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Birdwatching in DFW
Getting a little stir crazy while you are staying at home during the quarantine? Birdwatching is a great activity you and your family can take up; you might as well get to know some of your local neighbors who live in your trees! Identifying birds and enjoying their songs is a wonderful way to get in touch with nature and reduce stress. Plus, it’s a great activity to keep the kids busy while they learn something new.
Common birds you will typically find in your North Texas backyard or neighborhood are:
Northern Mockingbird: This aggressive & defensive bird is mostly grey with white tips on their wings. They enjoy eating berries (think of planting holly) and sing more in spring & during full moons. You’ll find they are one of the most enjoyable birds to listen to.
Red-tailed Hawk: These majestic predators watch from high vantage points to capture mice, rodents, rabbits, and the occasional small dog (so keep an eye on your babies!). If you have backyard chickens then you should also keep an eye out for these hawks. Hawk pairs mate for life. You can distinguish the large raptor by its white breast with brown/red wings and back.
Northern Cardinal: Also a territorial bird that feeds mostly on berries and seeds. They especially like beautyberry. The male is bright red, female is beige/brown with red beak.
Blue Jay: One of the most common backyard birds that are a striking blue color with white undersides. They like to live in oak trees and pair for life. They can be aggressive with the other birds in your yard!
Common Grackle: Even though these shiny black birds seem like a nuisance, they actually do a great job of managing insects in your lawn and yard especially grubs. They typically nest in colonies of 10-30 birds, but sometimes up to 100.
Carolina Chickadee: A small songbird with black cap and cheeks, grey wings & white undersides. They like to perch in oak trees.
Mourning Dove: Another very common bird throughout most of the United States, due to the fact that they can have up to six broods each year in warm climates. A medium sized bird that is tan/grey/brown and known for its distinct song, or coo’.
Red-Winged Blackbird: If you live near water, red-winged blackbirds are a common site. It is distinguished by its red/yellow patch at the top of each wing on an otherwise black body. They nest in marshy, shrubby areas and feed on insects and seeds.
American Goldfinch: A delightful, small, bright yellow bird. Females are a muted yellow/brown. Goldfinch will eat a variety of seeds — particularly thistle, dandelions, goldenrod, grasses and seeds from elm and birch trees.
Not all birds live in our area permanently, but do make stays in the winter or while migrating. If you are lucky, you may spot the following:
Indigo Bunting: Males are a stunning vibrant blue color while females are light brown. These birds are commonly seen in the spring. They like to live and nest in brushy areas and nests are found close to the ground. Indigo Buntings mostly eat insects, sometimes seeds & berries.
Fun fact: Indigo Buntings have been studied extensively because they migrate at night using the stars for navigation.
Tufted Titmouse: Are cute, small grey/slate blue with white breast. They eat insects but supplement with seeds, nuts & berries in winter. They overwinter in our area in the winter so put them on your birdwatching list for a later date.
To truly deep dive into birdwatching and learn about the natural environment living around you, try these sites:
If you need more help on identification on your daily quarantine walks, download one of these apps to your phone: