Feeder Birds

"Feeder Birds" are those bird species that readily take food from artificially constructed "feeders." These can be seed feeders like the platform feeder, tube feeder, or globe feeder which will attract many species of seed-eating birds such as finches, sparrows, and piegeons. There are feeders that specialize in feeding specific species, feeders such as the thistle feeder (pine siskin and goldfinch), suet feeder (chickadee and nuthatches), or nectar feeders (hummingbirds). A spike driven through a board that will hold a piece of orange will attract orioles. Even pine cones smeared with peanut butter will attact woodpeckers. Humans have invented many ways to attract birds to feeders for their viewing enjoyment.

A common question is whether feeding wild birds will make them dependent on humans. Studies have shown that it does not. Nevertheless, it probably is not a good idea to feed birds during the late spring and summer. Wildfood is usually plentiful and it is a good idea not to encourage large congregations of birds when they should disperse to breeding territories. The ideal time to feed birds is during the fall and winter months when wild food is scarce. Cold weather increases the bird's energy needs and, especially when snow is on the ground, many species have a difficult time finding enough food.

The following list of birds of the San Juan Islands commonly visit feeders for their handout from humans.


Status : 1) Abundant--can almost always be found at the feeder. 2) Common--often found at the feeder, but not always. 3) Occasional--occasionally found at the feeder. 4) Rare--found at the feeder only under unusual conditions, for example, during severe weather or times of food scarcity.

Season : Spring, summer, fall, winter. Indicates the season when the bird can be commonly found at feeders.

Notes : Interesting or unusual observations, identification tips, etc.

Important Note: When you click on the "See Picture", a box will appear with the picture of the bird and some text. Be sure you close the window (i.e. click on the little box in the upper left-hand corner) before going on to the next picture.

Bird Species: