Have you ever seen any of these spectacular "lifer birds?"
To an avid birder, a lifer bird is a special event sighting, worthy of photos and sharing on social media. What it means is they observed a new (to them) species for the first time in their birding lives.
Some keep a list of birds they hope to see in their lifetimes and will travel thousands of miles for a chance to make it happen. But sometimes, luck is on their side, and a rare bird simply appears when they least expect it.
The continental U.S. and Canada are home to 700 bird species, so there's always a chance you'll see something "new," even if you're not actively looking. Here's a sampler of some of the stunning birds that have launched many a birder's quest:
These brilliant blue and green corvids leverage sticks to reach insects under tree bark, making them one of the rare North American birds to use tools. They're found throughout Mexico. Still, birders travel to the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge nestled in the southeastern point of Texas just for a chance to see them.
Dark gray with a lemon-yellow breast, look for this beauty in the jack pine forests of Michigan and Wisconsin. But keep an eye out during its migration to the southeastern coast as they reach their winter home in the Bahamas.
This scarlet bird with black wings and a face mask can be found along the rivers in Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico, along with the Gulf of Mexico. During courtship, the male presents the female with a butterfly or some other showy insect.
While widespread across the continental U.S., you have to look hard to catch sight of these striking little birds. They spend their summers in dense, shrubby habitats, searching for spiders and other insects.
This boldly colored woodpecker forages for sap, nectar, and insects in the forests up along the coast of the Pacific Northwest.
Let this list inspire you to keep your eyes open and make plans to see new birds. In the meantime, keep your feeders filled with a high-quality seed mix, so you can continue to enjoy sightings of your backyard favorites. From cardinals to woodpeckers to colorful finches, Lyric Supreme Wild Bird Mix attracts the widest variety of backyard species.