 0.4-0.6 oz
Wingspan: 8.3 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.

Chipping sparrows have their most crisp feathers in the summer, with a buffy gray breast, brown and tan streaked wings, rusty red cap, and a black line through the eye with white above. In winter their markings may appear less defined and their coloring more buffy-brown. They are common sparrows that like to feed on open ground. 

Chipping Sparrows are found throughout Minnesota during the spring-summer season only.

Chipping Sparrows are common at backyard feeders, and often like to remain on the ground picking up what has spilled. Attract them with sunflower and mixed seed, especially scattered on the ground.


3. Black-capped Chickadee

Image: birdfeederhub.com

Scientific name: Poecile atricapillus
Length: 4.7-5.9 in
Weight: 0.3-0.5 oz
Wingspan: 6.3-8.3 in

Black-capped chickadees are tiny birds with rounded bodies that are very easy to recognize because of their “black cap” and black bib. Their cheeks are solid white, their wings and backs are blackish gray, and their underbodies are fluffy and light.  

They are very common at bird feeders and are often seen darting back and forth from a feeder to cover and back again for more. Chickadees are always among the first birds I see visiting a new feeder in my yard, and they can be quite bold for their size! 

Black-capped chickadees can be found year round throughout Minnesota. 

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


4. Blue Jay

Image: 272447 | pixabay.com

Scientific name: Cyanocitta cristata
Length: 9.8-11.8 in
Weight: 2.5-3.5 oz
Wingspan: 13.4-16.9 in

Another very well-known bird species in North America and the U.S. is the Blue Jay. They have a large blue crest on top of their heads with mostly blue feathers along their back and white feathers on their chest and belly. Their wings and tail have black stripes. They also have a black ring around their necks that looks like a necklace. They have several loud, metallic sounding calls, and will often be among the first to alert all the birds in the area of a predator such as a hawk.

Blue Jays are a year-round resident to the entire state of Minnesota. 

Blue Jays like platform feeders, peanut feeders, and feeders with large perches. Offer them black sunflower seeds, mixed seeds, and peanuts. 


5. Song Sparrow

Scientific name: Melospiza melodia
Length: 4.7-6.7 in
Weight: 0.4-1.9 oz
Wingspan: 7.1-9.4 in

Song Sparrows are very common throughout most of North America and their plumage can vary from region to region. In the east, these sparrows are mostly brown on the back and wings, with heavy brown streaks on their chest and a white belly. The streaks on their chest often converge in a noticeable brown spot, which can help with identification. The male of the species uses his song to attract females as well as to defend his territory. 

Song Sparrows can be found in central and northern Minnesota during the spring and summer, whereas they tend to stick around all year in the southern portion of the state.

Song Sparrows will sometimes visit bird feeders and snack on mixed seeds and sunflower seeds. 


6. House Finch

Pictured: Male (left) and Female (right) 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, but their numbers can be spotty in the middle, including Minnesota. 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 to southern areas of the state, and are likely to spread north in the future.

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. 


7. American Robin

Scientific name: Turdus migratorius
Length: 7.9-11.0 in
Weight: 2.7-3.0 oz
Wingspan: 12.2-15.8 in

Highly common in backyards, robins are mostly seen hopping around the grass looking for worms and other invertebrates to eat. While they will occasionally visit bird feeders, they do not typically eat seeds. Their bright red, round bellies, and yellow beaks make them easy to identify. 

Robins can be found year-round throughout most of Minnesota, but may only be present during the spring and summer months in the northern parts of the state.

American Robins do not often visit bird feeders, so attract them with meal worms, native fruit-bearing plants, or a bird bath. 


8. Mourning Dove

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

About the size of a robin, 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 southern part of Minnesota, but tend to be only spring and summer residents in the central and northern parts of the state.

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.


9. 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, Minnesota 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.


10. American Goldfinch

Scientific name: Spinus tristis
Length: 4.3-5.1 in
Weight: 0.4-0.7 oz
Wingspan: 7.5-8.7 in

Goldfinches are among my favorite birds to see at feeders, especially when they have their bright yellow feathers in the spring and summer. During this period they are mostly yellow, or “gold”, with black-tipped wings and males have a black cap on top of their heads. During winter they will molt and their bright yellow fades out to a more dull brownish or olive tone. You can always recognize them any time of year by the black on their wings, and their finch-like beaks. 

Goldfinches can be found year-round throughout the southern half of Minnesota, but are only spring and summer visitors to the northern sections of the state.

Goldfinches prefer thistle feeders, they may also eat sunflower chips but a thistle feeder is your best chance to attract them


11. 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 Minnesota.

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.


12. 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 and bird houses. 

House Sparrows are found throughout Minnesota all year.

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


13. 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 in southern Minnesota all year, but in the central and northern parts of the state they tend to only be found in the spring and summer months. 

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


14. Brown-headed Cowbird

Image: Patricia Pierce / flickr / CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Molothrus ater
Length: 7.5 – 8.7 in
Weight: 1.5 – 1.8 oz
Wingspan: 12.6 – 15.0 in

Brown-headed cowbirds are often lumped into the “blackbirds” category not only due to the color of the males, but also because they travel in large flocks (sometimes mixed with actual blackbirds) and can mob your feeders. Males have an iridescent black body with dark brown head. Females are an all-over lighter brown.

Unfortunately, cowbirds are “nest parasites” and lay their eggs in the nests of other birds, reducing the other species numbers. Sometimes they sneak in and lay one egg among the others, sometimes they kick other eggs out of the nest to make room for their own. Many birds do not recognize the imposter egg and will raise the chick as their own. 

Cowbirds are found during the spring and summer throughout Minnesota.  

Brown-headed cowbirds will readily visit feeders, sometimes in large groups. They will eat just about any type of mixed seed. 


15. Dark-eyed Junco

Image: Paul Hurtado / Flickr/ CC BY 2.0

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.  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.  They are most common in forests and wooded areas where they can often be seen hopping around on the ground. 

Dark-eyed Juncos are only found in Minnesota during the fall and winter, however some may stick around all year in the far north.

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


16. Red-bellied Woodpecker

Scientific name: Melanerpes carolinus
Length: 9.4 in
Weight: 2.0-3.2 oz
Wingspan: 13.0-16.5 in

These medium-sized woodpeckers are fairly common at feeders and in backyards in general. Though they are described as “red-bellied” you may first notice the bright red streak along the back of their heads. They have a plain white break with an area of pinkish red lower down in their “belly” area which is often not visible. Their wings are what really makes them easy to identify though, with the white and black barring.

Red-bellied Woodpeckers live in the southern half of Minnesota all year, but are less frequent to absent in the northern half of the state.

Attract Red-bellied Woodpeckers with a suet feeder, though they will also sometimes eat at seed feeders, especially if peanuts are offered. 


17. Downy Woodpecker

Scientific name: Picoides pubescens
Length: 5.5-6.7 in
Weight: 0.7-1.0 oz
Wingspan: 9.8-11.8 in

Downy’s are very common backyard birds that love to visit bird feeders. They are the smallest woodpeckers in North America and are always one of the first species I see at a new bird feeder. They are easily identifiable by their all white underbodies, black wings with white spots, black and white striped heads, and the red spot on the back of their heads (in males, females have no red). Though they do closely resemble the hairy woodpecker, who is also listed here, Downy’s are smaller. 

Downy Woodpeckers are found all year throughout Minnesota. 

Downy Woodpeckers are very common at most types of bird feeders. Offer them mixed seed, black sunflower seed, and suet. 


18. Common Grackle

Scientific name: Quiscalus quiscula
Length: 11.0-13.4 in
Weight: 2.6-5.0 oz
Wingspan: 14.2-18.1 in

Though they fall into the bully bird category like the starling does, grackles are also quite pretty in the right light with their iridescent feathers. They often appear black in color, but in the right light you can see hues of blue, green, brown and purple. Grackles sometimes will roost with other types of blackbirds, and appear in massive flocks numbering in the millions of birds. They are easy to identify by their solid coloring, long narrow body and tail, and yellow ringed eye.

Grackles stick around all year along the southern border of Minnesota, but for the rest of the state they are only present during the spring and summer breeding season.

Grackles are foragers and will eat just about anything, they are often thought of as pests. 


19. Barn Swallow

Image: popo.uw23 (flickr)

Scientific name: Hirundo rustica
Length: 5.9-7.5 in
Weight: 0.6-0.7 oz
Wingspan: 11.4-12.6 in

Barn swallows, birds of the open field. These beautifully colored birds have a dark blue back, orange between the eyes and on the throat. Their breast and belly can be anything from a light tawny color to a bright orange. One of their trademarks is their long, deeply forked tail. They are very agile fliers that cruise and swoop over water, fields, farms and meadow catching insects in the air. They use a combination of mud and grass to create cup-shaped nests, which are often found in the eaves of barns, gazebos, covered pavilions and under bridges. 

Barn swallows migrate to the U.S. to breed, and you can find them throughout Minnesota during the spring and summer.

Since barn swallows eat flying insects, they won’t visit a bird feeder. You can try to attract them by putting up a nestbox, or providing access if you have a barn, outbuilding or gazebo.


20. House Wren

Scientific name: Troglodytes aeon
Length: 4.3-5.1 in
Weight: 0.3-0.4 oz
Wingspan: 5.9 in

The house wren is a tiny brown bird with a big voice. They are common throughout the U.S., and are known for nesting in just about any small cavity that they deem is fit, even boots or old cans. If you put up bird houses they will likely at least check it out, if not decide to use it. They are the birds I’ve had nest in my bird houses most frequently. House wrens are probably zipping around through the shrubs in your yard catching insects, but their drab coloring and small size make them easy to miss. Dark above and light below, their wings and tail have black barring. 

House wrens are found throughout Minnesota during the spring and summer breeding season.

House Wrens eat almost exclusively insects and spiders, so they won’t be visiting a bird feeder. But having insect supporting plants or a bird house in the yard will likely attract them. 


21. Northern Flicker

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 as 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, red patch on the back of their necks, and barred black and gray wings. Males have a black “mustache”. In Minnesota you get the “yellow-shafted” variety, and they have bright yellow feathers on the underside of their wings and tail.

Northern Flickers can be found in Minnesota year-round.

Northern Flickers occasionally visit a suet feeder, but more often than not they find their own food. They will however visit a bird bath if you have one out. 


22. White-throated Sparrow

Scientific name: Zonotrichia albicollis
Length: 6.3-7.1 in
Weight: 0.8-1.1 oz
Wingspan: 7.9-9.1 in

White-throated sparrows are common across much of the U.S. during the winter, and then migrate to Canada in the summer to breed. Their white throat patch makes them easier to identify among sparrows, along with their bold facial pattern of black and white stripe with yellow spots between the eyes. The females often nest on or just above the ground in hidden areas of dense brush and vegetation. 

White-throated sparrows can be found in the northeastern part of Minnesota during the spring and summer. In the rest of the state, you may see them passing through during spring and fall migration.

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


23. Gray Catbird

Scientific name: Dumetella carolinensis
Length: 8.3-9.4 in
Weight: 0.8-2.0 oz
Wingspan: 8.7-11.8 in

Catbirds are robin-sized birds with dark slate gray coloring all over, a black cap on top of their head and a long tail. They have a rusty red patch just beneath their tails which often goes unseen. Catbirds love to eat fruit, so attract them with native fruit-bearing trees and bushes. They get the name catbird from their calls that somewhat resemble that of a meowing cat.  

Gray Catbirds are found in Minnesota, and most of the U.S., in the spring and summer only. 

You may be able to attract catbirds if you offer some fruits, berries, and other sweet things but they prefer to forage on the ground or in bushes for food.


24. Common Yellowthroat

Scientific name: Geothlypis trichas
Length: 4.3-5.1 in
Weight: 0.3 oz
Wingspan: 5.9-7.5 in

Common yellowthroats are one of the most common warblers in the U.S. For most of the country, they only spend the breeding season here then migrate south of the border to winter. Males have a 0live-brown back and tail, black face mask, bright yellow throat. Females are similarly colored but lack the black mask. They love brushy fields, and areas around water such as wetlands and marshes. I often run into these guys while hiking a trail near a large pond or marsh.

The common yellowthroat can be found throughout Minnesota in the spring and summer.

They will not visit bird feeders as they mainly eat insects, but may visit your yard if you have lots of low-grasses and dense vegetation.  


25. Hairy Woodpecker

Image: insitedesigns | pixabay.com

Scientific name: Leuconotopicus villosus
Length: 7.1-10.2 in
Weight: 1.4-3.4 oz
Wingspan: 13.0-16.1 in

There’s not much to differentiate hairy woodpeckers from downy woodpeckers. Hairy’s are larger, have a longer beak relative to their head, and a few other subtle differences. They both have very similar markings and are almost always found in the same places of the country as each other. I have found though that the hairy woodpecker does not visit bird feeders as often as Downy’s do. 

Hairy Woodpeckers are found throughout the state of Minnesota all year.

While not as common as Downy Woodpeckers, Hairy Woodpeckers will visit suet and seed feeders.


26. Yellow-rumped Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle) credit: birdfeederhub

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 Minnesota, you are most likely to see the “Myrtle” variety. Males are streaked black and gray with a black mask, white eyebrow, and bright yellow on the top of the head, sides, and above the tail. Females share the same color pattern, but are lighter overall and more tan than gray. They also lack the dark face mask and yellow on their head. Like most warblers, their colors will be the most crisp and bright in the spring, and fade considerably during the winter. 

These warblers can be found in the northeastern part of Minnesota during the spring and summer. In the rest of the state, you will see them passing through during spring and fall migration.

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


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 Minnesota

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

If you are a Minnesota 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 Minnesota.

Minnesota birding locations

Learn more about what each of these locations has to offer (and local birding events) from birdwatchersdigest.org

Find even more hotspots with Audubon Minnesota Important Bird Areas.

About Melanie

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