27 Diverse Backyard Birds of New York State to explore

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Backyard Birds of New York

If you are a bird enthusiast in New York State then you are in luck. With its diverse landscape and abundance of wildlife, the state offers bird watchers a variety of backyard birds to see. From songbirds to raptors, New York State has something for everyone.

The diverse landscape of New York State provides the perfect habitat for birds. The state has backyards in various habitats, including forests, fields, wetlands, and urban areas. Each habitat offers different opportunities for birds to find food and shelter.

In this blog post, we’ll look at 27 of New York’s most common backyard birds 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!

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Backyard Birds Of New York State

According to the latest data from ebird, there are 513 observed species of Birds in New York. This data comes from over 3.5 million checklists from over 64,800 avid birdwatchers.

Identifying and seeing all 513 may be an overwhelming challenge, so we have chosen to focus on the birds you are more likely to see in your garden or backyard feeders.

Here are some things to know about Backyard Birds of New York:

  • 513 observed species
  • The American Robin is the most common backyard bird in New York.
  • The Black-capped Chickadee is the most common feeder bird in New York.
  • The Ruby-throated Hummingbird is the smallest most common feeder bird in New York.
  • The Cooper’s Hawk is the largest backyard bird on this list.
  • The Eastern Bluebird is New York’s state bird.

What Are The Most Common Backyard Birds Of New York?

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

Top 5 Hotspots For Birdwatching In New York

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

  1. Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
  2. Jones Beach State Park
  3. Robert Moses State Park
  4. Prospect Park
  5. Derby Hill Hawk Watch

27 Types Of Backyard Birds Of New York

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

1. Black-capped Chickadee

Black-capped Chickadees are a widespread species of bird found throughout the northern half of North America and are a year-round resident of New York.

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.

Black-capped Chickadees are an energetic species that prefers deciduous woods, often found in forests, 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 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 For Black-capped Chickadees

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

Feeder Food For Black-capped Chickadees

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

2. Dark-eyed Junco

The Dark-Eyed Junco is a medium-sized sparrow found in the Northern Hemisphere from Alaska to Newfoundland. These tiny birds can be seen in New York all year round.

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 feeders in the winter, especially ones that offer sunflower seeds, millet, or cracked corn.

Feeder Type For Dark-eyed Juncos

  • Ground
  • Large Hopper
  • Platform Feeder

Feeder Food For Dark-eyed Juncos

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

3. Northern Cardinal

The Northern Cardinal is a common species of bird found in the United States and is a year-round resident of New York.

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 backyard feeders but prefer to eat seeds such as sunflower, safflower, and cracked corn from the ground.

Feeder Type For Northern Cardinals

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

Feeder Food For Northern Cardinals

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

4. Blue Jay

The Blue Jay is a common species of bird found throughout North America. These beautiful birds can be seen in New York all 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 feeders and will typically dominate smaller birds that visit simultaneously. They love sunflower seeds, cracked corn, and whole peanuts.

Feeder Type For Blue Jays

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

Feeder Food For Blue Jays

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

5. Downy Woodpecker

The Downy Woodpecker is the most common woodpecker seen in New York and can be seen all year round in the state.

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 sunflower seeds, peanut butter, seeds, and millet.

Feeder Type For Downy Woodpeckers

  • Suet Cage
  • Large & Small Hopper
  • Platform Feeder

Feeder Food For Downy Woodpeckers

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

6. 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 tiny birds can be seen throughout New York state all year round.

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 feeders and prefer suet feeders, shelled peanuts, and sunflower seeds.

Feeder Type For White-breasted Nuthatches

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

Feeder Food For White-breasted Nuthatches

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

7. Mourning Dove

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

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 feeders and typically eat seeds that have fallen on the ground or platform feeders.

Feeder Type For Mourning Doves

  • Large Hopper
  • Platform feeder
  • Ground

Feeder Food For Mouring Doves

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

8. Tufted Titmouse

The Tufted Titmouse is a small species of bird that can be found throughout much of the Eastern half of North America. These tiny birds can be seen throughout New York state 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.

Feeder Type For Tufted Titmouse

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

Feeder Food For Tufted Titmouse

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

9. 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 can be seen in the eastern and southern New York regions all year round.

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 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).

Feeder Type For Red-bellied Woodpeckers

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

Feeder Food For Red-bellied Woodpeckers

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

10. American Goldfinch

The American Goldfinch is a common species of bird found throughout North America and year-round in New York state.

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 For American Goldfinches

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

Feeder Food For American Goldfinches

  • Black Sunflower Seeds
  • Hulled Sunflower Seeds
  • Nyjer

11. 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 beautiful birds are year-round residents of New York.

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 For House Finches

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

Feeder Food For House Finches

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

12. 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. 

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 For European Starlings

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

Feeder Food For European Starlings

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

13. Hairy Woodpecker

The Hairy Woodpecker is a medium-sized woodpecker found throughout North America and Southern Canada, and can be seen in New York state 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 For Hairy Woodpeckers

  • Suet Cage
  • Large Hopper
  • Platform Feeder

Feeder Food For Hairy Woodpeckers

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

14. House Sparrow

The House Sparrow is a common species of bird found worldwide and is a year-round resident of New York state.

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 For House Sparrows

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

Feeder Food For House Sparrows

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

15. Red-breasted Nuthatch

The red-breasted nuthatch is a small songbird found across most of North America and much of Canada, and can be seen in New York state all year round.

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 For Red-breasted Nuthatches

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

Feeder Food For Red-breasted Nuthatches

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

16. American Robin

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

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 For American Robins

  • Platform feeder
  • Ground

Feeder Food For American Robins

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

17. Carolina Wren

The Carolina Wren is a common bird species in the eastern part of North America. They can be seen year-round in the southern half of New York state.

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.

Feeder Type For Carolina Wrens

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

Feeder Food For Carolina Wrens

  • Hulled Sunflower Seeds
  • Suet
  • Peanut Hearts
  • Mealworms

18. 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 New York state.

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 For Red-winged Blackbirds

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

Feeder Food For Red-winged Blackbirds

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

19. Song Sparrow

The Song Sparrow is a medium-sized sparrow found throughout North America and can be seen throughout New York state all year round.

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.

Feeder Type For Song Sparrows

  • Platform Feeder
  • Ground

Feeder Food For Song Sparrows

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

20. Common Grackle

The Common Grackle is a large blackbird found abundant throughout the Eastern and Mid-Eastern parts of North America. 

These large birds can be seen all year round in the southern half of New York and during the summer months in the Northern half.

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.

Feeder Type For Common Grackles

  • Large Hopper
  • Platform Feeder
  • Ground

Feeder Food For Common Grackles

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

21. White-throated Sparrow

The White-Throated Sparrow is a medium-large sparrow that lives primarily in the eastern half of the United States.

These sparrows can be seen in the northern half of New York during the summer and spring breeding months and all year round in the southern half of the state.

Males and Females are about 16-18cm (6.3-7.1 inches) long and weigh between 22-32g (0.8-1.1oz). They have a round head, long legs, and long tail.

Both sexes are brown above and gray below with a black and white striped head and a yellow spot above the eye and bill. Another morph is tan striped instead of black and white striped. Both morphs have a strongly outlined white throat.

They live in brushy woodlands, forest edges, wooded urban areas, parks, and gardens across the Eastern United States. Most often seen in backyards during the winter months.

They are ground foragers that often flock together to eat insects in summer and seeds and berries the rest of the year. They are common backyard birds that will visit feeders in the winter, especially ones that offer seeds scattered on the ground or a platform feeder.

Feeder Types For White-throated Sparrows

  • Platform Feeder
  • Ground

Feeder Food For White-throated Sparrows

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

22. 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 also year-round residents of New York 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.

Feeder Type For Crows

  • Platform Feeder
  • Ground

Feeder Food For Crows

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

23. Brown-headed Cowbird

The Brown-headed cowbird is a small blackbird found across North America and is a year-round resident of much of New York state except for the northern edge, where they can be seen during the summer and spring breeding months.

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.

Feeder Type For Brown-headed Cowbirds

  • Large Hopper
  • Platform Feeder
  • Ground Feeding

Feeder Food For Brown-headed Cowbirds

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

24. American Tree Sparrow

American Tree Sparrows are small sparrows found throughout North America and are common winter birds in New York.

Males and females are about 13-14cm (5.5 inches) long and weigh around 13-28g (0.5-1.0oz). They have a long, thin tail, a small bill, and a small head.

Their bill is bicolored, which is dark above and yellow below. They have a rusty-colored cap, a rusty eye line, and a rusty-colored striped back. Their wings have two white wing bars, and their underparts are primarily gray with some pale brown coloration on their sides and breast.

American Tree Sparrows can be found in open areas near woods, gardens, or parks during the warmer months and move to more dense areas such as weedy fields, shrubs, and forest edges during the colder months.

They breed in the far north of Canada and spend their winter migration below the Canadian border.

They eat mostly seeds in winter and insects during the summer months. They forage mainly on the ground but can also be seen in bushes or trees.

American Tree Sparrows frequently visit bird feeders in the winter that offer black oil sunflower seeds, nyjer thistle, or millet.

Feeder Type For American Tree Sparrows

  • Ground
  • Platform Feeder
  • Large hopper

Feeder Food For American Tree Sparrows

  • Black Oil Sunflower Seeds
  • Nyjer
  • Peanut Hearts
  • Millet

25. Cooper’s Hawk

The Cooper’s Hawk is a medium-sized hawk found throughout North America. They can be seen primarily during the breeding months in New York state but all year round on the southern edge of the state.

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.

26. Chipping Sparrow

Chipping Sparrows are ubiquitous throughout North America and New York state during the summer breeding season.

They are about 12-15cm (4.7-5.9 inches) long, weigh between 11-16g (0.4-0.6oz). Chipping Sparrows are slender, long-tailed birds with gray faces, chestnut heads, and a white belly. They have a black line through the eye, back and wings.

They have relatively short wings that allow for quick travel through thick vegetation or high into the trees where they will find their nests on a thin branch close to the trunk of a tree.

Their beaks are short but thick at the end for catching insects and eating seeds from grasses or trees.

Their preferred habitat is open woodland, forest edges, and clearings. It will also be found in parks and residential areas.

Chipping Sparrows eat insects they can glean from the ground, vegetation, or the air in summer months and forage for seeds in wild grasses and weeds in the fall and winter months.

They are frequent visitors at bird feeders and prefer to eat seeds such as black oil sunflower seeds, millet, or cracked corn from a platform feeder or the ground. You will often see them in small flocks around your feeders.

Feeder Types For Chipping Sparrows

  • Large & Small Hopper
  • Platform Feeder
  • Ground

Feeder Food For Chipping Sparrows

  • Hulled Sunflower Seeds
  • Black Oil Sunflower Seeds
  • Nyjer
  • Cracked Corn
  • Millet

27. Ruby-throated Hummingbird

The Ruby-throated Hummingbird is a tiny bird found only in eastern North America and Central America. They are the only common Hummingbird in New York State and can be seen during the summer breeding season.

They are the most commonly seen hummingbirds throughout their range, except for southern Florida, where they are seen less frequently.

Males and females are about 7-9cm (2.8-3.5 inches) long and weigh around 2-6g (0.1-0.2oz). They have long, slender bills and short wings.

They are metallic green above and grayish-white below with red throats (males), or pale gray throat with reddish sides of their head/throat (females).

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds can be found in various habitats, including woodlands, open spaces, and backyards. They breed in the eastern United States and Canada, and during winter/migration, they migrate south to Central America.

They eat mostly nectar from flowers but also feed on insects by catching them mid-flight. They forage mainly in the upper part of trees and hover in place while searching for food.

They have been known to visit bird feeders with nectar, especially during their migration months.

Feeder Type For Ruby-throated Hummingbirds

  • Nectar Feeder

Feeder Food for Ruby-throated Hummingbirds

  • Sugar Water/Nectar

What Are The Most Common Backyard Birds All Year Round In New York?

  • Blue Jay (44% frequency)
  • American Robin (44% frequency)
  • Northern Cardinal (43% frequency)
  • Black-capped Chickadee (39% frequency)
  • Mourning Dove (38% frequency)
  • American Crow (38% frequency)
  • American Goldfinch (34% frequency)
  • Song Sparrow (34% frequency)
  • European Starling (33% frequency)
  • Downy Woodpecker (31% frequency)

What Are The Most Common Winter Backyard Birds Of New York?

  • Northern Cardinal (42% frequency)
  • Black-capped Chickadee (42% frequency)
  • Blue Jay (40% frequency)
  • American Crow (39% frequency)
  • Mourning Dove (35% frequency)
  • Downy Woodpecker (33% frequency)
  • American Robin (33% frequency)
  • European Starling (32% frequency)
  • Dark-eyed Junco (31% frequency)
  • Song Sparrow (27% frequency)

Birds To Spot Beyond The Backyard In New York

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. Eastern Bluebird
  2. Broad-winged Hawk
  3. Purple Martin
  4. Tree Swallow
  5. Barn Swallow
  6. Bobolink
  7. Purple Finch
  8. Cedar Waxwing
  9. Snow Bunting
  10. Rusty Blackbird
  11. Red-tailed Hawk
  12. Northern Flicker
  13. Fish Crow
  14. Sharp-shinned Hawk
  15. Evening Grosbeak
  16. Baltimore Oriole
  17. Golden-crowned Kinglet
  18. Bohemian Waxwing
  19. Common Redpoll
  20. White-winged Crossbill
  21. Eastern Kingbird
  22. Swainson’s Thrush
  23. American Redstart
  24. Chipping Sparrow
  25. Eastern Meadowlark
  26. Red Crossbill
  27. Rose-breasted Grosbeak
  28. Boat-tailed Grackle
  29. Savannah Sparrow
  30. Common Nighthawk

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What kind of birds are in New York?

New York state is home to many kinds of bird species such as Song Birds, Water Birds, and Birds of Prey. The most common of which include the Blue Jay (44% frequency), American Robin (44% Frequency), Northern Cardinal (43% frequency), Black-capped Chickadee (39% frequency), Canada Goose (34% frequency), Mallard Duck (28% frequency), Red-tailed Hawk (15% frequency), Osprey (8% frequency) and the Bald Eagle (7% frequency).

How many species of birds are in New York?

There are 513 documented species of birds that have been observed in New York.

What birds of prey are in New York State?

New York is home to many raptor species such as Falcons, Hawks, Eagles, Owls and Vultures. Some of the most common include the American Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, Merlin, Northern goshawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Cooper’s Hawk, Bald Eagle, Golden Eagle, Great Horned Owl, Barred Owl, Eastern Screech Owl and the Snowy Owl.

What Is The State Bird Of New York?

The Eastern Bluebird is the state bird of New York.

What Is The Most Common Backyard Feeder Bird Seen In New York?

The Black-capped Chickadee is the most common backyard feeder bird in New York.

Keep an eye out for the backyard birds of New York

Whether you’re an experienced birdwatcher or a beginner backyard birder, we hope this blog post helped you identify some of the birds in your area. Backyard birding is a great way to get outside, learn about nature, and connect with the world around you.

If you are interested in looking beyond the backyard to do some birdwatching, then visit one of New York’s best hotspots for birdwatching.

We would also love to hear from you about your favorite birdwatching spots or experiences in New York.

If you have 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.

So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start birding.

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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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