Backyard birds of Seattle

Since I’m staying home all day due to the ongoing pandemic emergency, I’ve decided to document all the different species of birds that arrive in my yard. I am not a great bird photographer but I am enjoying practicing every day.

This will be my last post of 2020 and frankly this year cannot be over soon enough; I hope you are all safe and well. We will pick up in 2021 with more fabulous adventures in coding!

As always, click on any image for a larger version.

Anna’s hummingbird — the only hummingbird that stays in the Pacific Northwest all year round. The male has an iridescent magenta head depending on what angle you look at it; the female has just a few iridescent spots.

Bald eagle — this juvenile showed up in my yard for just a few seconds on election day; fortunately I had my camera handy. Bald eagles do not get their characteristic white head until they are four years old.

Bewick’s wren — I’ve only seen this bird once at my feeder this year; they are easily identified by the prominent white eyebrow stripe.

Black-capped chickadee — messy eaters. We also get chestnut-backed chickadees in the area but I have not seen one in my yard yet.

Bushtit — they travel in flocks of a dozen or more and mob suet feeders for a few minutes before flying off. Super cute, and they fly like they’re constantly about to fall out of the sky.

California scrub jay — tends to fly in, get in a fight with a bunch of much larger Steller’s jays, and leave.

Crow — looks thoroughly metal on a windy day.

Downy woodpecker — easily confused with the hairy woodpecker, which I have not yet seen in my yard. The male has a red cap. The smallest North American woodpecker.


European starling — super invasive, super aggressive, but very pretty little dinosaurs.

House finch — the males are somewhat red, the females are tricky to tell apart from other finches.

Northern flicker — the most common woodpecker in the Pacific Northwest; we typically see the “red-shafted” variety which is in fact orange-shafted. This is a female; the male has a red spot on the face.

Oregon junco — this is the Pacific Northwest coloring of the dark-eyed junco. One of the most common feeder birds.

Pine siskin — these little finches look a lot like house finches but they have a yellow flash on their wings. They tend to arrive in groups.

Raven — tis the wind and nothing more. A rare sight in my backyard.

Robin — lives in constant disdain. Not to be confused with the spotted towhee, who thinks you are awesome.

Spotted towhee — looks a bit like a robin, but thinks you are great and that you should give yourself more credit for dealing with a difficult situation this year.

Steller’s jay — the classic Pacific Northwest blue jay. Noisy and territorial. But lovely plumage.

And that’s all the birds in my backyard in the last few months that I managed to get a picture of.

Have a safe and festive holiday season, but not too festive; we want you and your relatives around for more fabulous adventures in 2021!

8 thoughts on “Backyard birds of Seattle

  1. You’re sure that last bird isn’t a Norwegian Blue? Sorry but a photo of a blue bird and the phrase “lovely plumage” automatically triggered my internal Monty Python detector.

    Here in southern Sweden we’ve had one (1) hour of sunshine so far in December, so your photos brought me some colors today, thanks!

    • It’s a good joke and none the worse for having been used many times before. 🙂

      You are very welcome! We get a little more sunshine than that here this time of year, but not a lot.

  2. Thanks for the pictures. Birds are fascinating, they are so small and cute and fragile but they can survive such harsh coditions and they just make the world more beautiful.
    Stay all well and healthy!

  3. Hi Eric,

    Thanks for the nice pictures! I sure needed that… a bit of brightness in this year of gloom. Especially now that the sun only peeks above the horizon for a few hours a day!
    We have a few noteworthy feathered visitors to our backyard; a Eurasian jay; two or three green parrots (a few either escaped a zoo, or someone released some in the wild, and they can be found all over the country now); flocks of wrens, Eurasian blue tits and great tits that have their daily patrol around the backyards — funny little buggers, them.

    All the best the coming weeks; stay safe; and hopefully more fabulous adventures in 2021!

  4. Hey Eric. Really nice pictures!

    Now is a good time as ever to thank you for the amazing content you been publishing over all of these years. Keep up the amazing work!

    Happy 2021 for you and your loved ones, too!

    For more adventures in coding in the years to come! 🥂

  5. I’m here in the Catskill mountains, upstate New York. It’s a sunny day, shining white with snow on the ground, so quite lovely…. And Quite Cold! I came across your most-welcome website while shopping for bird feeders online (is there any other way these days?). I’m looking out my window now, at alternating chickadees, nuthatches and downy woodpeckers, with the occasional junko. (Squirrels not welcome. They’re piggies and scare off everyone else.) I do my best to attract birds in winter, but your gazetteer of Oregon neighbors makes me jealous. So enjoyable. (If only you didn’t have so much rain in winter, I’d find my new home!) Thanks. Sharon Sullivan

  6. I visited Seattle for the first time and used your blog to identify a bird I saw. I love your descriptions, this was a great read. 🥰

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