Unexpected details on the birds outside your window

Nine surprising facts about the birds outside your window

Nine surprising facts about the birds outside your window
Nine surprising facts about the birds outside your window © DUC

Download and print this backyard bird infographic in four formats:

More surprising facts about the birds outside your window
More surprising facts about the birds outside your window © DUC

Download and print this backyard bird infographic in four formats:

Read our unusual facts about backyard birds

  • Every autumn, the part of a black-capped chickadee’s brain responsible for memory grows by 30 per cent, to help it find its hidden seeds throughout the winter. In the spring, it shrinks back to normal size.

Black-capped Chickadee | Audubon Field Guide

  • White-throated sparrows come in two colour variations: white-crowned and tan-crowned. They almost always mate with a bird of the opposite crown-colour.
  • If there’s fruit anywhere nearby, bohemian waxwings will find it. And if that fruit is fermented, they may get drunk…and crash into buildings or fences while flying.
  • American robins have exceptional eyesight. They hunt for worms by standing perfectly still and watching for the tiniest movements in the soil.

American Robin - eBird

  • Pine grosbeaks store a paste of insects and vegetation in pouches in their lower jaw, to feed to their young.
  • Blue jays are often heard imitating the calls of the red-shouldered hawk and other hawks, either to deceive or warn other birds.
  • There are at least seven subspecies of Canada goose. The differences between some can be subtle, but they generally get smaller as you go north and darker as you go west.
  • Even though they look nothing alike, dark-eyed juncos have been known to mate with white-throated sparrows, producing hybrid offspring.
  • Common redpolls can tolerate more cold weather than any other songbird. They create snow tunnels up to a foot long, and huddle inside to keep warm at night.

Favorite Redpoll Feed & More - Des Moines Feed & Nature Center

  • Shuffle or fly—those are the only options for ruby-throated hummingbirds. Their legs are so short, they are unable to walk or hop.
  • The drumming from downy woodpeckers—and other woodpeckers—has little to do with feeding. Instead, it’s their version of a bird song.

Downy Woodpecker | National Geographic

  • Canada jays, formerly known as gray jays, paste food like berries or mushrooms to branches (snacks for later) using their sticky spit.
  • Backyard burglars: red-breasted nuthatches are notorious for stealing nest material from other birds.
  • Male western meadowlarks typically have two mates at the same time. Male eastern meadowlarks sometimes have three.
  • Not to be outdone, male red-winged blackbirds can have up to 15 mates at one time.
  • The members of an American goldfinch pair make matching flight calls, which are distinct from other goldfinch pairs.
  • Hen mallards make the perfect “quack” sound that most people associate with the sound of ducks. Drake mallards don’t quack—they make a rasping sound instead.

Birds like these rely on Canada’s natural habitat to breed and thrive. Conserving wetlands, grasslands and boreal habitat is essential for their future.

Canada Jay | Audubon Field Guide

Birds aren’t the only species that rely on habitat. Indicator species like dragonflies are showing us that conservation is more important now than ever. Learn how you can help.

Mallard - Wikipedia

Keep on top of the latest news from Ducks Unlimited Canada! Sign up to get email updates on our conservation projects, research, education programs and public policy work to stop wetland loss.

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