This is such a weird time of year at bird feeders. Most birds have finished up raising young, but a few are in the thick of it like American Goldfinches. Our latest nester, these birds don’t start their breeding season until July and are frantically feeding young right now. It seems to take forever for them to shake off the dull olive of their winter plumage and we get them bright and sassy right now. It makes sense that they start so late since so much of their diet is based in seeds and their young will need lots of it. Late summer provides an abundance of seeds, unlike early spring.

And then there are the orioles like the above immature Baltimore Oriole that is loading up on food and about head south on migration. Didn’t they just arrive? I’m fascinated how some birds stretch our their stay in North America for breeding and some like orioles are in and out relatively quickly. The come in for the fruit and the insects and once they take advantage of that source, it’s time to get the heck out of Dodge and go back down south.

I enjoy feeding birds and watching them out the window, but it’s incredible to think that all of them are on such different schedules based on migration, food and breeding.


Written by Birdchick
Sharon Stiteler was given a Peterson Field Guide to Birds when she was seven years old and snapped. She loves birds - it’s just the way she’s wired. Since 1997, she has made it her goal to get paid to go birding. She runs the popular birding blog,, and has been in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and on NBC Nightly News as well as making regular appearances on Twin Cities’ TV and radio stations. She’s a professional speaker and story-teller and her writing can be found in several publications including WildBird Magazine, Outdoor News, and Birding Business. She wrote the books 1001 Secrets Every Birder Should Know, Disapproving Rabbits and City Birds/Country Birds. When she’s not digiscoping, tweeting or banding birds, she’s a part-time park ranger and award-winning beekeeper.