Summer Backyard Birds

Last Updated on October 9, 2020 by Nancie

Blue Jay in a tree in the backyard
Blue Jay

Summer backyard birds can be a more relaxed crowd. While some may be raising a second brood of young, there are more food sources around. They come to the feeders, but are less urgent.

Birds are always around, one of the things that makes bird watching such an approachable activity. People can get busy in the summer doing other things. But if you don’t have time to watch for awhile, there will be birds to watch when time opens up again.

When you do have time for it, it can be a very peaceful, healing activity. Today I sat out on my back step to and see who might come for a visit.

American Goldfinch (male)
American Goldfinch (male)

American Goldfinch

Right now, American Goldfinches are very present in the backyard. I’m not sure if they have started nesting yet. If not, it will be soon. These bright flashes of yellow mate later than many backyard birds.

Soon my yard will be full of the sounds of their fledglings demanding food from dawn to dusk. I think if I was a goldfinch mom I would go mad!

Attracting American Goldfinches

Juvenile Red-Bellied Woodpecker at feeder
Juvenile Red-Bellied Woodpecker

Red-Bellied Woodpecker

There are other families of birds in the backyard. The Red-Bellied Woodpecker fledged awhile ago but is still wearing his (or her?) juvenile feathers. Like many juveniles, he looks a bit lanky and awkward.

Juvenile Downy Woodpecker at suet feeder
Juvenile Downy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker

The juvenile Downy Woodpecker likewise has not changed over to the adult feather pattern yet. He looks a bit scruffy with an orange-red crown.

I remember that the first time I saw a juvenile downy, I was very confused by the rusty red found on the top of the head instead of the brighter red usually seen on the back of the male Downy’s neck.

Many bird guides focus so much on the adult male appearance of species. So it can be challenging for a new birder to figure out a juvenile that looks a bit different (or an adult female for that matter.)

Young Blue Jay in backyard brush pile
Young Blue Jay

Blue Jays & Fish Crows

The Blue Jays are very active in the backyard as well. They have young ones in their family groups too and have especially been going after the suet lately.

I put out peanuts for them every morning. There is a family (maybe two families) that comes to grab a peanut and fly off, each in turn. Then they all return for another. There is usually at least one among them enjoying dried mealworms as well.

Attracting Blue Jays

Earlier in the summer, the jays had competition for the mealworms from the Fish Crows. One of the crows would settle in at the feeder and fill his/her beak with mealworms. The jays were not happy with the crows being around though and would mob and pester them. I haven’t seen the Fish Crows in the yard lately.

Fish Crows: Fast Food Junkies

Family of Wrens on nut block feeder
Family of Wrens

Carolina Wren

There is a little family of Carolina Wrens in the yard and they like the mealworms too. One day I watched a little wren repeatedly take a mealworm and bring it back to another wren waiting on the brush pile thirty feet away.

Bald Molting Northern Cardinal on feeder
Molting Northern Cardinal

Northern Cardinal

The House Finches and a pair of House Sparrows are still around, as are the Northern Cardinals. The male cardinal I see most often is molting the feathers on his head. He has been looking a bit scruffy lately and at one point he was completely bald. The feathers seem to be growing back from the neck upwards.

Attracting Northern Cardinals

Cardinal Cocktail Hour

Ruby-Throated Hummingbird at feeder
Ruby-Throated Hummingbird

Ruby-Throated Hummingbird

I’ve been excited to see Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds at the two hummingbird feeders out back. It has been so very hot lately that I refill them every other day to keep it fresh.

Last year I saw a female, but this year I’ve seen both male and female, although never at the same time. Hummingbirds are notoriously territorial about feeders so I’m thinking that there may just be the two in my yard, but I’m not sure.

Hummingbird Feeder Tips

Mourning Dove
Mourning Dove

Today’s Summer Backyard Birds

This morning I challenged myself to take a picture of each bird species I saw at the feeders. Where in the winter months I would often see twenty or more, this time of year, the thirteen I saw was pretty good: Carolina Wren, Carolina Chickadee, Northern Cardinal, Blue Jay, White-Breasted Nuthatch, Downy Woodpecker, Red-Bellied Woodpecker, House Finch, House Sparrow, Chipping Sparrow, American Goldfinch, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird and Mourning Dove.

What birds are you seeing in your yard this week?


Learn More About Summer Backyard Birds

All About Birds Website:

Blue Jay

American Goldfinch

Red-Bellied Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker

Northern Cardinal

Fish Crow

Carolina Wren

My Blog Posts:

Maryland Backyard Birds

Summer Bird Watching & Feeding Tips

Spring Backyard Birds

Winter Backyard Birds: Birds in a Winter Storm

Backyard Birds on a Damp Day

Look Beyond Bird Feeders

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2 thoughts on “Summer Backyard Birds

  1. Beautiful photos, Nancie. I love the way the woodpeckers hang on to the side or beneath the feeder. We’ve enjoyed watching them them hang awkwardly on our feeder, too.

    1. Thanks Alice. I’m a big fan of woodpeckers too. They are very efficient and business-like and seem to get along with the other birds. Always fun to see them!

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