25 Exciting Backyard Birds of Indiana you can expect to see

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Backyard Birds of Indiana

If you’re lucky, you may have already seen some backyard birds of Indiana. These birds are the species that typically visit yards and feeders in the state. There are many different types of backyard birds, and each one has its unique features and habits.

Indiana has a diverse climate, making it an excellent place for birdwatching. The state has four distinct seasons, each offering something different for birds.

In the spring, the state is filled with blooming flowers and trees, which provide food and shelter for birds.

In the summer, the weather is warm and humid, which is when most backyard birds breed.

In the fall, the leaves of the trees change color and begin to fall off, providing a source of food for birds.

In the winter, Indiana is covered in snow, and this is when many backyard birds migrate south.

In this blog post, we’ll take a look at 25 of the most common backyard birds of Indiana 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!

So, whether you’re a beginner birder or an experienced enthusiast, read on to learn more about the beautiful birds of Indiana!

Backyard Birds Of Indiana

According to the latest data from ebird, there are 420 observed species of Birds in Indiana. This data comes from over 622,000 checklists from just under 18,000 avid birdwatchers. Trying to identify and see all 420 may be quite a daunting 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 Indiana:

  • 420 observed species
  • The Northern Cardinal is the most common backyard bird in Indiana
  • The Northern Cardinal is the most common feeder bird in Indiana
  • The Carolina Chickadee is the smallest most common feeder bird in Indiana
  • The Cooper’s Hawk is the largest backyard bird on this list
  • The Northern Cardinal is Indiana’s state bird

What Are The Most Common Backyard Birds Of Indiana?

  1. Northern Cardinal
  2. Dark-eyed Junco
  3. House Finch
  4. Downy Woodpecker
  5. Carolina Chickadee
  6. American Goldfinch
  7. Blue Jay
  8. Mourning Dove
  9. Tufted Titmouse
  10. Red-bellied Woodpecker
  11. White-breasted Nuthatch
  12. House Sparrow
  13. European Starling
  14. Carolina Wren
  15. American Robin
  16. Hairy Woodpecker
  17. Eastern Bluebird
  18. Song Sparrow
  19. Northern Flicker
  20. Red-winged Blackbird
  21. Brown-headed Cowbird
  22. Cooper’s Hawk
  23. Common Grackle
  24. American Crow
  25. Pileated Woodpecker

Top 5 Hotspots For Birdwatching In Indiana

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

  1. Indiana Dunes State Park
  2. Miller Beach
  3. Eagle Creek Park
  4. Goose Pond Fish and Wildlife Area
  5. Cane Ridge Wildlife Management Area

Top 25 Backyard Birds Of Indiana

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

1. Northern Cardinal

The Northern Cardinal is a common species of bird found in the United States. They are the most common feeder bird in Indiana and can be seen all year round throughout the state.

Northern Cardinals are small songbirds, with males and females generally weighing less between 42 – 48g (1.5 – 1.7 oz), and are 21-23cm (8.3-9.1 inches) long.

Northern cardinals have a distinctive crest on their head that can be raised when they feel threatened or aggressive; however, this behavior is not often observed in wild populations and has been lost to captive ones.

The Northern Cardinal’s feathers range from bright red in males to brownish orange in females, and their bills are short but wide at the base – giving them an upturned appearance, making them easy to identify.

Northern Cardinals have a varied diet that consists of fruits, seeds, berries, and insects and are very common at most bird feeders but prefer to eat seeds such as sunflower, safflower, and cracked corn from the ground.

The Northern Cardinal has been seen at 97% of all feeder sites in Indiana.

Feeder Type:

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

Feeder Food:

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

2. Dark-eyed Junco

The Dark-Eyed Junco is a medium-sized sparrow found in the Northern Hemisphere from Alaska to Newfoundland. They can be seen in backyards throughout the state 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.

The Dark-eyed Junco has been seen at 96% of all feeder sites in Indiana.

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

3. House Finch

The House Finch is a small bird found in most of North America, including parts of the United States and Southern Canada. They are year-round residents of Indiana and can be seen throughout the state.

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.

The House Finch has been seen at 94% of all feeder sites in Indiana.

Feeder Type:

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

Feeder Food:

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

4. Downy Woodpecker

The Downy Woodpecker is a small woodpecker found throughout North America and is a year-round resident of Indiana. They are also one of the most common woodpeckers in Indiana.

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.

The Downy Woodpecker has been seen at 94% of all feeder sites in Indiana.

Feeder Type:

  • Suet Cage
  • Large & Small Hopper
  • Platform Feeder

Feeder Food:

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

5. Carolina Chickadee

The Carolina Chickadee is a small species found primarily in the southeastern United States. These tiny birds can be seen all year round in Indiana.

Carolina Chickadees are only about 11cm (4 inches) long and weigh between 8-12g (0.3-0.4oz). They have gray-white feathers with a distinct dark cap on their head and dark throat with white cheeks and gray bill, giving them the “chickadee” appearance from which they get their name.

Their preferred habitat is deciduous or mixed woods with large trees for roosting and nesting. They also inhabit woodlands around towns, suburbs and parks. 

Carolina Chickadees are omnivorous birds that eat both insects and seeds – making them widespread backyard visitors. They prefer feeding on seeds and sunflower seed mixes from bird feeders but will also eat suet in wintertime.

The Carolina Chickadee has been seen at 93% of all feeder sites in Indiana.

Feeder Type:

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

Feeder Food:

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

6. American Goldfinch

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

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.

The American Goldfinch has been seen at 93% of all feeder sites in Indiana.

Feeder Type:

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

Feeder Food:

  • Black Oil Sunflower Seeds
  • Hulled Sunflower Seeds
  • Nyjer

7. Blue Jay

The Blue Jay is a common species of bird found throughout North America and can be seen all year round throughout Indiana.

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.

The Blue Jay has been seen at 90% of all feeder sites in Indiana.

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

8. Mourning Dove

The Mourning Dove is a common species of bird found throughout North America and is a year-round resident of Indiana.

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.

The Mourning Dove has been seen at 90% of all feeder sites in Indiana.

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

9. Tufted Titmouse

The Tufted Titmouse is a small species of bird that can be found throughout much of the Eastern half of North America. They can be seen in backyards throughout Indiana all year round.

They are gray above and white below with a crested head and small black forehead. Tufted Titmice are only about 14 – 16cm (5.5-6.3 inches) long and weigh around 18-26g (0.6-0.9oz).

Tufted Titmice are sociable birds found in pairs or groups living in deciduous woods, towns, wooded suburbs, and parks. They are omnivorous with a diet that consists mainly of insects and some seeds and berries.

Although they prefer to glean foliage for their preferred food, Tufted Titmice will readily visit bird feeders searching for sunflower seeds, peanuts or suet.

The Tufted Titmouse has been seen at 89% of all feeder sites in Indiana.

Feeder Type:

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

Feeder Food:

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

10.Red-bellied Woodpecker

The Red-Bellied Woodpecker is a medium-sized woodpecker with a long, chisel-like bill. They are found in the eastern half of the United States and are year-round residents of Indiana.

Males and Females are about 24cm (9.4 inches) long and weigh around 56-91g (2-3.2oz). Red-bellied Woodpeckers have black-and-white stripes above and a paler below. The male has red from its bill to its nape, while the female only has a red nape. Red bellies can be seen during flight but are more challenging to see when perched.

They live in various habitats, including woodlands, bottomland forests, swamps, riversides, and parks. They are most commonly found near water to find insects to eat. 

They will seldom peck at the wood of trees to find food but instead will forage for insects whenever the opportunity presents itself. They also feed on nuts, fruits, and seeds and store their food in bark crevices.

Red-bellied woodpeckers also visit backyard bird feeders that offer suet, sunflowers seeds, or peanut butter mixed with birdseed. While at backyard feeders, they are bullish birds and will often dominate other smaller birds and their cousins (Downy & Hairy Woodpeckers).

The Red-bellied Woodpecker has been seen at 89% of all feeder sites in Indiana.

Feeder Types:

  • Large Hopper
  • Platform Feeder
  • Nectar Feeder
  • Suet Cage

Feeder food:

  • Black Oil & Hulled Sunflower Seeds
  • Safflower
  • Suet
  • Cracker corn
  • Peanuts & Peanut Hearts
  • Sugar Water
  • Fruit
  • Mealworms

11. White-breasted Nuthatch

The White-breasted Nuthatch is an exciting species to observe and can be found from southern Canada down into Central America. These small birds can be seen in backyards all year round in Indiana.

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.

The White-breasted Nuthatch has been seen at 88% of all feeder sites in Indiana.

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

12. House Sparrow

The House Sparrow is a small, sparrow-sized bird found in most parts of the world. These common birds can be seen throughout the state of Indiana all year round.

House Sparrows measure about 15-17cm (6-6.7 inches) long and weigh between 27-30g (0.9-1.1oz). They have a large head, stocky build, short tail, and a heavy bill. They are streaked with brown and black backs and wings, white below, and black bib and gray heads. Males have chestnut-colored sides on their heads, and females are noticeably duller.

House Sparrows are found chiefly around farms, towns, or human settlements where they can easily find food scattered on the ground from humans, such as spilled grain during harvest season or breadcrumbs at picnics. They will also nest in the eaves or holes of houses or other buildings.

House Sparrows are very social birds and can be seen in large flocks, either foraging or roosting together at night. They are very active and noisy, often chirping and whistling to each other.

House Sparrows are omnivores that eat seeds and grain and primarily insects during the breeding season.

They prefer areas with tall trees or shrubs for roosting at night and nesting inside walls, eaves of houses, or holes in buildings. They are frequent visitors to backyard bird feeders where they eat sunflower seeds, millet, and corn.

The House Sparrow has been seen at 86% of all feeder sites in Indiana.

Feeder Type:

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

Feeder Food:

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

13. 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.  These beautiful birds are year-round residents of Indiana.

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.

The European Starling has been seen at 86% of all feeder sites in Indiana.

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

14. Carolina Wren

The Carolina Wren is a common bird species in the eastern part of North America and can be seen in Indiana all year round.

Carolina Wrens are small backyard birds typically between 12 – 14cm (4.7-5.5 inches) long and weigh between 18-22g (0.6-0.8oz), with males slightly larger than females. They have rusty-brown feathers with white spots on their tails and wings, with lighter brown-orange chest and belly, and a bold white line above the eye, making them very easy to identify from other birds.

Carolina Wrens spend most of their time in thick vegetation such as brushy woods, underbrush or shrubs, looking for insects and spiders to eat – making it easy to see when they fly out from their hiding place.

They are the only wren that will visit backyard bird feeders regularly and typically prefer suet feeders.

The Carolina Wren has been seen at 79% of all feeder sites in Indiana.

Feeder Type:

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

Feeder Food:

  • Hulled Sunflower Seeds
  • Suet
  • Peanut Hearts
  • Mealworms

15. American Robin

The American Robin is a common species of bird found throughout North America and can be seen throughout Indiana all year round.

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.

The American Robin has been seen at 75% of all feeder sites in Indiana.

Feeder Type:

  • Platform feeder
  • Ground

Feeder Food:

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

16. Hairy Woodpecker

The Hairy Woodpecker is a medium-sized woodpecker found throughout North America and Southern Canada. They can be seen in Indiana 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.

The Hairy Woodpecker has been seen at 62% of all feeder sites in Indiana.

Feeder Type:

  • Suet Cage
  • Large Hopper
  • Platform Feeder

Feeder Food:

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

17. Eastern Bluebird

The Eastern Bluebird is a small thrush that is common throughout the Eastern half of North America and can be seen in Indiana during the summer months.

They are about 16-21cm (6.3-8.3 inches) long and weigh only 28-32g (1-1.1oz). The males are known for their beautiful blue feathers above and a rusty reddish-brown throat and breast. Females are gray above with blue wings and blue tail and a more orange-brown breast. You can find them in other colors depending on the region they live in – such as black or white bodies instead of blue, grayish underparts, or orange neck patches.

Their preferred habitat is an open area such as pasture or farmland with short grasses and some trees.

Their preferred diet consists mainly of insects and other small invertebrates that they find by probing the ground. They may also eat some small fruits in winter, but insects make up many of their diets.

They are very social birds, often found in pairs or flocks – especially during migration to warmer climates for wintertime.

Eastern Bluebirds will visit bird feeders when mealworms are offered.

The Eastern Bluebird has been seen at 59% of all feeder sites in Indiana.

Feeder Type:

  • Platform Feeder
  • Ground

Feeder Food:

  • Mealworms
  • Peanut Hearts
  • Fruit
  • Suet

18. Song Sparrow

The Song Sparrow is a medium-sized sparrow found throughout North America and is a year-round resident of Indiana.

Males and Females are about 12-17cm (4.7-6.7 inches) long and weigh between 12-53g (0.4-1.9oz). They have relatively long, rounded tails and broad wings.

Song Sparrows are generally brown above with brown streaking on white below. They have a reddish-brown crown, a pale gray eyebrow, and a brown streak through the eye.

They live in most open areas such as forests edges, scrublands, wetlands, marshes, farmlands, and grasslands year-round in North America.

They mainly eat insects in the spring and summer and seeds and berries the rest of the year.

Song Sparrows are common backyard birds that visit bird feeders if the feeder offers cracked corn or millet and over some good cover. They prefer seeds scattered on the ground or a platform feeder.

The Song Sparrow has been seen at 56% of all feeder sites in Indiana.

Feeder Type:

  • Platform Feeder
  • Ground

Feeder Food:

  • Black Oil and Hulled Sunflower Seeds
  • Safflower
  • Nyjer
  • Cracked Corn
  • Peanut Hearts
  • Millet and Milo

19. Northern Flicker

The Northern Flicker is one of the most common woodpecker species in North America and can be seen throughout the state of Indiana 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.

The Northern Flicker has been seen at 53% of all feeder sites in Indiana.

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

20. 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, and are year-round residents of Indiana.

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.

The Red-winged Blackbird has been seen at 46% of all feeder sites in Indiana.

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

21. Brown-headed Cowbird

The Brown-headed cowbird is a small blackbird found across North America and can be seen in Indiana all year round.

The males range between 19-22cm (7.5-8.7 inches) long and weigh between 42-50g (1.5-1.8oz). The females range between 16-20cm (6.3-7.9 inches) long and weigh 42-50g (1.3-1.6oz). They have a short tail and thick sharp-tipped beak.

The males have a glossy black body with a dark brown head, and the females are grayish-brown above and a paler color below.

They prefer open areas with scattered trees like grasslands, pastures, meadows, marshes, or even agricultural fields.

The Brown-headed cowbird is a brood parasite, which means that it doesn’t build a nest of its own, but instead lays its eggs in the nests of other bird species. The host birds will then incubate and raise the cowbird chick as their own.

Cowbirds can be seen hopping around on the ground or flying low to the ground looking for food. They eat mainly seeds and grain but will also eat insects and spiders if given a chance.

Since they don’t build their own nests,  they will often be found close to humans in places like parks, golf courses, and even the backyard, which means they will often visit backyard bird feeders, especially if you use a  platform feeder or scatter seed on the ground. 

Brown-Headed cowbirds can often be a nuisance, and some people even take their feeders down in the spring or summer if they see too many cowbirds visiting.

The Brown-headed Cowbird has been seen at 46% of all feeder sites in Indiana.

Feeder Type:

  • Large Hopper
  • Platform Feeder
  • Ground Feeding

Feeder Food:

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

22. Cooper’s Hawk

The Cooper’s Hawk is a medium-sized hawk found throughout North America and all year round in Indiana.

Males are about 37-39cm (14.6-15.3 inches) long and weigh 220-410g (7.8-14.5oz). Females are about 42-45cm (16.5-17.7 inches) long and weigh 330-680g (11.6-24oz).

They have broad rounded wings, a long, rounded tail, and a large head. Adults are bluish-gray above, with rusty colored bars below and thick darker bands on their tails. Juveniles are brown above, with orange-colored highlights on the head and dark streaks below.

Cooper’s hawks are often found in riparian woodlands, suburbs, and parks where they can find plenty of prey.

The Cooper’s Hawk is a versatile predator that preys on small mammals such as squirrels and rats and small birds up to the size of a Blue Jay. They often hunt by perching on a branch and waiting for prey to pass by. When prey is spotted, they will swoop down, grasp it with their feet and kill using a sharp blow of the bill.

In suburban areas, they sometimes hunt birds at bird feeders or squirrels in backyards and small rodents such as mice and rats.

The Cooper’s Hawk has been seen at 46% of all feeder sites in Indiana.

Feeder Type:

  • N/A

Feeder Food:

  • Unsuspecting Doves, Jays and Robin-sized birds

23. Common Grackle

The Common Grackle is a large blackbird found in abundance throughout the Eastern and Mid-Eastern parts of North America. These shiny birds can be seen in Indiana all year round.

They are about the size of a Mourning Dove and are around 28-34cm (11-13.4 Inches) long and weigh between 74-142g (2.6-5oz). Males are slightly larger than females. They have a flat head with yellow eyes and a stout beak to eat insects, seeds, fruits, small invertebrates, and snails.

They have a long tail and shiny black plumage. The male has a greenish iridescence to their feathers, while the female is less glossy with brown feathers on her head.

The Common Grackle is usually found in large flocks in open habitats that include farmlands or grassland areas. Still, it will also be seen around residential areas where food scraps are available, like compost piles or bird feeders. They can sometimes be found near wetlands too.

Common Grackles are opportunistic omnivores that eat mainly insects and some grain but supplement with food items like seeds, fruits, small invertebrates, and snails. They usually feed or forage on the ground but will also scavenge in the garbage around residential areas if given the opportunity.

The common grackle will often visit backyard bird feeders and don’t seem to be too picky when it comes to the type of feed present.

The Common Grackle has been seen at 44% of all feeder sites in Indiana.

Feeder Type:

  • Large Hopper
  • Platform Feeder
  • Ground

Feeder Food:

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

24. 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. They are year round residents of Indiana and can be seen throughout the state.

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.

The American Crow has been seen at 43% of all feeder sites in Indiana.

Feeder Type:

  • Platform Feeder
  • Ground

Feeder Food:

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

25. Pileated Woodpecker

The Pileated Woodpecker is a very large-sized woodpecker species native to North America. They live in the eastern region of the United States and throughout the southern half of Canada from Nova Scotia to Vancouver and down the Pacific Coast. They can be seen throughout most of Indiana all year round.

Males and females are about 40-49cm (15.8-19.3 inches) long and weigh around 250-350g (8.8-12.3oz). They have a long chisel-like bill, long neck, and a sweeping triangular red crest.

They have blackish plumage with white markings on their face and a large white area under their wings, which are only visible during flight or when they stretch their wings. Males have a red line on their cheeks.

Pileated Woodpeckers can be found in various wooded habitats such as coniferous and deciduous forests, woodlands, riparian corridors, parks, and suburban areas.

They create numerous large rectangular-shaped holes within their range, which is incredibly important to the area’s ecosystem. Many species of animals use their holes for shelter and security.

They feed primarily on insects such as carpenter ants and beetle larvae and consume fruits, nuts, and berries from trees. 

Pileated Woodpeckers typically visit backyard bird feeders that offer suet, sunflower hearts, and peanut kernels.

The Pileated Woodpecker has been seen at 39% of all feeder sites in Indiana.

Feeder Type:

  • Suet Cage

Feeder Food:

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

What Are The Most Common Backyard Birds All-Year-Round In Indiana?

  • Northern Cardinal
  • House Finch
  • Downy Woodpecker
  • Carolina Chickadee
  • American Goldfinch
  • Blue Jay
  • Mourning Dove
  • Tufted Titmouse
  • Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • White-breasted Nuthatch
  • House Sparrow
  • European Starling
  • Carolina Wren
  • American Robin
  • Hairy Woodpecker
  • Song Sparrow
  • Northern Flicker
  • Red-winged Blackbird
  • Brown-headed Cowbird
  • Cooper’s Hawk
  • Common Grackle
  • American Crow
  • Pileated Woodpecker

Birds To Spot Beyond The Backyard In Indiana

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. Canada Goose
  2. Purple Martin
  3. Tree Swallow
  4. Cedar Waxwing
  5. Rusty Blackbird
  6. Bank Swallow
  7. Pine Siskin
  8. American White Pelican
  9. Yellow-rumped Warbler
  10. Killdeer
  11. Snow Bunting
  12. Broad-winged Hawk
  13. Swainson’s Thrush
  14. Baltimore Oriole
  15. Indigo Bunting
  16. Great Blue Heron
  17. Common Nighthawk
  18. Palm Warbler
  19. White-winged Crossbill
  20. Eastern Kingbird
  21. Sharp-shinned Hawk
  22. Common Redpoll
  23. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
  24. Evening Grosbeak
  25. Fox Sparrow
  26. Red-Tailed Hawk
  27. Ruby-crowned Kinglet
  28. Blackpoll Warbler
  29. Tennessee Warbler
  30. Brewer’s Blackbird

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What kind of birds live in indiana?

Indiana is home to many kinds of bird species like songbirds, water birds, and birds of prey. The most common of which include the Northern Cardinal (59% frequency), Blue Jay (44% frequency), American Robin (44% frequency), Canada Goose (33% frequency), Mallard Duck (28% frequency), Red-tailed Hawk (15% frequency), and Bald Eagle (8% frequency).

How many species of birds are in indiana?

To date, 420 species have been observed in Indiana.

What Is The State Bird Of Indiana?

The State bird of Indiana is the Northern Cardinal.

What Is The Most Common Backyard Bird Seen In Indiana?

The Northern Cardinal is the most common backyard feeder bird in Indiana.

What Birds Of Prey Are In Indiana?

Indiana is home to many raptor species such as Falcons, Hawks, Eagles, Owls and Vultures. Some of the most common include the Red-Tailed Hawk, Cooper’s Hawk, Broad-winged Hawk, Northern Harrier, American Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, Merlin, Bald Eagle, Osprey, Barn Owl, Short Eared Owl, Great-horned Owl, and the Turkey Vulture.

Keep an eye out for the backyard birds of Indiana

In this article, we’ve explored Indiana’s most common backyard birds. There is a wide variety of birds in terms of size, habitat preference, and feeder preference to see throughout the year.

We hope this blog post has inspired you to explore the kinds of backyard birds near you–whether they’re on your property or not!

If you are interested in bird watching away from the backyard, be sure to visit any of the five hotspots listed above. We would also love to hear from you about your favorite birdwatching spots or experiences in Indiana.

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. Also, don’t forget to share this post with your friends and family!

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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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