It's officially summer! Time for baby birds, hummingbirds, gardening, and many other fun backyard activities. Learn what to watch for in your yard.
An e-newsletter brought to you by the publishers of Bird Watcher’s Digest and Watching Backyard Birds. Proudly sponored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optics.

Top 10 Things to Watch in Your Backyard This Summer

When spring bird migration ends and nesting season begins, summer is upon you. For some backyard bird watchers this means that activity slows a bit at the feeders. Some backyard birders refer to a hot summer afternoon as boring. Perish the thought! There are dozens of other things to watch, observe, and enjoy when the birds are sneakily going about their breeding season activities. Here are just 10 for you to consider. Add some shade and a cold drink, and you're all set!
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Myths about Hummingbirds
Hummingbirds are fascinating, almost mystical creatures. But many myths and legends about hummingbirds have gotten mixed in with the equally amazing truth about these colorful sprites of the backyard. In this article, we separate hummingbird fact from fiction.
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The Stages of Bird Life
It's baby bird season! You'll often hear such words as chick, juvenile, fledgling, and nestling used to refer to young birds, but they don't all refer to the same stage within a bird's life cycle. It can be confusing to try to figure out which term refers to which stage, and even a few historical ornithological documents have gotten it wrong. However, we've rounded up the correct terms used within traditional ornithology to describe the baby birds you might see this spring.
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How Much Do You Know about Bird Nests? Find Out!
It is officially summer! Sunrise is earlier, and sunset is later; trees are leafed out, and the overnight temperatures aren't as cold as they were a month ago. Throughout the northern hemisphere, it’s nesting season! Some species already are tending fledglings or working on a second brood; others, such as American goldfinches, are just starting to get in the mood. The first day of summer is the perfect time to test your knowledge of bird nests.
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#BirdsOnTheBrain
ATTENTION, BIRDWIRE SUBSCRIBERS: We want to hear from you! Each issue of BirdWire includes a poll question for our audience. Visit our website to offer your input and see results from your fellow readers!
How many hummingbirds have you seen in your yard this year? 
• I have so many I can't keep up with the feeding!
• I have seen a few.
• I haven't seen any this year.
RESULTS OF THE LAST ISSUE'S POLL: In the last issue of BirdWire we asked how often you clean your feeders. 36% of respondents reported cleaning weekly, 38% reported cleaning once a month, and 16% admitted that they need to start a regular cleaning schedule. Thanks to all who participated!



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Gardening without Insecticides
One reader asks Birdsquatch: "I get it that songbirds feed their nestlings grubs and caterpillars and other insects, and so using insecticides can harm baby birds. But I'm an avid gardener. I don't want hornworms to destroy my tomato plants, or worms on my cabbage. How can I grow beautiful vegetables without using insecticides?" Find out what our hairiest columnist has to say!
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Out There with the Birds Podcast: Observing Nesting Urban Owls with Chris Brinkman
BWD’s advertising sales director, Kelly Ball, interviews wildlife conservation photographer Chris Brinkman, who follows local nesting urban owls—particularly barred owls and great-horned owls—in his hometown of Columbus, Ohio. In 2019, Chris stood vigil by newly fledged baby barred owls in a neighborhood ravine, educating curious passersby. Chris shares what he’s learned after several years of observing and photographing nesting urban owls; how and when to re-nest baby owls; and why he decided to put down his camera and spend several hours daily watching a baby great-horned owl in his review mirror.
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On Newsstands Now:
Bird Watcher's Digest: July/August 2020
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Generations of bird watchers have trusted our magazine for compelling content about birds, bird watchers, and birding adventures. Each issue includes articles from gifted writers who not only know about birds but also know how to present expert advice in a way that's friendly and accessible—perfect for beginners and experienced birders alike.
  • Get one year (6 bimonthly issues) only $19.99*
  • Print subscribers get the digital issue FREE!
* Canadian and international shipping apply. Orders shipping to Ohio are subject to sales tax.
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COVER SPECIES
Lark Sparrow
From the bold and distinctive patterns on its head to its elaborate mating display, the lark sparrow truly exemplifies the word “unique.”
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SPECIAL FEATURE
Vultures Are Not the Enemy
Vulture evangelist Katie Fallon assures us that these avian scavengers are wrongfully maligned. They are an important part of a healthy ecosystem and contribute greatly to public health.
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SPECIAL FEATURE
How to Love Bird Songs More Than You Already Do, Part 3
Birding-by-ear expert Tom Stephenson concludes his three-part series on a better way to identify birds by their sounds with tips for memorization and recall.


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