When I first started feeding the birds a few years ago, I had no idea which birds were which. With the Great Backyard Bird Count coming up (Feb. 13 - 16!), I thought I would post a list of birds commonly seen in yards and at feeders to help new bird watchers identify them.
Here are ten birds that are frequently seen here in the Eastern US:
If you put out a new bird feeder, this is usually one of the first birds you will see! This is the little round bird with the black and white head.
There are two slightly different species. In the North, it's a Black-capped Chickadee. In the South, it's a Carolina Chickadee. If you live in the small band in the middle where there is overlap, you'll have to look a little more closely. The Sibley Guides website has a good article about the differences.
2. Tufted Titmouse
The Tufted Titmouse is the gray-backed bird with a little tuft of hair on top. So cute!
3. American Goldfinch
The American Goldfinch is a small finch that comes to feeders in flocks. In winter, they only have a little yellow on them, but in spring, the males turn flamboyantly golden yellow!
4. Northern Cardinal
Most people can spot a Northern Cardinal pretty easily. The female has more brown on its body, but still has the signature red bill, wings, tail, and crest.
5. House Finch
A male House Finch is fairly easy to spot, with a red face and chest. The female is harder, being one of those nondescript brown birds with a brown-and-white streaked chest. I usually can tell it's a House Finch from the beak, which is wide, much like a Cardinal's.
(I call this the bird with the 'chompy' beak.)
6. Downy Woodpecker
One of my favorites, the common Downy Woodpecker is a teeny-tiny woodpecker that loves bird feeders.
Much like Woodpeckers, you will see Nuthatches scrabble up and down tree trunks. They crane their head up at an astonishing angle and then zoom to the bird feeders. The common White-breasted Nuthatch has a blue-gray back and a white face and breast.
8. Dark-eyed Junco
You'll often see flocks of little white-bellied Dark-eyed Juncos hopping around on the ground in search of food.
|photo source - Wikipedia, photo by Almaden Lake|
See a large bird strutting around on the ground making sad cooing sounds? It's most likely a Mourning Dove.
(Don't get confused! A similar looking, though less common bird is the invasive Eurasian Collard-Dove, but it has a distinctive black 'collar' around the back of its neck.)
American Robins are large birds that you often see hopping around on lawns looking for earthworms.
I hope that helps get some new bird watchers started!
For more visual aids, the Great Backyard Bird Count has a great list of the most common birds, and Project FeederWatch has an even more extensive chart.
So what is the most common bird in your backyard?
Happy bird watching!