Winter Storms Bring New Visitors to the Yard

When cold winter storms hit the Portland Metro area, you may be lucky enough to see some new birds in your yard. As temperatures drop in the mountains and the foothills around us, birds move to lower elevations in search of food and warmer temperatures.

Birds that you may not see 10 months out of the year could become regular visitors in your backyard during the cold winter months.  The novelty of their presence makes it a special treat to see them in your backyard!Here are a few you should keep on the lookout for:

Townsend’s Warbler   (above photo) Watch for this black-masked yellow bird. They will dazzle you with their colorful feather patterns. They are insect eaters that visit backyards looking for suet and even sunflower chips. Try offering crumbled suet on a tray for them.

Yellow-rumped Warbler  This small songbird has a yellow rump as its name implies. It is brown in the winter with a streaked breast. It can be found visiting suet feeders and possibly sunflower chips.

White-throated Sparrow   This flashy sparrow is becoming more common in the Portland area. It can be found feeding with Golden-crowned Sparrows and Juncos. They have a large white throat patch and tan or white head stripes. Offer millet or sunflower chips on a ground tray to attract them to your yard.

Varied Thrush  Typically found in wooded areas at higher elevations, these cousins to the American Robin are striking and hard to miss in a snowy yard. They can be found getting a sip from unfrozen water features, eating millet off the ground, and enjoying berries and fruit off your shrubs and trees.

Winter Feeding Checklist:

* Black Oil Sunflower seed for tube feeders and hoppers
* Millet for ground feeders
* Suet feeder well stocked—try Backyard Bird Shop’s Nutty Feast
* Water, fresh and thawed
* Tray feeder with Fly-thru Gourmet Blend and crumbled suet