My Best Backyard Bird Sighting

Jill Staake

Backyard birding is wonderful, there’s no doubt about it. As much I love spotting birds at the park or the beach, or while hiking in a nature preserve, having a bird visit my very own yard makes me feel a little closer to it – a little like it belongs to me. So I was awfully excited last week when I went out onto my back porch to water some flowers and spotted this in the trees outside:

It’s a terrible picture, I know, but hey – it’s TWO BALD EAGLES! In my very own backyard! I didn’t really do anything to bring them there; we’re fortunate enough to live in an area that is good bald eagle habitat, with lots of water for fishing and tall trees for roosting and nesting. I’ve seen them flying in the sky from time to time, but to find them (TWO!) perched in my very own trees was just amazing.

Of course, they took off before I could get any decent pictures that weren’t obscured by the screen, though I did get a few more when they landed again across the lake, like the one above. I was so exhilarated just by spotting them so close, in my own backyard (I wasn’t even wearing shoes!), that it didn’t really matter. I had just added our national bird to my backyard spotting list – it made my day.

What about you? What bird has landed in your trees, or stopped by your feeder, and made you feel a little thrill of excitement? Tell us your story in the comments below!

  1. says

    Wow – how thrilling! Spotting a bald eagle in the wild is on my bucket list & here you are having them visit your backyard! I had a young Cooper’s Hawk stop by & devour lunch (a live pigeon) just steps from my back door a while back. That was pretty exhilarating.

  2. Jen Y says

    I live on a lake in northwest Arkansas where the eagles come every winter. Even though for years now I see eagles perched in my back yard during the winter…it still gives me such a thrill! They are such amazing birds up close. I think my favorite regular bird to my feeder is the flicker. I love how they peek over the edge of my tray feeder to eat.

  3. Aud says

    Lucky you, that must’ve been so exhilarating! The one bird that always takes my breath away is the hummingbird. I know, they are very common, but they are just such intense little birds!

  4. Ed Roth says

    I always like looking at others photos and have a few of my own to share but don’t know how or where to upload them, can someone explain to me where I can do that.

  5. Pamela Hartsig says

    We had a green heron stop by our pond one day. He was sitting in the tree eyeing my fish! After getting some great pictures, we shooed him away as I didn’t want him eating my fish!!! I wish now, I let him stay. He was probably very hungry as it was early Spring! Happy Spring everybody!

  6. Ady Balch says

    About all I get are the ubiquitous sparrows, doves, cardinals (my #1 favorite), bluejays (#2) and rarely a woodpecker. Certain times of the year finches will visit.

    • Connie Pilkington says

      We have a woodpecker which occasionally comes to our yard. We have a suet holder on an old swing set and one hanging on a limb of a Japanese Cherry tree. He has used both, but this year seemed to favor the one in the trees. He is a Downy Woodpecker.

  7. says

    Unfortunately we don’t live close enough to the river to get any bald eagles in my backyard, but I do see them occasionally when driving to the store. We do back up to some woods though and last summer we had a turkey vulture circling and perched in the trees out back. We were in the yard watching him and he was trying to scare us away from his feast down below. It was pretty cool

  8. Jayne Martin says

    Hurray for you! I understand that excitement – that’s how I felt when an Osprey sat in “my” tree with a fish – no camera, just the memory.

  9. diana h says

    I had a great experience. I have two boys and they couldn’t believe the nest that was at our backyard. We spotted them making a nest andfew days latter we fod three eggs. They were born and mom and dad are very protective.

  10. diana h says

    Great experience. Two boys with a need to encounter beautiful things. We found a nest with three eggs in our backyard and days later baby birds were waiting for their mom to feed them. Great times. We were able to spot mom and dad.

  11. krystyna says

    One time last winter I was making little video of the birds,usuly chickadee and finches and morning doves and all of a sudden I sew red in my camera in the snowy branches ;IT WAS RED CARDINAL ,we don’t have them in our backyard and I was so exited,saying; oh my gosh .oh my gosh,and he flew to the feeder but the big blue jay bully chased him away,but I was so happy I got him on camera,last summer the female came and stay maybe 1 hour on one friends in next town have them always in their backyard

  12. Deborah says

    I know Bald Eagle’s are around in my area! Though a somewhat rare sight. I had the pleasure last autumn, when looking up in
    the sky for some reason,(in my back yard) as saw one fly over. (Could tell by its distinctive white head)!
    I prefer to see hawks such as Red Tail, Cooper, etc. to briefly stay in our yard, as they have a tendency to be looking for bird
    prey! Otherwise, they are amazing birds.
    Our Owl decoy has helped quite abit to keep the hawks at bay!!

  13. Wendy Schoubroek says

    I love bird watching anywhere, but my front yard is my haven. I have 3 bird feeders out and 2 suets for them. I have
    all kinds of birds visiting this year, bluebirds, bluejays, woodpeckers, sparrows, wrens, and occasionally a bird that
    resembles a common gackle. Lots of redwing black birds with their females, and my most favorite, the cardinal..
    I have been blessed to have an albino cardinal, that I discovered feeding last year. I have over 5oo pictures of it now.
    It is so used to me sitting outside snapping away at it..The most beautiful site, next to my hummingbirds..I just love

  14. gerald reese says

    last summer we watched house wrens hatch two broods in a bird house attached to our garage next to out patio. it was so addicting to sit there and watch the adults fly back and forth with food for the young. we could hear the young squawking for more food. we are hoping they will return this spring. we do attract the gold finches, who add so much color, along with several pair of cardinals. we feed mostly safflower and thistle seed, so we have a variety of song birds, with upwards to a dozen mourning doves. we also put out shelled corn for the squirrels, which I believe helps keep them out of the feeders (mostly). we have two small dogs in a large back yard, along with a small pond with several goldfish. watching the birds bathing in the fountain that supplies the waterfalls is an additional plus. no wonder I don’t get much done around the house!

  15. Lori Overson says

    Living in Georgia we miss our Hummingbirds in the winter; but this year we had a visitor that decided to stay as she passed through. It’s a young female Rufus Hummingbird. She is still here, but we expect she will be heading north very soon; just before the Ruby Throated Hummers arrive. We were so excited about our visitor that I contacted the local Hummingbird Society and they sent a representative out to tag her! Such excitement in our very own back yard. We are hoping “Rufie” will come and visit us again next winter.

  16. Lynda Roberts says

    Saw a huge shadow fly over me while I was weeding my flower bed. All of a sudden, jays, crows, even the neighberhood hawks were joined together trying to get rid of the intruder. I looked up at their target and saw a golden eagle sitting in the large oak tree that hangs over my yard. I’d seen them from a distance but never this close-except in a zoo.

  17. Katie says

    I wish all these interesting posts included the writer’s town, state, or something to identify where they spotted these wonderful birds.

  18. Shirley B. Backus says

    Many years ago, while fishing at a secluded little pond in Monroe, there was a beautiful great blue heron standing motionless right in the middle of the pond. I watched for a long while, then suddenly, as if pulled by an invisible rope, the huge bird silently glided over my head. It was an awesome sight that I will always remember. My only regret is that I didn’t have my video camera with me!

  19. jim urban says

    My family best sighting(s) were a family of four Barred Owls last summer. We had the privilege of numerous sightings as the adult pair raised and taught their two owlettes to hunt etc. in our nieghborhood.

  20. G. Brumfield says

    I’m in my 40’s now, but as a child, my parents moved us to an acreage(5) in the country in Jackson County, MO. Shortly after we moved in, we found a small electric-aqua bird in our sunporch. We called our neighbor, a farm woman who has a lot of experience with wild creatures, & she said it was probably just stunned from flying into the window; to put in a box about 20 minutes and let it be dark and quiet. Then it should be recovered and ready to fly away. It worked! A beautiful, intensely blue-green bird the size of a sparrow sat on my hand a moment then flew away.

  21. Robin Madsen says

    Debi, I also had a young Cooper’s hawk catch and devour a mourning dove in my backyard (I was clicking away!) and that was awesome. I see the occasional egret, but my all-time favorite backyard sighting was a great blue heron – it took my breath away! I am surrounded by houses, but a block away is a drainage basin park (for rain run-off). I like to think the water birds are looking for it, get a bit lost, land in my backyard, then fly to a neighbor’s roof, look around, say “Oh, THERE it is!” and take off.
    I love the passers-by!

  22. Barb Brown says

    March 29th was my 57th brithday and I was helping with our local food pantry; which is next to our home. We live in southeast, Ohio in a little town called Newport, Ohio. We are located on the Ohio River, just 16 miles east of Mariatte, Ohio. So as I was walking to to get something I happen to look up and spotted a huge Eagle flying over head. It was awesome and breath taking. Sometimes we see them on a island that is west of us, but we haven’t seen them too much this year. But it was wonderful to watch this Eagel fly low over our heads and seemed to not have a care in the world. I felt like the Lord was blessing me on my brithday with this sighting, because He knew how much it would mean to me. Thanks for letting me share my story. Barb

  23. P. Moore says

    We have a pair of cardinals regularly visiting our feeder. Also Blue Jays, sparrows, finches, grackles and crows (up in the silver maple near our backyard) Have also had a hawk after the smaller birds. Not forgetting morning doves pecking round beneath feeder and roosting in cedar hedge, spruce trees and up on maple branches too. Forgot the junkos that have now flown away. Happy birding in your backyard Penny – Happy Easter

  24. Corry Kotsovolos says

    I love my backyard and serve sunflower seeds in their own hanging container for chickadees and cardinals, nijer for the finches, suet for the woodpeckers etc., all at the back of the yard near the cedars and all with baffles to discourage the squirrels. I also spread kernal and ground corn and other mixed seeds under these feeders. I get a wonderful variety of birds. Closer to the house I have a platform feeder with a large mix of seeds and here the juncos, sparrows, doves, cardinals and finches come. It stands under an evergreen tree about 25 ft. from the house. I started the season with at least a dozen doves and now have none left. He has been around for a couple of years but this year was a disaster for the doves. All the other birds tend to dive into the trees when the hawk comes by but the doves head out into the open. A few have even hit our
    kitchen window in their hurry to escape. It has taken a lot of pleasure out of my winter feeding and feel as if I’ve set up my doves. What can I do!?!?

  25. Connie says

    I enjoy listening to a cardinal, in our yard, every morning. Can almost set my clock by him, and last fall knew exactly where to pinpoint him as he sat in the same tree. I noticed his song when I was home from work and recuperating from surgery. He would start his song and keep going. Didn’t matter if it was sunny, rainy or gloomy.

    Today went out to go to work and the bird world was alive! Couldn’t believe how many bird songs were going on at the same time! What a pleasant way to start the day! To me, it said “Spring had sprung!”

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