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Nine More Birds We Commonly See in Our Backyard

Updated on July 3, 2015

More Backyard Birds

In Nine Common Birds in Our Backyard, I list the birds that we see most frequently around our yard and in our garden area in southeast Michigan. But of course we see more than just those nine! Here are a few more that I often see in our neighborhood.

The range of many of these cover a large area of North America, so maybe you'll find them in your own backyards even if you don't live in Michigan!

The birds on this page are easy to identify, either because of their appearance or because of their song. If you or your kids are new to backyard birding, this is another good list to learn to identify. For each species on this page, I show a picture and provide a link to its song or call, along with a few interesting facts.

I hope you enjoy the information here!

Image by Garrett Davis, in the public domain

The Birds We See in Our Michigan Backyard

On these two pages are the birds we most commonly see in our backyard in southeast Michigan

Nine More Common Birds in Our Backyard

This page:

  • Ruby-throated Hummingbird
  • Carolina Wren
  • European Starling
  • Common Grackle
  • White-breasted Nuthatch
  • Baltimore Oriole
  • Tufted Titmouse
  • Downy Woodpecker
  • American Crow

Nine Common Birds in Our Backyard

Nine Common Birds in Our Backyard):

  • American Robin
  • Northern Cardinal
  • Black-capped Chickadee
  • Blue Jay
  • Mourning Dove
  • House Wren
  • House Sparrow
  • House Finch
  • American Goldfinch

Ruby-throated hummingbird

Archilochus colubris

The ruby-throated hummingbird is the only hummingbird in eastern North America, and migrates down to Central America for the winter. Did you know that this tiny bird flaps its wings about 50 - 70 times per second?

My husband plants red canna lilies each year, and the ruby-throated hummingbirds love them. They also visit other brightly-colored flowers that we have in our backyard, especially red flowers such as bee balm and our annual petunias, We also have a nectar feeder next to our deck near a window, and we the hummingbirds stop by a few times a day during the summer. They don't like to share, though, and the bolder (or hungrier!) one will chase off the others.

Sometimes they'll stop by even when we're sitting out on our deck. We'll hear the hum of their wings that notifies us they're around. They may briefly pause to look at us, hovering in mid-air, and then they're off again.

Listen to the hum of wings of a Ruby-throated hummingbird

Photo Credit: Dan Pancamo via Compfight cc

Carolina Wren
Carolina Wren

Carolina Wren

Thryothorus ludovicianus

The Carolina Wren is fairly new in our area in southeast Michigan. I remember hearing it for the first time in 2005 or 2006, and realizing that it wasn't a familiar bird to me. It's "tea-kettle, tea-kettle, tea-kettle" call is a loud sound for such a small bird. It's not similar to the songs of other wren species, like the house wren. It's larger than a house wren, with a longer bill.

I haven't seen the Carolina Wren at our feeders, but I've read that they occasionally like peanuts and suet. Usually they eat insects and spiders, finding them on the ground, on tree trunks, or on branches. It can eat large insects by breaking them apart -- hammering them with its bill and shaking them.

The range of the Carolina Wren has slowly been extending northward from the southeastern part of the United States as the winters have become a little warmer further north. This bird doesn't migrate, but after very cold winters, its numbers will drop.

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Listen to the Carolina Wren

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Image by Sean Cuill under Creative Commons license

European Starling
European Starling

European Starling

Sturnus vulgaris

I often see groups of starlings in the grass looking for insects, worms, or other crawly things. From a distance they look like many other dark-colored birds, but up close they have beautiful coloration. In the fall and winter they are dark with white spots and a dark beak, and in spring and summer, they turn a glossy and iridescent with a yellow beak.

I used to think they were called "starlings" because of their many white spots, but apparently they get their name from their appearance as they fly -- a four-pointed star.

Starlings were introduced to the United States in the late 1890s when they were were let loose in Central Park in New York City by a group who wanted the United States to have all the birds that were mentioned in Shakespeare's plays. Now they cover much of North America, and many people think of them as pests.

European Starlings have many different calls, and they're great mimics, sometimes sounding like other birds. Starlings raised in captivity can mimic human speech.

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Listen to European Starling.

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Photo by foxypar4 under Creative Commons 2.0

Birds of Michigan Field Guide (Bird Identification Guides)
Birds of Michigan Field Guide (Bird Identification Guides)

An easy way to start identifying birds from Michigan.

 
Birds of Michigan Audio CDs: Compatible with Birds of Michigan Field Guide
Birds of Michigan Audio CDs: Compatible with Birds of Michigan Field Guide

These CDs will help you identify the bird songs and calls from Michigan.

 
Common grackle
Common grackle

Common Grackle

Quiscalus quiscula

The Common Grackle is in the Blackbird family, and can be found in all but the western third of the United States. We see grackles all year, along with the rest of the eastern half of the U.S.

This is a large bird with long legs and long tail. Like the starlings, grackles look black from a distance, but up close you can see their glossy, iridescent blue-purple heads.

Grackles are very common in areas where people live, in lawns and fields, with a mix of trees and more open areas. They're omnivores, and will eat seeds, fruit, garbage, insects and other bugs of all kinds, other birds(!), molluscs, fish, crustaceans, salamanders, and frogs. They're a nuisance bird in corn fields, and cost farmers millions of dollars by eating corn. Since grackles are large, they easily crowd smaller birds off of bird feeders.

Common grackles have a variety of whistles, croaks, and squeaks. Their calls are often likened to the sound of a squeaky rusty gate.

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Listen to Common Grackle "squeaky rusty gate".

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Photo by Mdf, CC 3.0

White-breasted Nuthatch
White-breasted Nuthatch

White-breasted Nuthatch

Sitta carolinensis

White-breasted Nuthatches are very common at our sunflower birdfeeder. I sometimes see them making repeated flights to the feeder, grabbing a sunflower seed, then flying back to a tree. They'll also hang out in our moraine locust tree near the feeder, either on the branches or upside down on the trunk (as in this typical position in the photo).

Nuthatches also like to eat insects and other bugs, including grubs, beetles, and spiders.

The White-breasted Nuthatch has a call that sounds like a persistent "nasal yammering".

Sometimes nuthatches are confused with the Black-capped Chickadee. They're a similar size and have similar coloration, but the nuthatch has a longer bill, and looks more angular than the round little chickadee.


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Listen to the White-breasted Nuthatch

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Photo by qmnonic CC 2.0

Baltimore oriole
Baltimore oriole

Baltimore Oriole

Icterus galbula

Baltimore Orioles are striking to see with their brilliant orange and black coloring in the males and bright yellow and brown-black in the females. Their summer range includes most of the eastern half of the United States and parts of Canada.

They prefer high trees near open areas, such as in our local park areas, but they've made more appearances in our backyard this year too. Their song is a rich whistle that varies from bird to bird. In the past few years when I've occasionally heard it sing, I've been excited because I think I'm hearing a new bird. I've heard it more often this year, and am now more familiar with the variations.

Baltimore Orioles can be attracted to your backyard by pieces of oranges put out for them, or even grape jelly! They may also try to use hummingbird feeders.

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Listen to the Baltimore Oriole

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Image by Sean Cuill CC BY 2.0

Tufted titmouse
Tufted titmouse

Tufted Titmouse

Baeolophus bicolor

Tufted titmice are cute little birds with a crest like the cardinal or blue jay, but in a more subdued gray color. They're also much smaller than cardinals or blue jays. We see them often at our sunflower seed feeder and hanging out with the chickadees and nuthatches.

They live year-round in wooded areas of the Eastern half of the United States.

An interesting fact is that they hoard food in the fall and winter (as do the chickadees). They'll take one sunflower seed, shell it, then fly off to store it, then come back for another seed.

Another interesting fact is that they often line their nests with hair sometimes plucking it directly from the animal itself!

The tufted titmouse song is a fast, repeated whistle, Peter, peter, peter.

Tufted Titmice are very curious, and they'll sometimes come in closer to me to investigate if I make a quiet "psshing" sound.

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Listen to the Tufted titmouse

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Photo by Ken Thomas and released into the public domain.

Downy Woodpecker

Picoides pubescens

We often see Downy Woodpeckers at our feeder along with chickadees and nuthatches, especially in the winter. These three species of birds often group together as a way to more easily protect themselves from predators, and to make it easier to find food.

Downy Woodpeckers are the smallest and most common of the woodpeckers in North America, and can be found in most of the United States and Canada.

An interesting fact is that Downy Woodpeckers use drumming on a tree trunk as a call. They also have high-pitched "whinny" calls and short "pik pik" notes.

Only the male has the small patch of red on its head - otherwise males and females look alike.

Downy Woodpeckers can be confused with Hairy Woodpeckers which are a little larger and have a longer beak.

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Listen to the Downy Woodpecker

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Photo by Jarek Tuszynski under Creative Commons 3.0 license

American Crow
American Crow

American Crow

Corvus brachyrhynchos

We occasionally have crows trying to feed from the birdfeeder, but they look ungainly and uncomfortable in their attempts. We see them on the lawn sometimes, but more often in trees and flying. They're large, all black birds with a hoarse "caw"-ing sound, and they tend to gather with other crows rather than be by themselves.

I don't remember that crows were common in the city 20 years ago -- I associated them with being more of a "country bird". But they're very common in our neighborhood now. We see flocks of them wheeling across the sky in the evenings, especially in winter, as they settle down to roost for the night.

Crows are omnivorous and will eat almost anything including insects, seeds, fruits, nuts, garbage, carrion, and baby birds.

Crows are curious birds, and very intelligent, and may work together to figure out how to get at different foods. Crows in captivity have been known to make and use tools.

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Listen to the American Crow

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Photo by Mdf under Creative Commons License 3.0

Do You Enjoy Backyard Birding?

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    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 23 months ago from Northeast Ohio

      Lovely hub Karen. Two thumbs up for great descriptions of birds with matching photos for useful!

    • KarenHC profile image
      Author

      Karen 3 years ago from U.S.

      @tazzytamar: They are really quite fun to see in our yard and garden! The hummingbird is indeed stunning.

    • tazzytamar profile image

      Anna 3 years ago from chichester

      The hummingbird is stunning! I'm fascinated by all these amazing species - they clearly adore your garden!

    • KarenHC profile image
      Author

      Karen 3 years ago from U.S.

      @John Dyhouse: Thanks, artyfax. I think the American Crow and your crow are very similar -- but I wouldn't know what the differences are! I think we got the starlings from your country. They can be okay -- but they can also empty our birdfeeders very quickly when I'd rather have other birds there.

    • John Dyhouse profile image

      John Dyhouse 3 years ago from UK

      very informative lens, still wondering about the difference between American Crow and our home grown variety. And of couse we also suffer from the starling

    • qikey1 lm profile image

      qikey1 lm 3 years ago

      We love our birds :) Very nicely organized lens. I like the fact that you added the audio for each bird!

    • profile image

      dudokdudok 4 years ago

      We are VERY intrested in nature, birds in particullar. We've made a hundreads of bird boxes so far and hanged them in nature. It is great satisfaction to us to go and see what is nesting in them. You have lovely selection of lenses about birds.

    • KarenHC profile image
      Author

      Karen 4 years ago from U.S.

      @anonymous: Thanks for your comment, Tipi! I think the European Starling is the common starling that we often see, although its plumage changes over the course of a year - in the fall and winter they're darker than the photo I included on this page.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I love your backyard birding because I grew up seeing most of the same birds in northern Minnesota as you get in Michigan but I don't believe I've ever seen the European Starling....a pretty bird and very intelligent like all starlings....I'll have to look for that 4 pointed star, didn't know that either....thanks for letting me relax with you in your backyard! :)

    • BLemley profile image

      Beverly Lemley 4 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      I love the reference you have with your two great lenses. I have featured them both on my How to Attract Cardinals ~ thanks for the great info and the great picts! It's like looking at a family album almost! SquidAngel blessed! B : )

    • Infohouse profile image

      Infohouse 4 years ago

      I have never seem an Oriole in my backyard feeder, I like looking at the Titmouse and Wren.

    • KarenHC profile image
      Author

      Karen 4 years ago from U.S.

      @Jasonsuffolk: Yes, we see huge flocks of starlings with other blackbirds all swirling and whirling in the sky in the late fall. It really is spectacular :-) Thanks for your comment!

    • Pat Goltz profile image

      Pat Goltz 4 years ago

      We see some of your birds in Arizona. We don't have Tufted Titmouse, we have Bridled Titmouse. Ruby-throated Hummingbirds and Baltimore Orioles have been to Arizona, but they are rare. European Starlings are common here, have a very nice song and are gorgeous. I don't understand why people don't like them. My yard list currently has 30 species on it. I don't spend a lot of time birding in the yard, because there are so many other interesting places here to bird, but I often see something new just coming and going. In Arizona, we have over 400 species that visit us, and climbing toward 450 rapidly. The United States as a whole has about 800, so we are rich in birds. I think only Texas possibly has more.

    • Jasonsuffolk profile image

      Jasonsuffolk 4 years ago from Ipswich, England

      What a wonderful lens. I'm from the UK, so the only bird that I've seen from this list is the European Starling. In late Autumn, early Winter (so soon!) we can see great flocks (tens of thousands) of Starlings gathering in the evening prior to roost. They make a spectacular sight. Do you get these sort of Starling flocks where you live?

    • KarenHC profile image
      Author

      Karen 4 years ago from U.S.

      @Pat Goltz: I didn't know that Arizona has so many bird species! I agree with you that Starlings have a nice song and they're very pretty birds. I don't mind them, but they do sometimes take over the yard and devour the bird seed, scaring away other birds. But they're fun to watch nevertheless!

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 4 years ago from New Zealand

      These birds are nice, very pretty colors. We do not have any of these birds in New Zealand. Amazing how did you add the bird sounds? I like that idea. Blessed.

    • BillyPilgrim LM profile image

      BillyPilgrim LM 4 years ago

      So good!

    • poorwendy lm profile image

      poorwendy lm 5 years ago

      We have plenty of crows (I guess they're American crows) in my backyard. Not the most beautiful birds, but they're plentiful.

    • ramonabeckbritman profile image

      ramonabeckbritman 5 years ago

      Oh my, a talking Starling??? I didn't know they could be trained to talk. Amazing what animals can do when they are given the time. Wonderful Lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      What a great collection of birds and the way you have added the videos and the bird song was truly wonderful, Thanks so much for this lens

    • chadwik05 profile image

      chadwik05 5 years ago

      Great lens, I've seen all of these in my backyard in Ohio as well! The orioles are more rare though.

    • profile image

      SteveKaye 5 years ago

      Yes. I spend a lot of time taking photos of birds. They are fantastic creatures. Thank you for publishing this lens. I enjoyed reading your stories and seeing the photos.

    • profile image

      stillrunnin88 5 years ago

      Great Lense. My favorite backyard bird is the hummingbird.

    • JustRelax LM profile image

      JustRelax LM 5 years ago

      Great lens!The birds you have mentioned here also show up in my backyard!

    • Wayne Rasku profile image

      Wayne Rasku 5 years ago

      I love watching (and photographing) the birds in my yard. Many of them are represented here. Great lens!

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 5 years ago

      I sure do enjoy backyard birding ... I also get quite a few out my front yard as well. Got quite a few mockingbirds too. Lovely page!

    • ZenandChic profile image

      Patricia 5 years ago

      Great to see the different birds. I have been photographing birds and don't always know what they are. You have me wondering if what I call a bluebird is a gackle now. Still not sure. I love hummingbirds! Great lens on birds! I blessed it!

    • jlshernandez profile image

      jlshernandez 5 years ago

      I have just taken interest in backyard birding but have not been able to identify as many birds as you have. Now you have inspired me to pay more attention and get my camera ready. Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      amazing photos and videos about birds, this was great to see tonight.

    • Redneck Lady Luck profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 5 years ago from Canada

      Our feathered bird friends are so wonderful to watch. I love backyard birding and enjoy the many jays, crows, robins, and chickadees who come to visit us. It is so very relaxing to have the sound of birds around the yard although the blue jays can be rather squawky at times.

    • profile image

      Spikey64 5 years ago

      Here in tue uk we do not have as many beautiful birds in our backyards as you do but we I still take pleasure in leaving them food and watching them feed.

    • David Dove profile image

      David Dove 5 years ago

      I'm taking a second job just to feed them all it seems, best entertainment on the planet. Thank you for a lovely lens.

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 5 years ago

      Your love of birds really comes across in this lens. We feed birds too, but do not have this variety in Los Angeles. I did see (and hear) a woodpecker last week, which was exciting.

    • ellagis profile image

      ellagis 5 years ago

      Wonderful, wonderful lens! Here around, where I moved now (in Denmark) I feed Great tits from my windows. They're so lovely!

    • WindyWintersHubs profile image

      WindyWintersHubs 6 years ago from Vancouver Island, BC

      I love birds and enjoyed learning about the Eastern Birds in your area. The Common Grackle is an interesting looking bird. Congratulations on your Purple Star! :)

    • Anthony Altorenna profile image

      Anthony Altorenna 6 years ago from Connecticut

      Great lens! Very interesting information on several types of birds found in backyards across the US.

    • Sensitive Fern profile image

      Sensitive Fern 6 years ago

      I love backyard birds! The Baltimore Orioles have been very vocal here in Iowa lately. *Blessed and listed on my Creative Squid blog.

    • profile image

      pawpaw911 6 years ago

      Very nice lens. Just did a lens on Coscoroba Swans, and figured I would check out some bird lenses.

    • profile image

      ohcaroline 6 years ago

      Where I currently live, I only see a few birds...mostly sand cranes and mockingbirds (our state bird). When I lived in the Smoky Mountains...what an array of unusual birds to feast your eyes on. Excellent job on this lens and I like your purple star!

    • lemonsqueezy lm profile image

      lemonsqueezy lm 6 years ago

      I thought about making a similar list for my backyard. Well done!

    • annieangel1 profile image

      Ann 6 years ago from Yorkshire, England

      great lens, sprinkled with green Angel dust to celebrate St Patrick's day, I will feature it on my wild bird lens to be republished later - great stuff - it could make several fascinating lenses

    • JeanJohnson LM profile image

      JeanJohnson LM 6 years ago

      I get a lot of humming birds in a bush in my yard but there a few other types that jump around in there also, eating little bugs, cutest little things ive ever seen. thanks for sharing

    • dustytoes profile image

      dustytoes 6 years ago

      With the exception of the Baltimore Oriole I have all these birds in my yard too. I live in NH. One winter I had a Carolina Wren stay all season - his favorite treat was Smartfood popcorn!

    • CoolFoto profile image

      CoolFoto 6 years ago

      Thanks for visiting my Hawk lens. They are neighborhood birds here in Florida. We have woodpeckers, too. Enjoyed your videos. Blessed by neighborhood Travel USA angel.

    • LisaAuch1 profile image

      Lisa Auch 6 years ago from Scotland

      beautiful lens, we enjoyed reading this, congratulations on your Purple Star

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 6 years ago from UK

      Another beautiful guide to backyard birds in North America. Again there are some familiar European feathered friends here too but I never cease to be fascinated by the thought of something as exotic and beautiful as a hummingbird visiting a garden birdfeeder! Gorgeous work and a real treat for a bird or nature lover!

    • JoyfulPamela2 profile image

      JoyfulPamela2 6 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      I enjoyed reading your bird lenses so much! I'm adding them all to my bird unit. :D

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      I loved the video with the tufted titmouse. What a beautiful bird! Living on the west coast we don't get to see these little guys in our backyards. I do know they will frequent bird feeders with sunflower seeds.

    • LadyFlashman profile image

      LadyFlashman 7 years ago from United Kingdom

      In the UK we only have starling and crow amongst the birds here, so it was fascinating reading about the backyard birds in a different country. They are all so sweet, with exception of perhaps the crow!

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 7 years ago

      very nicely done lens ...all the birds mentioned here come to my yard...a ~Squid Angel Blessing"~

    • oztoo lm profile image

      oztoo lm 7 years ago

      Apart from the crow we don't have any birds like these in Australia. Backyard bird watching is such a fascinating and rewarding pastime isn't it? Lovely lens.

    • burgessvillian profile image

      burgessvillian 7 years ago

      I like watching the birds. We get most of the birds you listed. I'm about a 3 hr drive from Detroit. About an hr. west of Toronto. Cool lens. We had a Canada goose fly right over the driveway when my son's dog was just a pup. The honking scared him to death.

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