Yesterday I was able to identify for the first time a White-throated sparrow in my yard. I’d been thinking there was a new type of sparrow visiting my feeder for a while, & I finally figured out its name. These birds are a bit smaller than their song sparrow cousins, & they prefer to feed on seeds on the ground, rather than in a tree or on a feeder. In fact, they even build their nests on the ground, which is somewhat uncommon for small birds. Click on the link for loads of cool information (& a neat video) of these birds: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/White-throated_Sparrow/id. The best way to attract these birds is to put out a tray or platform feeder, which they like because they can stay on the ground to feed.
Cardinals have become much more common at my bird feeder. They love the warm weather & the sunflower seeds. They also enjoy the bird bath in my yard. (Actually, I find that the bird bath is becoming more popular than the feeder.) The sparrows, house finches, robins, & cardinals visit it frequently, & angrily peck at it when I forget to fill it. The only birds that almost never come to it are the common grackles. I’ve only seen a Blue jay once this season, which is odd; previous years they’ve been quite common. I know they’re around though, I’ve heard their noisy calling in the trees in my neighborhood. Blue jays aren’t the kindest birds, they’ve been known for killing the eggs, adults, & young of other bird species, particularly western bluebirds, & taking over their nests.
Yesterday I saw a house finch flitting around my bird feeder. It’s bright red head & chest stood out among all the other sparrows at my feeder, with their feathers of brown & gray. House finches don’t come to my yard a lot, probably because it isn’t their preferred habitat, but I see them now & then. The female house finch looks much the same but lacks the red. The house finch has many different warbling calls & songs, click on the link to hear them: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/House_Finch/sounds. It has some neat info about house finches too. House finches look quite a bit like the purple finch & red crossbill, but have less red & a straight beak. They are widespread & pretty common in most parts of the U. S., & if you set out sunflower seed (their favorite food) & water, they may come to your yard bringing a flock of as many as 50 other house finches with them.