Which birds can you attract to your yard?

Learn which birds you might be able to attract to your yard.

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There are hundreds of bird species that live in and migrate through the Phoenix area. Below are just a few that you can attract by making your backyard more bird friendly.


Hummingbirds are a joy to see and can become regular visitors to your yard through the addition of plants that attract them.

Anna’s Hummingbird  (Calypte anna)
These hummingbirds are now the most common species seen in gardens and at backyard feeders in Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona. Prior to the 1960's they were mostly only a temporary resident during the winter months - the remainder of the year their permanent home was coastal Southern California. The popularity of feeders no doubt has played a role in this population shift. (arizonensis.org)

Costa’s Hummingbird  (Calypte costae)
These tiny birds (9 cm) mostly migrate south during the winter months, Nov through Jan-Feb, but a few remain in protected, warmer areas. Canyons and mountains where ocotillo and chuparosa are abundant, these plants are favorite nesting spots for Costa's Hummingbirds. (arizonensis.org)

Black-chinned Hummingbird  (Archilochus alexandri)
These are “summer hummers”, migrating to Phoenix from April during the summer months, breeding from April through July, then flying back to Mexico in the winter (desertmuseum.org). Black-chins have adapted well to urban settings, as long as water, numerous flowering shrubs and vines, and tall trees are nearby (desertusa.com).

Arizona’s Common Birds in Decline

Many of our most common and beloved birds are experiencing precipitous population declines. Audubon has analysed forty years of bird populations and identified the birds below as suffering the most serious population declines in Arizona. These birds will benefit the most from changes you make to your backyard to recreate a piece of their habitat that was lost through urban development and sprawl.

Common Nighthawk  (Chordeiles minor)
The common nighthawk isn’t actually a hawk but related to the whip-poor-will. This migratory bird feeds at dawn and dusk on flying insects like mosquitoes, moths, and grasshoppers. Sadly, its Arizona population has decreased 93% since 1967. To help nighthawks, provide a flat gravel covered area on your roof for them to nest and don’t use pesticides on flying insects.

Loggerhead Shrike  (Lanius ludovicianus)

The Loggerhead Shrike is the only known predatory songbird. It doesn’t have the strong feet and talons of a raptor, instead using its hooked beak to kill insects, lizards, mice, and birds. Arizona sightings for Loggerhead Strikes are unfortunately down 63% since 1967. To help Loggerhead Shrikes, plant dense brush or trees for them to hunt and nest.

Black-throated Sparrow  (Amphispiza bilineata)

Black-throated Sparrows forage on the ground for insects and seeds to eat. Their Arizona population is down 69% since 1967. To help these sparrows, leave leaf litter undisturbed for them to forage and provide a brush pile or low shrubs for cover and shelter. You can also provide a bird feeder placed low to the ground, as long as no cats are present.


Verdin  (Auriparus flaviceps)

Verdins build both breeding nests and roosting nests. Breeding nests are larger with an outer shell constructed by the males. Roosting nests are built all year long. Verdins feed on small insects and nectar. Verdin sightings in Arizona are down 65% since 1967. To help Verdins, provide large shrubs for them to rest inside in the heat of the summer.

Phainopepla  (Phainopepla nitens)

The Phainopepla can mimic the calls of other birds. It eats at least 1,100 mistletoe berries per day, which is its main source of water. Unfortunately its numbers in Arizona are down 64% since 1967. To help the Phainopepla, encourage the growth of mistletoe on trees or provide other dense plants and plants with berries such as Elderberry, Poison oak, Juniper, or Grape.


The Rio Salado Audubon Center’s Audubon at Home website is the result of a partnership between the City of Phoenix and Audubon Arizona as part of the U.S.  Fish and Wildlife Service’s Urban Conservation Treaty for Migratory Birds.

Full funding for this program is supported by a Grant Agreement from the U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service. Mention of trade names or commercial products does not constitute their endorsement by the U.S. Government.

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