Have you wondered what those birds are that are visiting your backyard in Pennsylvania? Do you need help identifying common backyard birds in Pennsylvania?
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 what are the most common birds in Pennsylvania that visit feeders or hop across your lawn.
So if you’re ready to do some backyard birding in Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania to help you identify and keep track of the birds that visit your backyard.
30 Most common backyard birds in Pennsylvania:
- Northern Cardinal
- Blue Jay
- American Robin
- Mourning Dove
- American Crow
- Song Sparrow
- American Goldfinch
- Downy Woodpecker
- Tufted Titmouse
- Red-bellied Woodpecker
- European Starling
- White-breasted Nuthatch
- Carolina Wren
- House Finch
- Red-winged Blackbird
- Gray Catbird
- House Sparrow
- Dark-eyed Junco
- White-throated Sparrow
- Northern Flicker
- Common Grackle
- Black-capped Chickadee
- Carolina Chickadee
- Hairy Woodpecker
- Eastern Bluebird
- Chipping Sparrow
- Common Yellowthroat
- House Wren
- Barn Swallow
- Indigo bunting
These are the backyard birds most often seen in Pennsylvania 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 birds most frequently spotted in Pennsylvania in summer (June and July) and winter (December and January).
Birds that are not often seen at feeders or in backyards were removed to give you the birds in Pennsylvania you are most likely to see from home.
This data mix ensures that whatever time of year you are bird-watching in Pennsylvania these are the birds you will most likely spot at feeders or on your lawn.
The Ruffed Grouse is the state bird of Pennsylvania. This bird was chosen in 1931, and it was a significant food source for early settlers. The Ruffed Grouse looks similar to a chicken and is brown with black ruffs on the side of its neck.
There are 448 species of bird recorded in Pennsylvania according to ebird. Some of the highlight birds in Pennsylvania include the Red-tailed Hawk, Great Blue Heron, Cedar Waxwing, Belted Kingfisher, Pileated Woodpecker, Baltimore Oriole, Bald Eagle, Indigo Bunting, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Scarlet Tanager, Double-crested Cormorant, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Osprey, Green Heron, Wild Turkey, Great Egret, Snow Goose, Great Horned Owl, Eastern-screech Owl, and Sandhill Crane.
The biggest bird in Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania is the Northern Cardinal, which is seen in 50% of recorded checklists for the state on ebird throughout the year.
Pennsylvania has no national Parks but it does have 1 national forest, 20 state forests, 3 national wildlife refuges, and 121 state parks that offer excellent bird watching opportunities if you want to get out and watch birds in their natural environment.
Read on to find out more about birds in Pennsylvania to visit backyards throughout the year and see pictures and get a free printable with pictures of all the birds to record your sightings.
Common Birds in Pennsylvania at Different Times of Year
The birds that are attracted to backyards in Pennsylvania changes throughout the year. The lists below show the backyard birds in Pennsylvania that are most commonly seen at different times of the year.
Notable differences show that American Robins, American Goldfinch and Gray Catbirds are more common birds in Pennsylvania in summer and Dark-eyed Juncos and Downy Woodpeckers are more common birds in Pennsylvania in winter.
The 30 most common backyard birds in Pennsylvania
1. Northern Cardinal
The bright red male Northern Cardinal with black around their faces is a great 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.
Northern Cardinals are common birds in Pennsylvania throughout the year.
2. 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 when available and can migrate in large flocks along the Great Lakes and Atlantic coast.
They can be found in forests, but especially 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.
Blue Jays are common birds in Pennsylvania throughout the year.
3. American Robin
American Robins are a common sight on lawns eating earthworms. They have black heads and back with red or orange breast. 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, and 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.
American Robins are common birds in Pennsylvania in summer.
4. 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 forage 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.
Mourning Doves are common birds in Pennsylvania throughout the year but are more commonly seen in summer.
5. American Crow
American crows are large all-black birds that make a hoarse, cawing sound. They are common birds that can be 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. American Crows gather in large numbers of up to two million crows in winter 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.
6. 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 nyger on platform feeders.
7. American Goldfinch
American Goldfinches are popular birds with the males bright yellow and black coloring in spring. The females are more dull brown as are males in winter.
American Goldfinches breed in far northern states and Canada before migrating to southern states, they remain all year in the rest of the U.S.
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.
To attract more American Goldfinches to your backyard try planting thistles and milkweed. They will visit most bird feeders and prefer sunflower seed and nyjer seed.
American Goldfinch breed in Pennsylvania before heading south for winter.
8. 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.
Downy woodpeckers can be found in woodlots, along streams, city parks, and backyards and eat mainly insects beetle larvae, but also 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.
Downy Woodpeckers are more common winter birds in Pennsylvania.
9. 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 at 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 will 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.
10. 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.
They make a loud call in spring and summer 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.
Red-bellied Woodpeckers are more common birds in Pennsylvania in winter.
11. 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 eat predominantly insects including beetles, flies and caterpillars, earthworms, and spiders. They also eat fruit including cherries, holly berries, mulberries, Virginia Creeper, sumac, and blackberries, as well as 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.
12. 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 acrons, hawthorns, sunflwer seeds and sometime 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.
13. 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 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.
14. 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 can be found in 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 nyger seeds in tube feeders or platform feeders.
15. 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 brown streaky coloring.
Red-winged Blackbirds are resident over most of the U.S but they may migrate after breeding from the far north. 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.
16. 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.
Gray Catbirds breed over much of the U.S, except the Pacific Coast and inland along the west and southwest, before heading south to the Gulf Coast of the U.S, Mexico and Central America, and the West Indies. Some remain all year along the Atlantic Coast.
You can spot Gray Catbirds in dense shrubs, small trees, and along forest edges or hedgerows.
You can attract more Gray Catbirds to your backyard feeders with fruit and fruit trees or shrubs such as dogwood, winterberry, and serviceberry.
Gray Catbirds breed in Pennsylvania before heading south for winter.
17. 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 will eat out of your hand.
House Sparrows can be found in most busy areas, especially around cities, towns, farms, or anywhere there are people. They eat mostly grain and seed as well as discarded food.
They can be considered a pest as they are non-native but will 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.
18. 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.
Some remain resident all year in the west and in the Appalachian Mountains. Those that breed in Canada and Alaska migrate south in winter to much of the United States.
They can be found in open and partially wooded areas often on the ground and are common across the continent.
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.
Dark-eyed Juncos remain all year in Pennsylvania and are more commonly seen in winter.
19. 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 mostly in Canada before heading south in winter to eastern and southern states and California. 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.
20. 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.
Those that breed in Canada or Alaska migrate to southern states but otherwise, they can be found all year over the lower 48. They can be found on the ground looking for ants and beetles in woods or forest edges.
You can attract more Northern Flickers to your backyard feeders with suet and black oil sunflower seeds.
21. 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 species of blackbird.
The Common Grackle is resident all year in much of the east and all southeastern states but 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 most mixed grain and seed, sprinkled on the ground or on platform feeders.
22. 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 beak, white cheeks, and are gray on the back, wings, and tail. They particularly like suet, sunflower seeds, and peanuts or peanut butter. They will even feed from your hand.
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 it with wood shavings.
23. 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.
24. Hairy Woodpecker
The Hairy Woodpecker can be found across most of North America, except some of the far south. They have a small flash of red at the back of their heads but are predominantly black and white.
They are slightly larger than their look like the Downy Woodpecker and with a longer bill. They can be found in large trees and can be heard tapping if you listen for them.
Hairy Woodpecker’s diet is mostly insects, especially larvae of wood-boring beetles but also ants, beetles, bees, wasps, caterpillars, and spiders.
You can attract more Hairy Woodpeckers with suet feeders, but also peanut and black oil sunflower seeds, especially in winter.
Hairy Woodpeckers are more commonly seen birds in Pennsylvania in winter, especially at suet feeders.
25. 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.
26. Chipping Sparrow
Chipping Sparrows are slender, long-tailed cbirds 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 will come to backyards for many kinds of birdseed.
27. Common Yellowthroat
Common Yellowthroats are small songbirds that are brownish on the back and bright yellow underneath, with long tails. The males have a black mask across the face. The brightness of the yellow can vary geographically and they may be more olive in parts underneath.
They breed over much of North America and so can be found in the spring and summer often in marshy or wetland areas and brushy fields living in thick, tangled vegetation. They eat mostly insects and will be found in large backyards that have dense vegetation.
28. House Wren
House Wrens are small nondescript brown birds with darker barred wings and tail and a paler throat. Breeding 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, and spiders, such as beetles, caterpillars, and earwigs in brush piles. They can often be found energetically hopping through tangles and low branches with their tails up, stopping to sing their cheerful song.
House Wrens are fierce for their size, when it comes to getting the best nest holes, they will often harass larger birds, sometimes dragging eggs or nestlings out of a nest site they want.
You can attract more House Wrens to your backyard by leaving piles of brush or putting up a nest box.
29. 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.
30. 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.
Free Printable Backyard Bird Worksheets for Pennsylvania
These free bird identification worksheets have all the common backyard birds in Pennsylvania 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.
Best Bird Feeders to Attract Birds
A variety of different bird feeders will attract the most species of birds to your backyard in Pennsylvania
- 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 Backyard in Pennsylvania
If you would like to attract more birds to your yard in Pennsylvania here 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
Here are some tips to help you identify birds in Pennsylvania, whether you go out birding or do some backyard bird watching:
- 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 Pennsylvania
If you go out Birding in Pennsylvania these are other birds that you may be able to spot (in order of most frequently seen):
- Canada Goose
- Turkey Vulture
- Red-tailed Hawk
- Great Blue Heron
- Belted Kingfisher
- Ring-billed Gull
- Wood Duck
- Bald Eagle
- Common Merganser
- Fish Crow
- Black Vulture
- Double-crested Cormorant
- American Redstart
- Great crested Flycatcher
- American Kestrel
- Ring-necked Duck
- Green Heron
- Wild Turkey
- Sharp=shinned Hawk
- Great Egret
- Red-shouldered Hawk
- Spotted Sandpiper
- Snow Goose
- Mute Swan
- Northern Shoveler
- Horned Grebe