(Dumetella carolinensis) The Gray Catbird is a somewhat secretive bird, preferring thickets and dense shrubs throughout its life cycle. Listen for its distinctive “mewing” that can help you locate it within the shrubs. Gray Catbirds are part of the family Mimidae, and, as the name suggests, they can mimic the sounds of a variety of birds and other wildlife! Planting native shrubs for foraging and nesting near deciduous trees will help provide shelter habitat for these birds. Incorporating fruit-bearing shrubs into the plan for your garden will also increase your chance of attracting Gray Catbirds during the breeding season. GRAY CATBIRD 1/10 FEATURED GARDEN BIRDS FEATURED
GARDEN BIRDS
(Colaptes auratus) You may have heard a high-pitched call – “KEew!” – from the top of a tree, but did you know that the vocalization belongs to the Northern Flicker? This woodpecker can be seen in almost every territory and province in Canada at some point in the year. If you live in Eastern Canada, look for yellow on the underside of the wings (Yellow-shafted), and if you are in Western Canada, look for red on the underside (Red-shafted). However, if you’re in the hybridization zone between these two subspecies, you could see a more orange tone! Although the Northern Flicker is a primarily ground-foraging woodpecker, it excavates holes in trees for nesting. Try to plant native trees in your yard to help provide a home for the Northern Flicker and other hole/cavity-nesting species. NORTHERN FLICKER NORTHERN
FLICKER
2/10
FEATURED GARDEN BIRDS FEATURED
GARDEN BIRDS
(Melospiza melodia) Song Sparrows are a delightful addition to your backyard wildlife diversity as their cheery song, full of trills and clear notes, can bring life to outdoor spaces. Song Sparrows mostly look for food on the ground, walking and running through the grass or hopping between shrub branches. These sparrows prefer foraging near water, and they avoid large open areas. Help create habitat for Song Sparrows at your home by planting native grasses, dense ground cover, and shrubs, ideally near a water feature. SONG SPARROW 3/10 FEATURED GARDEN BIRDS FEATURED
GARDEN BIRDS
(Bombycilla cedrorum) Ever wonder why they’re called Cedar Waxwings? The red portion of their wings is actually a waxy secretion, potentially used to attract mates, although the exact function of the wax is still unknown. Cedar Waxwings are social birds, and you’re likely to see them flocking together. These beautiful birds are frugivores, meaning they primarily eat fruit. Plant native species in your garden that provide fruit as food for these birds year-round, including in winter. Cedar Waxwings nest anywhere from within a metre of the ground to the top of tree canopies. Incorporating different heights of plants (structural diversity) into the plan for your garden will help provide habitat for these birds. CEDAR WAXWING 4/10 FEATURED GARDEN BIRDS FEATURED
GARDEN BIRDS
(Bubo virginianus) A large and powerful bird, the Great Horned Owl can live in a variety of different habitats, although its habitat usually includes some open area. If you live next to agriculture areas, wetlands, or open fields, you may be able to attract one of the most widespread and common owls in North America to your yard. Planting tall native trees may entice a Great Horned Owl pair to nest – although usually they nest in previously built structures like old Red-tailed Hawk nests. GREAT HORNED OWL GREAT HORNED
OWL
5/10
FEATURED GARDEN BIRDS FEATURED
GARDEN BIRDS
(Setophaga striata) Blackpoll Warblers are one of nature’s marathoners and can be seen in every province and territory across Canada at some time in the year. A Blackpoll Warbler was recorded making an annual migration between South America and Alaska of more than a 20,000 km round trip. These birds pass through southern Canada on their way to and from their Boreal breeding grounds in northern Canada. You can help make this arduous journey easier for them by planting native trees to provide shelter – especially spruces. Keeping your cats indoors, breaking up the reflection of windows, and ensuring that your windows don’t look like a passageway that birds can fly through will also help make this long migration less dangerous for these incredible birds. BLACKPOLL
WARBLER
6/10 BLACKPOLL WARBLER
FEATURED GARDEN BIRDS FEATURED
GARDEN BIRDS
(Bonasa umbellus) Ruffed Grouse are likely not a bird we typically associate with gardens. However, if you live in an area near forest habitat and you have enough cover and food (e.g., fruit, insects, buds), keep your eyes – and especially your ears – open for this species. Listen for the drumming of male Ruffed Grouse booming through the forest, and also keep an eye on your bird feeders, where they can occasionally be spotted! Adding additional features to the plan for your outdoor space, like a sand pile for a dust bath, logs and rocks for shelter, or an elevated perch for males to display on, may increase the chance of having these birds visit your home. RUFFED GROUSE 7/10 FEATURED GARDEN BIRDS FEATURED
GARDEN BIRDS
(Setophaga coronate) Most species of warblers are insectivores, meaning they primarily feed on insects. The Yellow-rumped Warbler is no exception, although during migration and in the winter it will also feast on small wild fruit and seeds. Planting species that attract insects and pollinators, along with other plants that provide fruit throughout the year, is an excellent way to offer a variety of food options for birds during migration and over the winter, while also helping resident birds that keep you company year-round. The Yellow-rumped Warbler prefers older, mature forests in its Boreal and mountainous breeding range, and is found in a variety of habitats during migration. If you live in western Canada, keep an eye out for the Audubon subspecies with a yellow throat; otherwise, look for the Myrtle subspecies with a white throat. YELLOW-RUMPED
WARBLER
8/10
FEATURED GARDEN BIRDS FEATURED
GARDEN BIRDS
(Acanthis flammea) Common Redpolls are not a bird you can usually expect to visit your garden during the spring and summer, unless you live in the northern regions of Canada. Common Redpolls are northern breeders, some travelling all the way to the Arctic. These hardy birds can be found enjoying a bath even in the middle of winter if open water is available! Keep an eye on your bird feeders throughout their range, including in fall and winter, since they can eat small seeds and plant material and sometimes migrate south of their breeding range. COMMON REDPOLL 9/10 COMMON
REDPOLL
FEATURED GARDEN BIRDS FEATURED
GARDEN BIRDS
(Selasphorus rufus) and (Archilochus colubris) These nectar-loving species are a favourite of gardeners and bird-lovers. If you are in the West, look for the feisty Rufous Hummingbird relentlessly searching for food at nectar-producing flowers and hummingbird feeders. The Ruby-throated Hummingbird’s (shown) range is east of the Rufous Hummingbird’s, and it can be found searching orange and red tubular flowers for food. Hummingbirds also feed on insects, so try to incorporate a variety of plants in your garden to attract a suite of insects for these beautiful flying jewels. RUFOUS AND
RUBY-THROATED
HUMMINGBIRDS
10/10 (Selasphorus rufus) and
(Archilochus colubris)
FEATURED GARDEN BIRDS FEATURED
GARDEN BIRDS

Photo credits
Gray Catbird, Northern Flicker, Song Sparrow, Cedar Waxwing, Great Horned Owl, Blackpoll Warbler, Ruffed Grouse, Yellow-rumped Warbler, and Common Redpoll – Daniel Arndt. Ruby-throated Hummingbird – Lucas Berrigan