Common Backyard Birds in New York

New York is home to a diverse array of backyard birds that captivate and delight bird enthusiasts throughout the state. With a total of 26 species of birds calling New York their home, residents and visitors alike have the opportunity to observe these beautiful creatures all year round. From the striking Northern Cardinal to the playful Blue Jay, each species brings its own unique characteristics and feeding preferences. Whether you are an avid birdwatcher or simply enjoy their presence, there are various ways to attract these feathered friends to your yard, such as bird feeders, birdhouses, and bird baths. Additionally, New York offers numerous birding organizations and hotspots that provide fantastic opportunities for observation and education. So, grab your binoculars and get ready to marvel at the common backyard birds in New York!

Year-Round Residents

Northern Cardinal

The Northern Cardinal is a popular bird in New York due to its striking bright red plumage. These birds can be found year-round and are known for their distinctive crest on their head. They prefer to feed on seeds and fruits, making bird feeders with these food options a great way to attract them to your yard.

Tufted Titmouse

Another year-round resident in New York is the Tufted Titmouse. These birds have a gray body and a tuft of feathers on their head, giving them their unique name. They are known to be quite friendly and can often be seen perched near bird feeders. In addition to seeds, they also enjoy insects and berries as part of their diet.

Black-capped Chickadee

The Black-capped Chickadee is a small bird with black and gray feathers. They are known for their friendly and curious nature. These birds can be found year-round and are quite adaptable. They feed on a variety of food, including insects and seeds. Their presence in your yard can be encouraged by providing bird feeders with a mix of sunflower seeds and suet.

Blue Jay

The Blue Jay is a beautiful bird with blue and white feathers and a crest on its head. They are quite vocal and their distinct calls can often be heard in New York. These birds can be found year-round and are known to be opportunistic eaters. They enjoy nuts and seeds, but they are also known to raid other bird nests for eggs and young chicks.

Eastern Bluebird

The Eastern Bluebird is a stunning bird with bright blue plumage. They can be found year-round in New York and are known for their melodious songs. These birds also have a diet that includes insects and fruits. Providing mealworms and a variety of berries can help attract Eastern Bluebirds to your yard.

Song Sparrow

The Song Sparrow is a small brown bird with a streaked breast. They can be found year-round in New York and are known for their beautiful songs. These birds have a varied diet that includes seeds and insects. Creating a bird-friendly habitat with shrubs and grasses can attract Song Sparrows to your yard.

American Robin

The American Robin is a common sight in New York, with its reddish-orange breast and grayish-brown body. These birds can be found year-round and are known for their melodic songs. They primarily feed on insects and fruit, and providing a birdbath with fresh water can help attract them to your yard.

Mourning Dove

The Mourning Dove is a gray and brown bird with a distinctive long, tapered tail. These birds can be found year-round in New York and are known for their gentle cooing sounds. They primarily feed on seeds, and having a bird feeder with a mix of millet and cracked corn can help attract Mourning Doves to your yard.

European Starling

The European Starling is a black bird with iridescent feathers that can appear purple or green in the sunlight. These birds can be found year-round in New York and are known for their ability to mimic other bird songs. They primarily feed on insects and fruit. Providing a mixture of suet and fruit in bird feeders can attract European Starlings to your yard.

American Goldfinch

The American Goldfinch is a small, bright yellow bird that can be found year-round in New York. These birds are known for their beautiful song and their ability to change their diet depending on the season. In the summer, they primarily feed on insects, while in the winter, they switch to a seed-based diet. Providing nyjer seed in bird feeders can help attract American Goldfinches to your yard.

Dark-eyed Junco

The Dark-eyed Junco is a small bird with gray and white feathers. These birds can be found year-round in New York and are known for their ground-feeding habits. They primarily feed on seeds, and having low bird feeders with a mix of millet and sunflower seeds can help attract Dark-eyed Juncos to your yard.

Migratory Birds

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

The Ruby-throated Hummingbird is a small bird known for its iridescent green feathers and vibrant red throat patch in males. These birds are migratory and only visit New York during the summer months. They primarily feed on nectar from flowers, so having a garden with native flowering plants can help attract Ruby-throated Hummingbirds to your yard.

Baltimore Oriole

The Baltimore Oriole is a colorful bird with bright orange and black plumage. These birds are migratory and typically arrive in New York in the spring. They feed on a variety of food, including insects, fruits, and nectar. Providing orange slices and sugar water in hummingbird feeders can help attract Baltimore Orioles to your yard.

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

The Rose-breasted Grosbeak is a striking bird with black and white feathers and a patch of vibrant red on its breast. These birds are migratory and can be found in New York during the summer months. They primarily feed on seeds, fruits, and insects. Having a variety of food options in bird feeders can help attract Rose-breasted Grosbeaks to your yard.

Warblers

Warblers are a diverse group of small, migratory birds that visit New York during the spring and fall. There are several species of warblers, each with its own unique plumage and feeding preferences. Providing a variety of food sources, such as insects, fruits, and nectar, can help attract warblers to your yard.

Cedar Waxwing

The Cedar Waxwing is a sleek bird with brown and yellow plumage and a distinctive crest on its head. These birds are migratory and can be found in New York during the spring and fall. They primarily feed on fruits, and having native berry-producing shrubs in your yard can help attract Cedar Waxwings.

White-throated Sparrow

The White-throated Sparrow is a small bird known for its white throat and yellow lores. These birds are migratory and can be found in New York during the spring and fall. They primarily feed on seeds, and having bird feeders with a mix of millet and sunflower seeds can help attract White-throated Sparrows to your yard.

Yellow Warbler

The Yellow Warbler is a small bird with bright yellow plumage and red streaks on its breast. These birds are migratory and typically arrive in New York during the spring. They primarily feed on insects and nectar. Having a garden with native flowering plants and providing sugar water in hummingbird feeders can help attract Yellow Warblers to your yard.

Scarlet Tanager

The Scarlet Tanager is a striking bird with vibrant red plumage in males and olive-yellow plumage in females. These birds are migratory and can be found in New York during the summer months. They primarily feed on insects and fruits. Having a variety of food sources, such as fruit-bearing trees and shrubs, can help attract Scarlet Tanagers to your yard.

Indigo Bunting

The Indigo Bunting is a small bird known for its vibrant blue plumage in males and brown plumage in females. These birds are migratory and typically arrive in New York during the spring. They primarily feed on seeds and insects. Having bird feeders with a mix of millet and sunflower seeds can help attract Indigo Buntings to your yard.

Tree Swallow

The Tree Swallow is a sleek bird with iridescent blue-green feathers on its back and white feathers on its underbelly. These birds are migratory and can be found in New York during the spring and summer months. They primarily feed on insects and are known for their aerial acrobatics while catching prey in mid-air. Providing birdhouses specifically designed for Tree Swallows can help attract them to your yard.

Characteristics and Feeding Preferences

Northern Cardinal

The Northern Cardinal is one of the most recognizable birds in New York. With its bright red plumage, this bird stands out against the greenery of trees and shrubs. Cardinals primarily feed on seeds and fruits, making them frequent visitors to bird feeders stocked with sunflower seeds and berries. They are also known to be ground-feeders, picking up fallen seeds from the ground.

Tufted Titmouse

The Tufted Titmouse has a gray body and a tuft of feathers on its head, which gives it its name. These small birds have a varied diet that includes insects, seeds, and berries. They are known for their acrobatic behavior while foraging and can often be seen hanging upside down to reach food. Providing a mix of suet, sunflower seeds, and berries in bird feeders can attract Tufted Titmice to your yard.

Black-capped Chickadee

Black-capped Chickadees are small birds with a black cap and bib, and gray and white feathers. They have a wide diet that includes insects and seeds. These agile birds are known to be curious and friendly. They can often be seen hanging from branches and pecking at insects or visiting bird feeders filled with black oil sunflower seeds.

Blue Jay

Blue Jays are medium-sized birds with blue and white plumage and a crest on their head. They are known for their loud calls and bold personalities. Blue Jays have a diet that includes nuts, seeds, insects, and occasionally small vertebrates. They can be attracted to your yard by providing a variety of food options, such as peanuts, sunflower seeds, and suet.

Eastern Bluebird

Eastern Bluebirds are small, vibrant blue birds with reddish-brown breasts. They are known for their melodious songs and their love of open habitats. Eastern Bluebirds primarily feed on insects and fruits. Providing mealworms and a variety of berries can help attract Eastern Bluebirds to your yard. They are cavity nesters, so having birdhouses specifically designed for bluebirds can provide them with a place to nest.

Song Sparrow

Song Sparrows are small birds with brown plumage and streaks on their breasts. They are known for their beautiful songs, which can range from soft and sweet to complex and melodious. Song Sparrows have a varied diet that includes seeds, insects, and berries. Creating a bird-friendly habitat with shrubs and grasses can attract Song Sparrows to your yard.

American Robin

American Robins are medium-sized birds with reddish-orange breasts and grayish-brown bodies. They are known for their distinctive chirping sound. American Robins primarily feed on insects and fruit. They have a knack for finding worms by sight and can often be seen hopping and tugging at worms on lawns. Providing a birdbath with fresh water can help attract American Robins to your yard.

Mourning Dove

Mourning Doves are medium-sized birds with gray and brown plumage and a long, tapered tail. They are known for their soft cooing sounds. Mourning Doves primarily feed on seeds, including millet and cracked corn. They are ground-feeders and can often be seen foraging on the ground for fallen seeds. Having low bird feeders with a mix of seeds can help attract Mourning Doves to your yard.

European Starling

European Starlings are medium-sized birds with black plumage and iridescent feathers that can appear purple or green in the sunlight. They are known for their ability to mimic other bird songs. European Starlings primarily feed on insects and fruit. They can often be seen foraging on lawns or in bird feeders with a mix of suet and fruits.

American Goldfinch

American Goldfinches are small, bright yellow birds that stand out in a crowd. They are known for their cheerful songs and their ability to change their diet depending on the season. In the summer, they primarily feed on insects, while in the winter, they switch to a seed-based diet. American Goldfinches have a specialized bill that allows them to extract seeds from plants such as thistles. Providing nyjer seed in bird feeders can help attract American Goldfinches to your yard.

Dark-eyed Junco

Dark-eyed Juncos are small birds with gray and white plumage. They are known for their ground-feeding habits and can often be seen hopping and scratching for seeds on the ground. Dark-eyed Juncos primarily feed on seeds, and having bird feeders with a mix of millet and sunflower seeds can help attract them to your yard.

Attracting Birds to Your Yard

Use of Bird Feeders

Bird feeders are a great way to attract a variety of birds to your yard. Different species of birds have different feeding preferences, so having a variety of food options in your feeders can attract a diverse range of bird species. Some common bird feeder options include tube feeders, platform feeders, and suet feeders. Providing a mix of seeds, suet, fruits, and nuts can help cater to the different feeding preferences of birds.

Use of Birdhouses

Birdhouses, also known as nest boxes, can provide birds with a safe and secure place to nest and raise their young. Different bird species have different requirements for their nesting habitats, so it is important to choose birdhouses that are specifically designed for the species you want to attract. Placing birdhouses at different heights and orientations can also help accommodate different bird species.

Use of Bird Baths

Bird baths provide birds with a source of fresh water for drinking and bathing. Having a reliable water source can attract birds to your yard, especially during hot and dry periods. Bird baths should be shallow and have a rough texture to provide traction for birds. It is also important to keep bird baths clean and filled with fresh water to ensure the health and safety of the birds.

Proper Feeding Techniques

When using bird feeders, it is important to practice proper feeding techniques to ensure the well-being of the birds. Bird feeders should be kept clean and free from mold and bacteria. It is also important to regularly replenish the food in the feeders to ensure a steady supply for the birds. Providing a mix of high-quality food options, such as seeds, nuts, suet, and fruits, can help meet the nutritional needs of the birds.

Birdwatching Hotspots

Central Park

Central Park in New York City is not only a popular destination for people, but also for birds. The park is home to a diverse range of bird species, making it a hotspot for birdwatching. Some of the bird species that can be seen in Central Park include warblers, sparrows, waterfowl, and even the occasional hawk. The park’s varied habitats, such as woodlands, meadows, and lakes, provide a suitable environment for a wide variety of birds.

Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge

Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, located in central New York, is a haven for migratory birds. The refuge is situated along the Atlantic Flyway, a major migration route for birds. During the spring and fall, thousands of migratory birds pass through the refuge, making it an ideal spot for birdwatching. Visitors can expect to see a variety of waterfowl, wading birds, shorebirds, and songbirds.

Gateway National Recreation Area

Gateway National Recreation Area, located in the New York City metropolitan area, encompasses several park units across both New York and New Jersey. The area is known for its diverse bird population, including resident and migratory species. Some of the bird species that can be spotted in Gateway National Recreation Area include ospreys, shorebirds, waterfowl, and raptors. The park’s coastal habitats, including beaches, marshes, and woodlands, provide excellent opportunities for birdwatching.

Hudson River Valley

The Hudson River Valley, located just north of New York City, is a scenic region that is home to a variety of bird species. The valley is characterized by its picturesque landscapes, including riverfronts, agricultural fields, and forests, which attract a diverse range of birds. Some of the bird species that can be seen in the Hudson River Valley include Bald Eagles, woodpeckers, sparrows, and warblers.

Adirondack Park

Adirondack Park, located in upstate New York, is the largest state park in the United States. The park is known for its breathtaking natural beauty and abundant wildlife. Birdwatchers can explore the park’s vast wilderness areas, including mountains, forests, and lakes, to observe a variety of bird species. Some of the bird species that can be spotted in Adirondack Park include Boreal Chickadees, Bicknell’s Thrushes, owls, and waterfowl.

Catskill Mountains

The Catskill Mountains, located in southeastern New York, are a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, including birdwatchers. The region’s diverse habitats, including forests, wetlands, and meadows, attract a variety of bird species. Some of the bird species that can be seen in the Catskill Mountains include warblers, thrushes, sparrows, and raptors. The Catskill Mountains also offer several birding trails and nature centers that provide opportunities for observation and education.

Fire Island National Seashore

Fire Island National Seashore, located off the coast of Long Island, is a unique birdwatching hotspot. The barrier island and its surrounding waters provide important habitat for a variety of bird species. Some of the bird species that can be spotted at Fire Island National Seashore include Piping Plovers, Least Terns, shorebirds, and waterfowl. The seashore’s sandy beaches, salt marshes, and maritime forests offer excellent opportunities for birdwatching and wildlife photography.

Niagara Falls State Park

Niagara Falls State Park, located in western New York, is not only known for its breathtaking waterfalls but also for its birdwatching opportunities. The park’s diverse habitats, including woodlands, wetlands, and rapids, attract a variety of bird species. Some of the bird species that can be seen at Niagara Falls State Park include Bald Eagles, Peregrine Falcons, gulls, and waterfowl. The park’s scenic trails and observation points allow visitors to observe birds in their natural habitat.

Cayuga Lake

Cayuga Lake, one of the Finger Lakes in central New York, is a popular destination for birdwatching. The lake’s shoreline and surrounding habitats provide important stopover points for migratory birds. Some of the bird species that can be spotted at Cayuga Lake include waterfowl, shorebirds, gulls, and terns. The lake’s numerous public access points and birding trails allow visitors to observe birds and enjoy the beauty of the lake.

Long Island Sound

Long Island Sound, located along the southern coast of Long Island, is a diverse and productive ecosystem that supports a variety of bird species. The sound’s coastal habitats, including beaches, salt marshes, and rocky shorelines, provide important feeding and breeding grounds for birds. Some of the bird species that can be seen at Long Island Sound include ospreys, shorebirds, waterfowl, and gulls. The sound’s numerous nature preserves and bird sanctuaries offer opportunities for birdwatching and wildlife observation.

Birding Organizations in New York

Audubon New York

Audubon New York is a state office of the National Audubon Society dedicated to the conservation of birds and their habitats. The organization offers a variety of birdwatching programs, including guided bird walks, citizen science projects, and educational workshops. Audubon New York also manages several bird sanctuaries and nature centers across the state that provide opportunities for birdwatching and nature education.

New York State Ornithological Association

The New York State Ornithological Association (NYSOA) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the study and conservation of birds in New York. The association serves as a central hub for birdwatchers and ornithology enthusiasts in the state. NYSOA organizes field trips, conferences, and bird counts, and publishes a quarterly journal highlighting bird research and conservation efforts.

Birding Bob Tours

Birding Bob Tours, led by expert birdwatcher Bob DeCandido, offers guided birdwatching tours in and around New York City. The tours focus on observing the diverse bird species that can be found in the city’s parks, including Central Park. Birding Bob Tours provides an educational and interactive experience, allowing participants to learn about bird identification, behavior, and conservation.

New York City Audubon

New York City Audubon is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the conservation of birds and their habitats in New York City. The organization offers a variety of birdwatching programs and events, including guided bird walks, bird banding demonstrations, and educational workshops. New York City Audubon also conducts research and advocacy efforts to protect bird populations and promote bird-friendly policies in the city.

Hudson River Audubon Society

The Hudson River Audubon Society (HRAS) is a local chapter of the National Audubon Society, serving the Hudson Valley region in New York. HRAS offers a wide range of birdwatching activities, including guided bird walks, bird banding programs, and educational presentations. The society also conducts habitat restoration projects and bird monitoring efforts to support conservation initiatives in the region.

Western New York Birding Sites

Western New York Birding Sites is an online resource that provides information on birding locations in the western part of the state. The website features a comprehensive list of birding hotspots, including parks, nature preserves, and wildlife refuges. It also provides tips on bird identification and photography, as well as updates on recent bird sightings in the region.

Central New York Birding Sites

Central New York Birding Sites is a resource for birdwatchers interested in exploring the central part of the state. The website provides detailed information on birding locations, including forests, lakes, and wetlands. It also offers birdwatching tips, bird identification guides, and updates on local birding events and activities.

North Country Birding Sites

North Country Birding Sites is a guide to birdwatching locations in the North Country region of New York, which includes the Adirondack Park and surrounding areas. The website provides comprehensive information on the region’s birding hotspots, as well as resources for bird identification and observation. It also features updates on recent bird sightings and upcoming birding events in the area.

Eastern New York Birding Sites

Eastern New York Birding Sites is a resource for birdwatchers interested in exploring the eastern part of the state. The website provides detailed information on birding locations, including parks, forests, and wetlands. It also offers birdwatching tips, bird identification guides, and updates on local birding events and activities.

Southern Tier Birding Sites

Southern Tier Birding Sites is a guide to birdwatching locations in the southern tier of New York, which includes the Finger Lakes region and surrounding areas. The website provides comprehensive information on the region’s birding hotspots, as well as resources for bird identification and observation. It also features updates on recent bird sightings and upcoming birding events in the area.

Birdwatching is a popular and rewarding activity that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced birder, New York offers a wide range of bird species and habitats to explore. By attracting birds to your yard through the use of bird feeders, birdhouses, bird baths, and proper feeding techniques, you can create a welcoming environment that supports the well-being of birds. Additionally, exploring the birdwatching hotspots and connecting with birding organizations in New York can provide opportunities for observation, education, and conservation efforts. So grab your binoculars, field guides, and birding gear, and get ready to embark on a birding adventure in the beautiful state of New York!

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