Do you need help with bird identification in Delaware for birds that visit your backyard? Get ID information, pictures, and printable worksheets to help with these birds of Delaware identification.
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 and learn to identify birds in your backyard. Well, now you can find out what are the most common birds in Delaware that visit feeders or hop across your lawn.
So if you’re ready to do some backyard birding, then read on to find out how to identify birds in Delaware and how to attract more birds to your yard.
If you decide to go beyond your backyard then you may spot hawks in Delaware.
Also, get free bird printables of backyard birds of Delaware with pictures to help you with Delaware bird identification and to keep track of the birds that visit your backyard.
28 common backyard birds in Delaware
- Northern Cardinal
- Mourning Dove
- American Robin
- Carolina Wren
- American Goldfinch
- American Crow
- White-throated Sparrow
- Song Sparrow
- Red-winged Blackbird
- Common Grackle
- Gray Catbird
- Blue Jay
- European Starling
- Carolina Chickadee
- Barn Swallow
- Tufted Titmouse
- Red-bellied Woodpecker
- Indigo Bunting
- Chipping Sparrow
- Dark-eyed Junco
- Downy Woodpecker
- House Finch
- Northern Mockingbird
- Eastern Bluebird
- Northern Flicker
- House Sparrow
- Common Yellowthroat
- White-breasted Nuthatch
These are the most common backyard birds in Delaware that may visit your lawn or feeders. They are the birds that appear most frequently on state checklists on ebird, and the data is a combination of backyard birds most commonly spotted in summer (June and July) and winter (December and January).
This data mix ensures that whatever time of year you are bird-watching in Delaware, these are the birds you will most likely spot at feeders.
These free bird identification worksheets have all the common backyard birds in Delaware 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.
The 28 most common birds in Delaware
1. Northern Cardinal
The bright red male Northern Cardinal with black around their faces is an incredible sight, especially against a white winter background. The females are also a little showy with their brown coloring, sharp brown crest, red highlights, and red beaks.
Northern Cardinals will sometimes attack their own reflection during breeding season as they obsessively defend their territories.
You can attract more Northern Cardinals to backyard feeders with sunflower seeds, peanut hearts, millet, and milo.
They will feed from large tube feeders, hoppers, platform feeders, or food scattered on the ground.
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 edge of woodland. 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 on platform feeders. They will also eat black sunflower seeds, nyjer, cracked corn, and peanut hearts.
3. 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.
They eat sunflower seeds, suet and peanut hearts, fruit, and mealworms. They may even eat mealworms out of your hand.
Platform feeders are best or food scattered on the ground.
4. Carolina Wren
Carolina Wrens are shy birds that are dark brown on top and light brown underneath. They have a white eyebrow stripe and upright tail, and a loud teakettle song.
They can be found in woods or thickly vegetated areas, overgrown farmyards, and suburban areas, and they will visit backyard feeders. Carolina Wren eats mostly insects and spiders, including caterpillars, moths, crickets, grasshoppers, and beetles.
You can attract more Carolina Wrens to your backyard feeders with suet feeders, hulled sunflower seeds, or peanut hearts in large tube feeders or on platform feeders. They may also nest in nest boxes, especially if you leave brush piles.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. White-throated Sparrow
White-throated Sparrows have a distinctive black and white striped head, bright white throat, and yellow between the eye and bill. Their backs are brown, and underneath is gray.
They are migratory birds, breeding mainly in Canada before heading south to eastern and southern states and California for winter. You can find White-throated Sparrows on the ground in woods and along the edges, often in large flocks.
You can attract White-throated Sparrows to your backyard feeders with millet and black oil sunflower seeds on platform feeders.
8. 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 are often found at backyard feeders.
Song Sparrows 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.
9. 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 color.
They can often be 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.
10. Common Grackle
The Common Grackle is a blackbird that is 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.
The Common Grackle is resident all year in much of the east and all southeastern states. However, they migrate south after breeding in the far north and to the west of their range.
You can attract more Common Grackles to your backyard with mixed grain and seed sprinkled on the ground or on platform feeders.
11. Gray Catbird
Gray Catbirds are so named because of their distinctive catty mew song that can last for up to 10 minutes.
They are medium-sized songbirds with a slate gray coloring, black cap and tail, and a reddish patch under their tails.
You can spot Gray Catbirds in dense shrubs, small trees, and along forest edges or hedgerows. They are resident along the Atlantic Coast but migrate from much of North America to the Gulf Coast after breeding.
You can attract more Gray Catbirds to your backyard feeders with fruit and fruit trees or shrubs such as dogwood, winterberry, and serviceberry.
12. Blue Jay
Blue Jays are common songbirds with a blue upright crest, blue and black backs, and white undersides. They are noisy birds that travel in family groups eating acorns 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.
To attract more Blue Jays to your backyard, try peanuts, sunflower seeds, and suet, but they prefer these on tray feeders or hopper feeders on a post. They will also enjoy a birdbath.
13. 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.
Starlings mainly eat insects, including beetles, flies, and caterpillars, earthworms, but also spiders. They also eat fruit, including cherries, holly berries, mulberries, Virginia Creeper, sumac, blackberries, and grains and seeds.
Considered a pest by some due to their aggressive behavior, these birds fly in large, noisy flocks and can be seen perched in groups on the top of trees or flying over fields in flocks.
You can attract more European Starlings to your backyard feeders with black oil sunflower seeds, suet, cracked corn, and peanuts.
14. Carolina Chickadee
Carolina Chickadees are tiny birds with large heads, black cap and neck, white cheeks and belly, and soft gray back, wings, and tail.
They are visually very similar to the Black-capped Chickadee, and they interbreed where their range overlaps. They can be found in forested areas, parks, and backyards.
You can attract more Carolina Chickadees to your backyard feeders with Black oil sunflower seeds, Nyjer seeds, suet feeders, or peanuts. They will feed on most types of feeders, including tube feeders, suet cages, or platform feeders. They will also nest in nest boxes or nest tubes.
15. 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 can be found flying over meadows, farms, and fields looking for insects and usually build mud nests on man-made 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.
16. Tufted Titmouse
The Tufted Titmouse is gray on the back and white underneath with a cute gray crest and large eyes that often flock with chickadees, nuthatches, and woodpeckers.
They can be assertive over smaller birds and are found in woodlands, parks, and backyard feeders. They eat mostly insects in summer, including caterpillars, beetles, ants, and wasps, as well as spiders and snails. They will also eat seeds, nuts, and berries and hoard shelled seeds.
You can attract Tufted Titmice to your backyard feeders with sunflower seeds, suet, and peanuts on tube feeders or suet cages. They will also eat from platform feeders. You can also try putting up a nest box to attract a breeding pair.
17. Red-bellied Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpeckers have a pale red belly that can be difficult to spot, with a red cap and nape and black-and-white stripped back. They are a similar size as a Hairy Woodpecker at around 9 inches.
In spring and summer, they make a loud call and are found in woods and forests, especially with deadwood in eastern states. Red-bellied Woodpeckers eat mainly insects and spiders, but they will also eat acorns, nuts and pine cones, and some seeds and fruits.
You can attract more Red-bellied Woodpeckers with suet feeders, and they will sometimes feed from hummingbird feeders.
18. Indigo Bunting
Indigo Buntings are small birds, with the males being bright blue with streaks of black in the wings and tail, females are brown.
They migrate far from breeding grounds in eastern States to winter grounds in Florida, Central and South America, and the Caribbean.
Indigo Buntings can be found in weedy fields and shrubby areas foraging for seeds and insects. You can attract more to your backyard with small seeds such as nyjer and thistle.
19. Chipping Sparrow
Chipping Sparrows are slender, long-tailed birds that have a grayish belly and brown and black-streaked back, with a rusty crown and black eye line. In winter, the colors are more subdued.
Breeding over much of North America and Canada then flying to Mexico and Florida or in the far south, they remain all year.
They can be found in small flocks on open ground and come to backyards for many kinds of birdseed.
20. Dark-eyed Junco
Dark-eyed Juncos are sparrows that are 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. They breed in Canada and migrate south to all states, resident in the west and far northwest.
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.
21. 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.
Find out more about all the species of woodpeckers in Delaware.
22. House Finch
House Finches have a red head and breast in the males and brown-streaked coloring in the females. Initially, only in western states they were introduced to the eastern states and have done very well, even pushing out the Purple Finch.
House finches can be found in parks, farms, forest edges, and backyard feeders. They can be found in noisy groups that are hard to miss. House finch 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.
There are more species of red birds in Delaware that you spot.
23. Northern Mockingbird
Northern Mockingbirds are medium-sized songbirds with small heads and long tails. They are a gray-brown color and slightly paler on the underside than on the back. They have two white wingbars visible in flight.
They are usually seen alone or in pairs and aggressively defend their territory. A male mockingbird can learn around 200 songs in its life, copying other birds’ songs, and they can sing all through the day and into the night.
They are usually residents in southern and eastern states, but they may migrate from the north of their range.
They don’t often visit feeders but will come to open lawn areas. To attract more Northern Mockingbirds, try planting fruiting trees or bushes, including hawthorns, mulberries, and blackberry brambles.
24. Eastern Bluebird
Eastern Bluebirds are small thrushes with big, rounded heads, large eyes, and big bellies.
The males are deep blue on the back and a reddish color underneath. Females are grayer above with some blue in the wings and tail and a less vivid orange-brown breast.
They live in meadows and can be spotted perched on wires and posts or low branches looking for insects. They are resident over most of their range in eastern states but may migrate south for winter from the far north.
You can attract more Eastern Bluebirds to your backyard by offering mealworms and nest boxes if your yard is fairly open and spacious.
25. 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.
26. House Sparrow
The House Sparrow is another introduced species that has done very well and is now one of the most common birds. They have gray and brown heads and white cheeks. Their backs are black and brown, and their bellies are gray.
House Sparrows live in all US States and down into Central America.
They are found near houses and buildings and can be quite tame, so may eat out of your hand.
House Sparrows eat mostly grain and seed as well as discarded food. They can be considered a pest as they are non-native, but they can be found in 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.
27. Common Yellowthroat
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.
Yellow-rumped Warblers breed predominantly in Canada, parts of the Rockies, and the Appalachian mountains.
During migration, they can be seen in the Midwest before overwintering in the South, Southwest, and Pacific Coast as well as into Mexico and Central America.
Yellow-rumped Warblers can be found in coniferous forests, especially during the breeding season. During winter, they can be found in open areas with fruiting shrubs. In summer, they primarily eat insects but during migration, and in winter, they mostly fruit, including bayberry and wax myrtle.
You can attract Yellow-rumped Warblers to your backyard with sunflower seeds, suet, raisins, and peanut butter.
Yellow-rumped Warblers spend the winter in Texas and are commonly seen at backyard feeders.
28. 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.
White-breasted Nuthatches live all year in most US States and Southern Canada.
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.
Best Bird Feeders to Attract Birds
A variety of different bird feeders will attract the most species of birds in Delaware to your backyard.
- 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 Delaware
If you would like to attract more birds to your yard in Delaware, 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 Delaware
Here are some more tips to help you identify birds in Delaware, whether you choose to go out birding or stay home bird watching in Delaware:
- 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.