Many species of birds call the state of Washington home. Some of these species live in Washington all year, others are migratory and only spend the summer or winter in the state. In this article, we’re going to take a look at 26 of the most common backyard birds in Washington and learn a little about each species.
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. Lastly, I’ll mention a few birdwatching hotspots in Washington and some great local birding organizations.
How many different species of wild birds are in Washington?
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 Washington. However, according to the Washington Ornithological Society, as of 2020 there have been at least 520 species of birds seen in the state of Washington. One source claims there are 2,059 species in North America, another older source says there are just 914. I’m not sure how much I trust these numbers, but they give us a broad idea of the number of species.
For the purposes of this article we are just going to look at some of the species people frequently see in Washington, especially in backyards.
26 common backyard birds in Washington
Below we’ll look at 26 species of backyard birds in Washington, including some migrants. These obviously aren’t all the species in the state, or even close to it, but they are some of the birds that are most likely to frequent backyards in Washington. Let’s get to it!
1. Black-capped Chickadee
Scientific name: Poecile atricapillus
Length: 4.7-5.9 in
Weight: 0.3-0.5 oz
Wingspan: 6.3-8.3 in
Chickadees are tiny little 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 Washington.
Chickadees will visit most seed feeders, offer them mixed seed blends and black sunflower seeds.
2. Anna’s Hummingbird
Scientific name: Calypte anna
Length: 3.9 in
Weight: 0.1-0.2 oz
Wingspan: 4.7 in
The Anna’s Hummingbird is one of the most common hummingbirds along the western coast of the United States. Males have a green body, light breast, and pink feathers on their throat, forehead and behind their eyes. Females lack the bold pink feathers, but may have a few pink/red spots on the throat. Many species of hummingbird migrate south of the border during winter, but the Anna’s generally stay put in the western U.S., migrating only very short distances if they need to find a new feeding ground.
The Anna’s Hummingbird can be found year-round throughout many coastal and central areas of Washington, however they are less common or absent in the northern cascades area and the far eastern part of the state.
Anna’s will happily visit backyards if you put out a nectar feeder or nectar producing plants.
You may also like: 20 Plants and Flowers That Attract Hummingbirds
3. 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 Washington, except for the northwestern corner where they may only be found during the breeding season.
Goldfinches prefer thistle feeders, they may also eat sunflower chips but a thistle feeder is your best chance to attract them.
4. Barn Swallow
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 Washington 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.
5. White-crowned Sparrow
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.
Throughout most of Washington these sparrows will only be found during the winter. However right along the coast, many remain year-round.
White-crowned sparrows readily visit feeders and like to pick up fallen seed below feeders. Offer sunflower, millet and mixed seed blends.
6. 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 Washington all year.
Red-winged Blackbirds visit most types of feeders and will eat seed as well as suet.
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
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 orange round bellies, yellow beaks, and larger size make them easy to identify. They are frequent singers and can be heard from dawn to dusk.
Robins live all year throughout Washington.
American Robins do not often visit seed feeders, so attract them with meal worms, native fruit-bearing plants, or a bird bath.
8. Red-breasted Nuthatch
Scientific name: Sitta canadensis
Length: 4.3 in
Weight: 0.3-0.5 oz
Wingspan: 7.1-7.9 in
These little nuthatches have a dark gray back, rusty (ranges from boldly colored to pale) chest and belly, and a boldly black and white striped face. They are quick and active birds most commonly found hopping around on tree trunks and branches looking for insects beneath the bark. They nest in tree cavities, and will even use backyard nest boxes.
Red-breasted Nuthatches are found year-round in most of Washington, but there may be areas where they are seen more often in the winter.
Red-breasted Nuthatches will readily visit feeders. Offer sunflower seeds, peanuts or suet.
9. European Starling
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.
Starlings are found in every one of the lower 48 states year-round, Washington 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. Black-headed Grosbeak
Scientific name: Pheucticus melanocephalus
Length: 7.1-7.5 in
Weight: 1.2-1.7 oz
Wingspan: 12.6 in
Black-headed Grosbeaks spend their winters in Mexico, so their annual return to the U.S. is exciting for may backyard bird lovers. While females are a streaky brown on the back with a light breast and brown and white striped face, males have more striking colors. They have a black head and back with white wing spots, and a bright orange breast with some yellow on the belly. Their fat beaks can help them break open tough seeds. Males share equal duty with females when it comes to incubating eggs and feeding the babies.
Black-headed Grosbeaks can be found throughout Washington only during the spring and summer breeding season.
Red-Breasted Grosbeaks will sometimes visit bird feeders and snack on mixed seeds and sunflower seeds.
11. 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 very common backyard bird within their range. They are west coast natives, and didn’t spread to the eastern U.S. until the 1940’s, when caged finches they were trying to sell were set loose. If you attract them, which is fairly easy to do, they may show up in small flocks and mob your feeders. Both sexes are brown with heavy white streaking. Males have red splashed on their head, chest, and back.
House Finches are common throughout all of Washington year round, except for the northeastern corner.
House Finches love bird feeders, and will eat black sunflower or mixed seed. Like other finches, House Finches will also visit thistle feeders.
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 looked at as pests, House 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 as an invasive species. They are mostly brown in color, with some black and brown streaking on their wings and buffy chest. Males often stand out with a black mask and chest. They are overall aggressive towards other birds, especially around nests and birdhouses.
House Sparrows are common all year throughout Washington.
Like the European Starling, House Sparrows are invasive and pose a threat to native species. They will eat most types of seed.
13. Yellow-rumped Warbler
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 Washington, 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.
When to find these birds can vary quite a bit in Washington. Along the western portion of the state, many Yellow-rumped warblers can be found year round, except for the area around Olympic National Park where they tend to only be found during the breeding season. Along the mountainous areas, far northern border and northeastern corner of the state, they are mainly found during the spring and summer months. In the central and southeastern portions of the state, you will mostly only see them during migration in spring and fall.
Yellow-rumped Warblers will occasionally visit bird feeders. Try attracting them with sunflower seeds, suet and raisins.
14. Cedar Waxwing
Scientific name: Bombycilla cedrorum
Length: 5.5-6.7 in
Weight: 1.1 oz
Wingspan: 8.7-11.8 in
Cedar Waxwings are easy to identify by their unique coloring. These medium sized birds have a tawny brown head and chest, yellow belly, dark gray wings, and a yellow tipped short tail. Their face sports a dramatic black eye mask rimmed in white, and a large fluffy brown crest. The name “waxwing” comes from small, red, waxy nubs found at the tips of their wings. These can often be hard to see and no one is really sure what purpose they serve. They may help attract mates. Cedar waxwings love fruit, and are one of the only North American birds that can survive on fruit alone for several months. They do supplement their diet with insects and other foods, but they can eat a much higher percentage of fruit than other birds.
Cedar Waxwings can be found year round throughout Washington.
Cedar Waxwings won’t eat from seed feeders. You can attract them to your yard with native trees and shrubs that produce small fruits and berries.
15. 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 a bit from region to region. Generally, these sparrows are mostly brown on the back and wings, with heavy brown streaks on their chest and a light belly. Song sparrows in the western U.S. may appear darker, grayer, and with heavier streaking. The male of the species uses his song to attract females as well as to defend his territory.
Song Sparrows may be found in Washington year-round.
Song Sparrows will sometimes visit bird feeders and snack on mixed seeds and sunflower seeds.
16. Brown-headed Cowbird
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 all year along the coast, but only during the spring and summer throughout the rest of Washington.
Brown-headed cowbirds will readily visit feeders, sometimes in large groups. They will eat just about any type of mixed seed.
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 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 Washington
Downy Woodpeckers are very common at most types of bird feeders. Offer them mixed seed, black sunflower seed, and suet.
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 Washington, but may only be found in the northeastern part of the state during the spring and summer.
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. 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. 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, buffy brown on the face, and barred black and gray wings. Males have a red “mustache”, females do not. In Washington you get the “red-shafted” variety, and they have bright red feathers on the underside of their wings and tail.
Northern Flickers are common all year in Washington.
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.
20. Dark-eyed Junco
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. They are all round little birds with a pale pink beak, but their feather coloration varies across the United States. In Washington, the “Oregon” variety is common. They have a black head, brown back and pale chest. Females look similar but their heads are gray and their color may be duller overall. Juncos are most common in forests and wooded areas where they can often be seen hopping around on the ground.
Dark-eyed Juncos can be found throughout most of Washington year-round, however they may only be present during the winter in the southeastern corner of the state.
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.
21. Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Scientific name: Poecile rufescens
Length: 3.9-4.7 in
Weight: 0.3-0.4 oz
Wingspan: 7.5 in
Chickadees are tiny little birds that are very easy to recognize because of their “black cap” and black bib. This western bird can be found all the way up the west coast into Alaska. In the northern areas of its range, like Washington, it has a chestnut back and sides. These chickadees use a lot of fur in their nests that they collect from many animals including rabbits and deer. They are quick and curious birds, and can appear quite brave around humans near bird feeders.
Chestnut-backed Chickadees are most commonly found along the coast and the western half of Washington.
Chickadees will visit most seed feeders, offer them mixed seed blends and black sunflower seeds.
22. Pine Siskin
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 Washington year round, however in the south east 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.
23. Varied Thrush
Scientific name: Ixoreus naevius
Length: 7.5-10.2 in
Weight: 2.3-3.5 oz
Wingspan: 13.4-15.0 in
The Varied Thrush is a large, robin-sized songbird. It is hard to mistake their plumage with their bright orange throat, eyebrow stripe, belly, and wingbars. On their face, back and tail, males are a dark blue-gray where females are more of a gray-brown. They are birds of the dense Pacific northwest forests and in summer eat mainly insects and arthropods they forage from leaf litter on the forest floor. During the winter their diet changes to fruits/berries, acorns and nuts.
In the western portion of the state the Varied Thrush sticks around all year. In the central and eastern parts of the state they found during the winter months only.
The Varied Thrush is most likely to visit backyards during the winter. They may eat seed from ground feeders or that has fallen from hanging feeders, especially hulled sunflower. You can also attract them by planting native shrubs that produce berries in the winter.
24. Bewick’s Wren
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 western and central Washington.
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.
25. Steller’s Jay
Scientific name: Cyanocitta stelleri
Length: 11.8-13.4 in
Weight: 3.5-4.9 oz
Wingspan: 17.3 in
Steller’s Jay is quite a striking bird! They are large birds, brownish-black on the top half and bright blue on the bottom half. These jay’s also sport a large crest that they can flick and display to dramatic effect during courtship or in aggression. Their main habitat is evergreen forests, but they are also known to frequent campgrounds, parks and backyards in their range.
Steller’s Jays can be found year-round mainly in northern and western Washington.
To attract the Steller’s Jay to bird feeders, put out peanuts, large seeds and nuts.
26. Common Raven
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 Washington.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 Washington
Washington is a wonderful state for birding if you want to go take your hobby outside of your own backyard. The Washington Audubon Society has meetups, workshops, field trips, and birding tours, should you want to get a little more involved.
If you are a Washington 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 Washington.
Washington birding locations
Learn more about what each of these locations has to offer (as well as local birding events and festivals) at birdwatchersdigest.org
- Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge
- Willapa National Wildlife Refuge
- Skagit Wildlife Area
- Fir Island Farms
- Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually NWR