SYRCL’s Quick Guide to Backyard Birding

Looking for something easy to do while staying at home? Grab your binoculars and give backyard birding a try with these helpful tips.

Spring is here and so are the birds! While the Yuba River serves as a stopover point for many migratory birds, there are a number of birds that call the Yuba their home year-round. 

While many of us like to travel and explore the outdoors to find our favorite feathered friends, there are some fabulous birds available to you in your own backyard. 

With a keen eye and attentive ears, you can be a birder too!

Lesser Goldfinch

Here are some tips on how to become a backyard bird fanatic:

  1. Get a decent pair of binoculars. While these are not necessary to see birds, it does make it easier to identify more skittish birds that may be difficult to get close to.
  2. Find a good bird identification guide. The Sierra Foothills Audubon Society has a comprehensive list of birds found in Nevada County that can get you started with what you might see beyond your windows. Download the Audubon Birds of California app for bird songs, photos and identification.
  3. If you have a bird feeder, keep it clean and full. Bird feeders are a great way to attract birds to your home, but if they become too dirty they can make the birds sick. Many birds also come to rely on bird feeders as a steady food source. However, neglecting to keep them full may cause birds to starve, especially in the winter.
  4. Build the right kind of bird house. All birds need a place to lay their eggs. NestWatch has a good interactive guide with building plans for nest boxes for the birds near you.
  5. Use your ears. This skill is not an easy one, but it is very powerful in its ability to add to your bird species count. The Cornell Lab All About Birds page can help get you started with learning bird calls.

Unsure of the bird species, or just want to keep track of your findings?

Snap a photo and upload it to iNaturalist or eBird. Both sites have naturalists of all kinds there to help you identify the bird down to the species. The best part?

You’ll be contributing to a large citizen science database! Scientists use the information uploaded from people all over the world to keep track of populations, identify range expansions or reductions, and more.

Now, get to birding!

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