Backyard Birds

Wildlife landscapes abound with fascinating characters.
They feature live entertainment all year.

Engaging with nature has a profound impact on the human spirit, quieting the mind and evoking peacefulness and happiness. Backyard bird habitats offer the opportunity to unveil the mysterious lives of songbirds and other colorful avian by bringing them closer to you and letting you observe their entertaining antics and habits. With inviting accommodations, you may be lucky enough to entice beautiful spring migratory birds to stop in for drinks, dinner and a place to rest their wings.

We hope to enhance your experiences with nature through photo-centric guides and tips on how to attract colorful birds to your backyard. Enjoy!

A pair of Cedar Waxwings sitting in a hawthorn tree holding bright red fruit in their beaks

Designing Bird Habitat

A well-designed four-season landscape naturally attracts colorful backyard birds with a variety of fruits, seeds and shelter. By offering supplemental water, quality seed and preferred housing, you are likely to draw in an exciting array of colorful wildlife visitors throughout the year.

There are many ways to support both birds and pollinators while maintaining a tidy garden. Determining your objectives and creating a plan to balance realistic maintenance needs with your lifestyle is part of the planning process.

Landscape Design Services

A Blue Jay holds an unshelled peanut it its mouth with more scattered for the taking on a deck.

Bird I.D.

Our Photo Guide to Identifying Backyard Birds is filled with colorful photos and side-by-side comparisons of male and female songbirds and woodpeckers. It’s a PDF for those who prefer a printed copy. Keep it on hand for quick i.d. of birds flocking to your feeders.

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Bird Foods

Attract your favorite feathered guests by using our guide to Choosing Bird Seed to Attract Colorful Birds. It’s a pictorial resource to help you identify and compare seed options and learn which species prefer them. There’s a popularity rating system to help you decide what to buy. In addition, get squirrel management tips and information about offering food safely, especially in hot weather. Back to Top

A Black-capped Chickadee selects a sunflower seed from an offering of bird food.

Favorite birds you probably won’t find at seed feeders have diets consisting mostly of fruits, insects and other crawlers.

A female Baltimore Oriole balances one foot on an orange while eating the fruit at an Oriole feeder.

A female Baltimore Oriole balances one foot on an orange while eating the fruit at an Oriole feeder.

Orioles: Offer grape jelly, oranges and nectar.

Cedar Waxwings: Trees and shrubs heavily fruited with berries and drupes can attract a crowd of these beauties. They live in flocks.

Robins: A well-watered landscape draws these common visitors in as earthworms, beetles and other earth-dwellers are easy to unearth. They are fruit-eaters too.

To round off an Oriole buffet, mealworms are a favorite. Other insectivores will eat them too like bluebirds, chickadees, nuthatches, robins, woodpeckers and wrens.

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*Designing Bird Habitat
*Bird I.D.
*Bird Foods
*Injured Birds: What to Do

Backyard Birding Guides

Photo Guide to Identifying Backyard Birds (PDF)

First page of PDF guide comparing male and female  hummingbirds, rose-breasted grosbeaks, northern cardinals, indigo buntings, eastern bluebirds and American robins

Article Excerpt on Bird I.D:

Get to know the names and faces of your feathered neighbors. These common backyard visitors reside in Wisconsin as year-round residents, summer migrants or winter migrants. Most live and breed in city gardens, while some species favor the suburbs with open yards, more vegetation and nearby fields. Use this guide to identify your current visitors. Then check out our other garden resources to learn how to attract your favorite flyers to your yard.

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Choosing Bird Seed to Attract Colorful Birds (PDF)

First page of PDF guide with black oil and hulled sunflower seeds, peanuts, lists of birds who eat them and popularity ratings system of small black icons of five birds and four birds

Article Excerpt on Choosing Seed:

To attract your favorite birds to your backyard, offer them their favorite foods. Whether you have one feeder or want to offer a full bird buffet, use this guide to identify the best single feed or seed mix contents to look for when purchasing bird seed. Determine how much time you have to monitor feeders, and choose suitable options for safely feeding them.

The rating system is based on seeds that are most popular with the widest variety of colorful birds. Foods that are more prone to developing molds and bacteria receive a one bird deduction. General ease of maintenance and specialty seed known for attracting particular beloved species gain a bird. “Alternative” choices can help control unwanted, over-subsidized animals.

Injured Birds: What to Do

The Wisconsin Humane Society has a Wildlife Rehabilitation Center which serves the Greater Milwaukee area. If you find a sick, injured or orphaned animal in your yard, visit You can get step-by-step instructions with photos on how to safely bring the animal in to the Humane Society.

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