Ever pondered about the avian visitors gracing your Manitoba backyard? This comprehensive handbook serves as your trusty companion, guiding you through the process of visually and audibly identifying these elusive birds and enlightening you on the specific seasons they frequent in Manitoba.
Year-round residents of Manitoba’s backyard include the Black-capped Chickadee, American Crow, Blue Jay, White-breasted Nuthatch, House Sparrow, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Black-billed Magpie, Rock Pigeon, European Starling, Red-breasted Nuthatch, and House Finch.
Throughout the summer, a diverse array of avian species embellishes the Manitoba backyard, including the American Robin, Red-winged Blackbird, Dark-eyed Junco, Song Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, Chipping Sparrow, American Goldfinch, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Common Grackle, Mourning Dove, Yellow Warbler, Northern Flicker, Barn Swallow, Western Meadowlark, Clay-colored Sparrow, Pine Siskin, Common Yellowthroat, and Brown-headed Cowbird.
These prominent backyard birds, frequently documented by avid birdwatchers on ebird, represent the most prevalent avian guests you may encounter on your lawn or by your feeders. This informative article offers invaluable identification details and captivating photographs to enhance your ability to identify and entice an even greater assortment of these common backyard birds indigenous to Manitoba.
31 Familiar Backyard Birds in Manitoba
1. Black-capped Chickadee
The Black-capped Chickadee, a year-round resident in Manitoba, tends to grace winter checklists more prominently. This can be attributed to the scarcity of other bird species during winter, leading them to frequent feeders more frequently. Migration is not part of their repertoire, with 26% of summer checklists and 62% of winter checklists submitted by dedicated birdwatchers in Manitoba capturing their presence.
Sporting a charming round head atop a diminutive frame, the Black-capped Chickadee fearlessly explores its surroundings, including its human observers. With their characteristic black caps and beaks, accompanied by white cheeks, these adorable birds showcase a gray plumage on their back, wings, and tail.
- Poecile atricapillus
- Length: 4.7-5.9 in (12-15 cm)
- Weight: 0.3-0.5 oz (9-14 g)
- Wingspan: 6.3-8.3 in (16-21 cm)
Black-capped Chickadees can be spotted in the northern regions of the United States and Canada. Their preferred habitats include forests, open woods, and parks. As for their dietary preferences, they savor seeds, berries, insects, spiders, and suet.
2. American Crow
While the American Crow spends its breeding season in Manitoba, their numbers surge during migration. They make appearances in 37% of summer checklists and up to 54% of checklists during migration.
Distinguished by their large, all-black physique, American Crows emit a distinct hoarse, cawing sound.
- Corvus brachyrhynchos
- Length: 15.8-20.9 in (40-53 cm)
- Weight: 11.2-21.9 oz (316-620 g)
- Wingspan: 33.5-39.4 in (85-100 cm)
Resident throughout most of the lower 48 states, the Pacific Coast of Canada, and Alaska, American Crows eschew migration, except for those breeding in Canada and the northern Midwest, who migrate south for winter. Their adaptability allows them to thrive in diverse habitats, such as treetops, woods, fields, beaches, and even urban areas. Their diet encompasses a wide range of food, including earthworms, insects, seeds, fruit, fish, turtles, mussels, clams, and even eggs and nestlings of other bird species. In winter, American Crows gather in massive roosts, numbering up to two million individuals, creating a noisy spectacle.
3. American Robin
The American Robin graces Manitoba with its presence during the breeding season and frequents 47% of summer checklists. Although primarily observed from April to October, some individuals remain in the province year-round, accounting for 1% of winter checklists.
Recognizable by their black heads and backs contrasted with vibrant red or orange breasts, American Robins are a common sight as they forage for earthworms on lawns. During winter, they tend to roost in trees, making spring the ideal season to spot them in your backyard.
- Turdus migratorius
- Length: 7.9-11.0 in (20-28 cm)
- Weight: 2.7-3.0 oz (77-85 g)
- Wingspan: 12.2-15.8 in (31-40 cm)
American Robins reside year-round in the lower 48 states, along the coast of Western Canada, and Alaska. Those breeding in Canada and inland Alaska undertake southward migration during winter. They inhabit various habitats, ranging from woodlands, forests, and mountains to fields, parks, and lawns. Their diet consists of earthworms, insects, snails, and fruit.
4. Blue Jay
While more commonly sighted during winter, Blue Jays are present in Manitoba throughout the year. They appear in 18% of summer checklists and 33% of winter checklists.
Blue Jays, with their striking blue upright crests, blue and black plumage, and white undersides, add a vibrant touch to any landscape.
- Cyanocitta cristata
- Length: 9.8-11.8 in (25-30 cm)
- Weight: 2.5-3.5 oz (70-100 g)
- Wingspan: 13.4-16.9 in (34-43 cm)
Residing in the eastern states of the U.S. and southern Canada year-round, Blue Jays occasionally embark on westward migrations for the winter, although not as frequently. These noisy birds are often found in forests, particularly near oak trees, as they have a fondness for acorns. They are also frequent visitors to backyard feeders. In addition to acorns, their diet includes insects, nuts, seeds, and grains. Blue Jays have been known to raid nests for eggs and nestlings as well.
5. White-breasted Nuthatch
While White-breasted Nuthatches are more prevalent in winter checklists, they remain year-round residents in Manitoba. They appear in 14% of summer checklists and 38% of winter checklists.
These active little birds sport a gray-blue back, white face and belly, and a distinctive black cap. Some individuals may exhibit chestnut coloring on the lower belly and under the tail.
- Sitta carolinensis
- Length: 5.1-5.5 in (13-14 cm)
- Weight: 0.6-1.1 oz (18-30 g)
- Wingspan: 7.9-10.6 in (20-27 cm)
White-breasted Nuthatches can be found throughout the year in the United States and southern Canada. They thrive in deciduous forests, woodland edges, parks, and yards adorned with trees or feeders. Their diet primarily consists of insects such as beetles and their larvae, caterpillars, ants, and spiders. Additionally, White-breasted Nuthatches enjoy seeds and nuts, including acorns, hawthorns, sunflower seeds, and occasionally corn crops. They exhibit a unique behavior of wedging large nuts and acorns into tree bark and then using their bills to “hatch” them open to access the tasty seeds within.
6. House Sparrow
As an introduced species in Manitoba, House Sparrows can be observed year-round. They do not migrate and are documented in 20% of summer checklists and 30% of winter checklists submitted by birdwatchers in the province.
House Sparrows exhibit gray and brown heads, white cheeks, black and brown backs, and gray bellies.
- Passer domesticus
- Length: 5.9-6.7 in (15-17 cm)
- Weight: 0.9-1.1 oz (27-30 g)
- Wingspan: 7.5-9.8 in (19-25 cm)
These adaptable birds can be found near houses, buildings, and other human settlements. They often display a level of comfort around humans, and some individuals may even approach to feed from your hand. House Sparrows primarily consume grain, seeds, and discarded food. While they are considered non-native and, in some cases, pests, they are frequently observed in backyards, even without intentional feeding.
7. Downy Woodpecker
Downy Woodpeckers grace Manitoba throughout the year, although they are more commonly spotted during winter. They appear in 12% of summer checklists and 32% of winter checklists.
These small woodpeckers are often found among other bird species, such as chickadees and nuthatches, at backyard feeders. They possess black and white plumage, with a distinctive red patch at the back of their heads. While they resemble the Hairy Woodpecker, they are smaller in size.
- Dryobates pubescens
- Length: 5.5-6.7 in (14-17 cm)
- Weight: 0.7-1.0 oz (21-28 g)
- Wingspan: 9.8-11.8 in (25-30 cm)
Downy Woodpeckers do not undertake migratory journeys and can be found in most states and provinces, with the exception of the northern regions of Canada. Their preferred habitats include woodlots, streamside areas, city parks, and of course, backyards. They primarily feed on insects and beetle larvae but also consume berries, acorns, and grains.
8. Red-winged Blackbird
Red-winged Blackbirds are frequently observed in Manitoba during the breeding season and appear in 39% of summer checklists submitted by birdwatchers. While many individuals migrate south for the winter, a few remain in the province year-round.
These blackbirds exhibit an all-black appearance, except for the striking reddish-orange wing patches. Females, on the other hand, display a more subdued, streaky brown coloration.
- Agelaius phoeniceus
- Length: 6.7-9.1 in (17-23 cm)
- Weight: 1.1-2.7 oz (32-77 g)
- Wingspan: 12.2-15.8 in (31-40 cm)
Red-winged Blackbirds remain year-round residents in the lower 48 states and the Pacific Coast of British Columbia. However, those that breed in Canada and some northern U.S. states migrate south for the winter. These birds can often be spotted perched on telephone wires, and the males are known for fiercely defending their territories during the breeding season, sometimes even confronting humans who approach their nests. In winter, they gather in large roosts, sometimes numbering in the millions.
To attract Red-winged Blackbirds to your backyard, you can provide them with a mix of grains and seeds spread on the ground. They are also known to frequent large tube feeders or platform feeders.
Blackbirds comprise a vast avian family with numerous species. Exploring the diverse array of blackbirds in Manitoba can be an exciting endeavor.
9. Hairy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpeckers are primarily spotted in Manitoba from September to mid-March, although they can be found year-round without undertaking migratory journeys. They appear in 12% of summer checklists and 31% of winter checklists.
Medium-sized and sporting a black and white plumage pattern, Hairy Woodpeckers feature a prominent white patch on their backs. Males possess a flash of red towards the back of their heads.
- Dryobates villosus
- Length: 7.1-10.2 in (18-26 cm)
- Weight: 1.4-3.4 oz (40-95 g)
- Wingspan: 13.0-16.1 in (33-41 cm)
Hairy Woodpeckers can be found across all U.S. states and Canada, except for the far north of Canada. They inhabit woodlands, particularly the trunks or main branches of large trees. However, they can also be encountered in a variety of habitats, including woodlots, parks, and cemeteries. Their diet primarily consists of insects.
10. Dark-eyed Junco
Dark-eyed Juncos breed in Manitoba, with their numbers increasing during spring and fall migration from March to May and September to November.
During migration, they appear in up to 65% of checklists. Additionally, some individuals can be spotted during winter in the southern regions.
Dark-eyed Juncos belong to the sparrow family and exhibit different colors based on their geographic location. In the eastern regions, they are generally slate-colored, while in the west, they display a combination of black, white, and brown.
- Junco hyemalis
- Length: 5.5-6.3 in (14-16 cm)
- Weight: 0.6-1.1 oz (18-30 g)
- Wingspan: 7.1-9.8 in (18-25 cm)
Dark-eyed Juncos are year-round residents in northeastern and western U.S. states, as well as the Appalachian Mountains. Those breeding in Canada and Alaska migrate south to the United States during winter. These sparrows are commonly found in open and partially wooded areas, often foraging on the ground. They are widespread across the continent.
As you delve into the diverse avian population of Manitoba, you’ll discover an enchanting array of bird species that grace your backyard with their presence throughout the year and during specific seasons. Observing and appreciating these feathered visitors will undoubtedly enhance your connection with nature.
11. Song Sparrows
Sparrow breeds in Manitoba during the months of April to October and can be found in 32% of summer checklists.
With their unremarkable appearance, primarily brown-streaked feathers, Song Sparrows rely on their continuous song to attract mates during the spring and summer months.
- Scientific name: Melospiza melodia
- Size: 4.7-6.7 in (12-17 cm)
- Weight: 0.4-1.9 oz (12-53 g)
- Wingspan: 7.1-9.4 in (18-24 cm)
These sparrows are year-round residents in the northern states of the US. However, the ones breeding in Canada migrate to the southern US states for the winter.
Song Sparrows can be found in open, shrubby, and wet areas, often perched on low shrubs while singing. They are known to frequent backyard feeders as well.
Their diet consists of a wide variety of insects and plants, including beetles, caterpillars, midges, spiders, and earthworms. They also feed on grains such as buckwheat, sunflower, raspberries, wild cherries, blackberries, wheat, and rice.
12. White-throated Sparrow
Manitoba welcomes the beautiful White-throated Sparrow during its breeding season from May to October. However, their numbers increase during the migration in May and September to October.
White-throated Sparrows are easily recognized by their distinctive black and white striped heads, bright white throats, and yellow patches between the eye and bill. Their backs are brown, and their undersides are gray.
- Scientific name: Zonotrichia albicollis
- Size: 6.3-7.1 in (16-18 cm)
- Weight: 0.8-1.1 oz (22-32 g)
- Wingspan: 7.9-9.1 in (20-23 cm)
These migratory birds breed primarily in Canada and parts of the Rockies and the Appalachian Mountains. They then migrate to southern US states for the winter.
White-throated Sparrows can be spotted in forests, woods, and along wooded edges, often seen in large flocks.
Their diet mainly consists of grass and weed seeds, along with fruits such as grapes, sumac, mountain ash, blueberries, blackberries, and dogwood. They also feed on insects found on the forest floor, particularly during the summer months.
13. Black-billed Magpie
The striking Black-billed Magpie is a frequent visitor to Manitoba during the winter season. However, they are year-round residents in the province and do not migrate. They can be observed in 10% of summer checklists and 19% of winter checklists.
Black-billed Magpies, commonly referred to as Magpies, are known for their black and white plumage, long tails, and blue-green iridescent flashes on their wings and tail. Male Magpies are about 25% heavier than females.
- Scientific name: Pica hudsonia
- Size: 17.7-23.6 in (45-60 cm)
- Weight: 5.1-7.4 oz (145-210 g)
- Wingspan: 22.1-24.0 in (56-61 cm)
These birds are found in northwestern US states, western Canada, and the coast of Alaska. They are non-migratory.
Black-billed Magpies can be seen walking on the ground in meadows, grasslands, and open areas, where they feed on fruits, grains, beetles, grasshoppers, small mammals, bird eggs, nestlings, and carrion.
Their vocalizations consist of a series of harsh calls and occasional screams.
14. Chipping Sparrow
Manitoba is home to the delightful Chipping Sparrow, which breeds in the region and appears in 31% of summer checklists. These charming sparrows arrive in April and begin their departure in October.
Chipping Sparrows are slender birds with long tails, sporting a grayish belly, brown and black-streaked back, rusty crown, and a distinctive black eye line. Their colors become more subdued during the winter season.
- Scientific name: Spizella passerina
- Size: 4.7-5.9 in (12-15 cm)
- Weight: 0.4-0.6 oz (11-16 g)
- Wingspan: 8.3 in (21 cm)
During the summer, Chipping Sparrows breed in the United States and Canada, with some individuals remaining in the southern states throughout the year.
These sparrows can be observed in small flocks on open ground and are often attracted to backyard feeders offering various types of birdseed.
15. American Goldfinches
In southern Manitoba, the vibrant American Goldfinches can be spotted during their breeding season, primarily from May to September. While most individuals migrate, a few stay in the region year-round. They are present in 25% of summer checklists and 1% of winter checklists submitted by bird watchers.
American Goldfinches are beloved for their bright yellow plumage in males during spring, while females and winter males display a more subdued brown coloration.
- Scientific name: Spinus tristis
- Size: 4.3-5.1 in (11-13 cm)
- Weight: 0.4-0.7 oz (11-20 g)
- Wingspan: 7.5-8.7 in (19-22 cm)
These goldfinches can be found throughout most of North America, remaining resident year-round in many regions. However, those that breed in Canada and the Midwest migrate to southern US states for the winter.
They are commonly observed in weedy fields, overgrown areas, suburbs, parks, and backyards, foraging on sunflower, thistle, and aster plants. Insects also contribute to their diet during the summer months.
16. Yellow-rumped Warbler
During the breeding season, the beautiful Yellow-rumped Warbler graces Manitoba with its presence. However, their numbers increase during migration, occurring from April to May and September to October. They appear in 21% of summer checklists and up to 42% of checklists during migration.
Yellow-rumped Warblers are predominantly gray with flashes of yellow on their face, sides, and rump. Their wings display white patches.
- Scientific name: Setophaga coronata
- Size: 4.7-5.5 in (12-14 cm)
- Weight: 0.4-0.5 oz (12-13 g)
- Wingspan: 7.5-9.1 in (19-23 cm)
These warblers predominantly breed in Canada and select regions of the Rockies and the Appalachian Mountains. During migration, they can be found in the Midwest before overwintering in southern and southwestern US states, along the Pacific Coast, Mexico, and Central America.
Yellow-rumped Warblers can be found in coniferous forests during the breeding season, while open areas with fruiting shrubs serve as their winter habitat. Their diet consists mainly of insects during the summer, transitioning to a fruit-based diet during migration and winter, including bayberry and wax myrtle fruits.
17. Common Grackles
Despite being classified as a near-threatened species, Common Grackles are frequently spotted in Manitoba during the summer, appearing in 21% of checklists at this time. They can be observed during the breeding season from April to mid-November, with some individuals remaining throughout the year Common Grackles, larger and longer-tailed than typical blackbirds, are easily recognized by their glossy iridescent bodies.
- Scientific name: Quiscalus quiscula
- Size: 11.0-13.4 in (28-34 cm)
- Weight: 2.6-5.0 oz (74-142 g)
- Wingspan: 14.2-18.1 in (36-46 cm)
While Common Grackles are year-round residents in southeastern states, those breeding in Canada and the Midwest migrate south for the winter.
They have a diverse diet, often feeding on crops such as corn. Common Grackles are known for gathering in noisy groups and can be found in various habitats, including open woodlands, marshes, parks, and fields. They are also known to gather in large numbers during winter, often mixed with other blackbird species.
18. Mourning Dove
Manitoba is home to the graceful Mourning Dove during the breeding season, and they can be observed in 21% of summer checklists. These doves primarily appear from April to October.
Mourning Doves have a distinctive appearance, featuring small heads, plump bodies, and long tails. They exhibit a soft brown color with black spots on their wings. Males are slightly heavier than females.
- Scientific name: Zenaida macroura
- Size: 9.1-13.4 in (23-34 cm)
- Weight: 3.0-6.0 oz (96-170 g)
- Wingspan: 17.7 in (45 cm)
While Mourning Doves can be found throughout all of the lower 48 states year-round, they may migrate from the northern Midwest and southern Canada after breeding.
These doves can be seen perching on telephone wires and foraging for seeds on the ground in grasslands, fields, and even backyards. They are adaptable and can be found in a range of habitats, including open areas and woodland edges.
19. Yellow Warbler
The vibrant Yellow Warbler is frequently spotted in Manitoba during the breeding season, occurring from May to September. They appear in 27% of summer checklists, making them one of the most commonly seen yellow birds in the region.
Yellow Warblers are small, bright yellow birds with a yellow-green back. Males display chestnut streaks on their breast.
- Scientific name: Setophaga petechia
- Size: 4.7-5.1 in (12-13 cm)
- Weight: 0.3-0.4 oz (9-11 g)
- Wingspan: 6.3-7.9 in (16-20 cm)
These warblers migrate long distances to breed in Canada and the US, excluding southeastern states. They then head back to Central and South America for winter. However, they can be seen during migration in southeastern US states.
Yellow Warblers are commonly found along streams, wetlands, thickets, and field edges. They forage for insects, including caterpillars, midges, beetles, bugs, and wasps.
20. Rock Pigeons
Rock Pigeons are year-round residents in Manitoba, mainly in the southern part of the province. They are recorded in 7% of summer checklists and 10% of winter checklists.
Rock Pigeons have blueish gray plumage with two black bands on their wings and a black tail tip. They feature iridescent throat feathers and orange eyes.
- Scientific name: Columba livia
- Size: 11.8-14.2 in (30-36 cm)
- Weight: 9.3-13.4 oz (265-380 g)
- Wingspan: 19.7-26.4 in (50-67 cm)
Pigeons can be found throughout all US states, southern Canada, and the Pacific Coast up to Alaska.
Rock Pigeons are often seen in urban areas, including cities and towns, where they visit backyards and parks. They are particularly attracted to birdseed scattered on the ground. However, some cities have regulations against feeding pigeons due to their classification as pests.
21. Northern Flickers
Northern Flickers spend the breeding season in Manitoba, primarily from April to October, although some individuals remain throughout the year. They are present in up to 13% of summer checklists and 1% of winter checklists.
Northern Flickers are large brown woodpeckers with striking black spots and a white patch on their rump, visible during flight. Males have a red nape of the neck, while the wing and tail feathers of birds originating from different regions may display red or yellow flashes.
- Scientific name: Colaptes auratus
- Size: 11.0-12.2 in (28-31 cm)
- Weight: 3.9-5.6 oz (110-160 g)
- Wingspan: 16.5-20.1 in (42-51 cm)
Northern Flickers can be found throughout the United States all year and in Canada during the summer. Those that breed in Canada migrate south for the winter.
They primarily feed on ants, beetles, fruits, and seeds, often foraging on the ground and using their curved bill to dig. Their unique appearance and distinctive calls make them a joy to observe in wooded areas.
22. Barn Swallow
Manitoba is graced by the presence of the Barn Swallow during the summer months, appearing in 19% of checklists. These swallows can be observed from April to October.
Barn Swallows are small birds with deep-blue backs, wings, and tails, along with reddish-brown undersides and distinctive tail feathers that create a deep fork. Their back coloration may sometimes give the illusion of black-and-white markings.
- Scientific name: Hirundo rustica
- Size: 5.9-7.5 in (15-19 cm)
- Weight: 0.6-0.7 oz (17-20 g)
- Wingspan: 11.4-12.6 in (29-32 cm)
These swallows breed in Canada and the United States before embarking on their migration to Central and South America. Barn Swallows are commonly found flying over meadows, farms, and fields as they hunt for insects. They often build their mud nests on man-made structures such as barns.
23. Western Meadowlarks
Western Meadowlarks are frequently spotted in Manitoba during the summer, particularly from March to October in the southern part of the province. They appear in 16% of summer checklists.
With their bright yellow bellies and melodious songs, Western Meadowlarks can bring joy to any observer. In fact, they are the state bird of six US states due to their popularity.
Western Meadowlarks, members of the blackbird family, are approximately the same size as a Robin. They exhibit shades of brown and white on their upperparts, with a distinctive black V-shaped band adorning their bright yellow chests, which turns gray during the winter.
- Scientific name: Sturnella neglecta
- Size: 6.3-10.2 in (16-26 cm)
- Weight: 3.1-4.1 oz (89-115 g)
- Wingspan: 16.1 in (41 cm)
These meadowlarks breed in northern US states and Canada before migrating south to more southern regions. They can be found foraging for insects and seeds from weeds, often in grasslands, meadows, and fields.
24. Clay-colored Spar
Clay-colored Sparrows spend the breeding season in Manitoba and are observed in 21% of summer checklists. They can be seen from May to September in the southern part of the province.
These small and plain birds, native to the northern prairies and Great Plains, possess distinctive head markings that set them apart from other sparrows. They feature a gray collar around their necks and sport long notched tails.
- Scientific name: Spizella pallida
- Size: 5.1-6.0 in (13-15 cm)
- Weight: 0.42 oz (12 g)
- Wingspan: 7.5 in (19 cm)
Clay-colored Sparrows are the most prevalent sparrows during the summer in the northern prairies. They breed in Canada and the northern Great Plains before migrating south to Texas and Mexico.
During the summer, Clay-colored Sparrows can be found in shrublands, where they search for seeds, leaf buds, and occasional insects.
25. European Starlings
European Starlings, although introduced to Manitoba, are residents in the province throughout the year. They appear in 9% of summer checklists and 5% of winter checklists submitted by birdwatchers.
European Starlings are not native to North America but have become one of the most abundant songbirds. These stocky black birds exhibit iridescent purple, green, and blue tones.
- Scientific name: Sturnus vulgaris
- Size: 7.9-9.1 in (20-23 cm)
- Weight: 2.1-3.4 oz (60-96 g)
- Wingspan: 12.2-15.8 in (31-40 cm)
European Starlings can be found throughout North America, with the exception of the northern regions of Canada and Alaska.
Considered by some as pests due to their aggressive behavior, European Starlings form large, noisy flocks and are often seen perched on tree tops or flying over fields.
26. Red-breasted Nuthatches
Red-breasted Nuthatches spend the breeding season in northern Manitoba, while they can be found throughout the year in the southern part of the province. They appear in 4% of summer checklists and 11% of winter checklists.
These small birds display blue-gray plumage with black and white stripes on their heads and a rusty underside.
- Scientific name: Sitta canadensis
- Size: 4.3 in (11 cm)
- Weight: 0.3-0.5 oz (8-13 g)
- Wingspan: 7.1-7.9 in (18-20 cm)
Red-breasted Nuthatches are year-round residents in northeastern and western US states, Alaska, and Canada. However, they may migrate south in winter if cone crops are scarce.
These nuthatches can often be found in coniferous woods, foraging for seeds from cones. They may also visit backyard feeders.
27. Pine Siskins
Pine Siskins spend the breeding season in Manitoba, and their numbers increase during migration in May and from September to October. They appear in 8% of summer checklists and up to 17% of checklists during migration.
Pine Siskins are small brown finches with yellow streaks on their wings and tails. They possess a forked tail and pointed wings, accompanied by a short, pointed bill.
- Scientific name: Spinus pinus
- Size: 4.3-5.5 in (11-14 cm)
- Weight: 0.4-0.6 oz (12-18 g)
- Wingspan: 7.1-8.7 in (18-22 cm)
Pine Siskins remain throughout the year in pine forests of western states and along the Canadian border Pine Siskins are predominantly found in the western United States and Canada, where they inhabit pine forests. However, their range can extend over much of North America depending on the availability of pine cone crops.
These finches primarily feed on the seeds of conifers but also consume young buds and seeds from grasses and weeds.
28. Common Yellowthroats
Common Yellowthroats spend the breeding season in Manitoba and are observed in 15% of summer checklists. They can be spotted from mid-April to October.
Common Yellowthroats are small songbirds with brownish backs and bright yellow undersides. The males feature black masks across their faces. The brightness of the yellow coloration can vary geographically, and individuals in some areas may appear more olive-toned.
- Scientific name: Geothlypis trichas
- Size: 4.3-5.1 in (11-13 cm)
- Weight: 0.3-0.3 oz (9-10 g)
- Wingspan: 5.9-7.5 in (15-19 cm)
These birds spend the summer breeding in most parts of North America, excluding Alaska and northern Canada. Some individuals remain along the Gulf Coast and Pacific Southwest throughout the year, while others migrate south for the winter.
Common Yellowthroats can often be found in marshy or wetland areas and brushy fields, thriving in thick, tangled vegetation.
29. Brown-headed Cowbirds
Brown-headed Cowbirds are observed in Manitoba during the summer and appear in 18% of checklists at this time. They breed from April to mid-November, and a few individuals may remain throughout the year.
Male Brown-headed Cowbirds are larger than females, featuring black bodies and brown heads with short tails. Females, on the other hand, are brown all over with slight streaking.
- Scientific name: Molothrus ater
- Size: 7.6-8.7 in (19-22 cm)
- Weight: 1.3-1.8 oz (42-50 g)
- Wingspan: 14.2 in (36 cm)
While Brown-headed Cowbirds are resident throughout southeastern and southern United States, those that breed in northern and western states, as well as Canada, migrate south for the winter.
These cowbirds have a diverse diet, including many crops, but they primarily feed on corn. They tend to gather in noisy groups high up in trees. Although they can be a nuisance by consuming garbage, they also play a role in the ecosystem by controlling insect populations.
30. House Finches
House Finches, introduced to Manitoba, are year-round residents in the province, appearing in 4% of summer checklists and 8% of winter checklists submitted by birdwatchers.
Male House Finches boast a red head and breast, while the rest of their bodies are primarily brown-streaked. Females, on the other hand, display a similar brown-streaked appearance all over.
- Scientific name: Haemorhous mexicanus
- Size: 5.1-5.5 in (13-14 cm)
- Weight: 0.6-0.9 oz (16-27 g)
- Wingspan: 7.9-9.8 in (20-25 cm)
Originally found only in western United States, House Finches were introduced to eastern states and have thrived, often outcompeting the native Purple Finch.
These finches can be found in parks, farms, forest edges, and backyard feeders, often forming noisy groups that are hard to miss.
In conclusion, Manitoba is home to a diverse array of bird species, each with its own unique characteristics and habits. From the melodious songs of the Western Meadowlark to the distinctive markings of the Clay-colored Sparrow, observing and appreciating these birds can bring joy and wonder to birdwatchers in Manitoba.
To attract a variety of bird species to your backyard in Manitoba, it is important to provide suitable habitat and food sources. Consider using different types of bird feeders, such as tube feeders, ground feeders, platform feeders, peanut feeders, and suet feeders, to cater to the various feeding preferences of different bird species.
Creating a water feature, such as a birdbath fountain or stream, will also attract birds, providing them with a refreshing water source for drinking and bathing.
Planting native trees, shrubs, and flowers in your yard will not only beautify the landscape but also provide essential food and shelter for birds. Choose species that produce fruits, berries, and nuts, such as blackberries, elderberries, sumacs, and dogwoods, as well as flowering plants like purple coneflowers and sunflowers, which attract insects that birds feed on.
Maintaining a natural and pesticide-free environment in your yard is crucial for the well-being of birds. Avoid using pesticides and herbicides, as these can be harmful to birds and disrupt their natural foraging behaviors.
Installing nest boxes in suitable locations can provide nesting opportunities for birds, supporting their breeding populations. Ensure that the nest boxes are cleaned annually to maintain their hygiene.
When identifying birds in Manitoba, pay attention to their size, shape, color patterns, behavior, and habitat. You can use bird identification apps or field guides to assist you in accurately identifying the birds you encounter.
Whether you are observing the graceful flight of a Barn Swallow, marveling at the vibrant colors of an American Goldfinch, or delighting in the melodious song of a Yellow Warbler, birdwatching in Manitoba offers endless opportunities to connect with nature and appreciate the beauty of these feathered creatures.
So grab your binoculars, set up your feeders, and immerse yourself in the fascinating world of birds that call Manitoba home. Happy birdwatching!