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Living with the Birds

Description of our Backyard

We’ve lived in our house since 2002 and each year we see new birds.  We are very fortunate to live adjacent to a large greenbelt near the Seattle area.  The back of our house looks out on the greenbelt giving us the illusion we have an enormous backyard.  The greenbelt has both coniferous and deciduous trees, which provide food and shelter for a variety of birds. 

We’ve landscape our backyard to make it more natural – or “naturescaped” it to encourage our feathered friends as well as other wildlife.  We planted native scrubs, such as Red Elderberry, Red-flowering Currant, Oceanspray, and Snowberry to name a few.  We also have put in ponds to provide a place to drink and bathe.  Unfortunately, the raccoons have taken a liking to using the pond and in the process trample the native garden.
Good sources of information for naturescaping are Russell Link's books: Landscaping for Wildlife in the Pacific Northwest and Living with Wildlife in the Pacific Northwest.

I have several feeders to further entice the birds into the yard and I also get a better look at them.  I made starling-resistant suet feeders, which I fill with my homemade suet, as well as black-oil sunflower seed feeders and hummingbird feeders.  The birds love the suet.  And I know I've "helped" several generations of chickadees, woodpeckers (4 types), and nuthatches on the suet.  In the spring/early summer, I put out a feeder, which I fill with cotton, thread, and cat (indoors) hair.  The birds seem to love using cat hair to line their nests; it sure is nice and soft!

Pictures of the Birds - click on thumbnails


Backyard Bird List
Snow Goose
Canada Goose
Great Blue Heron
American Bittern
Turkey Vulture
Bald Eagle
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Cooper’s Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
California Quail
Glaucous-winged Gull
California Gull
Caspian Tern
Band-tailed Pigeon
Rock Pigeon
Barred Owl
Common Nighthawk
Vaux Swift
Rufous Hummingbird
Anna’s Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Red-breasted Sapsucker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker
Northern Flicker (red-shafted & red-shafted/yellow-shafted hybrid)
Olive-sided Flycatcher
Pacific-sloped Flycatcher
Western Wood Pewee
Hutton’s Vireo
Warbling Vireo
Cassin's Vireo
Purple Martin
Violet-green Swallow
Barn Swallow
Steller’s Jay
California Scrub Jay
American Crow
Common Raven
Black-capped Chickadee
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Red-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
Bewick’s Wren
Pacific Wren
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Swainson’s Thrush
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
Varied Thrush
Cedar Waxwing
European Starling
Yellow-breasted Chat
Orange-crowned Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Black-throated Gray Warbler
Townsend’s Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Wilson’s Warbler
Western Tanager
Black-headed Grosbeak
Spotted Towhee
Fox Sparrow
Song Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Brown-headed Cowbird
House Finch
Purple Finch
Pine Siskin
American Goldfinch
Red Crossbill
Evening Grosbeak
House Sparrow


Other Backyard Visitors

    Along with the usual urban dwellers (e.g. raccoons, opossum, rats, eastern gray squirrels, etc), we have discovered our share of less common backyard inhabitants.  

Cardinal Meadowhawk
Douglas Squirrel or Chickaree

This squirrel was a short visitor.  The eastern gray squirrel dominates urban areas such as our neighborhood, so it was a real treat to see this Douglas Squirrel in our backyard.  Unfortunately the squirrel came down with a neurological disease and wasn't seen again.
Pacific Forktail (Damselfly)
Western Tiger Swallowtail

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page updated: 10/28/21