25 Exciting Backyard Birds of Colorado to look out for

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Backyard birds of Colorado

Colorado is an excellent place for birding. Many people who live in the state go out of their way to see as many species as they can, while some prefer to attract as many birds to their backyard as they can. Some enjoy the thrill, and others like the peace it brings.

Colorado has a diverse landscape that attracts a variety of birds. The Rocky Mountains provide an excellent habitat for many species, and the state also has a variety of grasslands, deserts, and wetlands. This great diversity brings birds of all shapes and sizes to backyards across the state.

We compiled a list of the 25 most common feeder birds of Colorado that we found by surveying residents and utilizing data from ebird and other citizen science databases. By reading this article, we hope you will identify some new species and find out which ones live near you!

Backyard Birds Of Colorado

According to the latest data from ebird, there are 513 observed species of Birds in Colorado. This data comes from over 1.3 million checklists from almost 30,000 avid birdwatchers. Trying to identify and see all 513 may be quite an exciting challenge, so we have chosen to focus on the birds you are more likely to see in your home, backyard, or bird feeders.

Here are some things to know about Backyard Birds of Colorado:

  • 513 observed species
  • The American Robin is the most common backyard bird in Colorado
  • The Dark-eye Junco is the most common feeder bird in Colorado
  • The Bushtit is the smallest feeder bird in Colorado
  • The American Crow is the largest backyard bird on this list
  • The Norther Flicker and Downy Woodpecker are the most common woodpeckers of Colorado.
  • The Lark Bunting is Colorado’s state bird

What are the most common backyard birds of Colorado

  1. Dark-eyed Junco
  2. House Finch
  3. Black-capped Chickadee
  4. Northern Flicker
  5. Downy Woodpecker
  6. Mountain Chickadee
  7. Eurasian Collared-Dove
  8. White-breasted Nuthatch
  9. American Goldfinch
  10. Red-breasted Nuthatch
  11. American Robin
  12. Blue Jay
  13. Black-billed Magpie
  14. Pine Siskin
  15. Bushtit
  16. House Sparrow
  17. American Crow
  18. Spotted Towhee
  19. European Starling
  20. Hairy Woodpecker
  21. Steller’s Jay
  22. Red-winged Blackbird
  23. Brown Creeper
  24. Mourning Dove
  25. Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay

Top 5 Hotspots For Birdwatching In Colorado

If you prefer to venture away from home to do birding, visit one of Colorado’s best hotspots for birdwatching. These hotspots are determined by the number of species observed by fellow birdwatchers in Colorado.

  1. Barr Lake State Park
  2. Pueblo Reservoir
  3. Chatfield State Park
  4. Cherry Creek State Park
  5. Prewitt Reservoir

Top 25 Backyard Birds of Colorado

The list below is determined by the number of bird watchers in Colorado who have seen a species visiting their feeder at least once, divided by the number of bird feeder sites in the state.

1. Dark-eyed Junco

The Dark-Eyed Junco is a medium-sized bird found in the Northern Hemisphere from Alaska to Newfoundland. These birds can be seen in western Colorado all year round and in eastern Colorado during the winter months.

Males and Females are about 14-16cm (5.5-6.3 inches) long and weigh between 18-30g (0.6-1.1oz). They have a round head, short conical bill, and long tail.

The Dark-Eyed Junco varies in color depending on what region you are in but are mainly dark gray or brown with a light/pale pink bill and white outer tail feathers that are noticeable in flight.

The three most common sub-types and colors are:

  • Slate-colored Junco – Alaska, and East of the Rocky Mountains
  • Oregon Junco – Northern Rockies and Farther West
  • Gray-headed Junco – Southern Rockies

They live in coniferous forests, woodlands, scrubland, and tundra across the United States and Canada. You are more likely to find them in open areas like backyards, fields, and parks in winter.

They are ground foragers and eat insects, seeds, and berries. They eat mostly insects in the spring and summer and seeds and berries in the fall and winter.

They are also expected at backyard bird feeders in the winter, especially ones that offer sunflower seeds, millet, or cracked corn.

Feeder Type:

  • Large Hopper
  • Platform Feeder
  • Ground

Feeder Food:

  • Black Oil Sunflower seed
  • Hulled Sunflower Seeds
  • Safflower
  • Nyjer
  • Cracker Corn
  • Peanut Hearts
  • Millet & Milo
  • Oats

2. House Finch

The House Finch is a small bird found in most of North America, including parts of the United States and Southern Canada.  These birds can be seen throughout the state all year round.

House Finches are 12-15cm (5.1-5.5 inches) long and weigh between 16-27g (0.6-0.9oz).

They have short wings that allow for a quick flight, and their beaks are stubby and slightly curved on top with a long flat head. The males are known for their bright red heads and breast with brown wings, tails, and back.

Their preferred habitat is open, grassy areas with some trees – often near farmlands. They will also be found around towns and suburbs to find food quickly on the ground, such as birdseed spilled from backyard bird feeders (or even at pet food bowls left out for our furry friends).

They are ground forages whose preferred diet consists mainly of seeds, buds, and fruit. They are common at backyard bird feeders and will often feed in large numbers, especially when black oil sunflowers seeds are present in your feeders.

Feeder Type:

  • Large & Small Tube Feeder
  • Large & Small Hopper
  • Platform Feeder

Feeder Food:

  • Black Oil Sunflower Seeds
  • Hulled Sunflower Seeds
  • Safflower
  • Nyjer

3. Black-capped Chickadee

The Black-Capped Chickadee is a widespread species of bird found throughout the Northern half of North America. They can be seen throughout Colorado all year round.

They have a black cap and black throat with white cheeks, and mostly gray-olive feathers on their back with a white chest and belly.

Black-capped Chickadees are tiny in size – with males and females only about 12-15cm (4.7-5.9 inches) long and weighing between 9-14g (0.3-0.5oz). They have a large head and short neck, and long narrow tails with short thick dark bills.

They can survive the harshest winter weather by eating high-calorie foods, fluffing their feathers for insulation, and roosting in tree cavities at night, often in small groups.

The Black-Capped Chickadee is an energetic species that prefers deciduous woods often found in forests or residential areas and parks where plenty of large trees are used for roosting and nesting.

Their diet consists of insects, spiders, small fruits, and seeds, but they are also familiar visitors to backyard bird feeders where they will readily eat sunflower seeds or suet. They will often make multiple trips to feeders to store extra food in tree crevices throughout the day.

Feeder Type:

  • Large & Small Tube Feeders
  • Large & Small Hoppers
  • Suet Cage
  • Platform feeder

Feeder Food:

  • Black Oil Sunflower Seed
  • Hulled Sunflower Seed
  • Safflower
  • Nyjer
  • Suet
  • Peanuts & Peanut Hearts
  • Mealworms

4. Northern Flicker

The Northern Flicker is one of the most common woodpecker species in North America and can be seen throughout Colorado all year round.

They are about 28-31cm (11-12.2 inches) long and weigh 110-160g (3.9-5.6oz). They are slim woodpeckers with rounded heads, long pointy tails, and a long, slightly downward curving bill

Northern Flickers are brownish-gray above and paler below. They have a crescent-looking black bar on their chest and black spots on their bellies.

Eastern males have black whiskers, a red nape, and bright yellow under their tails, while females lack the same black whiskers as males.

Western males have red whiskers and red under their tails, while females lack the same red whiskers as males.

Northern Flickers live in open areas such as fields, pastures, woods but can also be seen around towns and suburbs.

Northern Flickers are seen foraging for ants and other insects on the ground, but they also eat fruits, nuts, and seeds. They use their long curved bill to pry insects out of logs or trees.

They will often visit backyard bird feeders that offer sunflower seeds, suet, or peanut butter.

Feeder Type:

  • Suet Cage
  • Large Hopper
  • Platform Feeder

Feeder Food:

  • Black Oil and Hulled Sunflower Seed
  • Safflower
  • Suet
  • Peanuts and Peanut Hearts
  • Cracker Corn
  • Millet

5. Downy Woodpecker

The Downy Woodpecker is a small woodpecker found throughout North America and can be seen throughout Colorado all year round.

They are smaller than most woodpeckers at about 14-17cm (5.5-6.7 inches) long and weigh between 21-28g (0.7-1oz).

Downy Woodpeckers have a black back and white stripe down the middle. They are white below, and their wings have a checkered black and white detailing them. The males have a red patch at the back of the head, and females have a black head. They have a petite-looking bill compared to their other woodpecker relatives.

Their beaks are short, solid, and pointed at the end, which they use to chisel wood for excavation or peck at the bark to find food underneath.

Their preferred habitat is wooded areas with plenty of trees near rivers, ponds, or wetlands – even urban areas with a mix of grasslands, shrubs, and woodlands.

They are acrobatic foragers whose main diet consists of insects it can glean and probe from trees. They will also eat seeds, berries, or fruit when needed and are more common at bird feeders than their larger relatives. They prefer suet feeders and enjoy black oil sunflower seeds, peanut butter, seeds, and millet.

Feeder Type:

  • Suet Cage
  • Large & Small Hopper
  • Platform Feeder

Feeder Food:

  • Black Oil & Hulled Sunflower Seeds
  • Safflower
  • Suet
  • Peanuts & Peanut Hearts
  • Mealworms

6. Mountain Chickadee

The Mountain Chickadee is a small-sized songbird that is found in mountains of North America, including the Sierra Nevada Mountains located in California to the Rocky Mountains range that runs through Alberta, British Columbia, Wyoming, Colorado, Montana, and into South Dakota.

They can be seen in the western Colorado mountains all year round.

Males and females are about 11-14cm (4.3-5.5 inches) long and weigh around 11g (0.4oz). They have large heads, rounded wings, tiny bills, and long rounded wings.

Like other chickadee species, they are gray above and paler grayish-white below. They have a black cap and throat and a white stripe over the eye that resembles an eyebrow. The white line is what differentiates Mountain Chickadees from other species.

They live across mountainous coniferous forests but will also be seen in mixed woodlands, urban parks, and gardens with similar habitats at lower elevations.

Mountain Chickadees are insectivores and will feed on insects, spiders, caterpillars, beetles, and insect eggs. They mostly forage by gleaning from tree branches and trunks and hovering to catch their prey.

They can be found in backyards with bushes and trees and will often visit bird feeders that offer black oil sunflower seeds and suet cakes.

Feeder Type:

  • Large and Small Tube Feeders
  • Large and Small Hoppers
  • Platform Feeder
  • Suet Cage

Feeder Food:

  • Black Oil Sunflower Seed
  • Suet
  • Peanut Hearts
  • Mealworms
  • Nyjer

7. Eurasian Collared-Dove

The Eurasian Collared-Dove is a small dove that lives in the Northern Hemisphere. They are abundant throughout Europe, North America, and South Asia. These Doves can be found anywhere in the US besides the Northeast and Canada. These beautiful doves can be seen all year round throughout Colorado.

Males and Females are about 29-30cm (11.4-11.8 inches) long and weigh 140-180g (4.9-6.3oz). They are plump doves with long, squared-off tails and small heads. They have broad, round, black-tipped wings. Their plumage is a pale gray with darker flight feathers, and adults have a black hindneck collar.

Eurasian Collared Doves usually perch on tree branches, telephone wires, or other elevated structures. They are very social birds and can be seen in small to large flocks. They usually roost together at night in tall trees.

These Doves live in suburbs, towns, and agricultural areas and avoid heavily forested areas and city centers.

Eurasian Collared-Doves eat mainly seeds and some wasted grain, berries, and insects. They will visit backyard bird feeders that offer sunflower seeds, safflower seeds, corn, and millet.

Feeder Type:

  • Large Hopper
  • Platform Feeder
  • Ground

Feeder Food:

  • Black Oil and Hulled Sunflower Seed
  • Cracked Corn
  • Peanut Hearts
  • Millet
  • Milo
  • Oats

8. White-breasted Nuthatch

The White-breasted Nuthatch is an exciting species to observe and can be found from southern Canada down into Central America. They are a year round resident throughout Colorado.

White-breasted Nuthatches are small in size – only about 13-14cm (5.1-5.5 inches) in length and weighing between 18-30g (0.6-1.1oz). They have short tails with a thick dark bill. They have a distinctive appearance with blue-gray feathers on their back and a white face with a darker “hood” that runs from the top of their beak to the back, making them easily identifiable from other birds.

White-breasted Nuthatches prefer mature mixed forests and wooded areas in towns, suburbs and parks.

White-breasted Nuthatches are very energetic birds that spend most of their time climbing trees and searching for food in the bark. They mainly eat insects they can glean from bark and foliage but will also eat seeds in winter.

They are known to visit backyard bird feeders and prefer suet feeders, shelled peanuts, and sunflower seeds.

Feeder Type:

  • Large & Small Tube Feeder
  • Large & Small Hopper
  • Suet Cage
  • Platform Feeder

Feeder Food:

  • Black Oil and Hulled Sunflower Seeds
  • Safflower
  • Suet
  • Peanuts & Peanut Hearts
  • Mealworms

9. American Goldfinch

The American Goldfinch is a common species of bird found throughout North America. They are seen in western and central Colorado during the winter months and year-round in northeast Colorado.

They are small songbirds 11-13cm (4.3-5.1 inches) long and weigh between 11 – 20g (0.4-0.70 oz), with males being slightly larger than females. 

Breeding adult males have a bright yellow color on their heads and rump with a black cap and black-tipped wings, making them easy to identify from other birds. Winter adult males are tan above and pale gray below with a yellow face and throat. 

Breeding adult females are olive-brown above and yellow below, and winter adult females are generally gray overall.

Their preferred habitat is overgrown, weedy fields, pastures, and well planted suburban areas and backyards.

They mainly eat seeds from wild sunflowers, composite flowers or thistles, and very few insects. 

American Goldfinches are frequent visitors of backyard bird feeders – making them easy to spot around the yard. They prefer hulled sunflower and nyjer seeds.

Feeder Type:

  • Large & Small Tube feeder
  • Large & Small Hopper
  • Platform Feeder
  • Ground

Feeder Food:

  • Black Oil Sunflower Seeds
  • Hulled Sunflower Seeds
  • Nyjer

10. Red-breasted Nuthatch

The red-breasted nuthatch is a small songbird found across most of North America and much of Canada. They are seen in western Colorado year-round and in eastern Colorado during winter.

Both males and females are about 11-12cm (4.3 inches) long and weigh between 8-13g (0.3-0.5oz). They have a long, pointy bill, short, broad wings, and very short tails.

Both sexes are blueish-gray above and reddish-cinnamon below. Their heads are striped with a black cap, white eyebrows, a black line through the eye, and finally, white cheeks. Very similar looking to the white-breasted nuthatch.

Red-breasted nuthatches can be found in coniferous forests such as spruce and fir, where they like to forage on the trunks and branches. They are very energetic and acrobatic birds and can often be seen hanging upside down while searching for food.

Their diet is primarily insects and spiders they glean from trees and bark in the summer and eat seeds in the winter.

They are also familiar visitors to backyard bird feeders where they eat seeds and suet.

Feeder Type:

  • Large and Small Tube Feeders
  • Large and Small Hoppers
  • Suet Cage
  • Platform Feeder

Feeder Food:

  • Black Oil Sunflower Seeds
  • Hulled Sunflower Seeds
  • Suet
  • Peanuts and Peanut Hearts
  • Mealworms

11. American Robin

The American Robin is a common species of bird found throughout North America and is a year-round resident throughout Colorado.

American Robins are 20-28cm (7.9-11 inches) long and weigh 77-85g (2.7-3oz).

American Robins have a distinctive orange chest with black spots; however, their back feathers are brownish gray. Their beaks are tiny but comprehensive at the base, giving them a very distinct appearance.

They are common in most environments across North America, especially in gardens, parks, and wooded areas around towns and suburbs.

The American Robin is known to poke around in leaf litter, looking for insects such as beetles, grasshoppers, and earthworms to eat in the summer months. They prefer berries or fruit during the autumn and winter months.

They are also known for being very friendly birds found at most bird feeders and prefer feeders that offer live mealworms.

Feeder Type:

  • Platform feeder
  • Ground

Feeder Food:

  • Hulled Sunflower Seeds
  • Suet
  • Peanut Hearts
  • Fruit
  • Mealworms

12. Blue Jay

The Blue Jay is a common species of bird found throughout North America. They can be seen in southeastern Colorado during winter, and northeastern Colorado year-round.

Blue Jays are about 25-30cm (9.8-11.8 inches) long and generally weigh between 70 – 100g (2.5-3.5oz). They have a very short neck and bill with a thick blue crest on their head. They have very distinctive bright blue feathers on the top with white spots and gray-white color below, making them easy to identify from other birds.

Blue Jays are loud, boisterous birds that will eat almost anything they can find – making them one of the most common backyard visitors.

They are widespread at backyard bird feeders and will typically dominate smaller birds that visit simultaneously. They love sunflower seeds, cracked corn, and whole peanuts.

Feeder Type:

  • Large Tube feeder
  • Suet Cage
  • Large Hopper
  • Platform feeder
  • Ground

Feeder Food:

  • Hulled & Black oil Sunflower Seeds
  • Safflower
  • Suet
  • Cracker Corn
  • Peanuts & Peanut Hearts
  • Fruit
  • Mealworms

13. Black-billed Magpie

The Black-billed Magpie is a large bird found in the Northwestern and Central parts of North America and is a year-round resident throughout Colorado.

Both males and females are 45-60cm (17.7-23.6 inches) long, weigh between 145-210g (5.1-7.4oz), and have a heavy black bill and a long diamond-shaped tail.

The Black Billed Magpie has black feathers on its head, back, and chest with a white belly. The wings are black with white “shoulders”, and glossy blueish-green highlights on their wings and tail.

Their preferred habitat is open grassland with some trees near bodies of water such as rivers or wetlands where they can find shelter from potential predators (or even human threats). They will also visit town parks where there might be a mix of lawns, shrubs, and brushy areas.

The Black Billed Magpie is an opportunistic scavenger that feeds on various items such as insects, carrion, seeds, fruit, and other birds’ eggs or young. They typically forage on the ground and often store food in various locations.

They are common at bird feeders in the west, where they will eat most anything that is put out for them (even if it’s not their preferred diet). Platform and Suet feeders are a favorite of the magpie.

Feeder Type:

  • Platform Feeder
  • Suet Cage

Feeder Food:

  • Black Oil & Hulled Sunflower Seeds
  • Suet
  • Cracked Corn
  • Peanuts & Peanuts Hearts
  • Fruit
  • Millet & Milo

14. Pine Siskin

The Pine Siskin is widespread throughout North America and some parts of Canada and Mexico and is a year-round resident in western Colorado, and winter resident in eastern Colorado.

Both males and females are about 11-14cm (4.3-5.5 inches) long and weigh between 12-18g (0.4-0.6oz). Both males and females are brown, with dark streaking throughout their bodies. They are a small finch with a sharply pointed bill and a short notched tail.

They are slightly darker above and paler below with two whitish-yellow wing bars. A yellow wing stripe can be seen during flight but is more difficult to see when perched.

They prefer open coniferous forests where they can forage in trees, looking for seeds among needles of the branches. Pine siskins are social birds and often travel in a few hundred bird flocks. They are very active and can be seen hopping around on the ground or flying quickly from tree to tree.

Pine siskins eat seeds almost exclusively but will take insects or larvae when available if seeds are not readily accessible. They are also frequent visitors to backyard bird feeders that offer sunflower seeds, or nyjer seeds.

Feeder Type:

  • Large and Small Tube Feeder
  • Small Hopper
  • Platform Feeder
  • Ground

Feeder Food:

  • Black Oil Sunflower Seeds
  • Hulled Sunflower Seeds
  • Nyjer

15. Bushtit

The Bushtit is a tiny bird that lives in western areas in North America and can be seen year-round in Colorado.

Males and females are about 7-8cm (2.8-3.1 inches) long and weigh around 4-6g (0.1-0.2oz). They are plump-looking birds with a long tail, large head, seemingly no neck, and a short, stout bill. Bushtits are dull gray above and slightly paler gray below.

They live in various habitats such as forests, woodlands, shrublands, woody areas near streams, and urban areas such as gardens and parks. You will usually always see flocks of bushtits moving together.

Bushtits eat primarily insects and spiders year-round. They glean insects from foliage and catch them mid-air as they fly off branches or pick them from leaves.

They can be found visiting bird feeders that offer mealworms, suet balls, sunflower hearts (hulled or shelled), and sometimes whole peanuts or peanut hearts.

Feeder Type:

  • Large and Small Hopper
  • Platform Feeder
  • Large and Small Tube Feeder
  • Suet Cage

Feeder Food:

  • Sunflower Seeds (Black Oil and Hulled)
  • Mealworms
  • Peanuts (Hearts and Whole)
  • Suet

16. House Sparrow

The House Sparrow is a common species of bird found throughout the world and is seen year-round throughout Colorado.

Males and Females are about 15-17cm (5.9-6.7 inches) long and generally weigh between 27-30g (0.9-1.1oz). They have gray color on their head and chest, black spots on the feathers around their eyes, and brownish tails; however, they also have distinctive white spots on their wings.

House Sparrows are prevalent backyard visitors that can be identified by the distinctive appearance of two white spots on each side of the wing. They typically live in cities and towns with large populations, although they will visit backyards if suet feeders or birdseed is available.

House Sparrows eat mainly weed seeds, grain, and insects during breeding time. They typically prefer sunflower hearts and suet, although they also eat thistle seed, safflower seeds, and fruit when available.

Sparrows are highly social birds living in large flocks outside of breeding season that can sometimes become aggressive towards other birds.

Feeder Type:

  • Large Tube Feeder
  • Large Hopper
  • Platform Feeder
  • Ground

Feeder Food:

  • Black Oil Sunflower Seeds
  • Hulled Sunflower Seeds
  • Cracker Corn
  • Peanut Hearts
  • Millet 
  • Milo

17. American Crow

The American Crow is a large bird found throughout most of North America, except in some areas in the southern United States along the border with Mexico. These intelligent birds are a year-round resident throughout Colorado.

American Crows are large at about 40-53cm (115.8-21 inches) long and weigh between 316-620g (11.2-22oz). They are black all over, including their legs, feet, bill, and eyes.

They have a very distinct, short tail with broad wings that allow for a quick flight. They are known to be brilliant birds – able to use tools to obtain the food they otherwise couldn’t reach.

Their preferred habitat is open areas such as pastures with some trees – either deciduous or coniferous to roost at night when they sleep. They will often be found in urban areas where food is plentiful – for example, at dumpsters behind supermarkets or garbage bins.

They are omnivores and very opportunistic and will eat small mammals, insects, and amphibians but may also be found eating fruits or grain in the wintertime when other food sources are scarce. We have even personally seen crows stealing chicks from other nests and flying away to eat them.

Not your typical visitor to backyard bird feeders but may hang around yards that offer a compost heap, easy access to garbage, or pet food lying around.

Feeder Type:

  • Platform Feeder
  • Ground

Feeder Food:

  • Black Oil & Hulled Sunflower Seeds
  • Suet
  • Cracker Corn
  • Peanuts & Peanut Hearts
  • Fruit
  • Millet & Milo
  • Oats

18. Spotted Towhee

The Spotted Towhee is a large-sized sparrow that lives in the western half of North America and Mexico. They are year-round residents in southern Colorado along the border with New Mexico, and some spend their summers in northwest Colorado.

Males and females are about 17-21cm (6.7-8.3 inches) long and weigh around 33-49g (1.2-1.7oz). They are a chunky sparrow with a thick conical bill, and a long rounded tail tipped with white.

Male Spotted Towhees are black above and white below, with a black hood and throat with white spots on their wings. Their sides are a rusty-orange color, and they have ruby red eyes. Females are similar in color but are a slate gray color above.

They live primarily in open areas close to native habitats such as forest edges, thickets, underbrush, or ravines with brushy vegetation for shelter. They also live around agricultural land and residential areas with trees or hedgerows where they can find food sources like insects and spiders.

Spotted towhees eat mostly insects all year round. They prefer to forage on the ground through leaf litter and amongst the thicket or undergrowth of bushes and shrubs. They will supplement their diet with berries, nuts, and seeds when insects aren’t available.

Spotted towhees will often visit backyards with some low vegetation, brush piles, and bird feeders that offer mealworms, sunflower seeds (hulled or shelled), cracked corn, and suet nuggets.

Feeder Type:

  • Platform Feeder
  • Ground

Feeder Food:

  • Black Oil and Hulled Sunflower Seed
  • Millet
  • Milo
  • Cracked Corn
  • Mealworms

19. European Starling

The European Starling, also known as the Common Starling or just simply Starling, is a loud, boisterous bird that can be found throughout most of North America, Europe, and parts of Asia to North Africa in wintertime. They are year-round residents throughout Colorado.

European Starling is roughly the size of a Robin at about 20-23cm (7.9-9.1 inches) long and weighing around 60-96g (2.1-3.4oz). Their breeding plumage is a glossy purplish-green with yellow beaks, and winter plumage is brown with white spots and a black bill. They have short wings which allow for a quick flight and a short tail. They have a long, slender bill and legs that are pinkish.

European Starlings winter in large flocks – often roosting with other bird species such as Blackbirds or Fieldfares to keep warm at night.

Their preferred habitat is open, grassy areas with some trees, but they can also be found in towns, suburbs, or human settlements out in the countryside.

They are opportunistic feeders that mainly eat insects and feed on berries, seeds, and grains. They are known to visit bird feeders in backyards to eat almost any type of food available – including suet mixes or peanuts.

Feeder Type:

  • Large Tube feeder
  • Suet Cage
  • Large Hopper
  • Platform Feeder
  • Ground

Feeder Food:

  • Black Oil & Hulled Sunflower Seeds
  • Suet
  • Cracker Corn
  • Peanuts & Peanut Hearts
  • Fruit
  • Millet & Milo
  • Oats

20. Hairy Woodpecker

The Hairy Woodpecker is a medium-sized woodpecker found throughout North America and Southern Canada. These beautiful birds can be seen throughout Colorado all year round.

The hairy woodpecker has a long chisel-like bill and long stiff tail feathers. Males and Females are about 18-26cm (7.1-10.2 inches) long and weigh around 40-95g (1.4-3.4oz).

They have black-and-white feathers: black back checkered with a white, white stripe down the middle back, and white below. The male has a red patch on the back of its head, while the female does not. They get their name from the “hairy” quality of the white on their backs.

They live in various habitats, including woodlands, bottomland forests, wooded suburbs, and parks. They will actively probe and drill into wood to look for insects under the bark. They will also feed on fallen or rotting logs to chisel through dead wood to find insect larvae. They will also eat fruits and seeds when given a chance.

They are common at backyard bird feeders that offer suet, sunflower seeds, or peanut butter mixed with birdseed.

Feeder Type:

  • Suet Cage
  • Large Hopper
  • Platform Feeder

Feeder Food:

  • Black Oil and Hulled Sunflower Seeds
  • Safflower
  • Suet
  • Peanuts and Peanut Hearts
  • Mealworms

21. Steller’s Jay

Steller’s Jay is a large songbird that lives in North America. They are most abundant in the western United States and Canada, and can be seen year-round in western Colorado.

Males and Females are about 30-34cm (11.8-13.4 inches) long and weigh between 100-140g (3.5-4.9oz). These Jays have large heads, rounded wings, and long tails. They also have a prominent crest on their heads and a strong, long, straight bill.

They have blue feathers on most of their bodies, black feathers on their head, and grayish shoulders. Some will have blue or white lines on their crown, depending on the region.

They prefer coniferous and mixed coniferous-deciduous forests commonly found on the west coast of North America, which includes suburban areas such as backyards, picnic areas, and campgrounds.

They are bold, intelligent, curious omnivores that forage on the ground or among tree branches for insects, baby birds, bird eggs, fruit, nuts, acorns, and seeds.

They are common at backyard bird feeders that offer sunflowers seeds, peanuts, peanut butter mixed with birdseed, or bread.

Feeder Type:

  • Large Tube Feeder
  • Suet Cage
  • Large Hopper
  • Platform Feeder
  • Ground

Feeder Food:

  • Black Oil and Hulled Sunflower Seeds
  • Suet
  • Cracked Corn
  • Peanuts and Peanut Hearts
  • Millet and Milo
  • Mealworms

22. Red-winged Blackbird

The Red-Winged Blackbird is a stocky blackbird with a red shoulder and short tail. They are found in abundance in North America and Central America. These striking birds can be seen year-round throughout Colorado.

Males and Females are about 17-23cm (6.7-9.1 inches) long and weigh between 32-77g (1.1-2.7oz). Males are all black with red shoulder patches tipped with a golden yellow color. Females have mostly dark brown plumage above, are heavily streaked below, and have some orange coloration on their face and throat.

They live in open habitats such as wetlands, marshes, prairies, meadows, pastures, agricultural fields, and suburban parks. They nest in marshes, wet prairies, and hayfields across the Northern half of North America from Alaska to Newfoundland.

They eat insects, seeds, and berries primarily during nesting or feeding their young and grain in the winter. Red-winged blackbirds gather in large flocks during the winter. They will often visit bird feeders that offer mixed seeds and grains and prefer to feed on the ground.

Feeder Type:

  • Ground feeding
  • Large Tube Feeder
  • Large Hopper
  • Platform Feeder

Feeder Food:

  • Black Oil Sunflower Seeds
  • Hulled Sunflower Seeds
  • Cracker Corn
  • Peanut Hearts
  • Millet
  • Oats
  • Milo

23. Brown Creeper

The Brown Creeper is a small brown bird with a spiked-tipped tail and a thin, curved bill. They are found throughout North America and parts of Central America, and can be seen throughout Colorado all year round.

Males and Females are about 12-14cm (4.7-5.5 inches) long and weigh between 5-10g 0.2-0.3oz). They are a streaked brown above and white below (difficult to see when it is hidden against a tree). It uses its spiked-tipped tail to prop itself up against tree trunks as they climb.

They live year-round across most of Canada from British Columbia to Newfoundland, and in the United States from Alaska to California, east to Maine, and south through Mexico.

Brown Creepers can be found in various forest habitats, including coniferous forests, mixed hardwood-coniferous forests, deciduous forests, riparian corridors, and even suburban parks.

They are primarily insectivores and eat spiders, seeds, and berries. They forage by climbing up tree trunks looking out for food, or gleaning food from branches and leaves.

Brown creepers are common backyard birds that can often be seen at feeders that offer suet or peanut butter and prefer to feed on the ground.

Feeder Type:

  • Suet Cage

Feeder Food:

  • Suet
  • Hulled Sunflower Seeds
  • Peanut Hearts

24. Mourning Dove

The Mourning Dove is a common species of bird found throughout North America and can be seen all year round in Colorado.

They are about the size of an American Robin, with adults between 23-34cm (9.1-13.4 inches) long and weighing between 86-170g (3-6oz). Mourning Doves have grayish-brown feathers, and their heads are pale gray; however, they lack crests or head adornments.

Mourning Doves prefer open habitats in rural and urban areas and weedy fields.

Mourning Doves are ground foragers meaning that they eat seeds, grains, and other vegetation found on the ground. They have a varied diet but prefer to eat weed seeds such as dandelions or grasses in open fields rather than forest floors. Mourning doves also drink water from puddles created by rain which they find near trees and shrubs.

They are frequent visitors to backyard bird feeders and typically eat seeds that have fallen on the ground or platform feeders.

Feeder Type:

  • Large Hopper
  • Platform feeder
  • Ground

Feeder Food:

  • Black Oil Sunflower Seeds
  • Hulled Sunflower Seeds
  • Safflower
  • Nyjer
  • Cracker Corn
  • Peanut Hearts
  • Millet & Milo
  • Oats

25. Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay

The Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay is a medium-sized jay found in western North America. They are seen year-round in the western areas of Colorado.

Males and females are about 28-30cm (11-11.8 inches) long and weigh around 70-100g (2.5-3.5oz). They are slender, long-tailed Jays with a long, straight bill with a pointed tip.

Their heads, tails, and wings are blue, and they have a grayish-brown back. Below, they are gray with a white throat and a blue band that separates the white throat from the gray belly.

They live in various habitats, including chaparral, oak woodlands, pine-juniper forests, and open areas with scattered trees.

Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jays are omnivores and feed on various food items such as insects, acorns, berries, snakes, bird eggs, and lizards. They forage primarily on the ground and visit bird feeders if sunflower seeds or peanuts are available.

Thanks to their intelligence and adaptability, Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jays are one of the most common backyard birds across western North America.

Feeder Type:

  • Ground
  • Platform Feeder
  • Large Hopper
  • Large Tube Feeder
  • Suet Cage

Feeder Food:

  • Black Oil Sunflower Seed
  • Hulled Sunflower Seed
  • Peanuts
  • Suet
  • Mealworms

What are the most common backyard birds throughout the year in Colorado

  • Dark-eyed Junco (Western Colorado)
  • House Finch
  • Black-capped Chickadee
  • Northern Flicker
  • Downy Woodpecker
  • Mountain Chickadee (Western Colorado)
  • Eurasian-collared Dove
  • White-breasted Nuthatch
  • American Goldfinch (Northeast Colorado)
  • Red-breasted Nuthatch (Western Colorado)
  • American Robin
  • Blue Jay (Northeast Colorado)
  • Black-billed Magpie
  • Pine Siskin (Western Colorado)
  • Bushtit
  • House Sparrow
  • American Crow
  • Spotted Towhee (Southern Colorado)
  • European Starling
  • Hairy Woodpecker
  • Steller’s Jay (Western Colorado)
  • Red-winged Blackbird
  • Brown Creeper
  • Mourning Dove
  • Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay

What are the most common backyard birds during winter in Colorado

All of the birds we have listed above are year-round residents of specific areas in Colorado. Still, because Colorado has such a diverse landscape, some choose to spend their winter in a different region of Colorado instead of flying out of state.

Below is a list of the year-round birds who winter in a different Colorado region:

  • Dark-eyed Junco (Eastern Colorado)
  • American Goldfinch (West and Central Colorado)
  • Red-breasted Nuthatch (Eastern Colorado)
  • Blue Jay (Southeast Colorado)
  • Pine Siskin (Eastern Colorado)

Birds to spot beyond the backyard in Colorado

When you decide to venture away from your home to do some birdwatching, these are some of the other birds to look out for:

  1. Lark Bunting
  2. Horned Lark
  3. Snow Goose
  4. Cackling Goose
  5. Red-winged Blackbird
  6. Mallard
  7. Common Grackle
  8. American Coot
  9. Canada Goose
  10. Common Merganser
  11. Rock Pigeon
  12. Ring-billed Gull
  13. Tree Swallow
  14. Ross’s Goose
  15. Sandhill Crane
  16. Northern Shoveler
  17. Franklin’s Gull
  18. American White Pelican
  19. Yellow-headed Blackbird
  20. Cliff Swallow
  21. Brewer’s Blackbird
  22. Barn Swallow
  23. Bohemian Waxwing
  24. Mountain Bluebird
  25. Golden Eagle
  26. Bald Eagle
  27. American Kestrel
  28. Burrowing Owl
  29. Blue Grosbeak
  30. Eastern Kingbird

Frequently Asked questions (FAQs)

What birds are common in Colorado?

Some of the most common birds seen in Colorado include the Dark-eyed Junco, House Finch, Black-capped Chickadee, Downy Woodpecker, Mountain Chickadee, Lark Bunting, Snow Goose, American Robin and American Goldfinch.

What is the most common backyard bird seen in Colorado?

The most common backyard bird seen in Colorado is the Dark-eyed Junco.

What is the State Bird of Colorado?

The Colorado State bird is the Lark Bunting.

How many species of birds have been seen in Colorado?

To date, 513 species have been observed in Colorado.

What birds stay in Colorado for the winter?

Most birds in Colorado are year-round residents, but some typically spend their winter in another area of Colorado instead of flying out of state. The Dark-eyed Junco, American Goldfinch, Red-breasted nuthatch, Blue Jay, and Pine Siskin all move to a different area of Colorado for winter.

Keep a watchful eye for the backyard birds of colorado

Birds are a joy to watch and can be very entertaining. By knowing which birds live in Colorado, you may be able to attract some of them to your backyard feeders. The birds of Colorado listed in this article are sure to bring enjoyment for years to come. Who knows, maybe you will even have the chance to see Colorado’s state bird, the Lark Bunting!

If all this talk has made you hungry for an adventure into the wilds of Colorado, be sure to visit one of the top 5 hotspots for birdwatching while there! We would also love to hear from you about your favorite birdwatching spots or experiences in Colorado.

If you have any questions about identifying more species or finding out which ones live near you, let us know! We would love to help identify new bird species for our readers.

Don’t forget to check out our other blog posts for more information about birds and nature.

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Author
I am an avid birdwatcher with a passion for learning all I can about these fantastic creatures. I love finding new species of birds in my backyard, neighborhood, or when I travel. I enjoy sharing everything I learn about how these creatures live their lives; feedback and experience is much appreciated!

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