Common Backyard Birds of Maine

Maine, known for its breathtaking natural beauty, is also home to a plethora of wild birds. With a staggering 463 species recorded on the official state list, bird enthusiasts will find themselves in awe of the diverse avian population. This article focuses on 26 common backyard birds in Maine, ranging from year-round residents to migratory species. From the vibrant Northern Cardinal to the playful Blue Jay, each bird is described with its scientific name, size, and fascinating details about its appearance and behavior. Are you wondering how to attract these magnificent creatures to your own yard? Look no further, as the article also provides tips on the types of feeders and food that these birds prefer. Just be on the lookout for the invasive European Starling, a species that has made itself a year-round resident in Maine. And keep an eye on the American Goldfinch, whose dazzling yellow plumage in the warmer months transforms into a more subdued hue during the winter. So, grab your binoculars and get ready to discover the incredible world of the common backyard birds of Maine!

Common Backyard Birds of Maine


Maine is a haven for bird enthusiasts, as it is home to a wide variety of bird species. Whether you are an avid birder or just enjoy watching the feathered visitors to your backyard, Maine offers ample opportunities for bird watching. This article will provide an overview of some of the most common backyard birds found in Maine, including their scientific names, size, appearance, and behaviors. By understanding these birds and their preferences, you can make your yard a welcoming oasis for these beautiful creatures.

Description of Maine’s Bird Species

With its diverse habitats, from forests and wetlands to coastal areas, Maine boasts an impressive number of bird species. According to the official state list, there are approximately 463 bird species documented in Maine. However, this article will focus on 26 common backyard birds that are frequently seen in the state. These species have captured the hearts of many bird lovers, and their presence adds color and song to Maine’s natural landscapes.

Year-round Residents vs. Migratory Birds

Among the 26 species mentioned in this article, some are year-round residents, while others are migratory. Year-round resident birds, as the name suggests, stay in Maine throughout the year. They are well-adapted to the state’s often harsh winters and can be spotted even on snowy days. On the other hand, migratory birds spend only a portion of the year in Maine. They arrive in the spring to breed and raise their young, and then embark on long journeys to warmer regions for the winter.

Understanding the distinction between year-round residents and migratory birds is important for bird enthusiasts. It allows us to appreciate the seasonal changes in our avian visitors and to provide them with suitable habitats and resources during their time in Maine.

Species Included in the Article

The following is a list of the 26 common backyard bird species included in this article:

  • Northern Cardinal
  • Tufted Titmouse
  • Black-capped Chickadee
  • Blue Jay
  • Eastern Bluebird
  • Song Sparrow
  • American Robin
  • Mourning Dove
  • European Starling
  • American Goldfinch
  • And more…

Each of these species possesses unique characteristics and behaviors that make them a joy to observe. By getting to know these birds better, you can enhance your bird watching experiences and develop a deeper appreciation for the avian residents of Maine.

Northern Cardinal

Scientific Name: Cardinalis cardinalis

Size: Approximately 8-9 inches in length

Appearance and Behavior Description:

The Northern Cardinal is a stunning bird known for its vibrant red plumage and crested head. The male boasts bright red feathers, while the female sports a softer, reddish-brown color with touches of red. Their beaks are thick and cone-shaped, well-suited for cracking open seeds. Cardinals are year-round residents in Maine, and their sweet whistling songs can be heard throughout the year. These birds are frequent visitors to backyard feeders, especially if there are sunflower seeds or safflower seeds available. Their distinct appearance and cheerful melodies make them a beloved sight in Maine’s backyards.

Tufted Titmouse

Scientific Name: Baeolophus bicolor

Size: Approximately 5.5 inches in length

Appearance and Behavior Description:

The Tufted Titmouse is a small yet charismatic bird that sports a crest similar to a cardinal. The gray feathers on its back combine with a white belly, giving it a distinguished appearance. Its black eyes stand out against its light gray face. Tufted Titmice are known for their bold and curious nature. They readily visit bird feeders, especially those filled with sunflower seeds, suet, or peanuts. These acrobatic birds are skilled at hanging upside down and can often be seen clinging to the undersides of branches in search of insects and seeds. Their clear, whistling calls and playful antics add a touch of liveliness to any backyard.

Black-capped Chickadee

Scientific Name: Poecile atricapillus

Size: Approximately 5 inches in length

Appearance and Behavior Description:

The Black-capped Chickadee is a small bird that is easily recognized by its black cap and bib, contrasted with white cheeks and gray feathers on its back. Chickadees are incredibly curious and social birds, often seen in small flocks. They are frequent visitors to backyard feeders, with a preference for sunflower seeds and peanuts. Chickadees have a unique ability to remember the locations of a vast number of food caches, allowing them to retrieve their hidden treasures even months later. Their distinct call, which sounds like “chick-a-dee-dee-dee,” has earned them their namesake. With their charming appearance and cheerful presence, Black-capped Chickadees are a favorite amongst Maine’s backyard bird enthusiasts.

Blue Jay

Scientific Name: Cyanocitta cristata

Size: Approximately 9-12 inches in length

Appearance and Behavior Description:

The Blue Jay is a striking bird with bright blue plumage on its wings and tail, a white face, and a distinctive crest. It is a year-round resident in Maine and can often be seen in pairs or small groups. Blue Jays are known for their vocalizations, with a vast repertoire of calls ranging from harsh screeches to mimicking other bird species. They are bold and assertive birds that readily visit feeders, particularly those offering peanuts, sunflower seeds, or suet. Blue Jays are also known for their ability to cache food, helping them survive the winter months. Their brilliant colors and spirited personalities make them a delight to observe in Maine’s backyard landscapes.

Eastern Bluebird

Scientific Name: Sialia sialis

Size: Approximately 6.5-7 inches in length

Appearance and Behavior Description:

The Eastern Bluebird is a small thrush known for its colorful plumage, with a blue back and rusty-orange breast. They are year-round residents in Maine and can be spotted in open areas with grassy fields or meadows. Bluebirds are cavity nesters and often rely on human-made nest boxes for breeding. They have a melodic and gentle song that can be heard during the spring and summer months. Eastern Bluebirds primarily feed on insects but will occasionally visit feeders offering mealworms and suet. Their charming appearance and graceful flight make them a treasured sight in Maine’s backyards.

American Goldfinch’s Color Change

Spring and Summer Plumage:

The American Goldfinch is a small songbird with bright, lemon-yellow plumage during the spring and summer months. The males display vibrant yellow feathers, while females showcase a slightly duller yellow. These finches are known for their acrobatic flight patterns and delightful singing. Their preferred foods include thistle seeds and sunflower seeds.

Winter Plumage:

During the winter months, the American Goldfinch undergoes a transformation in color. It molts its vibrant yellow plumage and adopts a dull brownish or olive color. This change helps the birds blend in with their winter surroundings, providing them with better protection from predators. Despite their less vibrant appearance, they are still a welcome sight at winter feeders, bringing a touch of color to the snowy landscape.

In conclusion, Maine’s backyard birds are as diverse as the state’s landscapes. From the vibrant plumage of the Northern Cardinal and Blue Jay to the cheerful songs of the Tufted Titmouse and Black-capped Chickadee, these birds captivate and inspire us. By understanding their unique characteristics and preferences, we can create suitable habitats and offer the necessary resources to attract them to our yards. So, grab a pair of binoculars, set up a bird feeder, and get ready to welcome these feathered friends into your backyard. Happy birding!

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