Backyard Birding in Leschi and Madrona

Backyard birding is a wonderful way of observing wildlife from the comfort of your own home. In all seasons, it’s possible to attract a steady flow of birds to a well-stocked and well-positioned bird feeder. The green spaces that punctuate the shores of Lake Washington attract a wide variety of birds that may be passing through in any season. The parks and gardens in Leschi and Madrona provide an abundant source of food, shelter and nesting habitat for songbirds.

(Bushtits feasting on a suet feeder.)

A well-sited feeder can animate a garden and help observers develop an informed understanding and appreciation of some of the amazing wildlife that is probably outside of the window - right now! Collectively, by feeding birds together, our neighborhood has the potential to be a sanctuary for birds!

This mini-guide is based on my experience of attracting some of our feathery friends to gardens in Madrona and Leschi, and it is not intended to be comprehensive. The lists of birds that I have provided are based on the birds that I have seen in my backyard.

(Downy Woodpecker)

Please note: Basic hygiene is essential with feeders and they should be cleaned on a regular basis – this minimizes the transmission of viruses.

Tip: If possible, buy a feeder with a tray underneath to catch any discarded seed. Many birds like to feed off of the discarded seed that ends up on the ground, however, in urban areas they are easily predated by cats (I own one too), so I prefer to prevent any uncontrolled spillage. Furthermore, discarded food is likely to attract mice and/or rats.

(House Finch)


To become a backyard birder, you don’t even need a backyard! I lived in a downtown apartment with a tiny balcony, but I was still able to attract a steady stream of finches and chickadees. A balcony will suffice but a garden with any shrubs or trees nearby is likely to attract a much wider variety of birds.

Please note: Anna’s Hummingbirds overwinter in Seattle. They are at the northernmost edge of their winter range in NW America and as a result are extremely susceptible to temperature changes. If their feeders freeze over, or are not cleaned and replenished at least twice a week, the chances of your hummingbirds surviving the winter are severely reduced. Before even thinking about feeding hummingbirds in winter (or any other birds), please consider the commitment that will need to be made to ensure that they survive!

(Anna's Hummingbird)

Tip: Binoculars come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. I would recommend a pair of 8 x 32 magnification binoculars that can be purchased from an Audubon store that specializes in birding optics.

Feeders, Food and Birds