Wild Birds 101 »

CHAPTER 2: Identify Popular Songbirds

SongbirdFeaturesFood PreferenceHabitat Range
American Robin American Robin Appearance: Males and females of the species look very similar; however, females are slightly paler. Characterized by a reddish-orange belly, with a dark back, head and tail. Typically have white markings around the eyes.
Size: 8 to 11 inches in length, weighing 2.72 ounces on average
Not a common visitor at seed feeders, robins prefer raisins, fruit, bread and mealworms In summer, they can be found throughout most areas of North America. In winter, they are typically in the southern United States. Robins are the most commonly found wild bird on the continent.
Blue Jay Blue Jay Appearance: Both male and female Blue Jays have bright blue outer feathers and crests with a grayish breast. Their tails and wings feature black and white striping.
Size: 10 to 12 inches in length, weighing 2.5 to 3.5 ounces
Sunflower seeds, peanuts and cracked corn, in addition to the many insects they eat.Sunflower seeds, peanuts and cracked corn, in addition to the many insects they eat. Found in southern Canada and in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains. In the winter, some Blue Jays migrate south while others do not.
American Goldfinch American Goldfinch Appearance: During summer, males are a bright yellow with black wings, cap and tail. In the winter, males resemble females and are a similar dull, yellow-brown color with dark tail and wings.
Size: 4 to 5 inches in length, weighing 0.4 to 0.7 ounces
Sunflower hearts and Nyjer® seed Located throughout most of North America, they are found in all parts of the United States. American Goldfinches breed into Canada but migrate south in the winter.
Evening Grosbeak Evening Grosbeak Appearance: Males have striking bright yellow and black bodies with white plumage on their wings. Females are paler in color.
Size: 6 to 7 inches in length, weighing 1.75 to 2.5 ounces
Sunflower seeds and fruit. In summer they also eat many insects including caterpillars and aphids. Found in parts of Canada and most of the United States, excluding southeastern parts of some Gulf Coast states.
Northern Cardinal Northern Cardinal Appearance: Males are recognized by their signature bright red body, tail and bill with a black “mask”. Females are a plain grayish-tan color with some red and a paler mask.
Size: 8 to 9 inches in length, weighing 1.5 ounces on average
Sunflower seed, safflower seeds, crushed peanuts and cracked corn Found mostly in the eastern two-thirds of North America, they can be found as far west as parts of New Mexico and Arizona. Cardinals have also been introduced to Hawaii and southwestern California.
Red-breasted Nuthatch Red-breasted Nuthatch Appearance: These birds feature a gray back and red breast. Females have a slightly paler breast color. Males have black feathers on the top of their head, while females have bluish-gray.
Size: 4.5 inches in length, weighing 0.25 to 0.5 ounces
Suet, sunflower seeds, peanuts, conifer seeds and insects Found throughout the United States and Canada, occasionally found in Gulf Coast or Mexico.
Black-capped Chickadee Black-capped Chickadee Appearance: Both males and females feature a trademark black crown or “cap” with a black bib and white cheeks.
Size: 5 to 6 inches in length, weighing 0.3 to 0.5 ounces
Sunflower hearts, black-oil sunflower seeds, peanuts and suet Located in the northern two-thirds of the United States and southern two-thirds of Canada. Sometimes found in mountainous regions of the southern U.S as well.
Carolina Wren Carolina Wren Appearance: Both males and females are bright reddish-brown on their backs, warm orange on their breasts, with a white chin, throat and eyebrow stripe. They often cock their tail upwards.
Size: 4.7 to 5.5 inches in length, weighing 0.6 to 0.8 ounces
Sunflower hearts, suet and peanuts – they are the only wrens that frequently visit feeders Reside in the eastern half of the United States, sometimes reaching into the southern most parts of Ontario, Canada.
Tufted Titmouse Tufted Titmouse Appearance: These birds feature a silvery-gray crest with a white breast. They have some rusty coloring on their flanks and large black eyes.
Size: 5.5 to 6.5 inches in length, weighing 0.6 to 0.9 ounces
Black-oil sunflower seeds and peanuts Their range extends through the eastern half of the United States.

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