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BirdNote Fans’ Favorite Backyard Birds

BirdNote asked listeners to tell us about their favorite backyard birds. The responses ranged from bluebirds and hummingbirds to raptors and thrushes. But chickadees received the most votes for their charm, energy, and "polite" behavior.

Here are a few of the responses from BirdNote fans throughout North America:

“My favorite backyard bird is the Black-capped Chickadee. Although not as fancy in plumage as a cardinal or bluebird, the Black-capped Chickadee is strikingly marked. A regular feeder to my two backyard feeders, they are friendly, inquisitive, energetic, and extremely agile, often hanging upside down to feed. They take turns at the feeder and don't fight with other species. I find them attractive and fascinating as they brighten my day.”
          — Fred L. (Barkhamsted, CT)

“This time of year, my favorites are the Dark-eyed Juncos, all puffed up in their formal attire. The snow under the nyjer feeders are covered with seed, and the juncos gather there like groomsmen in tuxedos at an open-bar wedding.”
          — Molly G. (Towson, MD)

“My favorite backyard bird is the Swainson's hawk. We find it interesting how the hawks are taking to the suburban, treed areas around Denver.”
          — Jeff T. (Arvada, CO)

“I love most of the backyard birds, but when the Varied Thrush appears with its distinct whistle, I know it's spring. I like to watch them foraging in the leaf-covered garden beds and tossing debris out of the way. They 'wear' lovely V-neck vests and jauntily hop around the garden pond, looking for a good place to take a bath.”
          — Maureen R. (Chilliwack , British Columbia)

“My favorite backyard bird is the Yellow-rumped Warbler. It always brings a smile and a 'hello little butter butt' from me when it calls. Occasionally it visits the suet feeder in the buddleia, but most often it searches on the ground and in the plants for any winter morsels to be found. I love that it comes to visit for the plantings more than for my feeders.”
          — Kathy M. (Seattle, WA)

Ruby-crowned Kinglet © Mike Hamilton

“Hands down, my personal favorite is the Carolina Wren. They stay with us year-round and are often the only bird singing in the dead of winter. They are quick, loud, proud, industrious, and willing to share our space. They usually build a nest on our back porch, giving us a chance to witness them building the nest, incubating the eggs, and then raising their young until they are ready to be on their own.”
          — Alice P. (Anacoco, LA)
“My very favorite bird is the Hermit Thrush. I get a kick out of it jumping around on both feet in my yard. I always feel favored when I see one back there.”
          — Rosalie V. (Morro Bay, CA)

“I’m never happier than when I hear a Ruby-Crowned Kinglet singing.”
          — Janeanne H. (Seattle, WA)

“I am fortunate to have a great number of backyard birds and I love them all. But my very favorite is the chickadee. They are such cheerful little birds and are very polite about taking their turn at the feeders. They bring me a great deal of joy, especially in the winter when I cannot be out working in my gardens.”
          — Marifran H. (Franklin, TN)

Northern Flicker © Gregg Thompson

Joshua G. of suburban Seattle let us know that his “yardbird” list stands at 50 species! He says, “Our secret is that we live above a ravine greenbelt. The habitat there is understory and old trees with a stream running at the bottom, which is very accommodating to birds.” We’d like to share Joshua’s note, so that you can share in the excitement of his experience:

“I have seen several notable birds in my suburban Seattle backyard: 'Yellow-shafted' Northern Flicker, Chipping Sparrow, Hairy Woodpecker, Western Wood-Pewee, Olive-sided Flycatcher, a flock of Red Crossbills, and a Black-throated Gray Warbler. However, the rarity award goes to the female American Redstart that visited my yard on August 26, 2014. This spring, I have heard Varied Thrushes, Pacific Wrens, and Brown Creepers join the chorus of the Pileated Woodpecker's laughter and the Steller's Jay's chattering. My favorite non-rarity visitor may be the Northern Flicker. They are so beautiful, and the male's red mustache is endearing to me! My honorary favorite yardbird is my favorite bird, the Common Raven. I have been visited twice by the Trickster.
So, my nominees:
Rarest yardbird: American Redstart
Favorite regular visitor: Northern Flicker
Honorary favorite yardbird: Common Raven

                   — Joshua G (Seattle, WA)