June 25, 2024 Yard Design

All About Minnesota Birds and How to Attract Them

Anyone who lives in Minnesota knows what memorable birds we have here. Perhaps the best example of this is our state bird, the common loon. With its distinctive black and white plumage, sharp black beak and piercing red eyes, it’s always a treat to spot one.

May in Minnesota is the height of spring bird migration. That means there is a greater chance of seeing a unique bird on your property this time of year. Keep an eye (or ear) out for our favorite birds in Minnesota, and consider the following tips for attracting them to your yard.


Warblers are small, vocal and feed on insects. Male warblers have bright yellow or orange plumage this time of year, with distinctive black stripes down their wings, faces and breasts. Female warblers tend to be more subdued-looking versions of the males.

Up to 20 different species of warblers pass through the Twin Cities around this time, such as the Common Yellowthroat, Golden-Winged Warbler, and Cape May Warbler.

Because warblers prefer insects, they don’t visit bird feeders as often as other species. However, many have been spotted at feeders containing suet, mealworms or sugar-water, and they also enjoy healthy trees or shrubs. Avoid using pesticides in your yard so that these birds have insects to eat when they stop by.

Scarlet Tanagers

From May until early October, you may spot a Scarlet Tanager on your property. The males have tomato-red plumage and jet black wings, while the females are olive-yellow with darker olive wings. Some describe this species as having a song like “a robin with a sore throat.”

If you live in urban Minnesota, it is less likely that you will see a Scarlet Tanager, but not impossible. Those living in suburban or woodland Minnesota are far more likely to spot them.

The best way to attract a Scarlet Tanager is by leaving out mealworms, suet or even orange halves. It’s more likely that you will spot them after a storm, and they tend to remain in place while singing, up in a tree canopy. As with all birds, approach quietly, give them their space and you may be rewarded.

Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds

Hummingbirds are always beautiful, but the ruby-throated variety is especially striking. As their name suggests, males have a bright red throat and forked tails, while females have golden-green plumage with white throats instead of red.

Ruby-throated hummingbirds drink the nectar of tube-shaped flowers, so consider planting flowers this spring to attract them to your yard. They also snack on small insects such as flies, gnats and aphids. If you have a hummingbird feeder, mix 4 parts water with 1 part sugar to give them a treat they can’t resist.

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