Have you wondered what those birds are that are visiting your backyard in Colorado? Do you need help identifying common backyard birds in Colorado?
There is a great joy in putting up bird feeders and watching what comes to visit, but it gets better if you know who they are. Well, now you can find out the most common birds in Colorado that visit feeders or hop across your lawn.
So if you’re ready to do some backyard birding in Colorado, then read on to find out how to identify birds and how to attract more birds to your yard.
Also, get free printable backyard bird worksheets with pictures for Colorado to help you identify and keep track of the birds that visit your backyard.
Top 28 backyard birds in Colorado
- American Robin
- Mourning Dove
- Broad-tailed Hummingbird
- Red-winged Blackbird
- Dark-eyed Junco
- House Finch
- Northern Flicker
- Black-capped Chickadee
- Black-billed Magpie
- House Wren
- American Crow
- European Starling
- Barn Swallow
- Yellow Warbler
- Western Meadowlark
- Common Grackle
- Eurasian Collared-Dove
- Western Kingbird
- American Goldfinch
- Blue Jay
- Song sparrow
- House Sparrow
- Downy Woodpecker
- Mountain Chickadee
- Yellow-Rumped Warbler
- White-breasted Nuthatch
- Spotted Towhee
- White-crowned Sparrow
These are the backyard birds most often seen in Colorado that may visit your lawn or feeders. In addition, they are the birds that appear most frequently on state checklists on ebird. The data combines birds most commonly spotted in Colorado in summer (June and July) and winter (December and January).
Birds that are not often seen at feeders or backyards were removed to give you the birds in Colorado you are most likely to see from home.
This data mix ensures that whatever time of year you are bird-watching in Colorado, these are the birds you will most likely spot at feeders or on your lawn.
Birds in Colorado
The Lark Bunting is the state bird of Colorado. This bird was chosen in 1931 and is a migrant that arrives in April to the Plains. It nearly lost out to the Mountain Bluebird or Western Meadowlark, but this unlikely bird won through.
There are 507 species of bird recorded in Colorado, according to ebird. Some of the highlight birds in Colorado include Ferruginous Hawk, Mountain Bluebird, Golden Eagle, Bald Eagle, White Pelican, White-faced Ibis, American Avocet, Burrowing Owl, Rough-legged Hawk, Great Blue Heron, and Greater Roadrunner.
The biggest bird in Colorado is the Bald Eagle, with a wingspan of up to 8 feet (2.5 m) for the females. This white-headed national bird symbol of the United States is a powerful bird of prey.
The smallest bird in Colorado is the Calliope Hummingbird which is only about 3 in long, but they can travel long distances from Canada all the way to southern Mexico.
The most common bird in Colorado is the American Robin, which is seen in 39% of recorded checklists for the state on ebird throughout the year.
Colorado has 4 national parks, 11 national forests, 8 national wildlife refuges, 2 national grasslands, and 42 state parks that offer excellent bird watching opportunities if you want to get out and watch birds in their natural environment.
Read to the end of this article to find out more about the other birds you may be able to spot if you go out birding in Colorado and how to attract and identify birds.
Common Birds at Different Times of Year in Colorado
The birds that are attracted to backyards in Colorado change throughout the year. The lists below show the backyard birds most commonly seen at different times of the year in Colorado.
Notable differences show that American Robins, Mourning Doves, Broad-tailed Hummingbirds, and Yellow Warblers are more common in summer. Dark-eyed Juncos and Black-capped Chickadees are more common in winter.
Common birds in Colorado all year
American Robin 39%
Northern Flicker 35%
House Finch 34%
Dark-eyed Junco 30%
Black-billed Magpie 30%
Black-capped Chickadee 29%
Red-winged Blackbird 28%
American Crow 26%
European Starling 24%
Eurasian Collared-Dove 22%
Summer birds Colorado
American Robin 51%
Mourning Dove 35%
Broad-tailed Hummingbird 33%
Red-winged Blackbird 31%
Northern Flicker 30%
House Wren 29%
House Finch 29%
Black-billed Magpie 24%
Barn Swallow 24%
Yellow Warbler 21%
Winter birds Colorado
Dark-eyed Junco 60%
House Finch 36%
Northern Flicker 35%
Black-capped Chickadee 34%
Black-billed Magpie 34%
American Crow 29%
European Starling 24%
American Robin 23%
Eurasian Collared-Dove 21%
Song Sparrow 17%
Free Printable Backyard Birds Worksheet for Colorado
These free bird identification worksheets have all the common backyard birds in Colorado at different times of the year. So when you want to do some backyard birding, these handy guides have pictures and space to either tick off the types of birds you have seen or keep a tally of the total number of birds in Colorado you see.
Top 28 backyard birds in Colorado
1. American Robin
American Robins are a common sight on lawns eating earthworms. They have black heads and back with red or orange breasts. They tend to roost in trees in winter, so you are more likely to see them in your backyard from spring.
American Robins can be found in many habitats, from woodlands, forests, mountains to fields, parks, and lawns. They eat earthworms, insects, snails, and fruit.
You can attract more American Robins to your yard with sunflower seeds, suet and peanut hearts, fruit, and mealworms. Platform feeders are best or food scattered on the ground. Also, try planting some native plants that produce berries, such as juniper, sumac, hawthorn, and dogwood.
2. Mourning Dove
Mourning Doves are graceful small-headed birds, plump bodies and long tails. They are a soft brown with black spots on the wings.
They can be seen perching on telephone wires and foraging for seeds on the ground in grasslands, fields, and backyards. Mourning Doves can be found in open areas or on the woodland edge.
Mourning Doves are common over all of the lower 48 all year but may migrate after breeding from the far north.
You can attract more Mourning Doves to your backyard by scattering millet on the ground or platform feeders. They will also eat black sunflower seeds, nyjer, cracked corn, and peanut hearts.
3. Broad-tailed Hummingbird
Broad-tailed Hummingbirds live in higher elevations and are iridescent green on the back, brownish in the wings, and white on the chest and into the belly. Males have an iridescent rose throat, females and juveniles have green spots on their throats and cheeks.
Broad-tailed Hummingbirds breed in high meadows and open woodlands between 5,000 – 10,000 feet elevation in the mountain west, between late May and August, before migrating to southern Mexico for the winter.
Due to the cold at higher elevations, the Broad-tailed Hummingbird can slow their heart rate and drop their body temperature to enter a state of torpor.
Nectar from flowers is the usual food of hummingbirds, and Broad-tailed Hummingbirds drink from larkspur, red columbine, sage, scarlet gilia, and they will come to hummingbird feeders. They supplement their diet with small insects and will feed their young on insects too.
To attract more Broad-tailed Hummingbirds to your backyard, put sugar water in a hummingbird feeder and add tubular plants to your yard.
There are more species of hummingbirds in Colorado that you can enjoy watching.
4. Red-winged Blackbird
Red-winged blackbirds are very common and easy to identify with the all-black coloring except for the bright red and yellow shoulder patches. The females are rather dull in comparison with streaky brown coloring.
They are often spotted sitting on telephone wires, and the males will fiercely defend their territories in the breeding season, even attacking people that get too close to nests. In winter, they roost in large numbers into the millions.
To attract more Red-winged blackbirds to your backyard, try mixed grain and seeds spread on the ground. They will also feed on large tube feeders or platform feeders.
5. Dark-eyed Junco
Dark-eyed Juncos are sparrows that are of different colors depending on the state. They are generally slate-colored in the east and black, white, and brown in the west.
They can be found in open and partially wooded areas, often on the ground, and are common across the continent. Some remain resident all year in the west and the Appalachian Mountains. Those that breed in Canada and Alaska migrate south in winter to the United States.
You can attract more Dark-eyed Juncos to backyard feeders with a variety of seeds such as black oil sunflower seeds, nyjer, cracked corn, millet, and peanuts. Platform feeders or scattered on the ground are best.
6. House Finch
House Finches have a red head and breast in the males and brown-streaked coloring in the females. Originally only in western states, it was introduced to the eastern states and has done very well, even pushing out the Purple Finch.
They can be found in parks, farms, forest edges, and backyard feeders. They form noisy groups that are hard to miss. They feed on seeds, buds, and fruit, including thistle, cactus, cherries, apricots, plums, strawberries, blackberries, and figs.
You can attract more House Finches to backyard feeders with black oil sunflower seeds or nyjer seeds in tube feeders or platform feeders.
Check out some more red birds in Colorado.
7. Northern Flicker
Northern Flickers are large woodpeckers, between the size of a robin and a crow, with brownish coloring and black spots, bars, and crescents and red on the nape. The undersides of tail and wing feathers are bright yellow in eastern birds and red in western birds.
They can be found on the ground looking for ants and beetles in woods or forest edges. Those that breed in Canada or Alaska migrate to southern states, but otherwise, they can be found all year over the lower 48.
You can attract more Northern Flickers to your backyard feeders with suet and black oil sunflower seeds.
8. Black-capped Chickadee
The Black-capped Chickadee is a cute bird with a big round head and tiny body. These birds will happily feed at backyard feeders and will investigate everything, including you!
They have black-caps and beaks, white cheeks, and are gray on the back, wings, and tail.
They can be found in forests, open woods, parks. Black-capped Chickadees eat seeds, berries and insects, spiders, and suet.
To attract more Black-capped Chickadees to your backyard, try suet, sunflower seeds, and peanuts or peanut butter. They will even feed from your hand and are often one of the first birds to discover new feeders. They will also use nest boxes, especially if you fill them with wood shavings.
9. Black-billed Magpie
Black-billed Magpies are black and white birds noisy birds that are larger than Jays, with long tails and blue-green iridescent flashes in the wing and tail.
They do not tend to migrate and can be found in meadow and grasslands or other open areas feeding on fruit and grain, beetles, and grasshoppers. They have also been known to kill small mammals such as squirrels and voles and raid bird nests for eggs or nestlings and even carrion.
Black-billed Magpies will visit backyards for platform and suet feeders with black oil sunflower seeds, peanuts, fruit, suet, millet, and milo.
10. House Wren
House Wrens are small nondescript brown birds with darker barred wings and tails and a paler throat. They breed in most states before migrating to the far south and Mexico for winter.
House Wrens can be found in backyards, parks and open woods foraging for insects, such as beetles, caterpillars, and earwigs in brush piles. House Wrens can be very aggressive over nesting sites and harass much larger birds and even drag eggs and young out of a nest site they want.
You can attract more House Wrens to your backyard by leaving piles of brush for them to use for protection or putting up a nest box to attract a breeding pair.
11. American Crow
American crows are large all-black birds that make a hoarse, cawing sound. They are common birds found in most habitats, including treetops, woods, fields, beaches, or towns.
They eat most things and usually feed on the ground, eating earthworms, insects, seeds, and fruit. They also eat fish, young turtles, mussels, and clams and will even eat eggs and nestlings of many species of birds.
In winter, American Crows gather in large numbers of up to two million crows to sleep in communal roosts.
You can attract more American Crows to your backyard by scattering peanuts but can become a nuisance as attracted by garbage or pet food if left out.
12. European Starling
European Starlings are not native but are now one of the most numerous songbirds. They are stocky black birds with iridescent purple, green, and blue tones.
Considered a pest by some due to their aggressive behavior, these birds fly in large, noisy flocks, and they perch in groups on the top of trees or fly over fields in flocks.
Starlings eat insects, including beetles, flies and caterpillars, earthworms, and spiders predominantly. They also eat fruit, including cherries, holly berries, mulberries, Virginia Creeper, sumac, blackberries, and grains and seeds.
You can attract more European Starlings to your backyard feeders with black oil sunflower seeds, suet, cracked corn, and peanuts.
13. Barn Swallow
Barn Swallows are small birds with a deep-blue back, wings and tail, and reddish-brown underneath and across the face. The tail has long outer feathers that give a deep fork.
They breed over most of North America before heading to Central and South America. They fly over meadows, farms, and fields looking for insects and usually build mud nests on artificial structures such as in barns.
You can attract more Barn Swallows by putting up nest boxes or cups and may eat ground-up eggshells on a platform feeder.
14. Yellow Warbler
Yellow Warblers are small bright yellow birds in Colorado with a yellow-green back, and the males have chestnut streaks on the breast, which are common in summer.
They migrate a long-distance and breed over much of North America before heading into Central and northern South America for winter. They can be seen during migration in the far south.
Yellow Warblers forage along streams and wetlands in thickets and along the edges of fields for insects, including caterpillars, midges, beetles, bugs, and wasps.
Warblers are hard to attract to your backyard as they are shy and eat mainly insects. To attract Yellow Warblers, you can try suet, oranges, peanut butter, and plant berries, and native plants that attract insects, so no pesticides or being too tidy! Birdbaths with fountains with secluded thickets nearby to provide protection.
15. Western Meadowlark
Western Meadowlarks, with their bright yellow bellies and melodious song, can brighten up your day. This is probably what makes them so popular, so popular in fact that they are the state bird of 6 states.
Western Meadowlarks are related to blackbirds and are about the size of a Robin with shades of brown and white upperparts and a black V-shaped band across the bright yellow chest that turns gray in winter.
They breed in northern US states and Canada before moving to more southern states. Those in the west and midwest remain all year. Western Meadowlarks forage for insects and seeds from weeds and seeds, on the ground alone or in small flocks in grasslands, meadows, and fields.
To attract more Western Meadowlarks to your yard, try hulled sunflower seeds and cracked corn on ground feeders.
16. Common Grackle
Common Grackles are blackbirds that are taller and longer tailed than a typical blackbird and with glossy iridescent bodies.
They eat many crops but mostly corn and gather in noisy groups high up in trees. They will also eat garbage and so can be a nuisance.
Their habitat is varied and includes open woodlands, marshes, parks, and fields. They may gather in their millions in winter to forage and roost, mixed in with other blackbird species.
Common Grackles are resident all year in much of the east and all southeastern states. However, they do migrate south after breeding from the far north and to the west of their range.
You can attract more Common Grackles to your backyard with most mixed grain and seed sprinkled on ground feeders or platform feeders.
17. Eurasian Collared-Dove
Eurasian Collared-Doves are an introduced species that only arrived in the 1980s but are now across most of the country. They are light brownish-gray, with white patches in the tail, and look very similar to Mourning Doves, but with a black half collar at the nape of the neck. They are also larger and with a square tail rather than pointed.
Preferring areas near people where seeds are plentiful, such as backyard feeders and farms, they are not found in heavy forests. Eurasian Collared’Doves predominantly eat a wide variety of seeds and grain but also will eat some berries and insects.
You can attract more Eurasian-Collared-Doves to your backyard with millet, oats, cracked corn, and Black oil sunflower seeds or hulled sunflower seeds on ground feeders, but they may also visit platform or hopper feeders.
18. Western Kingbird
Western Kingbirds are large flycatchers with yellow bellies, white chests, gray heads, grayish-brown wings, and darker tails.
They breed over all of western North America and are a familiar sight in summer before migrating to Mexico and Central America. Some may overwinter in the south of Florida.
They live in open habitats and perch on fences and utility lines, waiting for insects to fly by before catching them in mid-flight. They can often be found near the edge of woodlands so they can nest in the trees and forage in the open. They also nest in human-made structures.
You can attract more Western Kingbirds to your yard by making it insect-friendly and planting elderberry or hawthorn, which they will also eat the fruit from.
19. American Goldfinch
American Goldfinches are popular birds with the males bright yellow and black coloring in spring. The females are duller brown, as are males in winter.
Before migrating to southern states, American Goldfinches breed in far northern states and Canada. They remain all year in the rest of the US.
They can be found in weedy fields and overgrown areas foraging for sunflower, thistle, and aster plants. They are also common in suburbs, parks, and backyards.
Try planting thistles and milkweed to attract more American Goldfinches to your backyard. They will visit most bird feeders and prefer sunflower seed and nyjer seed.
20. Blue Jay
Blue Jays are common large songbirds with a blue upright crest, blue and black backs, and white undersides.
They are noisy birds that travel in family groups eating acorns when available. Mostly resident but may migrate from the far northwest of US and can migrate in large flocks along the Great Lakes and Atlantic coast.
They can be found in forests, mainly near oak, as they eat acorns. They can also be found in backyards near feeders. As well as acorns, they eat insects, nuts and seeds, and grain. They may also take eggs from nests or take nestlings.
Try peanuts, sunflower seeds, and suet to attract more Blue Jays to your backyard, but they prefer these on tray feeders or hopper feeders on a post. They will also enjoy a birdbath.
21. Song sparrow
Song sparrows are not as remarkable as other backyard birds, but these predominantly brown-streaked birds use their almost constant song to attract mates in spring and summer.
They can be found in open, shrubby, and wet areas, often perched on a low shrub singing. They regularly visit backyard feeders.
They eat a wide variety of insects and plants, including beetles, caterpillars, midges, spiders, and earthworms. They will also eat buckwheat, sunflower, raspberries, wild cherries, blackberries, wheat and, rice.
You can attract more song sparrows to your backyard feeders by putting black oil sunflower seeds, cracked corn, and nyjer on platform feeders.
22. House Sparrow
The House Sparrow is another introduced species that has done very well and is now one of the most common birds. They are found near houses and buildings and can be quite tame so that they will eat out of your hand.
They can be considered a pest as they are non-native, but they will visit backyards even if you do not feed them.
You can attract more House Sparrows to your backyard feeders with most kinds of birdseed, including millet, corn, and sunflower seeds.
23. Downy Woodpecker
Downy Woodpeckers are small birds that are common at backyard feeders. They are often mixed in with other birds, such as chickadees and nuthatches.
They have black and white coloring with a red patch at the back of their heads. They look similar to the Hairy Woodpecker but smaller.
Downy woodpeckers can be found in woodlots, along streams, city parks, and backyards, and eat mainly insects, beetle larvae, berries, acorns, and grains.
To attract more Downy Woodpeckers to your backyard, try suet feeders, but they will also eat black oil sunflower seeds, millet, and peanuts on platform feeders.
24. Mountain Chickadee
Mountain Chickadees are tiny birds with black-and-white heads and gray over the body, darker on the back and light gray underneath.
They are residents of the mountains in the west and can commonly be seen in evergreen forests, especially conifers. Mountain Chickadees eat insects and spiders, nuts, and seeds and often visit backyard feeders. They will often stash food for later and create a store of food.
To attract more Mountain Chickadees to your yard, try putting up nest boxes, and they will visit most types of feeders with black oil sunflower seeds, mealworms, nyjer, suet, and peanut butter.
25. Yellow-Rumped Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warblers are gray with flashes of yellow on the face, sides, and rump and white in the wings. Females may be slightly brown, and winter birds are paler brown with bright yellow rumps and sides turning bright yellow and gray again in spring.
After breeding predominantly in Canada, they migrate in large numbers south across most of southern and central North America and the Pacific Coast, and throughout Mexico and Central America.
You can attract Yellow-rumped Warblers to your backyard with sunflower seeds, suet, raisins, and peanut butter.
26. White-breasted Nuthatch
White-breasted Nuthatches are active little birds that are gray-blue on the back and white on the face and belly, with a black cap. They will often have a chestnut color on the lower belly and under the tail.
They can be found in deciduous forests, woodland edges, parks, and yards with trees or at feeders. They mainly eat insects, including beetles and their larvae, caterpillars, ants, and also spiders.
White-breasted Nuthatches also eat seeds and nuts, including acorns, hawthorns, sunflower seeds, and sometimes corn crops. They jam large nuts and acorns into tree bark and then whack them with their bills to open or ‘hatch’ them to get the seed out.
You can attract more White-breasted Nuthatches to your backyard with sunflower seeds and peanuts on tube feeders or suet feeders.
27. Spotted Towhee
Spotted Towhees are large sparrows that are black on the head, throat, and back in the males and brown in the females. Both males and females have reddish-brown sides and white bellies, and white spots on the wings and back. They have long tails and are about the size of a Robin.
Spotted Towhees can be found on the ground in dense tangles of shrubs scratching around for insects, including beetles, crickets, grasshoppers, caterpillars, wasps, and bees. They also eat acorns, berries, and seeds.
They are resident on the Pacific coast but migrate from northern central states after breeding and appear in winter in a swath from north to south across all central states.
You can attract more Spotted Towhees to your yard if you leave overgrown borders, and they will visit platform feeders or ground feeders for Black Oil Sunflower seeds, Hulled Sunflower seeds, Cracked Corn, Millet, and Milo.
28. White-crowned Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrows are large grayish sparrows with long tails and small bills and bold black and white stripes on their heads.
They breed in Alaska and arctic Canada before heading south other much of the lower 48 and Mexico for winter. Some may remain all year over a small area along the Pacific Coast and west.
White-crowned Sparrows can be found in weedy fields, along roadsides, forest edges, and in yards foraging for seeds of weeds and grasses or fruit such as elderberries and blackberries.
You can attract more White-crowned Sparrows to your backyard with sunflower seeds and many types of seeds that are dropped by other birds at the feeders.
Best Bird Feeders to Attract Birds in Colorado
A variety of different bird feeders will attract the most species of birds
- Tube Feeders can be filled with different types of birdseed and depending on the seed different birds will be attracted. Black oil sunflower seeds attract Goldfinches, Chickadees, Woodpeckers, Nuthatches, and Pine Siskins.
- Ground Feeders or a tray below a Tube Feeder with Black oil sunflowers tube feeders attract Cardinals, Jays, Finches, and Sparrows.
- Platform feeders with Millet or Corn attract small and medium-sized birds such as sparrows, Blackbirds, Towhees, Juncos, Doves, Grackles, and Starlings.
- Peanut feeders attract Woodpeckers, Chickadees, Nuthatches, Titmice, Jays, Juncos, Finches, and Sparrows.
- Suet Feeders are great, especially in winter, for Woodpeckers, Cardinals, Nuthatches, Kinglets, Wrens, and Chickadees.
- Hummingbird feeders attract these tiny fascinating birds but they also attract other birds too.
How to Attract Birds to Your Yard in Colorado
If you would like to attract more birds to your yard in Colorado, there are some tips:
- Provide bird feeders for different types of birds to get the most species to visit your yard.
- Provide a water feature such as a birdbath fountain or stream. Ensure that the water is clean and not stagnant
- Grow native plants that will provide food and shelter. Plants, trees, and shrubs that provide fruit, berries, and nuts. Blackberries, wild grasses, elderberries, serviceberries, Oaks, Beeches, Cherries, sumacs, hemlocks, Purple Coneflowers, Sunflowers, Milkweed, Cardinal Flowers, Trumpet Honeysuckle, Virginia Creeper, Buttonbush, and Dogwoods.
- Let your grass grow long to provide cover and seeds.
- Leave a brush pile to provide food, protection, and nesting opportunities for birds.
- Don’t use pesticides and herbicides as these may be toxic to birds and prevent the natural foraging opportunities for insects and seeds that birds will seek in your yard.
- Set up nest boxes to attract breeding birds and ensure they are cleaned every year.
How to Identify Birds in Colorado
Here are some tips to help you identify birds:
- Size – Size is the easiest thing to notice about a bird. Birds are often measured in inches or centimeters in guide books. It’s best to take a note of the bird in terms of small, medium, or large to be able to look for it later. A small bird is about the size of a sparrow, a medium bird is about the size of a pigeon and a large bird is the size of a goose.
- Shape – Take note of the silhouette of the bird and jot it down or draw the outline. Look at tail length, bill shape, wing shape, and overall body shape.
- Color pattern – Take a note of the main color of the head, back, belly, and wings, and tail for the main color and then any secondary colors or patterns. Also take note of any patterns such as banding, spots, or highlights.
- Behavior – Are they on the ground or high up in the trees. Are they in flocks or on their own? Can you spot what they are eating?
- Habitat – Woodlands, parks, shrubs, grasslands or meadows, shore or marsh.
- Use a bird identification app such as those created by ebird or Audubon
Birds to Spot if Out Birding in Colorado
If you go out Birding in Colorado, these are other birds that you may be able to spot:
- Canada Goose
- Great Blue Heron
- Bald Eagle
- Red-tailed Hawk
- Double-crested Cormorant
- Violet-green Swallow
- Belted Kingfisher
- Green-winged Teal
- Pied-billed Grebe
- Tree Swallow
- Common Goldeneye
- Horned Grebe
- Rufous Hummingbird
- Black-headed Grosbeak
- Northern Harrier
- Northern Shoveler
- American Kestrel
- California Quail
- Orange-crowned Warbler
- Turkey Vulture
- Burrowing Owl
- Rough-legged Hawk
- Sandhill Cranes
- Snowy Egret
- White-faced Ibis
- Golden Eagle