20 Commonly Observed Species
The birds were selected from a list of the most popular searches, with a further filter of being very widespread.
The brightly-colored male American Goldfinch looses its brilliant colors in the fall. In the winter, it looks more like the female American Goldfinch shown below.
Female American Goldfinch
The American Robin spends spring and summer months hunting for worms. In the winter they sometimes form very large flocks (up to tens of thousands of robins) and switch to fruit and berries.
The beautiful Blue Jay is an under-appreciated mimic, and does an excellent Red-shouldered Hawk.
The Brown-headed Cowbird is a parasitic nester. The female lays her eggs in the nest of other species.
American Crows have been hard hit by the West Nile virus. The Fish Crow and Northwestern Crow are very similar on appearance.
Male and female Common Grackles are similar in appearance, females are less glossy and slightly smaller. The Common Grackle is one of the three grackle species in the United States. It is sometimes confused with Brewer's Blackbird.
Downy Woodpeckers are common at backyard feeder stations. The very similar Hairy Woodpecker is larger, with a longer bill.
The Eurasian Collared-Dove is an introduced species that is very rapidly expanding across the country, from initial Florida populations.
Dark-eyed Juncos are a common and popular backyard bird. They only appear in large parts of the country in winter and are sometimes referred to as snow birds. Several different races were previously considered separate species.
The enterprising European Starling was introduced into the United States from Britain in the 1800s. It does millions of dollars in crop damages each year and competes with native species for nesting locations. This bird is in breeding plumage.
Winter plumaged European Starling.
Originally a bird of the west coast, House Finches were sold as pet birds in New York City. Escaped birds formed a local population, which has expanded to the point that House Finches can now be found throughout the United States. Only the male has the reddish color. Easily confused with the Purple Finch.
Female House Finch
Another import from England, the very common House Sparrow is found throughout the United States. It is an aggressive species that will even kill adult bluebirds to take control of a nesting cavity. Male shown in this image.
Female House Sparrow
The Killdeer is a type of shorebird, although it will nest far from beaches or shorelines, including rooftops and driveways.
The ubiquitous Mallard is America's best known duck. Wild populations are generally migratory. Male Mallard shown here.
The Mourning Dove is common in backyards and continues to be a widely-hunted game bird.
The beautiful male Northern Cardinal is a popular subject for both amateur and professional photographers.
The female Northern Cardinal is not as colorful as the male, but can match or even exceed his singing skills.
The Northern Mockingbird is a master singer and may know as many as 200 different songs.
The Red-tailed Hawk is often seen perched on telephone poles or fence posts.
A flash of red on an all black bird is a sure indication of a Red-winged Blackbird.
Female Red-winged Blackbirds do not look anything like the males.
While we are reluctant to refer to the Rock Pigeon as a bonus bird, it is one of the most common and wide-spread species.