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Birds Often Seen at Feeders

Birds in feeders

Shown below are birds often seen at backyard feeders. Distribution patterns of individual species can be complex. Basic distribution information for each species has been provided, along with links to the profiles for both the species shown and referenced similar species.

For more information on birds that you might see at your feeders, visit the state-based information section. Select your state and view the Nifty-Fifty mini-guide. It will include 25 of the most often reported backyard birds based on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Project Feeder Watch data.


Pigeons and Doves – Family Columbidae

mourning dove

The Mourning Dove typically feeds on the ground. May nest in hanging flower pots. Widespread and common.


Hummingbirds – Family Trochilidae

ruby-throated hummingbird

The Ruby-throated Hummingbird is the only regularly occurring hummingbird east of the Mississippi River. Female does not have red throat.

West coast hummingbirds include Anna’s and Rufous Hummingbirds.

Woodpeckers – Family Picidae

downy woodpecker

The small Downy Woodpecker is attracted by peanuts and suet. Widespread.


Crows and Jays – Family Corvidae

steller's jay

The Steller’s Jay is a western species. It will swallow peanuts whole in the shell.


Chickadees and Titmice – Family Paridae

chestnut-backed chickadee

The Chestnut-backed Chickadee is the most colorful chickadee species. Western species.


Nuthatches – Family Sittidae

white-breasted nuthatch

The White-breasted Nuthatch enjoys sunflower and suet. Widespread.


Thrushes, including Bluebirds and Robins – Family Turdidae

American Robin

The American Robin is not a typical feeder bird, but is often observed searching for worms in yards and parks. Widespread.


Starlings – Family Sturnidae

european starling

The European Starling is often observed at feeders, especially fond of suet. This introduced species is colorful but competes with native species for nesting locations. Widespread.


Cardinals, Certain Grosbeaks, Certain Buntings – Family Cardinalidae

black-headed grosbeak

The Black-headed Grosbeak is a popular feeder bird in the western United States.


northern cardinal

The popular Northern Cardinal is fond of sunflower and safflower. Widespread.


Blackbirds, including Meadowlarks, Blackbirds, Grackles, Orioles – Family Icteridae

common grackle

The Common Grackle is a frequent visitor to feeders and consumes large volume of seeds. Eastern 2/3rds of the United States.

brown-headed cowbird

Brown-headed Cowbirds can over-run feeder stations. Widespread.


Finches, Crossbills, certain Grosbeaks, Siskins, Redpolls – Family Fringillidae

house finch

House Finch, male. Widespread and common at feeders.


house finch

House Finch, female.

american goldfinch

American Goldfinch. Widespread, attracted by sunflower and Nyjer (®WBFI).


Towhees and Sparrows – Family Emberizidae

dark-eyed junco

Dark-eyed Junco. Widespread with several distinct races.


About the Author

Sam Crowe

Sam is the founder of He has been birding for over 30 years and has a world list of over 2000 species. He has served as treasurer of the Texas Ornithological Society, Sanctuary Chair of Dallas Audubon, Editor of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's "All About Birds" web site and as a contributing editor for Birding Business magazine. Many of his photographs and videos can be found on the site.

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