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Canadian Birds in my Garden

Updated on January 15, 2015
American Goldfinches Enjoying Sunflower Heads
American Goldfinches Enjoying Sunflower Heads | Source
Male Northern Cardinal and American Goldfinch Share the Feeders
Male Northern Cardinal and American Goldfinch Share the Feeders | Source
Common Grackle with Iridescent Blue Head
Common Grackle with Iridescent Blue Head | Source

Welcome to Canadian Birds in my Garden where you can see Cardinals, Blue Jays, Woodpeckers, Hummingbirds and other visitors to my garden including raccoons, chipmunks, and even a mink!

I have been fascinated by garden birds since a very early age. It all started when we discovered an escaped pet budgerigar in our garden in England. We managed to capture it and put it in a cage.

Within weeks I had convinced my dad to build an aviary in the garden. Before long, we had an L-shaped aviary with nesting boxes, and were breeding Budgerigars, Canaries, and Zebra and Bengalese Finches.

Now that I live in Canada, this article continues my passion for birds by looking at Canadian Birds in my Garden.

American Goldfinches are frequent visitors to my garden and they love to eat sunflower seeds directly from the giant sunflowers growing in my garden. They also love to eat niger seed from special niger seed feeders.

The Common Grackle is the local bully of the bird table, usually scaring off smaller garden birds.

Woodpeckers

Young Hairy Woodpecker at Suet Feeder
Young Hairy Woodpecker at Suet Feeder | Source
Woodpecker Enjoying a Peanut Feeder
Woodpecker Enjoying a Peanut Feeder | Source
Common Flicker Searching For Grubs
Common Flicker Searching For Grubs | Source

My garden backs on to a wooded ravine and I am fortunate enough to get frequent visitors from the local woodpecker population.

They are attracted by two types of feeders:

  • Peanut bird feeder
  • Suet bird feeder

The two most common species that we see are the Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers. Both are similar in appearance although the Hairy is slightly larger at 7 1/2" vs 5 3/4" for the Downy.

Another frequent visitor is the Common Flicker which is usually seen on the ground looking for small insects. The most distinguishing feature of the Flicker is the black crescent shape on its breast.

A rare treat, which I have only seen once in my garden, but several times in the wild, is the Pileated Woodpecker, a much larger bird at 15" with a distinctive red crest.

Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks

Male Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks at the Feeding Tray
Male Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks at the Feeding Tray | Source
Rose-Breasted Grosbeak
Rose-Breasted Grosbeak | Source


One of my favorite visitors to my garden is the Rose-Breasted Grosbeak. I'm not exactly sure why, but they only seem to visit in the early spring, and usually for no more than one week.

As you can see, the plumage of the male is very distinctive and unique.

Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds

Ruby-throated Hummingbird and Oriole at Hummingbird Feeder
Ruby-throated Hummingbird and Oriole at Hummingbird Feeder | Source
Hummingbird at Nectar Feeder
Hummingbird at Nectar Feeder | Source

Another of my favorite Canadian birds in my garden is the ruby-throated hummingbird. As anyone who has ever seen a hummingbird will attest, these are the most amazing birds. They seemingly defy gravity as they flit around the garden, visiting the nectar feeders and nectar-rich flowers.

It's easy to attract hummingbirds to your garden. To find out how, and to see more photos of the ruby-throated hummingbird, visit How to Create a Ruby-Throated Hummingbird Habitat.

Bird Photography

For your interest, all of the photographs shown in this article were taken on a Fujifilm Finepix HS10 digital camera with 30 x optical zoom.

I highly recommend this camera, or it's successor the HS20. Both cameras are extremely versatile and allow you to zoom in very close, which is essential when photographing wild birds.

If you would like to take bird photos like these, take a look at these cameras - you won't be disappointed!

Mourning Doves

Mourning Doves
Mourning Doves | Source
Mourning Dove
Mourning Dove | Source


Mourning Doves are probably one of the most common garden birds in Caanda. They are present all year round and frequently sit in or around the feeding tray, or on the ground, for long periods of time.

Mourning Doves make a whistling noise with their wings as they take flight, but the bird's name comes from the male's mournful cry which can sound like an owl.

Blue Jays

Young Blue Jay
Young Blue Jay | Source
Blue Jay
Blue Jay | Source


Blue Jays are perhaps the best known Canadian bird, perhaps because they lend their name to the local professional baseball team.

The Toronto Blue Jays were winners of two back-to-back World Series in 1992 & 1993 - those were the days!

I have seen up to eight Blue Jays on the feeder at any one time - a sight to behold!

Northern Cardinals

The Male Cardinal Brings Color To The Garden In The Winter
The Male Cardinal Brings Color To The Garden In The Winter | Source
Female Northern Cardinal
Female Northern Cardinal | Source

My all-time favorite Canadian birds in my garden are the Northern Cardinals.

Almost always seen in pairs, the distinctive red plumage of the male cardinal add a splash of color to any landscape. Both the male and female have a pointed crest and thick red conical beaks (dusky in immature birds).

Despite being frequently seen on Canadian Xmas cards, Cardinals are present all year-round and

Red-winged Blackbird and the American Robin
Red-winged Blackbird and the American Robin | Source

Other Canadian Birds


Other Canadian birds that are frequent visitors to my garden include:

  • Red-winged Blackbird
  • Red-breasted and White-breasted Nuthatch
  • Brown Creeper
  • Black-capped Chickadee
  • House Sparrow
  • Purple Finch
  • Black-eyed Junco
  • Brown-headed Cowbird
  • American Robin
  • European Starling

Other Visitors To My Garden

Chipmunk Enjoying The Bird Seed
Chipmunk Enjoying The Bird Seed | Source
Raccoons Are Attracted By The Bird Food
Raccoons Are Attracted By The Bird Food | Source
Super-Squirrel Enjoying The Spoils Of Victory!
Super-Squirrel Enjoying The Spoils Of Victory! | Source

Naturally the presence of food in the feeding trays also attracts attention from other wildlife.

Visitors include the adorable chipmunks, the pesky squirrels and the persistent raccoons.

As you can see, the bird feeder is fitted with a squirrel baffle in an attempt to stop animals from climbing on to the feeding trays. It works pretty well but, even with these measures, they still find a way to get to the food.

The chipmunks are crafty and are actually able to climb the feeder pole and squeeze through the hole in the middle of the baffle.

One squirrel, who I suspect is training for the Olympic high jump, can actually jump high enough to grab the tray with his front feet and pull himself up onto the feeder - it's amazing to watch!

The raccoons, the masked bandits of Canadian gardens, seem to go for brute strength, and will tip the whole feeder over whenever they get the chance.

Despite all of these visitors, I am an equal opportunity host, and I am happy to feed any Canadian animals in my garden that are willing to entertain me!

Can You Identify This Bird?

Is this a Merlin?
Is this a Merlin? | Source
Great Blue Heron and Mallards are Attracted to the Pool
Great Blue Heron and Mallards are Attracted to the Pool | Source


I love watching Canadian birds in my garden, and nothing beats the thrill of seeing an unusual or rare visitor.

As you can see above, we get the occasional bird of prey passing through, scaring off all of the local birds.

I've checked my bird books and I think that this bird is a Merlin but I'm not 100% sure. If you know what it is, please let me know and I'll update the caption!

The swimming pool also attracts waterfowl occasionally, such as these mallards, and even a Great Blue Heron!

Learn how to turn an old patio umbrella into a Bird Feeder Pole!
Learn how to turn an old patio umbrella into a Bird Feeder Pole! | Source

Bird Watching Is Fun and Rewarding

I hope that you've found this article on Canadian Birds in my Garden interesting.

Nothing would please me more than to know that it has inspired you to attract birds to your garden. It's really easy, you just need a feeder, a water supply (fountain or bird bath) and some shrubs.

And, if you want to make your own feeder, check out How to Build a Bird Feeder Pole from an old patio umbrella.

For ther articles about birds, you might also be interested in Canadian Birds and Bird Quotes and Bird Sayings. Inspired by these photos of garden birds, I've also taken a stab at writing some poetry at Original Bird Poems and Bird Pictures.

Happy wildlife watching!

Geoff

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    • JKenny profile image

      James Kenny 5 years ago from Birmingham, England

      Hi Geoff, great article, with some really cool pictures. I'm not entirely certain, but I think your mystery bird is a female sharp shinned hawk. I know its not a merlin, because merlins are falcons, and that bird doesn't have the classic falcon face. Voted up.

    • geoffclarke profile image
      Author

      geoffclarke 5 years ago from Canada

      Thanks for the kind comments and tip on the mystery bird. Loved your hub on English garden birds!

    • anndavis25 profile image

      anndavis25 5 years ago from Clearwater, Fl.

      I'm like you geoffclarke, if I saw a rare bird in my yard, I'd stumble and run for my video camera. I love this hub, and I love birds. I have bird feeders and bird baths all over my yard. They know me and are not afraid of me. Sometimes in the hot summer, when I'm using the hose, they fly up close and I spray them and they ruffle their feathers. Love it.

      This hub....up and awesome.

    • geoffclarke profile image
      Author

      geoffclarke 5 years ago from Canada

      Thanks ann, now I can't wait to get out and spray my birds! Viva spring!

    • profile image

      LewSci07 5 years ago

      Point of interest, Rolls Royce named all their piston aeroplane engines after birds of prey. For example, the Spitfire's famous Merlin, and later Griffon engine. As well as the Hawk, Falcon, Eagle, Peregrine, Kestrel, Vulture, Condor, Buzzard etc.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Voted up, awesome and will be following you, from one birdwatcher to another. Having lived in Maine in the US, many of your Canadian birds were my birds. Yes, that is a Merlin. Looking forward to more bird stories.

    • srsddn profile image

      srsddn 4 years ago from Dehra Dun, India

      geoffclarke, Great choice of birds. Whosoever loves bird is very near to nature. The bird does look like a Merlin. Voted up.

    • chef-de-jour profile image

      Andrew Spacey 2 years ago from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK

      Really enjoyed your photos and writing, thank you. Some great action shots - well done - how quick the smaller birds are! We have some lovely goldfinches, linnets, yellowhammers and bullfinches locally, plus a buzzard or two, kestrel, sparrowhawk and a special Little Owl, which loves daylight. Love to watch them doing their thing.

      Votes and a share.

    • thumbi7 profile image

      JR Krishna 2 years ago from India

      Enjoyed looking at the photos. They are excellent.

      I am amazed that you get so many birds in your garden

      Voted up and shared

    • profile image

      BB 22 months ago

      The bird is definitely not a merlin (the wings are too short). It appears to be a juvenile sharp-shinned or Cooper's hawk. These two can be hard to tell apart; based on the square tail, I would go with sharp-shinned hawk. Here are some links about these small raptors:

      http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Sharp-shinned_H...

      http://feederwatch.org/learn/tricky-bird-ids/coope...

    • geoffclarke profile image
      Author

      geoffclarke 22 months ago from Canada

      Thanks BB

      I've looked at the websites you recommended and compared them with some of my other photos of this bird. I agree with your conclusion that it is a juvenile sharp-shinned hawk. Thanks for the links and great advice - much appreciated!

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