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Abert’s Towhee Acadian Flycatcher Acorn Woodpecker Alder Flycatcher Allen’s Hummingbird Altamira Oriole American Avocet American Bittern American Black Duck American Coot American Crow American Dipper American Golden-Plover American Goldfinch American Kestrel American Oystercatcher American Pipit American Redstart American Robin American Three-toed Woodpecker American Tree Sparrows American White Pelican American Wigeon American Woodcock Anhinga Anna’s Hummingbird Arctic Tern Arizona Woodpecker Ash-Throated Flycatcher Atlantic Puffin Audubon’s Oriole Bachman’s Sparrow Baird’s Sandpiper Baird’s Sparrow Bald Eagle Baltimore Oriole Band-tailed Pigeon Bank Swallow Barn Owl Barn Swallow Barred Owl Barrow’s Goldeneye Bay-breasted Warbler Bell’s Vireo Belted Kingfisher Bendire’s Thrasher Bewick’s Wren Black Guillemot Black Oystercatcher Black Phoebe Black Rail Black Rosy-Finch Black Scoter Black Skimmer Black Swift Black Tern Black Turnstone Black Vulture Black-and-white Warbler Black-backed Woodpecker Black-bellied Plover Black-bellied Whistling-Duck Black-billed Cuckoo Black-billed Magpie Black-capped Chickadee Black-capped Vireo Black-chinned Hummingbird Black-chinned Sparrow Black-crested Titmouse Black-crowned Night-Heron Black-footed Albatross Black-headed Grosbeak Black-legged Kittiwake Black-necked Stilt Black-throated Blue Warbler Black-throated Gray Warbler Black-throated Green Warbler Black-throated Sparrow Blackburnian Warbler Blackpoll Warbler Blue Grosbeak Blue Jay Blue-footed Booby Blue-gray Gnatcatcher Blue-headed Vireo Blue-throated Hummingbird Blue-winged Teal Blue-winged Warbler Boat-tailed Grackle Bobolink Bohemian Waxwing Bonaparte’s Gull Boreal Chickadee Boreal Owl Botteri’s Sparrow Brandt’s Cormorant Brant Brewer’s Blackbird Brewer’s Sparrow Bridled Titmouse Broad-billed Hummingbird Broad-tailed Hummingbird Broad-winged Hawk Bronzed Cowbird Brown Booby Brown Creeper Brown Pelican Brown Thrasher Brown-capped Rosy-Finch Brown-headed Cowbird Brown-headed Nuthatch Buff-bellied Hummingbird Buff-breasted Flycatcher Buff-breasted Sandpiper Bufflehead Bullock’s Oriole Burrowing Owl Bushtit Cackling Goose Cactus Wren California Condor California Gull California Quail California Thrasher California Towhee Calliope Hummingbird Canada Goose Canada Jay (Previously Gray Jay) Canada Warbler Canvasback Canyon Towhee Canyon Wren Cape May Warbler Carolina Chickadee Carolina Wren Caspian Tern Cassin’s Auklet Cassin’s Finch Cassin’s Kingbird Cassin’s Sparrow Cassin’s Vireo Cattle Egret Cave Swallow Cedar Waxwing Cerulean Warbler Chestnut-backed Chickadee Chestnut-collared Longspur Chestnut-sided Warbler Chihuahuan Raven Chimney Swift Chipping Sparrow Chuck-will’s-widow Chukar Cinnamon Teal Clapper Rail Clark’s Grebe Clark’s Nutcracker Clay-colored Sparrow Cliff Swallow Colima Warbler Common Eider Common Gallinule Common Goldeneye Common Grackle Common Ground-Dove Common Loon Common Merganser Common Murre Common Nighthawk Common Pauraque Common Poorwill Common Raven Common Redpoll Common Tern Common Yellowthroat Connecticut Warbler Cooper’s Hawk Cordilleran Flycatcher Costa’s Hummingbird Couch’s Kingbird Crescent-chested Warbler Crested Caracara Crissal Thrasher Curve-billed Thrasher Dark-eyed Junco Dickcissel Double-crested Cormorant Dovekie Downy Woodpecker Dunlin Dusky Flycatcher Dusky Grouse Eared Grebe Eastern Bluebird Eastern Kingbird Eastern Meadowlark Eastern Phoebe Eastern Screech-Owl Eastern Towhee Eastern Whip-poor-will Eastern Wood-Pewee Elegant Tern Elf Owl Emperor Goose Eurasian Collared-Dove Eurasian Tree Sparrow Eurasian Wigeon European Starling Evening Grosbeak Ferruginous Hawk Field Sparrow Fish Crow Flammulated Owl Florida Scrub-Jay Forster’s Tern Fox Sparrow Franklin’s Gull Fulvous Whistling-Duck Gadwall Gambel’s Quail Gila Woodpecker Gilded Flicker Glaucous Gull Glaucous-winged Gull Glossy Ibis Golden Eagle Golden-cheeked Warbler Golden-crowned Kinglet Golden-crowned Sparrow Golden-crowned Warbler Golden-fronted Woodpecker Golden-winged Warbler Grace’s Warbler Grasshopper Sparrow Gray Catbird Gray Flycatcher Gray Kingbird Gray Partridge Gray Vireo Gray-cheeked Thrush Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch Great Black-backed Gull Great Blue Heron Great Cormorant Great Crested Flycatcher Great Egret Great Gray Owl Great Horned Owl Great Kiskadee Great-tailed Grackle Greater Pewee Greater Prairie-Chicken Greater Roadrunner Greater Sage-Grouse Greater Scaup Greater White-fronted Goose Greater Yellowlegs Green Heron Green Jay Green-tailed-towhee Green-winged Teal Groove-billed Ani Gull-billed Tern Gunnison Sage-Grouse Gyrfalcon Hairy Woodpecker Hammond’s Flycatcher Harlequin Duck Harris’s Hawk Harris’s Sparrow Heermann’s Gull Henslow’s Sparrow Hepatic Tanager Hermit Thrush Hermit Warbler Herring Gull Hoary Redpoll Hooded Merganser Hooded Oriole Hooded Warbler Horned Grebe Horned Lark Horned Puffin House Finch House Sparrow House Wren Hudsonian Godwit Hutton’s Vireo Inca Dove Indigo Bunting Ivory-billed Woodpecker Juniper Titmouse Kentucky Warbler Killdeer King Eider King Rail Kirtland’s Warbler Ladder-backed Woodpecker Lapland Longspur Lark Bunting Lark Sparrow Laughing Gull Lawrence’s Goldfinch Lazuli Bunting Le Conte’s Sparrow Le Conte’s Thrasher Least Bittern Least Flycatcher Least Grebe Least Sandpiper Least Tern Lesser Black-backed Gull Lesser Goldfinch Lesser Prairie-Chicken Lesser Scaup Lesser Yellowlegs Lewis’s Woodpecker Limpkin Lincoln’s Sparrow Little Blue Heron Loggerhead Shrike Long-billed Curlew Long-billed Dowitcher Long-eared Owl Long-tailed Duck Louisiana Waterthrush Lucifer Hummingbird Lucy’s Warbler MacGillivray’s Warbler Magnificent Frigatebird Magnificent Hummingbird Magnolia Warbler Mallard Mangrove Cuckoo Marbled Godwit Marsh Wren Masked Duck McCown’s Longspur Merlin Mew Gull Mexican Jay Mississippi Kite Montezuma Quail Mottled Duck Mountain Bluebird Mountain Chickadee Mountain Plover Mountain Quail Mourning Dove Mourning Warbler Mute Swan Nashville Warbler Neotropic Cormorant Northern Bobwhite Northern Cardinal Northern Flicker Northern Fulmar Northern Gannet Northern Goshawk Northern Harrier Northern Hawk Owl Northern Mockingbird Northern Parula Northern Pintail Northern Rough-winged Swallow Northern Saw-whet Owl Northern Shoveler Northern Shrike Northern Waterthrush Northwestern Crow Nuttall’s Woodpecker Oak Titmouse Olive-sided Flycatcher Orange-crowned Warbler Orchard Oriole Osprey Ovenbird Pacific Golden-Plover Pacific Loon Pacific-slope Flycatcher Painted Bunting Painted Redstart Palm Warbler Pectoral Sandpiper Pelagic Cormorant Peregrine Falcon Phainopepla Philadelphia Vireo Pied-billed Grebe Pigeon Guillemot Pileated Woodpecker Pine Grosbeak Pine Siskin Pine Warbler Pinyon Jay Piping Plover Plain Chachalaca Plumbeous Vireo Prairie Falcon Prairie Warbler Prothonotary Warbler Purple Finch Purple Gallinule Purple Martin Purple Sandpiper Pygmy Nuthatch Pyrrhuloxia Razorbill Red Crossbill Red Knot Red Phalarope Red-bellied Woodpecker Red-breasted Merganser Red-breasted Nuthatch Red-breasted Sapsucker Red-cockaded Woodpecker Red-eyed Vireo Red-faced Warbler Red-headed Woodpecker Red-naped Sapsucker Red-necked Grebe Red-necked Phalarope Red-shouldered Hawk Red-tailed Hawk Red-throated Loon Red-winged Blackbird Reddish Egret Redhead Ring-billed Gull Ring-necked Duck Ring-necked Pheasant Rock Pigeon Rock Ptarmigan Rock Sandpiper Rose-breasted Grosbeak Roseate Spoonbill Roseate Tern Ross’s Goose Rough-legged Hawk Royal Tern Ruby-crowned Kinglet Ruby-throated Hummingbird Ruddy Duck Ruddy Turnstone Ruffed Grouse Rufous Hummingbird Rufous-capped Warbler Rufous-winged Sparrow Rusty Blackbird Sabine’s Gull Sage Sparrow Sage Thrasher Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed Sparrow Sanderling Sandhill Crane Sandwich Tern Savannah Sparrow Say’s Phoebe Scaled Quail Scarlet Tanager Scissor-tailed Flycatcher Scott’s Oriole Seaside Sparrow Sedge Wren Semipalmated Plover Semipalmated Sandpiper Sharp-shinned Hawk Sharp-tailed Grouse Short-billed Dowitcher Short-eared Owl Slate-throated Redstart Smith’s Longspur Smooth-billed Ani Snail Kite Snow Bunting Snow Goose Snowy Egret Snowy Plover Solitary Sandpiper Song Sparrow Sooty Grouse Sora Spotted Owl Spotted Sandpiper Spotted Towhee Sprague’s Pipit Spruce Grouse Steller’s Jay Stilt Sandpiper Summer Tanager Surf Scoter Surfbird Swainson’s Hawk Swainson’s Thrush Swainson’s Warbler Swallow-tailed Kite Swamp Sparrow Tennessee Warbler Thick-billed Murre Townsend’s Solitaire Townsend’s Warbler Tree Swallow Tricolored Heron Tropical Kingbird Trumpeter Swan Tufted Puffin Tufted Titmouse Tundra Swan Turkey Vulture Upland Sandpiper Varied Bunting Varied Thrush Vaux’s Swift Veery Verdin Vermilion Flycatcher Vesper Sparrow Violet-green Swallow Virginia Rail Virginia’s Warbler Warbling Vireo Western Bluebird Western Grebe Western Gull Western Kingbird Western Sandpiper Western Screech-Owl Western Tanager Western Wood-Pewee Western-Meadowlark Whimbrel White Ibis White-breasted Nuthatch White-crowned Pigeon White-crowned Sparrow White-eyed Vireo White-faced Ibis White-headed Woodpecker White-rumped Sandpiper White-tailed Hawk White-tailed Kite White-tailed Ptarmigan White-throated Sparrow White-throated Swift White-tipped Dove White-winged Crossbill White-winged Dove White-winged Scoter Whooping Crane Wild Turkey Willet Williamson’s Sapsucker Willow Flycatcher Willow Ptarmigan Wilson’s Phalarope Wilson’s Plover Wilson’s Snipe Wilson’s Warbler Winter Wren Wood Duck Wood Stork Wood Thrush Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay Worm-eating Warbler Wrentit Yellow Rail Yellow Warbler Yellow-bellied Flycatcher Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Yellow-billed Cuckoo Yellow-billed Magpie Yellow-breasted Chat Yellow-crowned Night-Heron Yellow-headed Blackbird Yellow-rumped Warbler Yellow-throated Vireo Yellow-throated Warbler Zone-tailed Hawk

Tennessee State Bird Watching and Feeding Information

Northern Mockingbird

Northern Mockingbird – Tennessee State Bird

Tennessee is a great place to watch and feed birds. Birdbaths, misters and drippers are especially effective in attracting birds, including non seed-eating species. Species that might be expected at feeders include: American Goldfinch, Carolina Wren, Carolina Chickadee, Blue Jay, Downy Woodpecker, Northern Cardinal and Mourning Dove. Each of these species is shown in the Nifty Fifty mini-guide.

The Nifty Fifty Birds of Tennessee

The Nifty Fifty is a mini-guide to the birds of Tennessee. It includes descriptions, images, video and songs of 50 of the most often observed birds of Tennessee.

Bird feeding

Developing bird-friendly habitat in your yard is the best way to attract a greater variety of species and to support local and migrating species. Native plants provide food and cover, are more insect and disease resistant than non-native species, and may require less water. A list of bird-friendly native plants for Tennessee is available by following the link on the left.

Bluebirds of Tennessee

The Eastern Bluebird is the only one of the 3 bluebird species regularly found in Tennessee.

The Eastern Bluebird has a pleasant, musical song and a similar easy-to-identify flight call. They are most often found in open woodlands, parks, fields, along golf courses and cemeteries. The can be found in suburban areas with adequate open space.

eastern bluebird

Eastern Bluebirds

Bluebirds can be attracted to peanut butter mixes, suet and fruit. Raisins soaked in hot water to soften them are well received. The bluebird’s special favorite is mealworms.

Nesting
The Eastern Bluebird begins nesting in Tennessee in early spring. One, two and sometimes three broods may be produced.

Visit the bluebird section for detailed information on feeding bluebirds or building your own bluebird house.

Hummingbirds of Tennessee

The Ruby-throated Hummingbird is the only species that regularly visits Tennessee. It nests in the state each year, before migrating south. In a remarkable journey for such a tiny bird, it migrates across the Gulf of Mexico twice each year.

ruby-throated hummingbird

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Visit the hummingbird section for details on attracting hummingbirds as well as images of all regularly occurring North American hummingbirds.

Purple Martins in Tennessee

Purple Martins arrive in Tennessee early each year and are found througout the state in the spring.  Detailed Purple Martin information is available in the Purple Martin section.

Purple Martins are one of America’s favorite birds. Their arrival each spring is a much heralded event in many backyards and their departure each fall marks the passing of another year for many. In the eastern U.S., Purple Martins nest almost exclusively in Purple Martin houses and gourds provided by man. In the west they nest more regularly in natural cavities.

Purple Martin Scouts

Scouts are the earliest arrivals each year. They are the oldest members of the population and head north each year to claim the best nesting locations. Scouts can be either male or female birds.

Purple martins summer and nest throughout Tennessee. Look for scouts to start arriving in late February to early March. Martins move north as the weather warms and insect populations start to increase so the arrival time will vary from year to year and from one part of the state to another.

Migration
Purple Martins winter in South America. The journey can be as long as 5000 miles each way, each year! Martins follow at least three different paths as they return each spring. Some move through Mexico on their way to the West Coast. Others cross the Gulf of Mexico, leaving from the Yucatan Peninsula or take a route through the Caribbean islands to arrive in Florida.

Fall migration can start as early as mid-July in some parts of the country. In Florida migrants can be seen into September or October, with isolated reports even later in the the year. Prior to heading to South America, flocks of thousands of martins collect in roosts, some as large as hundreds of thousands of martins.

During the winter season these birds are apparently concentrated chiefly in the Amazon Valley of Brazil (Manaqueri, Barra do Rio Negro, and Itaituba) but are found in other parts of South America. A list of possible martin roosts in Alabama is available on the Purple Martin Conservation Association web site.

Nesting:
Martin nests typically have from five to six white eggs. One egg is laid each day at sunrise and no days are skipped until the egg-laying stops. Incubation lasts about 15 days but may last longer in cool weather. Purple martins fledge about 25-35 days after hatching.

Visit thePurple Martin section of the main Birdzilla Web site for information on martin houses, attracting purple martins and becoming a good purple martin landlord.

From the Bent Life Histories

Finally, here’s a glimpse at what noted ornithologist Alexander Sprunt Jr. said about purple martins in the Bent Life History series:

“It has always seemed to me that literature has been somewhat chary of the purple martin. Song and story have long stressed the advent of robin, bluebird, and goose as heralds of spring, and so they are, but is the martin any less so? True, it comes somewhat later than these others, but who can fail to thrill when, on waking early one morning, one hears the rich, gurgling calls of the first martin! It is a signal that spring is really at hand, indeed, at one’s very door. When the martins come, can summer be far behind? This largest of the swallows, in its handsomely glossy livery, whether slurred by literature or not, has ken a favorite with humanity for many generations. Even before the White man came to America’s shores it was a dooryard bird in Indian villages, and its status as such is unchanged today. It is, beyond all doubt, the “bird-box” species of this country. Its range is extensive, almost universal indeed, and it occurs from coast to coast and border to border. Young and old admire it, encourage it, and protect it, and those who have a word of criticism for it are few and far between. Alexander Wilson said that, in his day, he never found but one man who disliked the martin, and many a modern ornithologist will have had the same experience, if indeed it can be matched! Some birds occupy high pedestals in human regard, typified by the robin in the North and the mockingbird in the South, but in North and South the purple martin comes and goes as a welcome arrival and regretful departure; an always invited avian neighbor. Few are those anywhere who would fail to subscribe heartily to the wish: may its tribe increase.” (Mr. Sprunt and Mr. Wilson are two of America’s best known and most respected early ornithologists.)

purple martin

Purple Martin – male

Birding

Tennessee provides birders with a variety of exciting birding locations.

The birding section of this site has tips on birding locations and bird identification. The state-based birding information section provides additional birding related information.

Tennessee Resource Information

Bristol Bird Club

Cumberland-Harpeth Audubon Society
1704 A Primrose Ave.
Nashville, TN 37212

Warioto Audubon Society
Clarksville, TN 37044

Tennessee Birding Festivals

Reelfoot Lake Eagle Festival
Annually in January or February
Reelfoot Lake State Park, 
Tiptonville, Tennessee
Phone: 800-250-8617 or 731-253-7756
Call for reservations. Tours by tour bus and pontoon cruise, photography tours and displays, scavenger hunts and arts and crafts. Observe bald eagles and other waterfowl. 
Each weekend in February Reelfoot Lake State Park offers a variety of activities for visitors wishing to enjoy the eagles of Reelfoot Lake.

Check out the events around the many meetings of the Tennessee Ornithological Society.

About the Author

Sam Crowe

Sam is the founder of Birdzilla.com. 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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