One of the best things about spring and summer are the backyard birds. Minnesota has several year-round birds to appreciate but once the migrating birds return for the summer, bird watching gets fun. Here are a few standard favorites, how to identify them and how to attract them.

A regular in my own backyard is the Northern Cardinal. The striking bright red male is hard to miss as he perches from tree to tree, singing joyful songs. Northern Cardinals are considered to be resident birds and do not migrate so we are lucky to have them throughout the year. When it comes to attracting them in the winter, black oil sunflower seeds and safflower seeds stand out. Cardinals are typically the first to feed in the morning and the last to feed at night. Nesting season is from March to August and the nests are usually built in the fork of a small tree or dense bush. I’ll be honest, one year I had my Christmas wreath up on my font door until spring and a female Cardinal was building a nest in there!

The Black-capped Chickadee is among the most common Minnesota backyard birds. They are cute little birds with a roundish body and a long tail, they have a black cap(!) and a black bib. Black-capped Chickadees give a slightly husky “chick-a-dee-dee” call and also have a sweet whistled song “fee-bee-bee.” Small flocks flit actively from tree to tree. They eat at tube, hopper and tray feeders. They love black oil sunflower seeds and suet.

It’s always fun to spot the tiny Downy Woodpecker. It’s a stocky little bird with a large head and a short, stiff tail. It’s beak is chisel-shaped. It’s ornately black and white and the male has a small red spot at the back of his head. Contrary to what we may think, they are not always found on tree trunks. The males may more often be found in small plants and twigs. They are attracted to suet feeders and will also eat black oil sunflower seeds.

If we’re talking about common Minnesota birds we can’t forget the American Robin. We’re all familiar with these orange-breasted birds hopping on our lawns, turning their heads this way and that looking for food. The Robin is a songbird and hearing their caroling song is one of the early signs of spring. Their eggs are beautifully colored “robin’s-egg blue.” They eat insects, worms, and may eat fruit from a tray feeder on the ground. They also enjoy trees and bushes with small berries.

The main reason for attracting birds is to simply enjoy them. So get your bird feeders out, or go buy something simple if you don’t have one, fill it with black oil sunflower seeds and see what you get!

The Friendship Café is open for limited indoor dining, takeout, curbside pick-up and delivery. COVID-19 precautions will be implemented and signage will be posted on the doors with established protocols. We are open Monday through Thursday, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Main entree, $6. Comes with a vegetable or fruit, bread and dessert.

Monday, May 17: BBQ Pork Sandwich.

Tuesday, May 18: Chicken/Cheese Noodle Bake.

Wednesday, May 19: Parmesan Crusted Fish and Cheesy Potatoes.

Thursday, May 20: Swedish Meatballs w/Mashed Potatoes.

Soup and Sandwich (Ham or Turkey) w/fruit, $6. Turkey or Ham Wrap w/cup of soup or salad, $7. Chef Salad or Taco Salad w/bread, $7. For payment we take cash or check.

Senior meal delivery program: If you are a senior citizen located in Isanti County and interested in delivery, call us at (763-689-6555) the night before or the morning of, between 8-10 a.m. Please state your name, phone number and address.

Package deal: You can order fresh, hot meals to be delivered to your home Monday thru Thursday for $25/week. This includes an extra bag on Thursday containing soup, bread and fruit for your weekend meal. Please call by Sunday and leave a message, including your name, phone number and address, to place your meal package order for the following week (763-689-6555).

The Senior Activity Center is located at 140 Buchanan St. N., Suite 164, Cambridge, 763-689-6555.

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