Blog – Birds and Blooms

Table of Contents

What Does a Gray Catbird Look Like?

gray catbird
Gray catbird
Gray catbirds are a common summer songbird in the eastern United States. A pretty solid bird size-wise, the catbird is slate gray with a rust red rump and black feathers on the head. Male and female gray catbirds look the same and can’t be differentiated in the field.

  • Length: 8-1/2 inches
  • Wingspan: 11 inches
  • Distinctive Markings: Slate-gray body with a black cap and tail, rust-red feathers under tail
  • Scientific Name: Dumetella carolinensis
    Family: Mimic thrush

Learn about 15 common backyard birds you should know.

What Does a Gray Catbird Eat?

gray catbird
Gray catbirds like to eat berries

Catbirds have a slew of insects to munch on in summer. They indulge in ants, caterpillars, beetles, grasshoppers and moths. And you might spot gray catbirds feasting on the grape jelly you put out for orioles. They also like berries, so consider planting berry trees and bushes such as dogwood, winterberry and American beautyberry to attract them to your backyard. Catbirds may seem endearing, but they are considered pests by gardeners who grow raspberries, cherries, grapes and strawberries.

Gray catbird on watermelon

  • Diet: Insects and berries
  • Backyard Favorites: Grape jelly and bird baths

Gray Catbird Nest and Eggs

gray catbird nest and eggs
Gray catbird nest and eggs in azalea bush

A male catbird may help gather nesting materials, but the female solely builds the nest. It takes about five days to build the bulky, open-cup-shaped structure. Look for these nests hidden in dense shrubs or vines about 4 feet off the ground.

  • Nest: Builds nest in a garden shrub or thickets near creeks or swamps
  • Eggs: Female usually lays four glossy teal eggs

Learn about the different kinds of bird nests and how to spot them.

Gray Catbird Call and Song

Gray catbird

Listen to the gray catbird’s song.


Bird songs provided by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Gray catbirds get their name for their call, a catlike mewing. And don’t let a gray catbird fool you with its mimic calls. Similar to mockingbirds and thrashers, it can easily imitate the songs of other popular backyard birds. Male catbirds belt out these tunes from the tops of thickets or shrubs.

  • Voice: Alarm call is a catlike mewing; song is a mix of notes, may mimic other songbirds.

Range Map

Gray Catbird Bird Species

Range maps provided by Kaufman Field Guides, the official field guide of Birds & Blooms.

Female and Male Ruby-throated Hummingbirds
Female and male ruby-throated hummingbirds

Whether or not you’ve experienced the thrill of getting to see a hummingbird courtship display or hummingbird nest in person, you’ve probably wondered whether hummingbirds, like some other types of birds, mate for life. Let’s find out what the experts say on this matter.

Do Hummingbirds Mate for Life?

Laura Erickson, former science editor at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, points out that some birds, like cardinals, do bond for life. For other birds, the love connection only lasts for a few weeks or months. But hummingbirds do not mate for life—in fact, it’s only minutes!

Both males and females in the hummingbird species found in the U.S. are thought to have multiple mates, according to Erik Johnson, director of Conservation Science for Audubon Delta, National Audubon Society.

How Do Male Hummingbirds Attract Females?

do hummingbirds mate for life
After several daredevil dives to impress his lady, this male Calliope buzzed back and forth in front of the female.

In addition, male hummingbirds have no role in building a nest, incubating eggs or feeding and raising young.

“That may seem like a huge energetic cost to females, which it certainly is,” says Erik. “But males experience a huge cost, too, by investing in the development of their amazing gorget feathers and by offering spectacular display dives and hovers to attract females.” For example, Erik points out that a male Allen’s hummingbird was documented pushing 60 miles per hour during its display dive.

“Males spend a lot of time during the spring and early summer displaying in their territory,” Erik says, “which they defend from other males, in the hopes of attracting a female.” He says male hummingbirds tend to be smaller than females. This possibly makes them more nimble in flight and able to offer the most exciting courting display.

When males aren’t displaying, they’re feeding, preening, and resting. According to Erik, this rigorous need to display regularly may make males less likely to survive as long as a female, due to an increased risk to predation. Psst—here’s the answer to how long hummingbirds live.

Are Young Hummingbirds Flirting or Fighting?

Juvenile ruby-throated hummingbirds playing
Juvenile ruby-throated hummingbirds

“Were these two juvenile ruby-throated hummingbirds flirting or fighting?” asks Joseph Brown of Christiansburg, Virginia.

Birding experts Kenn and Kimberly Kaufman weigh in: “That’s a great action shot! Hummingbirds seem to pour a lot of their abundant energy into chasing each other. Sometimes there are practical reasons for their aggression, such as when they’re defending a favorite patch of blooms to protect their nectar supply. But other times they seem to be acting out on their generally spunky nature. Young hummingbirds don’t mate until the year after they hatch. So these juveniles were probably just horsing around, not flirting.”

Next, check out 7 sweet photos that show how birds attract mates.

If you or someone you love is a fan of all things bee, look no further than this gift guide that is positively buzzing with bee gifts. There are plenty of options here, no matter what your budget may bee!

1. Vintage Bee Mason Jars

bee mason jars

These glasses, designed to look like vintage canning jars, are detailed with a dainty bee design. They’re the perfect country style glasses for serving sweet tea, lemonade or other summery drinks. Sold in a set of four. You can also get the same design on stemless wine glasses. Looking for another original gift idea? Try a mushroom growing kit!

Shop Now

2. Bee Zipper Pouch

bee pouch

Bring your love of the humble bee wherever you go with this handy little multipurpose pouch. It’s a perfect size to store makeup, cords/chargers, or other necessities while traveling. The adorable bag can be personalized with your name. Check out these unique gifts for butterfly lovers.

Shop Now

3. Solar Bee Wind Chime

bee wind chime

Sure, any old wind chime sounds beautiful and adds artistic interest to the patio during the day. But this solar bee wind chime uses the sun’s rays to charge and illuminate at night! There’s an off switch for nights you don’t need the six bees to fly. Don’t miss the best gifts for hummingbird lovers.

4. Bee Door Knocker

bee door knocker

Add a whimsical, elegant touch to your front door with this bumblebee door knocker, crafted by Michael Healy Designs. Choose from brass, oiled bronze, matte black or nickel silver. Feather your nest with adorable bird home decor items.

Shop Now

5. Bee Revival Kit

bee revival gift

Save the bees! This bee saving kit attaches to your keychain for when you come across an exhausted bee. The bee revival keyring provides an ambrosia syrup to revive a tired bee so it can get back to pollinating. Full directions provided.

Shop Now

6. Bee Gift Box

bee gift box

Not sure what to gift a bee lover? How about a little bit of everything? This bee gift box includes bee-shaped soaps and candles, plus a repairing honey hair mask and pollinator kit. And of course, every good bee gift box includes honey!

Shop Now

7. Crystal Bees

crystal bees

Send the healing power of bees with bee-shaped quartz crystals. Quartz is associated with clarity and energy. Crystal properties aside, these are gorgeous works of carved art with individual etchings and colorings. Stunning!

Shop Now

8. Bee Face Mask

bee face mask, bee gifts

Stay healthy and show your love of bees with these beautiful cotton face masks. They’re washable, reusable and whimsical. Psst—don’t miss these bird face masks available on Etsy.

Shop Now

9. Honey I’m Home Doormat

beehive doormat

Guests will surely smile when they arrive at your door and see this charming welcome mat that features honeybees and a beehive.

Shop Now

10. Honeycomb Necklace

honeycomb necklace

Honeycomb can be its own work of art, and this necklace celebrates the style of the bee hive with its hexagon shapes in a honeycomb pattern with a bee charm. Next, check out gifts any bird lover will absolutely adore.

Shop Now

11. Bee Kitchen Towel

bee kitchen towel

Accent your kitchen with 100% organic cotton tea towels. Pair one with a jar of organic honey for an extra sweet gift idea. Psst—we found the best cardinal gifts for redbird lovers.

Shop Now

12. Bee Journal

bee journal

If you know a busy bee who could use a place to write down their to-do lists, pick up this bee-themed notebook. Customize the cover color and number of pages. If you love to write letters, don’t miss the best bird cards.

Read More :   When Will Baltimore Orioles Arrive in Spring?

Shop Now

13. Bee Socks

bee lover gift socks

If you need a fun gift to buy for someone who digs bumblebees, look no further. These whimsical socks will keep their toes nice and cozy.

Shop Now

14. Bee Happy T-Shirt

bee t-shirt

You’ll always be in a good mood when you wear this sunny, comfy honeybee shirt, no matter what’s on your honey do list. Check out 10 owl shirts every bird fan should own.

Shop Now

15. Honeybee Fairy String Lights

bumblebee fairy lights

Light up the night with a 10 foot string of honeybee-shaped fairy lights. They’re battery-powered, and can be used outside (on a porch or patio, for example), or inside. If there’s someone in your office who loves bees, this would be a great cubical decoration! We found the best garden lights to light up your yard.

Shop Now

16. Bumblebee Brooch

bumblebee brooch

These dainty bumblebee brooches are made with real wood (choose between walnut or maple when you order), which means that each bee gift is unique with subtle differences in color and tone. It’s one of our favorite subtle bee gifts!

Shop Now

17. 100 Plants to Feed the Bees book

100 Plants to Feed the Bees book

This book highlights the best plants to attract all sorts of honeybees, bumble bees and other native bees and pollinators. Each plant is pictured in bloom with planting information (and what kinds of bees it attracts). You’ll find regional and seasonal planting guidelines to ensure garden success. Check out the top birding and gardening books we love.

18. Bee Rubber Stamp

bumblebee stamp

Add a cute bee stamp as an accent to holiday, birthday and any other greeting cards and notes throughout the year. This tiny bee stamp is about the size of a dime and is mounted with a large chunk of glass. Order ink in a variety of colors.

Shop Now

19. Honey Bee Enamel Pin

honeybee enamel pin

Wear your love of bees on your chest with this adorable enamel pin. Even better, a portion of the proceeds goes to The Honeybee Conservancy, which organizes a national host-a-hive program to help protect and preserve the bee population. Psst—we found more green gift ideas to help pollinators and our planet.

Shop Now

20. Honeycomb Coasters

bumblebee coasters

Set your drink down on one of these honeycomb coasters, which are made from bamboo. They come in a set of six and at purchase, you can choose to donate $5 to HoneyLove, a bee-preservation nonprofit. A bee gift that gives back!

Shop Now

21. Bee Boots

Joules Mid Molly Welly rain boot

Keep feet dry, comfy AND cute with these adorable bright yellow bee wellies. You’ll hope for more rainy days just so you have an excuse to wear them! Here’s even more must-have boots for working in the garden.

Shop Now

22. Bee Earrings

bee earrings

Your ears will sparkle with this beautiful bee gift. The tiny bee stud earrings come in brass, gold or sterling silver options. So cute! Check out these pretty rose gifts for Mom.

Shop Now

23. Beeswax Candles

beeswax candles

These handmade, organic beeswax votive candles are sustainably made with beeswax from American bee farms. And they look just like tiny little bee hives! This would make a great bee gift for a housewarming party. Larger pillar candles are also available.

Shop Now

24. Honeypot with Wooden Dipper

honeypot

What a charming keepsake idea for a newborn baby, baptism or first birthday! Or this could be a sweet thank you gift for anyone who loves bees. The beehive shaped ceramic honeypot is decorated with tiny bumblebees. You also get an adorable wooden dipper stick. Next, check out these cute cactus gifts for cactus lovers.

Shop Now

If the mom in your life is always in the garden digging in the dirt, putting out sunflower seeds for backyard birds, or watering hanging baskets, the perfect present for Mother’s Day is a garden-themed gift. Here are 20 thoughtful Mother’s Day gardening gifts that will put a smile on her face and help her garden grow. Psst—also check out these bird themed gifts that are perfect for Mother’s Day.

08 Swl Bbxmay21 Etsy Covetedarts

Gardening Mug for Mom

Let mom show off her passion for gardening with this whimsical mug. Pair it with a bag of coffee or her favorite tea and she’ll think of you every time she enjoys a cup.

Shop Now

If Mom loves roses, check out pretty rose gifts for Mother’s Day.

08 Swl Bbxmay21 Uncommongoods

Birth Month Flower Candles

Pick a candle that both celebrates your mom and fills a room with the lovely aroma of her birth month’s flowers, even when they’re not blooming outside. This would also be a great gift to celebrate a new mom; choose the month her baby was born.

Shop Now

mothers day gardening gifts

Star Shower Garden Art

Add some twinkle to a backyard or garden at night with this battery-operated star shower art. It looks like a lovely watering can with sparking, tiny LED lights. We think this would look amazing illuminating a moon garden or a fairy garden.

Shop Now

mother's day garden gifts

Mother’s Day Planters

“Mom, thanks for helping me grow.” How adorable and fun are these Mother’s Day planters? The small pots come in six statement options ranging from cheeky to tear-jerking. Fill them with her favorite succulent or flower and you’ve got a memorable Mother’s Day garden gift she’s sure to love.

Shop Now

cratejoy bloom box

Cratejoy Garden Subscription Box

Cratejoy is a hub for subscription boxes for every hobby or interest. You’ll find several options for Mother’s Day garden gift subscription boxes here, including fresh blossoms, succulents, cacti, air plants, seeds, and more. Every month, she’ll get a delivery that includes everything she needs to get gardening (or pretty flowers to admire if she doesn’t have a green thumb).

Shop Now

bogs gardening shoes

Bogs Slip-On Garden Shoes

Every gardener needs a pair of slip-on garden shoes that will hold up (and look cute) rain or shine. Bogs slip-on garden shoes are waterproof and have good traction for muddy days. And the rose print? It has mom’s name all over it.

Shop Now

garden stones, mother's day garden gift

Personalized Garden Stone

Personalize a small or large decorative garden stone for a thoughtful Mother’s Day garden gift that’s sure to be treasured for years. The garden stones are painted with bees and flowers, then personalized with individual names. This version has space for 21 names if you have a big family. So cute!

Shop Now

mother's day wind chime

Mother’s Day Wind Chime

Whether it’s her first Mother’s Day or her 50th, she’ll adore this beautiful wind chime. The bottom tube paddle can be personalized with a custom message signed with your kids’ or grandkids’ names. Mom will think of you whenever the wind blows!

Shop Now

27022 1 640px

Hummingbird Stake

Handcrafted from copper and colored glass, the Humphrey the hummingbird bird stake is a charming addition to mom’s garden or flower pot. Over time, the copper will develop a lovely patina.

If mom really loves hummingbirds, check out the best hummingbird gifts.

golden oyster mushroom kit

Golden Oyster Mushroom Grow Kit

Give Mom some Mother’s Day gardening gifts she can grow AND eat. The golden oyster mushroom grow kit is easy to take care of, and mushroom gardeners have seen growth in as little as a few days. Yum! Check out more of the best mushroom growing kits and logs.

Shop Now

sun visor zappos, mothers day gardening gifts

Garden Visor

A good garden visor makes for a fantastic Mother’s Day garden gift. This option by Sunday Afternoons definitely fits the bill. It features a 4 1/4 curved brim to keep the sun out of her eyes, 50+ UPF protection, and an interior grosgrain sweatband. Plus, it’s chic and the adjustable band allows for multiple hairstyles.

Shop Now

Psst—don’t miss more sun hats and visors for gardening from Zappos.

Tube bird feeder

Copper Triple Tube Bird Feeder

This beautiful copper bird feeder has three feeding tubes, so mom can customize bird seed to different birds. This heavy duty feeder can hold up to 10 pounds of seeds, which means mom won’t have to refill it often. Psst—these are the 10 types of bird feeders you need in your backyard.

Shop Now

hanging planters, mother's day garden gifts

Set of Two Hanging Planters

Fill these beautiful hanging planters with mom’s favorite flowers and voila: the perfect Mother’s Day garden gift. The chic faux concrete black finish lets the flowers steal the show, and drainage holes and water storage are just smart. Learn how to plant a hanging flower basket in 5 easy steps.

Shop Now

garden stakes

Garden Marker Stakes

Is mom proud of her bountiful herb and veggie garden? She should be! Gift her with these beautiful garden marker stakes that add a touch of organization and class to rows of corn, basil, tomato…or anything she’s growing under the sun. Pair them with a seed storage container for a complete gift.

Shop Now

garden tools

Personalized Garden Tools

Hand’s off mom’s trowel! One of our favorite Mother’s Day gardening gifts is a nice heavy duty steel garden tool set that includes a trowel and raking/weeding tool, customized with mom’s name on the handle.

Shop Now

Get ready for Father’s Day, too! Don’t miss perfect gardening gifts for dads.

waxed garden apron, mothers day gifts gardening

Waxed Garden Apron

Change mom’s life with a garden apron! It’s made from cool, soft waxed cotton canvas and leather accents. Apron pocket space gives her a second set of “hands” for garden tools, gloves, or stashing her phone while she’s pruning and potting.

Shop Now

Does mom buzz about bees? Here are gift ideas for bee lovers.

oriole feeder

Clementine Oriole Feeder

This genius bird feeder draws orioles to mom’s backyard with oranges and jar of grape jelly! Orioles will be attracted to the orange color of the feeder, too.

Shop Now

butterfly gardening book

Birds & Blooms Gardening for Birds, Butterflies and Bees

Our beloved book, Gardening for Birds, Butterflies and Bees, teaches you how to attract birds and other pollinators to your backyard. It’s filled with expert tips and fantastic photos. (Okay, we’re a little biased, but we really do think this book is a great Mother’s Day garden gift!) Check out more of the top birding and gardening books we love.

Shop Now

08 Swl Bbxmay21 Perkypet

Coffee Pot Mesh Bird Feeder

For the mom who loves a cup of morning joe just as much as bird-watching, this coffee pot mesh bird feeder holds 2 lbs. of seed and offers an entertaining new focal point. We love that pretty blue color!

Shop Now

Learn how to choose the best hummingbird feeder.

08 Swl Bbxmay21 Etsy Bradsneed

Backyard Bird Note Cards

Send a fellow bird lover some happy mail with one of these illustrated folding notecards from a pack of eight. Any occasion is the right occasion to share these adorable birds. Mom will enjoy looking for these pretty feathered friends in her yard and garden!

Shop Now

Check out more of the best bird cards.

bee door knocker

Bee Door Knocker

This adorable bumblebee door knocker will have the neighborhood buzzing! It’s a perfect way for her to show her love of the black and yellow pollinators in her garden. The brass door knocker is available in two sizes — a larger “premium” size as well as a “standard” size — and different finishes including matte black, oiled bronze, nickel silver and brass.

Shop Now

See more bumblebee gifts.

Wayfair Bird Bath

Cast Iron Bird Bath

This super-sweet bird bath isn’t just a perfect gift for her — it’s a gift for her backyard birds, too! It stands a little less than 20 inches tall, and it’s made of cast iron, so it’ll continue to provide fresh water for her favorite feathered friends for a good, long while.

Shop Now

wingspan board game
Wingspan is a bird-themed board game

Wingspan is one of the most popular tabletop board games on Amazon, with over 7,000 reviews and 4.8 out of 5 stars at the time of publishing. The game has sold more than 1 million units worldwide. As if those stats aren’t impressive enough, the Wingspan board game is currently on sale for an additional $9 off!)

Jamey Stegmaier, who runs the day-to-day operations of tabletop game publishing company Stonemaier Games, told Birds & Blooms, “Wingspan features 180 unique bird cards, each illustrated by hand and designed based on the unique characteristics of the bird (and accompanied by bird facts on each card). Despite having that many cards, a turn of the game is distilled down to one of four choices: Do you play a bird, gain food, lay eggs, or gain more bird cards?”

Interested in adding adding Wingspan to your rotation for family game night? It makes a great gift for bird lovers. Here’s everything you need to know about this bestselling board game.

What is Wingspan?

wingspan
Game board with food tokens and bird cards

Wingspan is a bird-themed tabletop board game for 1 to 5 players. The game was designed by Elizabeth Hargrave. Each bird card includes information about the species’ habitat, preferred foods, type of nest, number of eggs laid, and more. There are tokens for five kinds of food (fish, rodents, seeds, worms and berries), wooden dice, and small wooden eggs in pretty colors. The dice tower is designed to look like an adorable little bird house. 

Pros

  • Beautiful design (we love the bird illustrations!)
  • Expert reviewed facts about birds
  • Short playing time (40 to 70 minutes)

Cons

Wingspan dice tower
The Wingspan dice tower looks like a bird house
  • There’s a learning curve, but a swift-start guide is provided for new players.
  • The cardboard dice tower was a bit tricky to put together (I damaged part of the cardboard while bending it into shape). Some players recommend this upgraded plastic tower available on Etsy.

How to Play the Wingspan Board Game

wingspan
Eggs on bird cards

Before playing the Wingspan board game for the first time, I highly recommend that you watch a video to become more familiar with the game pieces and game play strategies. As someone with very little tabletop game experience, I will admit to feeling confused in the beginning. However, the second time I played, it was much easier for me.

Every copy of Wingspan includes a “swift-start guide.” If you’re playing for the first time, just follow the steps on this guide. It will walk you through your first few turns, after which you’ll know how to play. I found this guide to be very helpful. If you’re a beginner like me, read the instructions closely and and take it slow.

Jamey says, “When you’re playing Wingspan for the first few times, I find it helpful to pick something that excites you and focus on it, even if you don’t win. For example, if you see a bird you like, go through the steps necessary to play that bird: Gain the bird card, gain the food necessary to play it, and play it. That bird may then have an ability that gives you an idea of what to do next. Focus on what’s fun for you as you become comfortable with the game.”

A complete game has four rounds, with a different group goal for each round, as well as personal goals that you can work toward. The winner is the player with the most combined points at the end of game play (bird cards, eggs, and food, plus the goals).

Check out perfect gifts for nature and outdoor lovers.

The Best Wingspan Board Game User Reviews

Image000000
The game is designed for 1 to 5 players

Verified Amazon purchaser Jason Klueber says
, “Everything about this game is, in a word, luxurious. The component quality is absolutely amazing from the cards through the surprisingly substantial egg minis down to the manual itself. A lot of care was taken to make this game a tactile delight, and it shows. Both (my wife and I) had an enormous amount of fun playing the game and are looking forward to more rounds going forward.”

Brittany Leigh writes, “Aside from the well thought out gameplay, the game is beautiful. Even the texture of the rule book is astonishingly pleasing. The play boards have a nice feel, the cards are sturdy, the pastel eggs are delightful. My favorite design aspect of the game is the wooden dice and rolling them in the birdhouse. If you’re trying to learn about birds, you most definitely can, you just have to give yourself time to play a little bit slower. There are pithy facts on each card, an accurate and well-illustrated image, a mini map, and a proportionate idea of how many eggs each species of bird could lay in a year.”

Mary Simonitch says, “The artwork is fantastic, and the bird information on the cards is great. It has a learning curve, but that should be expected with a game that is built on strategy, not complete luck.”

Where to Buy Wingspan

wingspan board game
Even cats love Wingspan

The Wingspan board game is sold at Target, Amazon, and Kohl’s. The regular price for the basic game is $60, with expansions available for European and Oceania birds. You can also order additional speckled eggs and upgrade to wooden food tokens.

Shop Now

Next, check out the best STEM toys, science kits, and nature games for kids.

indigo bunting
Look at field marks, habitat, location and more clues to identify an indigo bunting

“Look at that beautiful bird! And what a lovely song. I wonder what it is?” Experienced bird-watchers can identify birds 30 or even 50 feet away by looking for certain clues. The process is not magic. It is simply a skill that you learn with practice. Learning to identify birds is like putting together a puzzle or solving a mystery. Each species is unique, and often the sexes differ in appearance, which may require additional clues. Patience and practice will help, and the best place to start is your own backyard.

Start with the right tools. Every birder needs a good field guide, and there are a lot of options out there. I prefer The Sibley Guide to Birds, The National Audubon Society Guide to North American Birds, and The Peterson Field Guides to the Birds of North America. Here at Birds & Blooms, visit our Bird Species pages to learn about dozens of species you might find in your backyard. You can also find numerous other useful websites, like The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s All About Birds, which shows hundreds of North American birds along with their songs, habitats, ranges and other valuable information. There are even birding apps for iPhones and other mobile devices that give the same clues, complete with recordings of the bird’s call. A good pair of binoculars is also helpful.

Now that you’re armed with the right tools, it’s time to start practicing. Here are some simple steps toward identifying birds.

How to Identify Birds

identify birds
When working to identify birds, start by comparing it with the common and well-known American robin. Then run through a list of “clues”.

The clues to identifying any bird are basically the same: shape, size, coloring, unique field marks (wing bars, white outer tail feathers, eye lines), behavior, habitat, voice and geographic location. For backyard birds, start by comparing the visitor to an American robin, which nearly everyone knows. Then look at a field guide or online to discover where the clues lead.

Here’s an example:

identify birds
Male Eastern bluebird
  • Coloring and field marks: Like a robin, it has a brick-red breast, but unlike a robin, it has a brilliant blue back, head and tail. It is white under its tail.
  • Shape and size: The bird you are looking at is smaller than a robin, about the size of a sparrow.
  • Behavior: It spends its time off the ground, sitting quietly on a fence post or a utility wire.
  • Habitat: The bird seems to like being around open fields and grasslands, away from wooded areas.
  • Voice: It has a quiet and melodious chur-lee call.
  • Season and range: It’s May, and the bird is on a farm in Pennsylvania.

With these observations, you can determine that the only bird of this size that has a red breast and a blue back and sings a cheerful song on a Pennsylvania farm in May is a male eastern bluebird.

Seasonal Differences

scarlet tanager eating insect
Some birds like scarlet tanagers look very different in spring and fall. 

During the fall migration south by our summer birds, most warblers and many others lose their brilliant breeding plumage and take on a dull winter garb, so you’ll need other clues. A scarlet tanager male in fall, for example, is no longer a red bird with black wings but a yellow bird with black wings. And a male indigo bunting trades its brilliant blue plumage for the mottled blue and brown of autumn. Be sure to make note of the season and check your guide book for seasonal variations.

Identify Birds Quiz

Now that you’ve got the idea, here’s a chance to test your skills. See if you can use these clues to determine this bird ID.

  • Shape and size: The bird you are looking at is smaller than a robin, even smaller than a sparrow, almost tiny, with a cocked tail.
  • Coloring and field marks: It is brown overall, lighter below and almost chestnut above.
  • Behavior: A noisy little fussbudget, it flits here and there on the ground or in low trees, searching for insects.
  • Habitat: It seems to like backyards, especially with small trees and shrubs.
  • Voice: A loud, chattering song that sounds like a sewing machine, repeated over and over.
  • Season and range: This is June, and the bird is in a Wisconsin backyard with apple trees, shrubs and a flower garden.

Scroll down below the photo to see the answer.

Identify birds
Use the clues above to identify this mystery bird.

Did you figure it out? The answer is house wren. If you didn’t get it, don’t worry. Bird identification takes practice with both observation and your field guides. The more time you spend practicing, the easier it will get!

Next, check out the bird-watching equipment and gear you never knew you needed.

Container Gardening Ideas: Plant Multiples

Ken Orich of Lethbridge, Alberta, shares that one of his best container gardening ideas is to use space wisely by planting multiple plants in a single pot. He says, “When space is limited, I use a tomato cage in a pot and plant snow peas, scarlet runner beans and other climbers. I space the seeds about 1 inch apart both inside and outside the lowest ring.”

Learn how to plant a hanging flower basket in 5 easy steps.

Recycle Plastic Lids for Container Gardens

Instead of throwing plastic lids from food containers away, Mary Kay Wierenga of Saranac, Michigan, saves them for her garden. She says they make great drain dishes for different-shaped pots.

Clean out your clutter with even more recycled garden ideas.

Choose Plants for Container Gardens Carefully

Mary Anne Thygesen of Portland, Oregon, takes her time to make sure that the plants in her containers thrive under similar growing conditions. She says, “put full sun plants together—keep shade plants separate.”

Consider planting a few of the best shade plants for containers.

Add Coffee to Perk Up Container Gardens

Here’s a container garden idea that will be sure to give a plants a boost. To add nutrients to the soil of containers, Laurie Lundy of Forth Worth, Texas, looks no further than her morning cup of joe. She says, “When I was growing up, our neighbor always poured leftover coffee in her houseplants. I’ve been doing that and my plants love it!”

Should you use coffee grounds in the garden?

Design Containers Well for the Biggest Impact

Pat Northington of Austin, Texas, says, “I follow this rhyme when choosing plants for containers: a thriller, a spiller and a filler. More than that, though, use great soil and tightly pack in plants.”

Check out the top do’s and don’ts of garden containers.

Keep Your Patio Clean

Here’s a helpful container garden idea to keep your deck, patio or porch clean. “Cut landscape fabric or paper towels so it’s larger than the pot’s diameter,” says Donna Rearick of Saltsburg, Pennsylvania. “I place this over the drainage hole to keep the potting soil from filtering through.”

Grow potted flowers and plants that attract hummingbirds.

Container Garden Combinations for Spring

Ball Horticultural Company designed container gardening combos to provide inspiration and make your garden pop all season long. These container gardening ideas are perfect for brightening up your space without having to worry about what florals pair well with each other. The experts at Ball have compiled these container recipes with color, texture, and growing habits in mind. 

For a Grand Look

Forever Grand Mix21 29350

Group red verbena, white verbena, white euphorbia and scarlett portulaca together to make a statement in your spring garden.

Design a container with patriotic red, white, and blue flowers.

For a Container at the End of a Rainbow

container garden ideas, End Of The Rainbow Mix21 29353 Al

Combine the bronze scarlet canna, orange flame lantana, and gold mound sedum together to give a golden flare to your garden.

Try the top 10 golden plants to make your garden glow.

For a Dramatic and Daring Look

container garden ideas, The Black Knight Mix21 29354 Al

Pair the lancelot salvia, hemerocallis black stockings, wasabi coleus, red petunia, and black ipomoea together to make a bold statement for your outdoor garden.

Check out the top 10 black plants for your garden.

To Turn Up the Heat

container gardening ideas, Spicy Spotlight Mix21 29365

Pair the fire zinnia, salsa verde coleus, rose kiss calibrachoa, and red heart ipomoea together to add some zesty flavor to your spring gardening.

Add more garden pizzazz with the top 10 colorful coleus varieties.

Will a Hummingbird Use a Bird Bath?

hummingbird bird bath
Anna’s hummingbird enjoying a bird bath

Most backyard birds love to bathe and splash around in a bird bath, hummingbirds included! Although they occasionally stop at a shallow bath for a dip, these tiny birds prefer to wet their feathers by flying through or sitting under a gentle spray. One of the best ways to transform your landscape into an ideal hummingbird habitat is to incorporate a moving water feature. Add a bird bath for hummingbirds this year to attract even more of these tiny flyers.

Will hummingbirds use a birdhouse?

How to Set Up a Hummingbird Bird Bath

hummingbird bird bath
Hummingbird at a water feature

Attract hummingbirds with moving water from fountains or bird bath sprayer attachments. Unlike other birds, hummingbirds want a light shower instead of a complete soak because their primary concern is simply to get their feathers clean. Most of their other hydration needs are met by all the sugar water and liquid flower nectar they slurp up. Hummingbirds rinse off in the rain, at splashing streams or in the spray of waterfalls, and you can re-create the same kind of natural showers they love in your own backyard. It’s easy!

To set up an inexpensive solar fountain, you’ll need a basin deep enough to submerge a small pump or hold a floating model. The basin should be wide enough to catch and recycle the falling spray. A classic pedestal bird bath can work; its basin is usually both wide and deep. But because it may be too deep for hummingbirds, you should add stones if needed to keep the water shallow.

Here’s how to make a DIY hummingbird mister.

How to Maintain a Hummingbird Bird Bath

Bnbhc18 Tammy Windsor Brown 4
Female black-chinned hummingbird playing in a fountain

Maintenance is fairly simple, too. Make sure to keep an eye on the water level, especially on windy days. Refill the basin as needed to assure that the pump doesn’t run dry. The best thing about a solar fountain is that you don’t need an electrical outlet, so you can put the bird bath almost anywhere. Just be sure that the small solar panel attached by a cord to the pump, is in direct sunlight. The fountain may temporarily stop spraying on overcast days or if a large cloud moves across the sun. Once you have your solar fountain bubbling away, it’s time to amp things up.

Learn how to attract birds to a bird bath.

Place Perches Nearby

Bnbbyc17 Sina Norris
Young male ruby-throated hummingbird fluffing his feathers after a rain shower

To keep clean, hummingbirds preen their feathers after a bath or a visit to a mister. Add a tiny perch beside it so you can watch one of these busy birds for a few extra minutes as it stops to buzz its wings and contort its body to catch every drop of water. To make a resting spot, choose a slim branching stick (about 4 feet long) with twigs skinny enough for tiny feet to easily grasp. Dead, twiggy branches that fall from maples and other deciduous trees make ideal perches. Here’s how to make a DIY hummingbird swing.

Push the bottom of the stick into the soil beside the basin to anchor it. It’s even better if part of the branch extends through the spray, so hummingbirds can have a spot right in the droplets. Then just sit back and enjoy some special moments of watching zipping, preening hummingbirds in your backyard showers.

Learn how to repair a cracked bird bath.

Clean Your Hummingbird Bird Bath Frequently

hummingbird bird bath
Hummingbird splashing in a bubbling fountain

Clean water keeps hummingbirds coming back. Reader Lisa Swanson of Maricopa, Arizona, has this advice: “I disassemble my fountain and use a brush and warm water to clean it every two to three days, then refill it with fresh water.”

Find out how (and how often) to clean bird feeders.

august birth flower, poppy
Poppy in bloom

Two of summer’s most vibrant flowers—gladiolus and poppies—are also August’s birth flower. These colorful late-summer blooms have similar meanings rooted in strength, respect, and remembrance.

Here’s everything you need to know about the August birth flower. And if your friends and family have August birthdays, we found the best August floral-inspired gifts to help them celebrate. Who doesn’t love a gift inspired by flowers?

Not celebrating a August birthday? Don’t worry—we’ve got you covered with birth flower gift guides for February,  March, April, May, June and July too.

What Is the August Birth Flower?

female goldfinch
Female goldfinch on a gladiolus

The August birth flower is the gladiolus. The tall flowering plants bring bright pops of color in a wide array of colors like purple, pink, white, yellow, and even green to the garden. You can harvest fresh-cut flowers to create your own colorful bouquets all summer long. These easy to grow plants do best in full sun and look best when planted in bunches. Don’t miss the best hummingbird gifts for any occasion.

What Are the Meanings of August’s Birth Flower?

gladiolus and hummingbird
Gladiolus and hummingbird

The gladiolus stands for integrity, honor, and strength. The meaning of the gladiolus can be traced all the way back to ancient Rome when gladiators would be covered in gladiolus flowers after winning battles. The flower is also a symbol for healing. Check out the best gifts for bee lovers.

More August Birth Flowers

orange poppies august birth flower
Orange poppies

August has a second birth flower—the poppy. While the red poppy may be the most recognizable, poppies actually come in shades of yellow, orange and even blue too! Poppies symbolize respect and remembrance. Different color poppies also signify different meanings: red poppies mean pleasure; white poppies are given for consolation; and yellow poppies symbolize well wishes and success for the future.

Now that you know more about the August birth flower, we’ve got the perfect gifts for everyone on your August birthday list—from handmade coffee mugs and virtual painting classes to beautiful pieces of jewelry and everything in between.

August Birth Flower Poppy Gift Guide

Gladiolus Bulbs

gladiolus bulbs, august birth flower

Add bright pops of color to the birthday garden with this Mardi Gras mixture of gladiolus bulbs. These large funnel-shaped blooms will catch your eye with their vibrant shades of purple, pink and peach. Each set includes 10 bulbs. Tip: Plant bulbs every few weeks for continuous flowering throughout the season.

Shop Now

Personalized Poppy Note Cards Set

poppy notecards

This personalized birth flower stationery set includes 12 folded note cards with matching envelopes. The note cards include four different designs—each with a gorgeous array of vibrant red poppies on the front, along with the name of your choice. This is a thoughtful August birth flower gift!

Shop Now

Gladiolus Mug

august birth flower mug

These handmade birth flower mugs are imprinted with a stamp made from a custom gladiolus drawing, then painted in a beautifully colored gaze. The name of the month and flower, along with the flower’s meaning, is inscribed on the bottom of each mug.

Shop Now

Poppy Flower Grow Kit

poppy birth flower kit

Easily grow poppy flowers with this all-in-one birthday flower kit that’s sure to make any August birthday giftee smile. The kit includes seeds, a clear vase for planting, soil-less growing material, instructions and information about what the August birth flower symbolizes. Fun!

Shop Now

Gladiolus Necklace

gladiolus necklace

Enjoy Great Gatsby Art Deco vibes with this gladiolus necklace. The diamond-shaped hard enamel pendant is dipped in your choice of 18 karat gold or sterling silver and features three words describing the symbolism of the gladiolus on the back: integrity, persistence and strength.

Shop Now

Virtual Flower Painting Class

flower painting class

Give the gift of flowers that don’t fade. Learn to paint a personalized watercolor featuring your birth month flower in this 90-minute online class. An expert instructor guides you step-by-step through the process of creating your own piece of floral art. Supplies are not included as part of this package. Use what you already have or purchase the materials from the recommended supply list.

Shop Now

Poppy Enamel Keychain

august birth flower poppy keychain

Proudly carry the August birth flower all year long with this poppy-shaped enamel keychain. There’s also an option to add an engraved brass tag and gift wrapping for that extra special touch.

Shop Now

Poppy Birth Flower Bracelet

poppy bracelet

This dainty birth flower bracelet showcases a beautiful hand-stamped image of a poppy on a charm that hangs from a silver or gold chain. This gift is beautifully presented in custom packaging that includes the name of the birth month, birth flower and symbolism.

Shop Now

Poppy Cell Phone Case

poppy phone case

Dress up your cell phone with this cheerful case covered in a colorful red and white poppy flower print. Available in a wide variety of sizes to fit your personal device, this snap case is also available in your choice of soft silicone or hard plastic. Here are unique gifts for butterfly lovers.

Shop Now

Personalized Poppy Art Print

august birth flower poppy art print

Celebrate August birthdays with this personalized art print. The centerpiece is three vibrant red poppies, hand-illustrated by the artist. The name of the month, symbolism of the flower and the name of your choice are also included. Choose a digital format to print yourself or have a copy shipped to you.

Shop Now

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top button