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Nature Birds

Feed the Birds

Attract and Identify 196 Common North American Birds

by (author) Chris Earley

Firefly Books
Initial publish date
Sep 2019
Birds, General, Birdwatching Guides
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2019
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


"Informative and practical... This guide, filled with richly colorful photos, is enthusiastically recommended for birders, bird watchers, and anyone else who cares about birds' role in our precariously fragile environment." --Booklist

Feeding birds is growing in popularity and is enjoyed by over 50 million North Americans each year.

Feed the Birds is designed as a resource for beginners and experienced birdwatchers alike. Covering 196 bird species that are attracted to backyard bird feeders, this book helps the reader not only attract and identify birds but also understand their behavior and adaptations to the environment. A wide variety of feeders and seed types are presented with helpful tips on how to attract the largest variety of birds.

Each profile for the 196 featured species includes a variety of photographs, an identification guide, a range map, information on bird seed and natural food preferences, and behavior. Other topics include:

  • Why feeding birds is important
  • Building do-it-yourself feeders
  • Foiling squirrels
  • Attracting birds with natural foods and water
  • Building shelters and nest boxes
  • Involving children
  • Photographing birds
  • Hand feeding
  • Recognizing individual birds and identifying similar-looking species
  • Growing plant varieties that make a garden attractive to birds.

The book also contains information on how to choose the right seeds; the importance of ensuring all windows are bird-safe (with links to organizations that work to reduce bird-window collision); cat-friendly deterrents; and citizen science activities like the annual Christmas Bird Count and Project Feederwatch. Feed the Birds is a complete guide that should be near every bird enthusiast's window.

Endorsed by the Canadian Wildlife Federation, a conservation-oriented organization with more than 250,000 members. CWF has a long history of fostering bird habitat, conservation and recognition.

About the author

Chris Earley is a zoologist and environmental biologist He is the Interpretive Biologist and Education Coordinator at The Arboretum, University of Guelph His previous books include Falcons in the City, Warblers of the Great Lakes Region and Eastern North America, and Birds A to Z He lives in Guelph, Ontario

Chris Earley's profile page

Editorial Reviews

Well-illustrated with crisp, clean and often dynamic photos.

OFO News

Profusely illustrated throughout, expertly organized and presented, comprehensively informative, "Feed the Birds" is a complete guide that should be a core addition to personal, professional, community, college, and university library Pets/Wildlife collections in general, and North American wild bird identification and care studies lists in particular.

Midwest Book Review

If you are interested in attracting birds to your backyard, you need this book. Its design is just right for helping readers attract birds, identify them, and create an environment that will help to see how they behave and how they make adaptations to the places they live... This conversational book provides helpful tips, clear and close-up photographs, identification guides, range maps, preferred foods and seeds, behaviors, as well as instructions for building feeders, discouraging squirrels, and getting your kids involved. It's a perfect outdoor activity as the weather warms. If you are thinking about planting a garden for the first time, Chris also gives guidance for the plants that will entice birds to your backyard.

Sal's Fiction Addiction

A superb new resource for improving your feeder-watching experience... Feed the Birds is a generously illustrated encyclopedia of bird lore as it relates to backyard birds, lore that sheds light on the birds' more intimate world... Feed the Birds stands out notably for its slant on bird biology and behavior... Part practical guide and part inspiration, this beautiful book will appeal to readers as a fun and multifaceted work that is informative yet succinct. Beyond adults, it should also appeal to children who have an interest in birds. Feed the Birds can find a home on a bookshelf to be consulted when needed, rest on a coffee table for browsing, or, better yet, near the window.

American Birding Association

Ideal for beginner birders... People can also learn how to build a feeder and how to involve children.

Guleph Today

Chock full of photos both large and small, this book details how to enjoy birdwatching in your own yard. Personal observations from Chris Earley explain birds' behaviour and the benefits of various kinds of feeders. The last half of the book is a guide to identifying birds across North America.

Niagara Escarpment Views

As both an educator and a biologist, I loved Feed the Birds: Attract and Identify 196 Common North American Birds. The book by Chris Earley is a comprehensive resource on many of North America's most common bird species. It touches on how to bring them to your feeders and much more, including behavior, biology, distinguishing characteristics, and range maps. On top of all these great features, the photos are outstanding! This is a must for anyone who enjoys backyard birding.

Green Teacher Magazine

Combines information on identifying, attracting, and feeding 196 common North American birds, an all-in-one package. Heavily illustrated for both feeding and identifying, it includes plans for construction of simple and functional feeding stations. Earley writes about other aspects of a bird-friendly yard, from brush piles to plants to nesting boxes.

Minneapolis Star Tribune

The perfect book for the backyard birder. It includes information on creating a bird-friendly backyard, bird feeders, bird behaviour and bird identification. The text is accompanied by beautiful photographs that will help readers identify birds.

Brandon Sun

Designed as a resource for beginners and experienced birdwatchers alike, this guide covers 196 bird species that are attracted to backyard bird feeders. Topics include how to identify birds and understand their behaviour and adaptations to the environment. A wide variety of feeders and seed types are presented with helpful tips on how to attract the largest variety of birds. A recommended resource for any individual working with children.

Canadian Children's Book Centre's Best Books for Kids and Teens 2020

Chris Earley's book, Feed the Birds, couldn't have come at a better time. In October 2019, a landmark paper was published documenting the catastrophic decline in North American avifauna... Feed the Birds is an easy-to-use book geared toward aiding in bird observation and study... The first section is a joy to read. The writing is not long-winded and gets to the point. The paragraphs are packed with information, and each page is loaded with colour photos to support the text... Chapter 4, "Bird Behavior and Biology", is a fascinating and welcome addition to your reading adventure. Various topics are covered, including feather maintenance, feeding behaviour, threat displays, nestling care, and bird intelligence... A must-read for those interested in attracting birds to their yard. With the general decline in bird species in North America and elsewhere, now is the time to create as many bird friendly spaces as possible. Chris Earley's book is a one-stop shop for all you need to know to move forward with this wildlife enhancing concept. It's easy to do and, with minimal effort, we can enjoy bird watching without even leaving the house.

Canadian Field-Naturalist

This guide will help you find what specific things you need to attract the birds you are looking for.

Book Riot

Lots of excellent colour photos complement the interesting and informative text. Nice potential gift for the bird enthusiast in your life!

Feed the Birds is a spectacular and lavishly illustrated volume that would be perfect for anyone who enjoys birds -- their appearance, their behavior, and their presence on feeders. It is appropriate for middle school, high school, college, and adult readers. In addition to an index, Feed the Birds includes a fill-in chart for recording the reader's bird experiences, a list of references, and suggestions for further reading. As you enjoy this book, remember that "the Earley bird gets the worm."

American Biology Teacher

An excellent resource for beginner birdwatchers and experienced birders alike... I found the two-page Bird Quick-Find Guide at the beginning of the book particularly helpful. This photographic summary helped me quickly pinpoint which species group my sighting might belong to and directed me to the right page for a closer look.

Ontario Nature Magazine

Earley's book immediately caught my attention and renewed my enthusiasm for this amazing experience... Chapters on bird behavior, biology and identification are written with the knowledge of an expert ornithologist; however, they are down-to-earth enough for a novice to learn. The way the information is put together is logical and reader friendly. Photographs throughout Earley's 296-page guide capture the personalities of 196 bird species, the common characters we enjoy so much.

The Oregonian

Feed the Birds will delight any North American resident who seeks close-up bird opportunities for photography, study, and appreciation.

Donovan's Literary Services

The National Audubon Society warns that bird populations in the Western Hemisphere are declining, and research indicates that North America today is home to almost three billion fewer birds than North America of 50 years ago. This means that roughly one in four birds have disappeared in the past half century. Now is an especially good time to add Earley's informative and practical guide for tempting birds to backyard feeders--and identifying them once they get ther--to library collections. Earley gives lighthearted instruction on designing bird-friendly gardens, preparing natural foods, outsmarting the gluttonous squirrels and the homicidal cats in your neighborhood, and helping your bird guests avoid crashing into the kitchen window. Detailed building plans cover window shelf, mesh, roofed platform, and fruit feeders; readers will be encouraged to see what can be constructed from old pine board scraps and a handful of common nails. This guide, filled with richly colorful photos, is enthusiastically recommended for birders, bird watchers, and anyone else who cares about birds' role in our precariously fragile environment.


A beautiful and useful book... Earley, one of Southwestern Ontario's birding experts, has useful and interesting sections about backyard habitat, feeders and nest boxes, engaging kids, foiling squirrels, identification of 196 species, and even hand-feeding birds.

Calgary Herald

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