The world is home to some 10,000 species. According to the Audubon Society and Cornell Lab of Ornithology. The United States of America alone hosts 2,059 of the world bird species from hummingbirds to the mourning dove. Even if birding is new to you, you may have heard birders around the world refer to four categories of birds. Type of birds include; birds that do not fly, such as ostriches and penguins; perching birds that can be found nestling in the treetops such as parrots and chickadees, birds that can swim including ducks, and last, but certainly not least prey types, birds such as owls or ospreys.
This may be new to you, but many species native to North America, particularly, are known for their beautiful colors and harmonious songs. However, the beauty of these native species should be enjoyed by amateur birders and enthusiasts alike. So, to help you in your new adventure, whether spotting species around the world or from the comfort of your own backyard, here are the 15 most popular species in North America.
1, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird
Like many species, the ruby-throated hummingbird can be distinguished in terms of sex. While the adult male sports the characteristic bright red throat to attract potential partners, the adult female is mostly white with a dusky mask and green upperparts. This tiny bird is the most common species east of the Mississippi River. It comes as no surprise that their arrival is eagerly anticipated by nectar-bearing flowers.
2, Northern Cardinal
The Northern Cardinal is the state bird of seven states, however, this tiny yet majestic bird can be found nesting in shrubs and foraging seeds on the woodland bed. It is no doubt that these birds alone, famed for their bright red color and spiked feather crowns, have been hailed a state bird. While the males showcase a full body of bright red in sharp contrast to black surrounding their beak, the brown females are dashed with intense red around the beak and edge of their wings. Listen out for the year-round song of these birds that can be attracted to your garden with a feeder brimmed with sunflower or safflower seeds.
3, Baltimore Oriole
These whimsical species bare the beauty and color pallet of a bonfire. The breast of both male and female softly transitions from a deep orange to softer yellow, while the males is slightly more piercing than that of the female, both are easily recognized. Although the males are strikingly in contrast to a black head and wings.
The Baltimore Oriole can be found in eastern North America, and can be heard from miles away but spotted less easily, nesting high in treetops and scouring for insects amongst the foliage. Look out for females delicately weaving the thinnest of fibers to build a hanging nest. Today, these birds are honored as mascots for both teams and schools as the state bird of Maryland. These birds can be enticed to the backyard with sweet delicacies such as oranges or jelly.
4, American Robin
The world is also home to the delightful American Robin, which is a common North American species found singing cheerily at the crack of dawn and tugging at earthworms in the ground. While they have adjusted to the hustle of city life, these birds can be found within woodlands and also the Alaskan wilderness.
The state bird of Wisconsin, Michigan, and Connecticut, these birds are orange-red breasted with grey upperparts. The males sport a darker gray-black head. These birds stay all-year-round contrary to their reputation as a spring bird.
5, Downy Woodpecker
One of the smallest woodpeckers known to North America and in the world, the downy woodpecker is detailed with intricate black and white detailing that makes them distinct from any other woodpeckers. They can typically be found in forests and hide away in their nested cavities after foraging bark. The downy woodpeckers may be considered the initiation of bird spotting. Look out for the bright red crest on the nape of the male.
6, American Goldfinch
The name of this beautiful bird speaks for itself; the American Goldfinch can be recognized by their vibrant yellow plumage and their contrasting black markings. While females can be recognized for their more subtle coloring and black markings. However, it is not only the coloring of this southwestern bird, but their song that has earned them the nickname wild canary. If your home is in New Jersey, Iowa, or Washington, you will be familiar with this handsome finch as your state bird. You can find them snacking on sunflower and Nyjer seeds both in the wild and at your garden feeders.
7, Black-Capped Chickadee
Birders around the world will be familiar with these cute and curious birds that are not hesitant to venture anywhere they may find black oil sunflower seeds. They can be spotted due to their bold chunky stature and black caps and throats with grey upperparts. Their cousin, the Carolina chickadee, is native to Southern regions and is alike in its love of delicious seeds.
8, Eastern Bluebird
Despite being found in grasslands, the coloration of the Eastern bluebird resembles a beach sunset. Both males and females are covered in a royal blue over the head and wings in contrast to their orange plumage that fades into a white underpart. While the females can be distinguished due to their lighter shades. This small bird can be found in North America, their favorite treat is mealworm.
9, Carolina Wren
This small sassy bird will happily pay a visit to your yard, and if it does, you can notice it by its bold eyebrow and warm chestnut coloration. Their typical habitat is open woodland in the Eastern United States, and they can be hard to see, but once you do, you will notice their curious cocked up tails and lively behavior.
10, Chipping Sparrow
One of many sparrows, this North American bird can be easily missed as its brown coloration can be lost amongst the trees, particularly in fall and winter. Yet, this is not just any bird, despite being commonly mistaken for other sparrows. Although, if you search for these sparrows closely and you will notice their marvelous chestnut crown. Sparrows are not unknown to come to the suburbs, so try attracting them with their favorite food, seeds.
11, Yellow-Rumped Warbler
Another native North American, warblers are also particularly widespread, so you won’t struggle in your search for them. Once they give you a twirl, you will notice their bright yellow rump, giving them the world-famous nickname “butter butts.” These birds can pay a visit very early and late in the year, so keep an eye out they are not to be missed.
12, Blue Jay
The world-famous blue jay is also a crafty bird. Storing their nuts for long cold winters and mimicking the calls of hacks to scare others away from their prized foods. If you switch your search up and listen carefully, you may just be able to distinguish their loud calls before seeing their bold blue plumage. Thankfully these omnivores are easily attracted to yards.
13, Purple Martin
The largest Northern swallow, the purple martin, is known for its exclusive nesting in specialized houses to accommodate multiple families at once. Quite the socialite, the purple martin can feed in flocks, also meaning a mesmerizing cloud of jewel-toned plumage.
14, Mourning Dove
A larger Northern bird, the Mourning dove is soft and gentle. Their cooing is unmistakable, and they will happily forage the grass to pick up the seeds knocked off the feeders by smaller feet. They bare long tapered tails and an iridescent patch on their neck. While if you look closely enough, you will notice black spots on the wings. These subtle characteristics are what distinguishes this dove from the common pigeon.
A shorebird you can see without needing to set foot on a beach, the Killdeer can be found in grasslands looking for insects and nesting firmly in the ground. However, a particularly new environment they can be seen in is parking lots, and vacant fields or driveways. Nesting on the ground means this shorebird is perfectly camouflaged to protect themselves and their young from predators, making it ever harder for birders to spot them. However, you can’t miss the dramatic display of an adult Killdeer. Additionally, the far-carrying voice of an excited killdeer can be heard, so look overhead as they are likely to give their call in flight.
So, now you know 15 new bird species, you may be wondering how to continue your learning. There are many resources you can sign up for, such as allaboutbirds.org where you can enter your email address and become a member for free. Entering your email will give you access to resources and allow you to support the work Cornell University is doing in addition to familiarizing yourself with new bird variations all around the world.