The CNY Backyard
Bird Feeder

"Where's the seed?

Bird Feeder Visitors



Mallard Ducks

A Fox is a Frequent Feeder Visitor

Redwing Blackbird

Rose Breasted Grosbeak

Doves in feeder dropping seeds to turkeys.

The return of the Wild Turkey to New York State and the Mohawk Valley is truly a success story. We live on two acres of land bordering a stream and a expansive area of woods and corn fields. This is an ideal turkey habitat. We really didn't see any wild turkeys when we moved here 20 years ago. I don't remember the exact year, but we first started occasionally seeing maybe one or two outback. At the time we thought it was a pretty big deal. Each year we would see a few more. We received a foot of new snow at the end of January. The turkeys were in the fields before the snow. Now, we see a group of 50 or more turkeys a time at the feeder everyday. They pack down the snow around they feeder and make turkey trails through the yard and nearby woods. Although they are good flyers they seem to prefer getting around on  their turkey trails they made in the deep snow. When they get to the feeder they are constantly pecking and clawing at the ground picking up seeds dropping from the feeder from other birds.

Count the Turkeys and Turkey Trails

Wild Turkeys in the Backyard
The wild turkey returns to Central New York State and the Mohawk Valley.

Birds visit our feeder year round. Join the Central New Yorker in feeding and observing our fine feathered friends.

The article describes our experience with the all the birds that join at the bird feeder every day. We mostly use Black Oil Sunflower seeds and Suet. Once in a while we put out some Niger Seed. We have a large seed compartment and go through a 20 pound bag in a week.

CNY Backyard Bird Feeder Activity Photos.

Video showing the backyard bird activity.


We have Wild Turkeys, Chickadees, Cardinals, Blue Jays, Juncos, Titmice, Doves, Woodpeckers, Redpolls and Finches.

I hope the article can convince you of how entertaining and rewarding feeding the birds can be.



My favorite bird and the most frequent visitor to the feeder is the Black-capped Chickadee. They are at the feeder constantly throughout the day. There may be 2 dozen in the yard feeding all day everyday. These are very cute and amusing little birds. They flutter back and forth from the feeder in an up and down path to a bush or tree branch constantly from dawn until dusk. They are named for their familiar song, "chickadee-dee-dee".  Which you can hear load and clear when you're putting out new seed. They grab a seed, then flutter back to a branch where they hold the seed on the branch with their foot while opening it with their beak. These delightful little creatures are very tame and are the only feeder bird that will come to the feeder while you are standing at the feeder.

The male and female Cardinal always appear together. It is not unusual to have 4-6 pairs show up early in the morning and late afternoon. These are wary birds and will approach the feeder with caution. In the morning or evening light the male feathers seem to have a iridescent red glow.


The Tufted Titmouse hangs around with the Chickadees. They are slightly larger and are distinguished by the tuft or crest on the top of their head. A pair or two are usually seen during the day with the Chickadees.


The White Breasted Nuthatch also hangs with the Chickadees and Titmouse. This acrobatic performer is the only bird that can climb up or down the side of a tree.

Almost going unnoticed is the inconspicuous Brown Creeper. A small brown bird about the size of the Nuthatch that creeps up and around the side of trees in a spiral pattern. It really doesn’t go down the trunk forward like the Nuthatch. This delightful little creature uses the stiff points on its tail feathers as props as it works up and around the tree trunk. It uses its curved bill to capture insects hidden under the bark. Every so often it will venture to the feeder.

The Slated Junco is the size of the Chickadees and Titmouse. They have a white breast and the rest is slate gray. This provides a distinct contrast against the snow. They are content to feed on the seeds that drop on the ground from the feeder. About a half a dozen or more appear under the feeder during the day.

The Blue Jay is the largest bird that frequents the feeder. They are distinguished by their gregarious behavior, conspicuous blue color with white on wings and tail, crest and load raucous call, "jay-jay." 

Probably the first birds to the feeder in the morning are the Morning Doves. These birds arrive  in large flocks of 2 dozen or more doves. They are distinguished by their  low pitched "coo-coo" and bobbing heads when walking. They possess great  flying ability.  The can surprise you with their very swift and direct flight.


The Gold Finches travel in large flocks and arrive and fly from the feeder in a roller coaster flight pattern all together singing "per-chick-o-ree" as if they were trained to fly as a miniature  fighter squadron . They enjoy the tower of Niger seed hanging on the larger feeder. The male is bright yellow with a black cap and wing bars in the summer. I n the winter at the feeder the male resembles the females dull olive color.


Another bird that comes in large flocks is the Purple Finch. The male has a pretty red wine color while the females resemble sparrows. They have an undulating flight pattern like the Gold Finch. 

The House Finch is slightly smaller and difficult to distinguish from the Purple Finch.

The Redpoll is a very delightful pretty little bird. The male has a red cap, black chin and rosy breast. The female has a plain breast. They like the smaller Niger seed.


Woodpeckers enjoy the large suet cakes we hang on the feeder. The Downy, Hairy and Red Bellied (Ladder-Backed) are frequent visitors.

The Red-Bellied Woodpecker is the largest of the three. It appears every day and is very wary, can be spooked easily and will try to hide from your view behind a branch or the opposite side of the feeder. It really stands out with its stark red head and black and white ladder back. They like suet and will eat sunflower seed.


The Hairy is a little smaller and has a small red spot on its head and white and black wing bars. The Hairy is often confused with the Downy. They are very similar in color but the Downy is smaller with a smaller bill. Neither is as shy as the Red-Bellied. We see only one Hairy and Red-Bellied appear at the feeder. However, several Downy Woodpeckers are spotted around the yard at one time.  They both are suet eaters.