28 Backyard Birds In New Mexico (with Pictures)

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New Mexico is home to a wide variety of birds. In this article we’ll take a look at some of the most recognizable and well-known birds in New Mexico, especially those that can be found in your own backyard. Some of these species live in New Mexico all year, others migrate in and out with the seasons. So let’s take a look at 28 backyard birds in New Mexico 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 New Mexico. 

How many different species of wild birds are in New Mexico?

It’s difficult to get an exact number on how many bird species are found in North America or the United States, let alone in a single state. Especially in a state like New Mexico 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 549 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 New Mexico. 

28 backyard birds in New Mexico

Below we’ll look at 28 species of backyard birds in New Mexico, 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 New Mexico 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 New Mexico.

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 New Mexico.

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, New Mexico 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. Western Bluebird

Scientific name: Sialia mexicana
Length: 6.3-7.5 in
Weight: 0.8-1.1 oz
Wingspan: 11.4-13.4 in

Male western bluebirds have a beautiful blue on their head, throat, wings and tail. They have a rusty orange on their breast which continues down their sides and above their wings onto their back. Females will appear duller, sometimes significantly duller, and lack any blue on their throat. They are just about the most sought after tenants of birdhouses in the U.S. making the bluebird house industry pretty popular. They are very common in backyards, though not so much at feeders. Put up a birdhouse and try to attract a mating pair.

Western Bluebirds can be found throughout most of New Mexico all year. However they may be absent from the northeastern corner, and may only be present during the winter along the southern border.  

Bluebirds don’t typically eat seeds, but can be enticed to visit feeders with mealworms on a tray feeder or in a dish.


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 New Mexico, but may be rare or absent in the southeastern corner.

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. Bewick’s Wren

Image: Nigel / flickr / CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Thryomanes bewickii
Length: 5.1 in
Weight: 0.3-0.4 oz

Bewick’s Wren has a rounded body with a brown back and light chest. Like most wren’s, its bill is long with a slightly downward curve. There is black barring on the wings and tail, and a distinctive white “eyebrow”. In humid regions they may appear a warm brown, and in drier areas a more gray-brown. They are always on the move hopping from branch to branch, and can often be seen flicking their tail up and down. While small, the males are quite loud singers and may remember up to 22 distinct songs. 

The Bewick’s wren can be found all year throughout the majority of New Mexico, however they may be rare or absent in the far southeastern corner of the state. 

While not super common at feeders, you may attract this wren with hulled sunflower, suet or mealworms. Planting native shrubs and keeping brush piles is another way to attract them to the yard.


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 New Mexico 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 sometime be present in New Mexico 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 central and southern New Mexico, but they tend to only be around during the spring-summer breeding season in the northern part of the state.

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 and eastern parts of New Mexico 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. American Crow

Scientific name: Corvus brachyrhynchos
Length: 15.8-20.9 in
Weight: 11.2-21.9 oz
Wingspan: 33.5-39.4 in

American Crows are solid black in color, and quite large in size. They are also know for being highly intelligent problem solvers, like their cousin the raven. Crows will roost higher up in the tree tops in large groups where they can get a birds eye view of everything below. If an owl or a hawk shows up, the roost will call out and let everyone known that there is danger nearby. 

Crows are found throughout most of New Mexico all year, but are less common along the southern and eastern border.

American Crows are omnivorous and generally do not visit bird feeders, they are much too large.


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 New Mexico 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 New Mexico.

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 New Mexico 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. 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. In many areas they retreat to the wood during winter and don’t frequent yards again until spring. This gives the illusion that they are migrating out of the state, but in most cases they stick around through the winter. 

Robins can be found throughout most of New Mexico all year, however they may tend to only be around during the non-breeding season in the southwestern corner 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.


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 New Mexico, 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 New Mexico during the winter, however there are pockets in the southern part 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. 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, Downy’s are smaller. 

Downy Woodpeckers are found all year throughout New Mexico, except in the far south of the state.

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


17. Bushtit

Image: Alan Schmierer

Scientific name: Psaltriparus minimus
Length: 2.8-3.1 in
Weight: 0.1-0.2 oz

Bushtits are plump, round looking little birds. Their coloring can vary across the country, but the common “Pacific” variation seen in California are a buffy brownish-gray all over with a slightly lighter throat. Their plain coloring and small size can make them hard to spot, but they are common. Look for them moving from branch to branch in shrubs and thickets. They are typically found in a flock, and their constant hunt for insects mean they don’t sit still for long.

Bushtits can be found year-round scattered across New Mexico.

Bushtits prefer insects so don’t usually visit feeders. Planting native shrubs and trees that support the insects they are looking for can help attract them to your yard.


18. Spotted Towhee

Image: flickr/Yellowstone National Park

Scientific name: Pipilo maculatus
Length: 6.7-8.3 in
Weight: 1.2-1.7 oz
Wingspan: 11.0 in

The Spotted Towhee is a lovely species of backyard bird that is always a treat to see. Both sexes have a dark head, back, wings and tail with white wing spots, rusty sides and a white belly. However the dark color on males is black while on females it is brown. Master foragers, towhees search through leaf litter and vegetation for insects, seeds and berries. It can be fun to watch them, they do a doubled footed backwards hop motion to scratch at the ground and move aside brush. If you want a better chance of attracting towhees to your yard, leave some brushy edges and leaf litter along your yard line. 

Spotted Towhees can be found year-round throughout most of New Mexico, but may only be winter visitors along the eastern border of the state.

Spotted Towhees do not eat directly from bird feeders very often, but they will look for seed on the ground beneath feeders. Scatter mixed seed on the ground, or keep some brushy vegetation in the yard that may attract them.


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 New Mexico 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 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 New Mexico 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 New Mexico all year, however may only be present during the winter months in the southeastern 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.


21. 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 areas of western and central New Mexico all year. For the rest of the state they are only winter visitors.  

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


22. 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 New Mexico 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 New Mexico except for the areas along the western and northern border.

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.


23. 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 New Mexico you can see the Oregon, pink-sided, gray-headed and red-backed varieties, among 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 New Mexico during the winter months, however in the northwestern 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.


24. Mountain Chickadee

Mountain Chickadee | image by Yellowstone National Park via Flickr

Scientific name: Poecile gambeli
Length: 4.3-5.5 in
Weight: 0.4 oz

Chickadees are tiny little birds with rounded bodies that are very easy to recognize because of their “black cap” and black throat. Their cheeks are solid white, their wings and backs are gray, and their underbodies are fluffy and light. In northern New Mexico you can also see black-capped chickadees, but it is easy to tell them apart because only the mountain chickadee has the eye stripe above the eye. Their preferred habitat is evergreen forests in mountainous areas.    

Mountain chickadees can be found year round in New Mexico.

Chickadees will visit most seed feeders, offer them mixed seed blends and black sunflower seeds. They will also often eat suet in the winter.


25. Woodhouse’s Scrub Jay

Woodhouse’s Scrub Jay | image by Ron Knight via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Aphelocoma woodhouseii
Length: 11.0-11.8 in
Weight: 2.5-3.5 oz

These large birds are bigger than a robin, with a long and lean shape. They are blue on the head, wings and tail with a gray back. They have shaggy white feathers at the throat, and a light gray chest and belly. They mainly live in pinon-juniper and oak-pinyon forests. These scrub jays are fairly comfortable around people and will visit golf courses, parks and suburbs.  

The woodhouse’s scrub jay is found throughout most of New Mexico all year, but they may be rare/absent along the eastern border of the state.  

Woodhouse’s scrub jay will visit backyard feeders for sunflower seeds, peanuts and other nuts. They may visit more frequently in the winter, because their diet shifts to include more insects in the summer.


26. Canyon Towhee

Canyon Towhee | image by Alan Schmierer via Flickr

Scientific name: Melozone fusca
Length: 8.3-9.8 in
Weight: 1.3-1.9 oz
Wingspan: 11.5 in

Canyon towhees are members of the sparrow family, but are larger than the typical sparrow with longer legs and a longer tail. The best way to describe their color is an all-over “dirt” brown with a warm brown patch on the underside of the tail. This coloring helps them blend in well in their desert habitat where they spend their time on the ground and under shrubs. 

Towhees search through leaf litter and vegetation for insects, seeds and berries. It can be fun to watch them, they do a doubled footed backwards hop motion to scratch at the ground and move aside brush. 

Canyon towhees can be found year-round throughout most of New Mexico, but may be more rare along the far eastern border of the state.

Canyon towhees probably won’t eat from a hanging feeder, but they will look for seed on the ground beneath feeders. Scatter mixed seed on the ground, use a ground platform feeder, or keep some brushy vegetation in the yard that may attract them.


27. Juniper Titmouse

Juniper Titmouse | image by Alan Schmierer via Flickr

Scientific name: Baeolophus ridgwayi

Like cardinals, titmice have a small crest (mohawk) that helps you tell them apart from other birds. The juniper titmouse is no exception, and has a small gray crest. Juniper titmice are a uniform silver-gray all over with a black eye and short, slightly thick black bill. They may not be flashy but they like to chatter and it’s easy to hear them in the pinyon-juniper woodlands they live to live in.

The juniper titmouse can be found throughout most of New Mexico all year, but is more populous in the northeastern half of the state.

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


28. Cassin’s Finch

Cassin’s Finch (male) | image by PEHart via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Haemorhous cassinii
Length: 6.3 in
Weight: 0.8-1.2 oz
Wingspan: 9.8-10.6 in

This cute rosy finch likes the aspen and evergreen forests of the mountainous west. Males have a raspberry red wash on their head, chest and back, with the darkest red being on the small crest at the front of their head. Their belly is buffy and plain. Females have the same brown back but lack any read coloring. Their chest and belly is white with heavy brown streaking.

Cassin’s finch is commonly confused with the house finch or purple finch. Some tips to help tell them apart are that cassin’s finch does not have streaks on its belly like a house finch, and its head is less purple and has a small peak unlike the smoothly rounded and heavily colored head of the purple finch.

Cassin’s finch is a winter visitor to most of New Mexico, however some may stick around all year along the far northern border.

Cassin’s finch will visit sunflower feeders, especially during the winter. They also will visit fruiting shrubs like mulberry, grape and apple. 


 

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 New Mexico

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

If you are a New Mexico 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 New Mexico.

New Mexico birding locations

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

Find even more hotspots with Audubon New Mexico Important Bird Areas.

About Melanie

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