Every region of the country has some common birds that always seem to be around the feeders, but very few species are found throughout the entire continental United States. These eight common backyard birds are not only popular everywhere in the country, but they are regular visitors in every season. How many have visited your yard?
01 of 08
Common Name: Mourning Dove
Scientific Name: Zenaida macroura
The mourning dove is a gentle, medium-sized bird with an overall buff coloration highlighted by black spots and dark wingtips. The back and wings of the bird are often gray-tinged, and an iridescent patch may show on the neck. Their soothing voice is easily recognizable, as is the slow whirring sound their wings make in flight.
Mourning doves feed on seeds and readily come to ground and platform feeders, though they tend to be shy. Family groups travel together and feed easily with other backyard birds, including other doves. They especially like millet, milo, and sunflower seeds.
02 of 08
Common Name: Downy Woodpecker
Scientific Name: Picoides pubescens
The downy woodpecker is the smallest North American woodpecker. The bold red patch the male's nape is easily recognizable, and both male and female birds have the white back, striped face, and spotted wings. The small, stubby bill is characteristic of downy woodpeckers, unlike the longer bills of the similar hairy woodpeckers.
Downy woodpeckers regularly visit yards with appropriate wooded habitat and mature trees. They can be attracted by suet feeders and may nest in yards with brush and scrub landscaping.
03 of 08
Common Name: American Robin
Scientific Name: Turdus migratorius
The bold red breast, gray back and wings, and striped throat of the American robin are easily recognizable in yards, parks, and forests around the country. Western populations are generally lighter, and juvenile birds are heavily spotted for camouflage. These birds run and hop across lawns and feed on worms, insects, and berries.
American robins are easily attracted to yards where insects and berries can be found. They are also attracted to bird baths and water features for drinking and bathing. At feeders, they may also sample mealworms as well as crumbled or shredded suet.
04 of 08
Common Name: American Crow
Scientific Name: Corvus brachyrhynchos
The American crow is an all-black bird with brown eyes that may gather in tremendous flocks, particularly in the winter. An iridescent blue or purple sheen may be seen on the wings. Though more common in rural and open areas, crows are becoming more populous in urban and suburban settings as well. Larger than blackbirds, crows are smaller than ravens.
American crows are highly adaptive and will readily visit yards for scraps, seed, and suet from bird feeders. These intelligent birds can be entertaining to watch as they creatively attack feeders for the choicest bits.Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08
Common Name: European Starling
Scientific Name: Sturnus vulgaris
European starlings are gregarious birds with a very short tail, long, pointed yellow bill, and black plumage with a bold purple and iridescent green sheen. Plumage is heavily spotted in late fall and early winter, but spots gradually wear off. In non-breeding plumage, the bill will also be dark. First introduced to North American in 1890, starlings are now one of the most populous birds on the continent and can form huge flocks in open areas.
Many backyard birders consider starlings to be bully birds because of their large numbers and voracious appetites for seed. They will easily visit platform and ground feeders, and may often be seen pecking along the ground for spilled seed, grains, and insects.
06 of 08
Common Name: House Sparrow
Scientific Name: Passer domesticus
The house sparrow is a common backyard visitor with a black or gray cap, dark throat, pale abdomen, and brown and black streaked back and wings. Female birds also have streaks but are paler and buffer overall, with a paler bill and prominent buffy eyebrow. Introduced to North American in New York in the 1850s, house sparrows are now abundant across the continent.
These small birds are frequent visitors to hopper and platform feeders. They prefer seeds but will also eat insects and fruit. House sparrows are also attracted to bird baths, and will also take dust baths in dry areas. Because these birds can be invasive, however, many birders prefer to take steps to discourage house sparrows instead of attracting them.
07 of 08
Common Name: House Finch
Scientific Name: Carpodacus mexicanus
The house finch is a bold bird with a tan body, heavily streaked abdomen, and red eyebrow, forehead, and throat. A red strawberry patch is also visible on the rump. Male birds may also be yellow or orange on rare occasions, but female house finches are buff and tan without the brighter colors.
House finches easily visit feeders and will eat seeds and scraps. They are also attracted to bird baths and will readily nest in available birdhouses.
08 of 08
Common Name: American Goldfinch
Scientific Name: Carduelis tristis
American goldfinches are one of the most popular and desirable backyard bird species because of their beautiful bright yellow coloration. Males have a black cap and dark wings with distinctive wing bars, while females lack the black cap are have duller, olive-yellow plumage on their backs.
The favorite food of goldfinches is Nyjer seed, which they will take from the tube, mesh, or sock feeders. They will also eat sunflower seed and drink from bird baths. They even have a fondness for seed-bearing flowers and will perch on flowers to pluck out the seeds, as well as seed fluff to use in their nests in late summer.