All About Birds Blog

Help Us Build Our Top 120 List

By on Friday, June 13th, 2008 - 46 Comments

Some of us have been wedged into meeting rooms this week, talking about how to make a great bird ID tool. One thing is clear: it’s going to take some time to develop the perfect Ident-O-Matic (some might call it the Petertron) – a tool that can pinpoint any of North America’s 700+ bird species based solely on a user’s recollections of traits like size, color, shape, beak size or, say, number of toes or aroma….

But we don’t want you to get impatient. So we’ll develop the tool in discrete stages that we can roll out over the course of development. (We’ll likely show you test versions of each stage in advance – keep your eyes on this blog).

For the first stage, we envision a tool that guides you to identifying around 120 common bird species through a short series of questions covering location, plumage color(s), general size, shape, and behavior. Later, upgrades will expand the number of species covered and make the searches more pictorial.

So naturally, the first question is: Which 120 birds make the list? Four of us squared off around a table to answer: Alex (representing Boston), Laura (Minnesota), Sam (Texas), and me (California). After agreeing on American Goldfinch, Black-capped Chickadee, and Red-breasted Nuthatch, the discussion branched out.

“Scissor-tailed Flycatcher? Bohemian Waxwing?”

“If we do California Quail, should we do Gambel’s Quail?”

“Sorry Hugh. Marbled Murrelet is not a backyard bird.”

To build our list, we’re also looking at Project FeederWatch results and popular All About Birds species accounts. Right now we’re whittling down a list of about 150 – but we’re concerned we might be forgetting some. So let us know: What kinds of birds do you have flitting around your town, or singing from your hedges, that we ought to be thinking about?

Coming next week: What makes identification hard or easy?

(Image: Scissor-tailed Flycatcher by Laura Erickson)

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46 Comments

  1. Neat! In my Austin, TX neighborhood I’m writing an article for my neighborhood association that lists the 20 most common year-round resident backyard birds. Based on my 3 years of eBird records for the neighborhood, I came up with this list:

    Red-shouldered Hawk

    White-winged Dove

    Mourning Dove

    Eastern Screech-Owl

    Red-bellied Woodpecker

    Downy Woodpecker

    Blue Jay

    Carolina Chickadee

    Black-crested Titmouse

    Carolina Wren

    Bewick’s Wren

    American Robin

    Northern Mockingbird

    European Starling

    Northern Cardinal

    Common Grackle

    Great-tailed Grackle

    Lesser Goldfinch

    House Finch

    House Sparrow

  2. Birdfreak says:

    I would include a lot of prairie birds:

    Dickcissel

    Bobolink

    Grasshopper Sparrow

    Savananah Sparrow

    Henslow’s Sparrow

    How about all the sparrows?? People claim they are hard to ID, but most are pretty distinct when you get a good look.

    Loads of warblers!!

    How about all 100 birds in the Birder’s Conservation Handbook? That would only leave 20 more…

  3. Kim says:

    My favorite is the black-capped chickadee but you already have that one covered. I have Rose-breasted Grosbeak and the Gray Cat Bird (he sings pretty)

  4. John says:

    I posted an answer at my blog, with a top 40 of the local species for me.

  5. Alan says:

    I’m a fan of the woodpeckers; especially the southeastern woodpeckers:

    Red-Cockaded

    Hairy

    Downy

    Pileated

    Red-bellied

    Red-headed

    Sapsucker

    Flicker

    Ivorybill(?)

  6. Christopher says:

    I’m with Alan on the woodpeckers – espcially the Red-headed vs. Red-bellied for comparison purposes for those unfamiliar with them. (People tell me all the time about the “red-headed woodpecker” they have coming to their feeder here in Mass – every time it’s been a Red-bellied)

    A few other suggestions (not mentioned yet by others):

    Scarlet Tananger, Blue-headed Vireo, Cedar Waxwing, Dark-eyed Junco, House and Carolina Wrens.

  7. Andrea says:

    Here in FL, the most common birds I see are:

    Tufted Titmouse

    Blue Jay

    Cardinal

    Carolina Chickadee

    Carolina Wren

    Pileated Woodpecker

    Red-bellied Woodpecker

    Mourning Dove

    American & Fish Crows

    Laughing Gull

    Red-shouldered Hawk

    Osprey

    Turkey & Black Vultures

    Cattle Egret

    White Ibis

    In the winter here I see more variety, such as warblers, sparrows, finches, and other migrants, but the above list is fairly consistant year-round for my area.

  8. Jessica says:

    I would like you to focus on the identification challenges… how to tell all those “little grey birds” and “little brown birds” apart. For example, I’m having a hellofa time IDing a little grey and tan bird I see in the mountains that hovers at Aspen buds/flowers. I’d love to see a list of possibles narrowed by region and habitat, so I could listen to the calls and compare them.

    My backyard birds… Salt Lake City, Utah:

    Mourning Dove

    Downy Woodpecker

    Scrub Jay

    Black-capped Chickadee

    American Robin

    European Starling

    American Goldfinch

    Lesser Goldfinch

    House Finch

    House Sparrow

    Lazuli Bunting

    American Kestrel

    White-crowned Sparrow

    Song Sparrow

    Black-billed Magpie

    Red-crowned Kinglet

    Northern Flicker

    Pine Siskin

  9. Amanda B. says:

    That’s an interesting challenge. We’ve had visiting our feeder – on the Kenai Peninsula (AK):

    Gray Jay

    Stellar Jay – coastal form

    Yellow Rumped Myrtle Warbler

    Townsend Warbler

    Blackpoll Warbler

    Orange Crowned Warbler

    Boreal and Black-capped chickadee

    Red Breasted Nuthatch

    Junco

    Sooty Fox Sparrow

    Breaking down by region would be helpful, as I probably won’t see a Vireo – any variety – any time soon.

  10. I live in Vallejo, at the NE corner of the San Francisco bay. We see a lot of migratory birds and wetland residents. I’d like help identifying similar breeds, for example, I’m not sure if I’m seeing Killdeers or Semipalmated Plovers at a marsh near my house, or maybe both. I’ve seen them do the fake broken wing thing, but that isn’t mentioned in my Sibley guidebook. I started doing ebird but I’m still unsure about a lot of birds and I didn’t want to fill it up with wrong information.

    There is another bird I’ve seen around here that I’m not sure of – it looks like a sparrow with a lot of yellow around the breast and neck – there are lots of similar birds in the book! Maybe a Townsend Warbler?

    here are locals that I am sure of:

    Black phoebe

    House Finch

    Cliff Swallow

    Nuttall’s woodpecker (frequent our old fruit trees & phone poles)

    Mockingbirds

    Scrub Jays

    doves (probably mourning)

    Red shouldered hawk

    red winged blackbird (bicolored – variety)

    Greater egret

    Lesser egret

    Black Necked stilt

    Great blue heron

    coots

    cormorants

    mallards

    lesser scaup

    brown pelicans

    white pelicans

    Grebes (western?)

    Canada Geese

    Turkey Vulture

    Crows

    Ravens

    Starlings

    pigeons

    house sparrows (way too many of these)

    seen only once or twice:

    Robin

    peregrine falcon

    American Kestrel

    white tailed kite

    Pheasants (a pair, in semi-developed area last fall)

    Black crowned night heron (more common in Oakland)

    Not sure of identification

    California Thrasher

    Western Kingbird

    Killdeer/Plover

    various seagulls

    Thanks for this site!

  11. Pingback: Listmania « Round Robin

  12. Derry Hoggatt says:

    I personally would like to see the following:

    Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)

    Wood Duck (Aix sponsa)

    Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo)

    Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)

    Great Egret (Ardea alba)

    Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)

    Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)

    Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus)

    Least Tern (Sternula antillarum)

    Rock Pigeon (Columba livia)

    Eurasian Collared-Dove (Streptopelia decaocto) Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)

    Barred Owl (Strix varia)

    Chimney Swift (Chaetura pelagica)

    Western Kingbird (Tyrannus verticalis)

    Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus)

    Scissor-tailed Flycatcher (Tyrannus forficatus)

    Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata)

    American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)

    Cliff Swallow (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota)

    Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)

    Tufted Titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor)

    Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (Polioptila caerulea) Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis)

    Wood Thrush (Hylocichla mustelina)

    American Robin (Turdus migratorius)

    Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)

    White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys) Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis)

    Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)

    Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) Eastern Meadowlark (Sturnella magna)

    Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula)

    Great-tailed Grackle (Quiscalus mexicanus) Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater)

    House Finch (Carpodacus mexicanus)

    House Sparrow (Passer domesticus).

    Thank you.

  13. Mary Beth James-Thib says:

    From the SF bay area:

    Anna’s Hummingbirds

    Black phoebes

    Chestnut backed chickadee

    California Towhee

    House Finch

    Bushtit

    Nuttall’s woodpecker

    Redshafted flicker

    Mockingbird

    Scrub Jays

    Mourning doves

    Common egret

    Snowy Egret

    Blackbird

    Great blue heron

    Cooper’s hawk

    Brown pelicans

    Canada Geese

    Turkey

    Crows

    Ravens

    Starlings

    Pigeons

    Black crowned sparrows

  14. birdude says:

    I live in San Ramon California, and here are the top 15

    bird species that I see around my neighborhood.

    1. House Finch

    2. California Towhee

    3. Black Phoebe

    4. Mourning Dove

    5. White-tailed Kite

    6. Downy Woodpecker

    7. Peregrine Falcon

    8. Hairy Woodpecker

    9. House Sparrow (Much more common in Spring)

    10. California Quail

    11. Great Egret

    12. Purple Finch

    13. California(n) Scrub Jays (Though very common in Summer)

    14. Cooper/Sharp-shinned Hawks

    15. Great Blue Heron

  15. Hugh says:

    Thanks birdude – and the other listers on this thread. Your suggestions are updated in the word cloud at the top of the Listmania post. Check’em out…

  16. spring-blossom says:

    Here are a few of the birds I see and would like them to be on the list:

    1. Eastern Bluebird

    2. White-tailed Tropicbird

    3. Bermuda Petrel

    4. Northern Cardinal

    5. Greater black-backed gull

    6. House Sparrow

    7. European Starling

    8. European Goldfinch

    9. Barn Owl

    10.White-eyed Vireo

  17. Waiting says:

    Top 15 common birds around my apartment at Pasadena, CA:

    Mourning Dove

    Northern Mockingbird

    House Finch

    House Sparrow

    European Starling

    Rock Pigeon

    Allen’s Hummingbird

    Anna’s Hummingbird

    Acorn Woodpecker

    American Crow

    Western Scrub-Jay

    Cedar Waxwing

    Yellow-rumped Warbler

    Yellow-chevroned Parakeet

    Bushtit

  18. Adele in Minnesota says:

    Well, foremost in my mind (and ears) right now is the House Wren. I’m sure many people across the country and world are hearing what I’ve been hearing for at least 14 hours a day lately, male house wrens singing their heads off.

  19. Tizzie says:

    As a northeast birder my suggestion would be to focus some on the identification of sparrows and wrens (one from another) as well as hawks, falcons, waders, gulls and warblers. In my own experience these are the hardest to identify either because of great similarities or having to view from a great distance. The shore birds are just tough to identify in general. Of course these do not apply to al regions so…

  20. Beryl Moody says:

    I live in a rural section of Nevada County, CA and see many birds that are not commonly seen in the rest of the county. But here is a list of birds that I think are quite common in the county as a whole.

    Mourning Dove

    Anna’s Hummingbird

    American Crow

    Common Raven

    House Finch

    Lesser Goldfinch

    Brewer’s Blackbird

    Spotted Towhee

    Stellar’s Jay

    Western Scrub Jay

    Turkey Vulture

    Canada Goose

    American Robin

    English Sparrow

    Dark Eyed Junco

  21. West says:

    Western Bluebird

    Mountain Bluebird

  22. Jean says:

    Great ideas! I would add that in this northernmost coastal corner of California, our backyard populations vary enormously by season. Whereas I would put Dark-eyed Junco first in winter, they are gone in summer. All year, though, the Steller’s Jay is our most frequent visitor. Right now, they are joined by red breasted woodpeckers, northern flickers, black headed grosbeaks and American finches in numbers, augmented by Allen’s and Anna’s hummingbirds as the flowers appear.

  23. Paula Sites says:

    Where I live in south central Indiana, the following are the most common:

    Mourning Dove

    House Finch

    House Sparrow

    Gold Finch

    Northern Cardinal

    European Starling

    Downy Woodpecker

    Blue Jay

    American Robin

    Song Sparrow

    Dark-eyed Junco

    Black-capped Chickadee

    Yellow-rumped Warbler

    Yellow Warbler

    Ruby-crowned Kinglet

    Ruby-throated Hummingbird

    Indigo Bunting

    Blue Bird

    American Crow

    Sharp-shinned Hawk

    Red-tailed Hawk

    Mallard

    Canada Goose

    Great Blue Heron

    Green-backed Heron

    Belted Kingfisher

    Cedar Waxwing

    Hairy Woodpecker

    Pileated Woodpecker

    Red-headed Woodpecker

    Tufted Titmouse

  24. Annie K. Prestwood says:

    Birds that I see in my yard:

    brown-headed nuthatch

    red-breasted nuthatch

    white-breasted nuthatch

    American goldfinch

    Carolina chickadee

    Carolina wren

    Northern cardinal

    Bluejay

    Pileated woodpecker

    red bellied woodpecker

    downy woodpecker

    mourning dove

    common crow

    Robin

    Purple finch

    Wild turkey

  25. Eva Galson says:

    We spend part of our summer on an island in the St Lawrence River. Would the birds we see commonly in our “backyard” qualify for the list?

    Great Blue Heron Common Tern

    Osprey Phoebe

    American Eagle Gold Finch

    Canada Goose Purple Finch

    Mallard Cormorant

    Ring Billed Gull House Wren

    Common Merganser

    Ruby Throated Hummingbird

  26. Jan Christian says:

    Western NC mountains

    These are the year-round most common

    Cardinal

    Carolina Chickadee

    Tufted Titmouse

    Towhee

    House Finch

    Goldfinch

    European Starling

    Common Grackle

    Eastern Bluebird

    Mourning Dove

    Downy Woodpecker

    Carolina Wren

    Song Sparrow

    Blue Jay

    White-breasted Nuthatch

    Brown-headed Cowbird

    Those that visit by season

    Indigo Bunting – summer

    Rose Breasted Grosbeak – summer

    Junco – winter

    Brown Thrasher – summer

    Ruby-throated Hummingbird – summer

    White-throated Sparrow – winter

    Catbird – summer

    Fox Sparrow -winter

  27. G in INdiana says:

    I’ve got a long list of species we’ve seen here at our farm in SE Indiana. We “run” it for the wild animals so it is no wonder we have so many birds visiting here.

    American Bittern

    Great Blue Heron

    Green Heron (yearly breeding pair with 3-4 chicks per year)

    Black Vulture

    Turkey Vulture (breeding site less than 1/2 mile from farm)

    Canada Geese

    American Black Duck

    Blue Winged Teal

    Mallard

    Ring Necked Duck

    Lesser Scaup

    Hooded Merganser

    Bufflehead

    Osprey

    Bald Eagle

    Northern Harrier

    Sharp Shinned Hawk

    Cooper’s Hawk

    Red-shouldered Hawk (breeding site less than 1/2 mile from farm)

    Broad winged Hawk

    Red-tailed Hawk

    American Kestrel

    Wild Turkey (flock located in woods behind farm)

    American Coot

    Killdeer

    Spotted Sandpiper

    Mourning Dove

    Rock Dove

    Great Horned Owl

    Barred Owl

    Common Nighthawk

    Whip-poor-will

    Ruby-throated Hummingbird

    Belted Kingfisher (breeds by our creek)

    Red -headed Woodpecker

    Red-bellied Woodpecker

    Downy Woodpecker

    Hairy Woodpecker

    Northern Flicker

    Pileated Woodpecker

    (all above woodpecker species breed in our woods)

    Olive-sided Fly Catcher

    Eastern Pewee (breeds in woods)

    Acadian Flycatcher

    Eastern Phoebe (has chicks on my front porch right now!!!)

    Great Crested Flycatcher

    Eastern Kingbird

    White-eyed Vireo

    Red-eyed Vireo

    Blue Jay

    American Crow

    Purple Martin

    Tree Swallow

    Northern Rough Winged Swallow

    barn Swallow

    Carolina Chickadee

    Tufted Titmouse

    Red-breasted Nuthatch

    White-breasted Nuthatch

    Brown Creeper

    Carolina Wren

    House Wren

    Winter Wren

    Gold-crowned Kinglet

    Ruby-crowned Kinglet

    Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

    Eastern Bluebird

    Wood Thrush

    American Robin (breeding in front garden spruce tree)

    Gray Catbird (breeding in backyard Viburnum bush)

    Northern Mockingbird

    Brown Thrasher

    European Starling

    Cedar Waxwing

    Yellow Warbler

    Chestnut-sided Warbler

    Yellow-rumped Warbler

    Black-throated green Warbler

    Blackburnian Warbler

    Yellow-throated Warbler (first time seen this year on our farm!)

    Pine Warbler

    Palm Warbler

    Bay-breasted Warbler

    Louisiana Water Thrush

    Common Yellow Throat

    Yellow-breasted Chat

    Summer Tanager

    Scarlet Tanager

    Eastern Towhee

    American Tree Sparrow

    Chipping Sparrow

    Field Sparrow

    Savannah Sparrow

    Grasshopper Sparrow

    Fox Sparrow

    Song Sparrow

    Lincoln’s Sparrow

    White-throated Sparrow

    White-crowned Sparrow

    Dark-eyed Junco

    Northern Cardinal

    Rose-breasted Grosbeak

    Indigo Bunting

    bobolink

    Red-winged Blackbird

    Eastern Meadowlark

    Rusty Blackbird

    Common Grackle

    Brown-headed Cowbird

    Orchard Oriole (nesting in Catalpa trees less than 200 feet from house)

    Baltimore Oriole

    Purple Finch

    House Finch

    Pine Siskin

    American Goldfinch

    House Sparrow

    Sorry this is so long, but after 10 years and building this place to be

    for animals and birds, we are very proud to be able to host so many

    full time residents, breeding pairs, and migrants who stop in to

    fish and hunt for their food on their way to breeding or wintering

    grounds.

  28. Rita Kempf says:

    You already have my lists from Project Feeder Watch for winter. For summer, I would have to add the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird and the Catbird too. Once you have the most common bird list how about adding how high they typically like to feed in the trees? My trees are 80 feet tall and it would be a great help in my ID’s.

    Auburn, Al.

  29. MSC says:

    Here are birds I see around Santa Cruz, CA. I’m a beginner birder, so these may not necessarily be the most common, but they’re the ones I’ve figured out.

    western grebe

    brown pelican

    double-crested cormorant

    great blue heron

    snowy egret

    pigeon guillemot

    turkey vulture

    Canada goose

    mallard

    red-tailed hawk

    California quail

    American coot

    black turnstone

    herring gull

    ring-billed gull

    mourning dove

    Anna’s hummingbird

    black phoebe

    western scrub jay

    American crow

    barn swallow

    American robin

    northern mockingbird

    European starling

    California towhee

    dark-eyed junco

    red-winged blackbird

    house finch

    house sparrow

  30. ali rodgers says:

    Birds in my garden in Corrales, New Mexico are

    spotted towhee

    blue grosbeak

    white-breasted nuthatch

    american goldfinch

    lesser goldfinch

    pine siskin

    cassin’s finch

    broad-tailed hummingbird

    rufous hummingbird

    gambel’s quail

    downy woodpecker

    northern flicker

    curved-bill thrasher

    bewick’s wren

    mourning dove

    cooper’s hawk

    sharp-shinned hawk

    american kestrel

    screech owl

    long-eared owl

    western tanager

    red-winged blackbird

    american robin

    steller’s jay

    starling

    barn swallow

  31. James McVoy says:

    Here are some common birds from our feeders and general neighborhood:(Southeastern PA)

    American Robins

    Tufted Titmice

    Carolina Chickadees

    Indigo Buntings

    Chipping Sparrows

    Song Sparrows

    Field Sparrows

    Mourning Doves

    Downy Woodpeckers

    Hairy Woodpeckers

    Red-bellied Woodpeckers

    Northern Flickers

    Pileated Woodpeckers

    Great-horned Owls

    Eastern Screech-owls

    Gray Catbirds

    Northern Mockingbirds

    White-breasted Nuthatches

    Red-breasted Nuthatches

    Red-winged Blackbirds

    Common Grackles

    American Goldfinches

    House Finches

    Wood Thrushes

    Eastern Bluebirds

    Ovenbirds

    Eastern Phoebes

    Eastern Wood-pewees

    Great-crested Flycatchers

    Brown Creepers

    White-throated Sparrows (winter)

    Wild Turkeys

    Brown-headed Cowbirds

    Blue Jays

    American Crows

    Cooper’s Hawks

    Turkey Vultures

    Black Vultures

    Red-tailed Hawks

    American Kestrels

    Killdeer

    Canada Geese

    Mallards

    Great Blue Herons

    That is all I can come up with off the top of my head…

  32. Linda says:

    In my northern New Mexico yard, the most common birds in winter are:

    house finch

    juniper titmouse

    bushtit

    pinyon jay

    western scrub jay

    bewick’s wren

    canyon towhee

    spotted towhee

    red shafted flicker

    junco

    common raven

    magpie

    american goldfinch

    mountain chickadee

    cassin’s finch

    In summer the common birds are:

    black headed grosbeak

    mourning dove

    western bluebird

    lesser goldfinch

    common nighthawk

    turkey vulture

    house finch

    juniper titmouse

    spotted towhee

    canyon towhee

    common raven

    western scrub jay

    magpie

    bewick’s wren

    say’s phoebe

  33. Here’s what I’ve seen in my backyard in Central Florida:

    brown thrasher

    white winged dove

    mourning dove

    common ground dove

    northern mockingbird

    northern cardinal

    blue jay

    quail (FL species)

    palm warbler

    sandhill crane (flyover)

    red shouldered hawk

    white crowned sparrow

    goldfinch

    red bellied woodpecker

    chipping sparrow

    grey catbird

    vulture

    whip-poor-will (heard only)

  34. Where is our little, humble, ever busy, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird? They are at my feeder ALL summer, and I love them!

  35. Heather Johnson says:

    Here in Smyrna, GA, our favorite visitors are the woodpeckers and nuthatches. We currently have a resident family of redheads, whose startling beauty stops me in my tracks every time I see them.

    We see daily this time of year:

    Redheaded woodpecker

    Red-bellied woodpecker

    Downy woodpecker

    White-breasted nuthatch

    Brown-headed nuthatch

    Eastern bluebird

    Northern cardinal

    Rufous-sided towhee

    Mockingbird

    Brown thrasher

    Robin

    Chickadee

    Titmouse

    House finch

    Mourning dove

    Blue jay

    Carolina Wren

    Rubythroated hummingbird

  36. Deb Wagner says:

    I would like to see how to identify the blue gray gnat catcher, phoebe, eastern king bird,parula warbler, red shoulder, red tailed sharp shinned hawk. I believe I have all of these at our school campus.

    We alos have the mourning dove, ground dove, rock pigeon, tufted titmouse, cardinal, blue jay, red-wing blackbird, great blue heron, anhinga, osprey, sand hill crane, egret, cattle egret, ibis, turkey vulture

  37. Pingback: Our List Runneth Over « Round Robin

  38. Kitty & Kris Knaphus says:

    We live on the high plains near Great Falls, MT.

    Some of our most common birds:

    Western Meadowlark

    Horned Lark

    Savannah Sparrow

    Vesper Sparrow

    Long-billed Curlew

    Kestrel

    Short-eared owl

    Northern Harrier

    Cliff Swallow

    Swainson’s Hawk

    Red-tailed Hawk

    Rough-legged Hawk (winter)

    Sharp-tailed Grouse

    Ring-necked Pheasant

    Great Horned Owl

    Osprey

    Canada Goose

    In the yard:

    Goldfinch

    House Finch

    Brewers Blackbird

    Red-wing Blackbird

    Pine Siskin (winter)

    Common Redpoll (winter)

    Tree Swallow

    Mourning Dove

    Robin

    Say’s Phoebe

    Eastern Kingbird

    Western Kingbird

  39. Mary says:

    In interior Alaska, in the boreal forest with fields across the road near Delta Junction, summer bird identification is the difficulty. In the winter I can easily tell a Black-capped Chickadee from a Boreal or a Red-Breasted Nuthatch and a Downy Woodpecker from a Hairy. It’s those summer birds that look so much alike that are hard to identify as they flit through my birch and spruce, picking bugs from the top, running on the floor or sitting somewhere near making an odd call. So, my list would include:

    Ruby-crowned Kinglet

    Yellow Warbler

    Yellow-rumped Myrtle Warbler

    Townsend’s Warbler

    Blackpoll Warbler

    Wilson’s Warbler

    Swainson’s Thrush

    Hermit Thrush

    Gray-cheeked Thrush

    Varied Thrush

    American Robin

    American Tree Sparrow

    Chipping Sparrow

    Golden-crowned Sparrow

    Fox Sparrow

    White-crowned Sparrow

    Lincoln’s Sparrow

    Dark-eyed Junco

    Olive-sided Flycatcher

    Alder Flycatcher

    Western Wood-Pewee

    Hammond’s Flycatcher

    Violet-green Swallow

    Tree Swallow

    Bank Swallow

    Cliff Swallow

    Northern Goshawk

    American Kestrel

    Merlin

    Sharp-shinned Hawk

    Northern Harrier

    Red-tailed Hawk

    Rough-legged Hawk

    Spruce Grouse

    Ruffed Grouse

    Sharp-tailed Grouse

    Rufous Hummingbird (an oddity in late summer)

    Boreal Owl

    Short-eared Owl

    Great Gray Owl

    Great Horned Owl

    Northern Hawk Owl

  40. I echo the birds listed by James McVoy as I also live in Southeastern PA. But also add vireos to the list.

  41. Erik Olson says:

    The Carolina wren is one of my favorite birds. As a West Coast to North Carolina transplant, this creature is a real treat in every way. The bird exhibits a true curiosity and tenacity I’ve not really observed in most others – she just has an enormous vigor for life.

    Other favorites… some specific to our new home in the NC Piedmont.

    Mockingbird

    Black-capped or Carolina Chickadee

    Brown thrasher

    Barred owl (remarkably common in NC yards)

    Carolina chickadee

    California favorites…

    Black phoebe (a handsome bird!)

    Scrub jay

  42. Zelda Ladan says:

    My central FL summer backyard bird list:

    Northern Cardinal

    Mockingbird

    Blue Jay

    Brown Thrasher

    Tufted Titmouse

    Blue Grey Gnatcatcher

    Morning Dove

    House Finch

    Common Grackle

    White Ibis

    Red Shoulder Hawk

    Red Bellied Woodpecker

    Downy Woodpecker

    Pileated Woodpecker

    Northern Parula Warbler

    Carolina Wren

    Red Wing Blackbird

    American Crow

    Ruby Throat Hummingbird

    Great Crested Flycatcher

    frequent vulture & Osprey sightings

    occasionally hear an owl, don’t know which, and if I go to our pond at the end of the street there are often mallard ducks, egrets, great blue herons, blue green bitterns, etc.

  43. Jim says:

    Mourning dove

  44. Jim says:

    white dove

  45. Pingback: Bird Vocabulary: Verging on the Nidicolous « Round Robin

  46. Jean & Mike says:

    I wish I had seen this blog entry back in June. Drat! I was very pleased to see the vast georgraphy of the country represented at your roundtable. There are a large number of us birders in the south (east, central, and west), and we get more species in winter than in summer. What fun! Especially since the weather can be absolutely terrific in winter. So you *must* consider winter plumages in your ID tool.

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