I swore I’d never become a bird watcher, and I still have no desire to travel around tallying up how many yellow-throated whatcha-ma-callits I’ve encountered. But I am interested in identifying the birds that pass through our yard, especially since we have several feeders now. I’m really bad at remembering which birds are which, so that’s why I started this page, which then grew into cataloging all the other animals that we find in our yard.

The birds are grouped and sorted by their taxonomic family.

Ardeidae – Egrets & Herons

Great Egret

Great Egret

Great Egret

Great Egret

Great Egret


(Ardea alba) – Great Egrets are seen often in the nearby fields, we rarely see them in our yard when they fly out of the creek or land in the trees on the bank.

Snowy Egret

Black-crowned Night-Heron

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron courtesy of Audubon Society

(Ardea herodias) – I spotted one of these taking off from out of the creek bed. It’s a big bird. (spotted 7/7/2019)

Cardinalidae – Cardinals & Grosbeaks

Male Black-headed Gosbeak

Male Black-headed Gosbeak

Female Black-headed Gosbeak

Female Black-headed Gosbeak

(Pheucticus melanocephalus) – We see these during the summer as they migrate south for the winter.

Fringillidae – Finches

Purple Finch

Purple finch female & male

Purple Finch – Female on left, male on right

(Carpodacus purpureus) – Why this is called a purple finch I don’t know. The male color ranges from a bright red to an orange red. The females are brown. They show up at the seed feeder en masse in spring, and we see a few scattered sightings year round.

American Goldfinch

Female American Goldfinch courtesy of Wikipedia

Female American Goldfinch courtesy of Wikipedia

Male American Goldfinch courtesy of Wikipedia

Male American Goldfinch courtesy of Wikipedia

(Spinus tristis) – Of the two goldfinch species, this is the brighter yellow one.

Lesser Goldfinch

(Spinus psaltria) – Similar to above, but here’s a good resource on how to tell them apart.

Pine Siskin

Pine Siskin courtesy of Wikipedia

Pine Siskin courtesy of Wikipedia

(Spinus pinus)

Icteridae – Blackbirds

Brewer’s Blackbird

Brewer's Blackbird

Male Brewer’s Blackbird

Female Brewer's Blackbird

Female Brewer’s Blackbird

(Euphagus cyanocephalus) – These birds were never taught to not talk when their mouths are full. This male was chattering with a mouthful of caterpillars that he probably wanted to feed his young but he didn’t want to give away his nest location in my rose arbor. He was later joined by his mate, who had also been busy hunting, and she joined him in voicing their displeasure of my presence in the garden. The males are black with yellow eyes, while the females are dark grey/brown and have black eyes.(spotted 7/1/2019)

Bullock’s Oriole

(Icterus bullockii) – We occasionally see these. I’ve only noticed males, the females look very different, but I don’t recall ever seeing them.

Passerellidae – Sparrows

Dark-eyed Junco

Dark-eyed Junco

Dark-eyed Junco

(Junco hyemalis) – A constant year-round visitor to the seed feeder.

Tyrannidae – Fly Catchers

Black Phoebe

(Sayornis nigricans) – Males and females look alike.

Turdidae – Thrushes

American Robin

(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_robin) – I do believe turdus is an appropriate name for the robin.

Paridae – Tits and Chickadees

Black-capped Chickadee

Black-capped Chickadee

Black-capped Chickadee

(Poecile atricapillus) – Probably the most common bird we see at the seed feeder. They are here year-round.

Chestnut-backed Chickadee

Picidae – Woodpeckers

Northern Flicker

Northern Flicker

Northern Flicker

(Colaptes auratus) – We used to see these far more often when the two large Black Cottonwood trees were around. Now they are a rare sighting. After a long absence, we saw a pair of them in July 2019. Hopefully they’re making a return, as their flash of orange when they fly is fun to watch. Hopefully I can get a better picture, a car drove by right after I snapped this first shot as I approached it, and it flew off. (spotted 7/5/2019)

Trochilidae – Hummingbirds

Anna’s Hummingbird

Male Anna's Hummingbird

Male Anna’s Hummingbird courtesy of Wikipedia

Female Anna's Hummingbird

Female Anna’s Hummingbird

(Calypte anna) – These are very common in our yard, especially now that we have a feeder up and they are the only hummingbirds here year-round.

Allen’s Hummingbird

Male Allen's Hummingbird

Male Allen’s Hummingbird courtesy of Audubon Society

Female Allen's Hummingbird

Female Allen’s Hummingbird courtesy of Audubon Society

(Selasphorus sasin) – The Allen’s and Rufous are very similar, and both are migratory in our area.

Rufous Hummingbird

Male Rufous Hummingbird

Male Rufous Hummingbird courtesy of Wikipedia

Female Rufous Hummingbird

Female Rufous Hummingbird courtesy of Wikipedia

(Selasphorus rufus) – It’s always a pleasant surprise to see these when they migrate through. They’re pretty bossy though and will try to dominate the feeder. While the male’s are easy to identify due to their orange head, the females look similar to Allen’s.

Raptors

Osprey

Not a common bird in our yard, but we did have one sighting back in 2007.

Red Shouldered Hawk

Red Shouldered Hawk
(Buteo lineatus)
We see these hawks occasionally.

White-tailed Kite

White-tailed Kite
(Elanus leucurus)

Miscellaneous Birds

American Crow

California Quail

Common Raven

Mourning Dove

Turkey Vulture

Wild Turkeys

Wild Turkeys

Wild Turkeys

(Meleagris gallopavo) – We’ve had groups of these roam through the yard a couple of times. It’s always been hens, never a tom.