Listen for the cheerful sweet, sweet, sweet tweets of yellow warblers in brushy habitats. You might see a lemon-hued male sporting orange streaks on his chest, or a soft yellow female. Warblers feed mostly on insects, so they generally aren’t attracted to feeders. Instead, entice them to your garden by adding a water feature like a birdbath or, even better, a natural looking pond with flowing water.
Northern Saw-whet Owl
Despite being named after the sound of sharpening blades on whetstones, the tiny northern saw-whet owl’s charming toot, toot, toot calls are hardly menacing. The pint-size owls stand just about 8 inches tall, with oversized, endearing eyes. The alarm notes of songbirds may draw your attention to a roosting saw-whet owl in a dense conifer stand. You might also see the elusive birds at a banding program as researchers continue to learn more about their distribution, mostly in the forests of northern and western North America.
Called snowbirds across much of the continent, flocks of juncos are harbingers of winter and holiday cheer. For many years, separate types of juncos were classified as unique species, but now scientists identify them all as dark-eyed juncos. Most of them have delightful pink bills, and their white outer tail feathers flash as they fly by. These members of the sparrow family use brush piles for cover and feed on birdseed scattered directly on the ground.
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A dark-eyed junco shows off its cute pink bill. While Ken Keffer loves all of these cute birds, he would like to award the pygmy nuthatch an honorable mention for adorableness.