25 Brilliant Backyard Birds of Utah to watch

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Backyard Birds of Utah

Utah is a great place to live if you love nature and the outdoors. The state has an abundance of wildlife, including more than 460 species of birds, making it one of the most bird-rich states in the country.

What makes Utah such a great place for backyard birds? One reason is that the state has a wide variety of habitats, from deserts to mountains to forests. This diversity ensures that there is something for every type of bird.

Another reason Utah is so great for backyard birds is because of its mild climate. The winters are not too cold, and the summers are not too hot, which allows birds to thrive in the state year-round.

This blog post will look at 25 of Utah’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 at any time of the year.

Backyard Birds Of Utah

According to the latest data from ebird, there are 468 observed species of Birds in Utah. This data comes from over 489,000 checklists from over 19,500 avid birdwatchers. Identifying and seeing all 468 species is a daunting challenge, so we have chosen to focus on the birds you are more likely to see in your home, backyard, or at your bird feeders.

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

  • 468 observed species
  • The American Robin is the most common backyard bird species in Utah.
  • The House Finch is the most common feeder bird of Utah.
  • The Red-breasted Nuthatch is the smallest most common feeder bird in Utah.
  • The Cooper’s Hawk is the largest backyard bird in the top 25 list.
  • The California Gull is the state bird of Utah.

What Are The Most Common Backyard Birds Of Utah?

  1. House Finch
  2. Dark-eyed Junco
  3. Black-capped Chickadee
  4. Eurasian Collared-Dove
  5. House Sparrow
  6. Northern Flicker
  7. Downy Woodpecker
  8. American Goldfinch
  9. American Robin
  10. Lesser Goldfinch
  11. European Starling
  12. Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay
  13. Spotted Towhee
  14. Cassin’s Finch
  15. Red-breasted Nuthatch
  16. Pine Siskin
  17. Mourning Dove
  18. Black-billed Magpie
  19. Mountain Chickadee
  20. California Quail
  21. Sharp-shinned Hawk
  22. Cooper’s Hawk
  23. Ruby-crowned Kinglet
  24. Cedar Waxwing
  25. White-crowned Sparrow

Top 5 Hotspots For Birdwatching In Utah

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

  1. Fish Springs National Wildlife Refuge
  2. Lytle Range Preserve
  3. Antelope Island State Park
  4. Farmington Bay Wildlife Management Area
  5. Utah Lake State Park

Top 25 Backyard Birds Of Utah

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

1. 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 tiny birds can be seen in Utah backyards 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.

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

Feeder Type:

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

Feeder Food:

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

2. Dark-eyed Junco

The Dark-Eyed Junco is a medium-sized sparrow found in the Northern Hemisphere from Alaska to Newfoundland and is a year-round resident of Utah.

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 94% of all feeder sites in Utah.

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. Black-capped Chickadee

The Black-Capped Chickadee is a widespread species of bird found throughout the Northern half of North America and can be seen in the northern half of Utah 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.

The Black-capped Chickadee has been seen at 80% of all feeder sites in Utah.

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. 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, and are a year-round resident of Utah.

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.

The Eurasian Collared-Dove has been seen at 77% of all feeder sites in Utah.

Feeder Type:

  • Large Hopper
  • Platform Feeder
  • Ground

Feeder Food:

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

5. House Sparrow

The House Sparrow is a common species of bird found throughout the world and can be seen in Utah backyards all year round.

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.

The House Sparrow has been seen at 74% of all feeder sites in Utah.

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

6. Northern Flicker

The Northern Flicker is the most common woodpecker species in Utah and can be seen in the state 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 71% of all feeder sites in Utah.

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

7. Downy Woodpecker

The Downy Woodpecker is a small woodpecker found throughout North America and can be seen in Utah backyards 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.

The Downy Woodpecker has been seen at 68% of all feeder sites in Utah.

Feeder Type:

  • Suet Cage
  • Large & Small Hopper
  • Platform Feeder

Feeder Food:

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

8. American Goldfinch

The American Goldfinch is a common species of bird found throughout North America. These tiny birds can be seen in southern Utah during the colder non-breeding months and in northern Utah all year round.

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 66% of all feeder sites in Utah.

Feeder Type:

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

Feeder Food:

  • Black Oil Sunflower Seeds
  • Hulled Sunflower Seeds
  • Nyjer

9. American Robin

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

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 66% of all feeder sites in Utah.

Feeder Type:

  • Platform feeder
  • Ground

Feeder Food:

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

10. Lesser Goldfinch

The Lesser Goldfinch is a common species of songbird found in the western half of North and Central America, and can be seen in Utah during the summer and spring breeding months.

Both males and females are 9-11cm (3.5-4.3 inches) long and weigh between 8-11.5g (0.3-0.4oz). They have stubby bills, long pointed wings, and short tails.

Male Lesser goldfinches are bright yellow below, black or green above (depending on location), white patches on their wings, and white corners on a black tail. Female Lesser Goldfinches are dull olive above and pale yellow below.

Lesser Goldfinches live in various habitats but prefer areas with budding trees and bushes. They are also seen in weedy residential areas, often in large groups.

The Lesser goldfinches mainly eat seeds, tree buds, berries, and sometimes insects. They prefer composite plants such as thistle and purple coneflower.

Lesser goldfinches are very common in backyards, and will visit bird feeders that offer a variety of seeds.

The Lesser Goldfinch has been seen at 65% of all feeder sites in Utah.

Feeder Type:

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

Feeder Food:

  • Black Oil Sunflower Seed
  • Hulled Sunflower Seed
  • Nyjer

11. 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.

The European Starling has been seen at 58% of all feeder sites in Utah.

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

12. Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay

The Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay is a medium-sized jay found in western North America and can be seen in Utah all year round.

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.

The Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay has been seen at 58% of all feeder sites in Utah.

Feeder Type:

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

Feeder Food:

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

13. Spotted Towhee

The Spotted Towhee is a large-sized sparrow that lives in the western half of North America and Mexico, and can be seen in Utah backyards all year round.

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.

The Spotted Towhee has been seen at 57% of all feeder sites in Utah.

Feeder Type:

  • Platform Feeder
  • Ground

Feeder Food:

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

14. Cassin’s Finch

The Cassin’s Finch is a small, sparrow-sized bird found in the western half of North America and is a year-round resident of Utah.

Males and females are about 16cm (6.3-6.5 inches) long and weigh around 24-34g (0.8-1.2oz). They are similar to the Purple Finch and House Finch but have longer and heavier pointed bills and longer wings. They have notched short to medium-length tails and a peaked head.

Males and females have streaked undertail coverts, wings, and backs. Males have a bright red cap, rosy pink face, breast, and rump. The females are brown and white with fine steaks on their chests and underparts.

Cassin’s Finches can be found in evergreen forests located in the mountains during the warmer months and tend to move to lower elevations during the colder months.

They eat mostly seeds, berries, and buds but also feed on insects when available. They forage mainly in the trees with other finches like Pine Siskins and crossbills.

Cassin’s Finches have been known to visit bird feeders that offer sunflower seeds, millet, or thistle seeds in the winter months.

The Cassin’s Finch has been seen at 55% of all feeder sites in Utah.

Feeder Type:

  • Platform Feeder
  • Large and Small Hooper
  • Large and Small Tube feeder

Feeder Food:

  • Nyjer Seed
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Millet

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 Utah 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.

The Red-breasted Nuthatch has been seen at 54% of all feeder sites in Utah.

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

16. Pine Siskin

The Pine Siskin is widespread throughout North America and some parts of Canada and Mexico, and is a year-round resident of Utah.

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.

The Pine Siskin has been seen at 52% of all feeder sites in Utah.

Feeder Type:

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

Feeder Food:

  • Black Oil Sunflower Seeds
  • Hulled Sunflower Seeds
  • Nyjer

17. Mourning Dove

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

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 51% of all feeder sites in Utah.

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

18. Black-billed Magpie

The Black-billed Magpie is a large bird found in the Northwestern and central part of North America, and can be seen in Utah all year round.

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.

The Black-billed Magpie has been seen at 51% of all feeder sites in Utah.

Feeder Type:

  • Platform Feeder
  • Suet Cage

Feeder Food:

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

19. 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. These tiny birds are year-round residents of Utah.

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.

The Mountain Chickadee has been seen at 48% of all feeder sites in Utah.

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

20. California Quail

The California Quail is a small, ground-dwelling bird found in the most western parts of the United States and can be seen around the Provo and Salt Lake Areas all year round.

Males and females are about 24-27cm (9.4-10.6 Inches) long and weigh around 140-230g (4.9-8.1oz). California Quails are plump birds with short necks, small heads, and bills. Both males and females have a topknot of feathers that are shaped like a comma that projects forward. The topknot is longer in males than it is in females.

Male California Quails are a mix of gray and brown feathers and have a dark head with white stripes and a chestnut-colored patch on their whitish-creamy-colored bellies. Females are browner and lack the strong face pattern of the males.

California Quails can be found in various habitats, including woodlands, forests of the west and northwest states, open fields, agricultural land, and suburban areas. They are most likely to be seen during dawn or dusk and prefer to hide in cover during hotter times of the day.

They eat primarily buds, shoots, and insects during the warmer months and seeds, fruits and berries during the colder months. They forage mainly on the ground but can also be seen perching on low branches.

Californian Quails have been known to visit birdbaths and bird feeders that offer cracked corn, millet, or grain.

The California Quail has been seen at 38% of all feeder sites in Utah.

Feeder Type:

  • Ground
  • Platform Feeder

Feeder Food:

  • Cracked Corn
  • Grain
  • Millet
  • Milo
  • Oats
  • Sunflower Seeds

21. Sharp-shinned Hawk

The Sharp-shinned hawk is a small raptor with short, rounded wings and a long tail. They are found throughout North and Central America, and are year-round residents of Utah.

Males and Females are about 24-34cm (9.4-13.4 inches) long and weigh between 87-218g (3.1-7.7oz). They are just a bit larger than a Jay and the females are noticeably larger than the males. They are bluish-gray above and reddish-orange below with a darker cap.

They live in various habitats, including woodland edges, suburban areas, parks, open fields, and agricultural land from Canada to Southern Mexico.

Sharp-shinned hawks eat mostly songbirds and consume small mammals such as mice, rats, and squirrels. They ambush their prey by hiding in trees and pouncing on their unsuspecting victim.

They are common backyard birds that can often be seen perched on a tree branch or flying overhead. Sharp-shinned hawks prefer to feed on live prey and visit bird feeders that have attracted small mammals or songbirds.

The Sharp-shinned Hawk has been seen at 34% of all feeder sites in Utah.

Feeder Type:

  • N/A

Feeder Food:

  • Unsuspecting Songbirds
  • Unsuspecting Squirrels

22. Cooper’s Hawk

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

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 29% of all feeder sites in Utah.

Feeder Type:

  • N/A

Feeder Food:

  • Unsuspecting Doves, Jays and Robin-sized birds

23. Ruby-crowned Kinglet

The Ruby-crowned Kinglet is a small bird found throughout much of North America and can be seen in Utah all year round.

Males and females are about 9-11cm (3.5 to 4.4 inches) long and weigh around 5-10g (0.2 to 0.3oz). They have a small round body, a short tail, and a small head with a thin, straight bill.

Ruby-crowned Kinglets are olive green, white around the eye, and have two white wing bars. The adult male has a ruby-red crown that is only visible when he is excited or singing.

Ruby-crowned kinglets can be found in forests up north into Canada and the Rocky Mountains to the west during the breeding season. In winters, they move to lower elevations in the southern US and Mexico, such as woodlands, gardens, parks, and backyards.

Ruby-crowned kinglets eat small insects such as spiders, mites, and bugs but will also eat some fruit during the winter months.

They have been known to visit bird feeders that offer sunflower seeds or suet. However, they prefer to eat insects, so a bird feeder with live mealworms would be more attractive.

The Ruby-crowned Kinglet has been seen at 25% of all feeder sites in Utah.

Feeder Type:

  • Platform Feeder
  • Suet Cage

Feeder Food:

  • Mealworms
  • Peanut Hearts
  • Sunflower seeds (Hulled)
  • Suet

24. Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwings can be found across much of North America and can be seen in Utah during the colder non-breeding months.

They are about 14-17cm (5.5-6.7 inches) long and weigh around 32g (1.1oz). The Cedar Waxwing is a medium-sized bird with a sleek brown head and crest, black mask (like a bandit) soft brown above that fades to soft gray wings. 

They are a pale yellow below with bright yellow tips to their gray tail. They have distinctive red waxy tips to their secondary wings but are not always easy to see.

Cedar Waxwings are social birds that often travel in small flocks of 20-30 birds. They are very vocal birds and can often be heard while they forage for fruit. They can be found in woodlands, orchards, farms, gardens, or any area with fruiting trees.

They primarily feed on fruits and berries but supplement with insects in the summer months and will often visit backyard bird feeders that offer grapes or sliced oranges if available.

The Cedar Waxwing is an exciting bird to watch and observe. Its unique plumage makes it easy to identify, and its social nature makes it fun to see them traveling in flocks. Plus, who doesn’t love a good berry snack?

The Cedar Waxwing has been seen at 23% of all feeder sites in Utah.

Feeder Type:

  • Platform Feeder

Feeder Food:

  • Fruits

25. White-crowned Sparrow

The White-crowned Sparrow is a medium-large-sized sparrow found throughout North America and is a year-round resident of Utah.

Males and Females are about 15-16cm (5.9-6.3 inches) long and weigh between 25-28g (0.9-1.0oz). They have relatively long tails and short pointed bills. Their bill can vary from pink to orange to yellow, depending on the subspecies and geographic location.

Their color is generally grayish-brown and has a distinctive bland and white striped crown.

They live in most open areas such as forest edges, scrublands, wetlands, marshes, farmlands, grasslands year-round in North America. They breed primarily in Canada during the summer and migrate south to the United States in winter.

White-crowned Sparrows eat mainly insects in the summer and seeds and berries the rest of the year.

They are common backyard birds that visit bird feeders if they offer cracked corn or millet. They prefer seeds scattered on the ground or a platform feeder.

The White-crowned Sparrow has been seen at 23% of all feeder sites in Utah.

Feeder Type:

  • Platform Feeder
  • Ground

Feeder Food:

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

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

  1. American Robin (37% frequency)
  2. House Finch (32% frequency)
  3. European Starling (29% frequency)
  4. Black-billed Magpie (28% frequency)
  5. Dark-eyed Junco (24% frequency)
  6. House Sparrow (23% frequency)
  7. Mourning Dove (22% frequency)
  8. Red-winged Blackbird (21% frequency)
  9. Song Sparrow (21% frequency)
  10. Black-capped Chickadee (21% frequency)

What Are The Most Common Winter Backyard Birds Of Utah?

  1. Dark-eyed Junco (43% frequency)
  2. European Starling (35% frequency)
  3. House Finch (34% frequency)
  4. Black-billed Magpie (32% frequency)
  5. American Robin (27% frequency)
  6. House Sparrow (26% frequency)
  7. Northern Flicker (26% frequency)
  8. Black-capped Chickadee (25% frequency)
  9. Eurasian-collared Dove (22% frequency)
  10. Song Sparrow (20% frequency)

Birds To Spot Beyond The Backyard In Utah

If you decide to birdwatch away from your home, these are some of the other birds to look out for:

  1. California Gull
  2. Tree Swallow
  3. Bank Swallow
  4. Yellow-headed Blackbird
  5. Brewer’s Blackbird
  6. White-throated Swift
  7. Killdeer
  8. Savannah Sparrow
  9. Marsh Wren
  10. Pinyon Jay
  11. Western Tanager
  12. Common Raven
  13. Evening Grosbeak
  14. White-winged Crossbill
  15. Great-tailed Grackle
  16. Common Nighthawk
  17. Common Redpoll
  18. Hermit Thrush
  19. Bald Eagle
  20. Greater Sage-Grouse
  21. Red Crossbill
  22. Red-tailed Hawk
  23. Lesser Nighthawk
  24. American Kestrel
  25. Broad-tailed Hummingbird
  26. Western Kingbird
  27. Loggerhead Shrike
  28. Purple Martin
  29. Lark Bunting
  30. Black-chinned Hummingbird

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What kind of birds live in Utah?

Utah is home to many species of birds that range in size from small Song Birds to larger Water Birds and Birds of Prey. The most common of which include the American Robin (37% frequency), House Finch (32% frequency), European Starling (29% frequency), Mallard Duck (30% frequency), Canada Goose (24% frequency), Red-tailed Hawk (18% frequency), American Kestrel (14% frequency) and the Northern Harrier (10% frequency).

How many species of birds are in Utah?

There are 468 observed species of birds in Utah.

What birds of prey live in Utah?

Utah is home to many birds of prey species such as Falcons, Hawks, Eagles, Owls, and Vultures. Some of the most common include the American Kestrel, Prairie Falcon, Peregrine Falcon, Red-tailed Hawk, Ferruginous Hawk, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Bald Eagle, Golden Eagle, Great Horned Owl, Long-eared Owl, Burrowing Owl, and the Turkey Vulture.

What Is The State Bird Of Utah?

The California Gull is the state bird of Utah.

What Is The Most Common Backyard Bird In Utah?

Utah’s most common backyard bird is the American Robin, and the most common feeder bird is the House Finch.

Keep an Eye out for the backyard birds of Utah

Whether you are a beginner or an experienced birder, we hope this blog post has helped you learn more about the top backyard birds of Utah. Birdwatching is a great way to spend time outdoors, connect with nature, and get some exercise. We encourage you to get outside and start exploring the fantastic world of birds right in your backyard!

If you’re looking to venture out and do some birding, then visit one of Utah’s best hotspots for birdwatching. We would also love to hear about your favorite birdwatching spots or experiences in Utah.

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.

Happy Birdwatching!

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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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