Watching Backyard Birds

Julie Zickefoose remembers, as a child, her first encounter with eastern bluebirds. In this issue of WBB, she shares lessons learned about feeding and housing them. She shares her recipe for “Zick dough,” a high-protein treat that will have bluebirds, cardinals, woodpeckers, and many other species lined up at your feeders! Also in this issue, Birdsquatch, our tall, hairy, and slightly stinky columnist answers reader questions about feeding suet dough and why nest boxes might fail. Find all this and much more in this issue of Watching Backyard Birds!
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Watching Backyard Birds December 2016

For reasons unknown, evening grosbeaks stopped turning up in big numbers in winter at feeders in the Lower Great Plains, Midwest, and Southeast. Will they return this year? Let's hope so! Also, Birdsquatch explains the sudden abundance of red-breasted nuthatches, and explains how insect eaters survive winter. Lastly, a few winters ago, a red-headed woodpecker took up residence in a decaying birch tree just outside Julie Zickefoose's window. Hear his story and much more in this issue of Watching Backyard Birds!
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Watching Backyard Birds October 2016

Depending on where you live in North America, a strawberry-red finch at your feeder might be a house finch, a purple finch, or a Cassin’s finch. Learn how to tell them apart. "True Nature" columnist Julie Zickefoose recalls seeing a robin eat a hard-bodied insect during drought—despite its preference for soft foods, like earthworms. Read how weather can affect what a bird eats. Find all this and more in our October issue of Watching Backyard Birds!
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Have you ever stopped to take a good look at a mourning dove? In breeding plumage, their feathers glow an iridescent pink and their eye rings are turquoise—but they’re so common we often overlook their subtle beauty. Julie Zickefoose penned the profile of this fascinating species, and her “Watcher at the Window” column recounts a rescue of a nestling “MoDo” that had fallen onto a busy street. Alos, find out how to prepare your feeder birds for your vacation, and how to prepare your garden to best help birds when the blossoms fade.
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Gracing the cover of our June 2016 issue is the indigo bunting, a spectacular bird found east of the Rocky Mountains in summer. Find out how you can attract this blue beauty to your backyard. June is the month for baby birds to stretch their wings and leave the nest, but fledglings remain dependent upon their parents for a while. Also included in this issue are tips on deterring squirrels and raccoons, a blue bird identification quiz, and a collection of photos from a reader’s New England backyard.
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Watching Backyard Birds April 2016

The beautiful rose-breasted grosbeak graces the cover of our April 2016 issue. It won't be long before these lovely songbirds make their way northward through our yards. Familiarize yourself with this species so you'll know it when it stops by. Also in this issue: WBB reader Lana Worley discovered an albino hummingbird near her house. With the help of a photographer friend, she documented something few people have ever seen. Table of Contents »

The ever-popular tufted titmouse graces the cover of our February issue. Inside, read all about the five species of titmouse that reside in North America: tufted, oak, juniper, black-crested, and bridled. Also included in this issue: Why would a bird pull hair out of a sleeping dog? Which U.S. president kept a yard list of birds seen at the White House? Does a busy bird feeder mean that bad weather is coming? All of these questions, and more, are answered in the February 2016 issue of Watching Backyard Birds.
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Red-bellied seems like a poor name for this eastern woodpecker. It really is appropriate, though. What happens when a gang of wild turkeys invades turkey vulture turf? A wildlife rumble ensues, and who do you suppose wins? Julie Zickefoose documents it in words and photos, so you can find out! Juncos—sweet little “snowbirds”: The same species that visits your yard in winter can look quite different elsewhere in the country. And find out how an Ohio woman made her Christmas tree even more attractive—to the birds!
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Not all songbirds migrate. If you live near a forest or woodlot, nuthatches likely visit your feeder all year long. Learn more about these familiar "upside-down birds." Read about a camper who encountered a red-breasted nuthatch that demanded to be fed—from her hand! Find out how to help hummingbirds as they head south, and learn how to prepare your yard and garden to help birds in fall. Julie Zickefoose reflects on a spider that looks like bird poop and doesn't spin a web! Birdsquatch reveals how it is woodpeckers bang their heads against trees without getting a headache!
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The joy of backyard quail, the fascinating anatomy of the common nighthawk, how to make a dripper to hang above a birdbath that’s sure to draw in birds, befriending crows, transforming a desert yard into an oasis for birds, tips for keeping hummingbird nectar fresh, why birds sometimes turn up their bills at beautiful birdbaths: There’s a lot of interesting reading in the August issue of Watching Backyard Birds!
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