Top 33 Backyard Birds in Utah (Free ID Charts)

Backyard Birds Utah ID Chart

Have you wondered what those birds are that are visiting your backyard in Utah?

Well, this guide will help you to find out how to identify these birds by sight and sound and what time of year you can spot them in Utah. Also, get a free ID chart to print with the most common backyard birds in Utah.

In Utah, Yellow Warblers, Western Kingbirds and Black-chinned Hummingbirds are more common in summer and Dark-eyed Juncos, Black-billed Magpies, and Northern Flickers are more common in winter.

Backyard birds in Utah all year: American Robin, House Finch, European Starling, Black-billed Magpie, Northern Flicker, Black-capped Chickadee, House Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Red-winged Blackbird, Eurasian Collared-Dove, American Goldfinch, Lesser Goldfinch, Spotted Towhee, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Downy Woodpecker, Mountain Chickadee, Red-breasted Nuthatch
Backyard birds in Utah in summer:
Mourning Dove, Barn Swallow, Black-chinned Hummingbird, Yellow Warbler, Western Kingbird, Broad-tailed Hummingbird, Chipping Sparrow, Brown-headed Cowbird, Western Meadowlark, Western Tanager, Bullock’s Oriole
Backyard birds in Utah in winter: Dark-eyed Junco, White-crowned Sparrow

These are the most common backyard birds in Utah that may visit your lawn or feeders. They are the birds that appear most frequently on state checklists submitted by bird watchers on ebird.

This article gives you identification information and photos to help you identify and attract more of the common backyard birds that you can spot in Utah.

Bird Facts For Utah

The California Gull is the state bird of Utah.  This bird saved the state from crickets in 1848-9, so although being known as just a ‘seagull’ it massively helped the state and is now its state bird.  It is recorded in 14% of checklists on ebird for the state.

There are 468 species of bird recorded in Utah, according to ebird.  Due to its central location, Utah is a great spot to get a range of different birds including those on migration. Many of these are birds you can spot in your yard but some notable ones that you may spot if you go birding are Turkey Vultures, White-faced Ibis, Greater Sage-Grouse, and Golden Eagles.

The biggest bird in Utah is the California Condor, although it is not often spotted, these birds are native to the western part of North America. Condors are part of the vulture family, and with a wingspan of 9 1/2 feet, they are the largest land bird in North America.

The smallest bird in Utah 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 Utah is the American Robin, which is seen in 36% of recorded checklists for the state on ebird.

Utah has 5 national parks, 6 national forests, and 43 state parks that offer excellent bird watching opportunities and includes arid deserts and sub-alpine forests.  Ouray National Wildlife Refuge in northeastern Utah contains wetlands, semi-desert, and shrubland, all in only a 9-mile drive, so you can experience all Utah has to offer in a day!

Read to the end of this article to find out more about the top birding locations in Utah and how to identify birds.

Free Printable Backyard Birds ID Charts for Utah

These free bird identification worksheets have all the common backyard birds in Utah 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.

Backyard Birds Identification Worksheet Utah Page 1
Backyard Birds Identification Worksheet Utah Page 2
Backyard Birds Identification Worksheet Utah Page 3

Top 33 Backyard Birds In Utah

1. American Robin

American Robin for identification

American Robins can be found all year in Utah but are mainly spotted from March to July. They are recorded in 50% of summer checklists and 26% of winter checklists submitted by bird watchers for the state.

American Robins are a common sight on lawns eating earthworms. They have black heads and backs 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.

  • Turdus migratorius
  • Length: 7.9-11.0 in (20-28 cm)
  • Weight: 2.7-3.0 oz (77-85 g)
  • Wingspan: 12.2-15.8 in (31-40 cm)

American Robins are residents in the lower 48 and the coast of western Canada and Alaska. Those that breed in Canada and inland Alaska move south for the winter.

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.

American Robin Song:

Credit: Manuel Grosselet, XC656426. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/656426.

American Robin Call:

Credit: Manuel Grosselet, XC698509. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/698509.

Attract American Robins to your backyard 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 Dove

Mourning Doves are more commonly spotted in Utah during the breeding season from May to September but some can also be seen here all year. They appear in 34% of summer checklists and 11% of winter checklists for the state.

Mourning Doves are graceful small-headed birds with plump bodies and long tails. They are a soft brown color with black spots on the wings. Males are slightly heavier than females.

  • Zenaida macroura
  • Length: 9.1-13.4 in (23-34 cm)
  • Weight: 3.0 -6.0 oz (96-170 g)
  • Wingspan: 17.7 in (45 cm)

Mourning Doves are common over all of the lower 48 all year but may migrate after breeding from the north of the Midwest and southern Canada.

Mourning Doves can be seen perching on telephone wires and foraging for seeds on the ground in grasslands, fields, and backyards. They can also be found in open areas or woodland edges.

Mourning Dove call:

Credit: Peter Ward and Ken Hall, XC613539. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/613539.

Attract 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. House Finch

House Finches are residents of Utah all year. They do not migrate and appear in 30% of summer checklists and 34% of winter checklists submitted by bird watchers for the state.

House Finches males have a red head and breast, and the rest of their bodies are mainly brown-streaked. Females are brown-streaked all over. 

  • Haemorhous mexicanus
  • Length: 5.1-5.5 in (13-14 cm)
  • Weight: 0.6-0.9 oz (16-27 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.9-9.8 in (20-25 cm)

Originally only in western US states, House Finches were introduced to eastern US states and have done very well, even pushing out the Purple Finch.

They can be found in parks, farms, forest edges, and backyard feeders in noisy groups that are hard to miss.

House Finch Song:

Credit: Manuel Grosselet, XC653352. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/653352.

House Finch Call:

Credit: Manuel Grosselet, XC612573. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/612573.

Attract House Finches to backyard feeders with black oil sunflower seeds or nyjer seeds in tube feeders or platform feeders.

There are lots of other red birds in Utah that you can spot.

4. Barn Swallow

barn swallow

Barn Swallows spend the breeding season in Utah and occur in 26% of summer checklists. They are mainly spotted from March to November.

Barn Swallows are small birds with a deep-blue back, wings and tail, and reddish-brown underneath and across the face. Their tail has long outer feathers that give a deep fork. The dark color of their back can make them look black-and-white.

  • Hirundo rustica
  • Length: 5.9-7.5 in (15-19 cm)
  • Weight: 0.6-0.7 oz (17-20 g)
  • Wingspan: 11.4-12.6 in (29-32 cm)

Barn Swallows breed in Canada and the US 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 artificial structures such as barns.

Barn Swallow call:

Attract Barn Swallows by putting up nest boxes or cups, and they may eat ground-up eggshells on a platform feeder.

5. Black-chinned Hummingbird

black chinned hummingbird
Black-chinned Hummingbird male
Black chinned hummingbird female
Black-chinned Hummingbird Female (credit: Gary Leavens)

Black-chinned Hummingbirds are frequently spotted in Utah during summer and appear in 20% of checklists at this time. They can be seen in the state during the breeding season, from March to October.

Black-chinned Hummingbirds are dull metallic green on the back and grayish-white underneath. The males have a black throat with a thin iridescent purple base, and the females have a pale throat and white tips on the tail feathers.

  • Length: 3.5 in (9 cm)
  • Weight: 0.1-0.2 oz (2.3-4.9 g)
  • Wingspan: 4.3 in (11 cm)

In summer, black-chinned Hummingbirds breed predominantly inland in western states from British Columbia to Baja California.

After breeding, they may move to higher mountain areas with abundant flowers before migrating to western Mexico, southern California, and the Gulf Coast in the winter. Migration of Black-chinned Hummingbirds usually occurs in March and September.

Black-chinned Hummingbird calls and wingbeat:

Thomas G. Graves, XC495007. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/495007.

They eat nectar, small insects, and spiders, and their tongues can lick 13-17 times per second when feeding on nectar. Nests of Black-chinned Hummingbirds are made of plant down and spider silk to hold them together, and they lay two tiny white eggs that are only 0.6 in (1.3 cm)

Black-chinned Hummingbirds can often be seen sitting at the top of dead trees on tiny bare branches and often return to a favorite perch. They can be found along canyons and rivers or by shady oaks.

If you get a buzz out of hummingbirds then check out all the hummingbirds in Utah and when is best to spot them.

6. Dark-eyed Junco

Dark eyed junco for identification

Dark-eyed Juncos are spotted during winter in Utah and are recorded in 43% of checklists at this time. They are common from October to March, but some can be spotted all year and occur in 8% of summer checklists.

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.

  • Junco hyemalis
  • Length: 5.5-6.3 in (14-16 cm)
  • Weight: 0.6-1.1 oz (18-30 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.1-9.8 in (18-25 cm)

Dark-eyed Juncos remain resident all year in northeastern and western US states and the Appalachian Mountains. Those that breed in Canada and Alaska migrate south in winter to the United States.

They can be found in open and partially wooded areas, often on the ground, and are common across the continent. 

Dark-eyed Junco Song:

Credit: Bobby Wilcox, XC667170. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/667170.

Attract 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.

7. European Starling

European Starlings are an introduced species that can be seen in Utah all year. They appear in 26% of summer checklists and 35% of winter checklists submitted by bird watchers for the state.

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. 

  • Sturnus vulgaris
  • Length: 7.9-9.1 in (20-23 cm)
  • Weight: 2.1-3.4 oz (60-96 g)
  • Wingspan: 12.2-15.8 in (31-40 cm)

European Starlings live in all of North America, except the north of Canada and Alaska.

They are 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.

European Starling Calls:

Credit: Lars Edenius, XC657601. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/657601.

Starlings predominantly eat insects, including beetles, flies and caterpillars, earthworms, and spiders. However, they also eat fruit, including cherries, holly berries, mulberries, Virginia Creeper, sumac, blackberries, and grains and seeds.

Attract European Starlings to your backyard feeders with black oil sunflower seeds, suet, cracked corn, and peanuts.

Blackbirds are a vast family of birds that have numerous family members and why don’t you get to know all the blackbirds in Utah?

8. Black-billed Magpie

black-billed-magpie

Black-billed Magpies can be spotted all year in Utah. They appear in 23% of summer checklists and 32% of winter checklists for the state.

Black-billed Magpies, usually just called Magpies, are black and white birds that are noisy. They have long tails and blue-green iridescent flashes in the wing and tail. Males are up to 25% heavier than females.

  • Pica hudsonia
  • Length: 17.7-23.6 in (45-60 cm)
  • Weight: 5.1-7.4 oz (145-210 g)
  • Wingspan: 22.1-24.0 in (56-61 cm)

Black-billed Magpies live in northwestern US states and western Canada, and the coast of Alaska. They do not migrate.

You can find them walking on the ground in meadows 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 Magpie sounds: A series of harsh calls and also a scream.

Credit: Peter Ward and Ken Hall, XC614155. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/614155.

You can attract Black-billed Magpies to your backyard with platform and suet feeders with black oil sunflower seeds, peanuts, fruit, suet, millet, and milo.

9. Northern Flicker

Northern Flicker

Northern Flickers can be seen in Utah all year but their numbers increase in winter, with birds migrating in from northern breeding grounds in Canada. They are spotted in 13% of summer checklists and 26% of winter checklists.

Northern Flickers are large brown woodpeckers with black spots and a white patch on their rump in flight, plus a red nape of the neck in the males. 

Northern Flickers have red or yellow flashes in the wings and tail depending on where they originate. Red-shafted birds live in the west, and yellow-shafted birds live in the east.

  • Colaptes auratus
  • Length: 11.0-12.2 in (28-31 cm)
  • Weight: 3.9-5.6 oz (110-160 g)
  • Wingspan: 16.5-20.1 in (42-51 cm)

Northern Flickers can be spotted across the US all year and in Canada during summer. Those that breed in Canada migrate south for the winter.

Northern Flickers mainly eat ants, beetles, fruits, and seeds, and they can often be seen on the ground digging with their curved bill.

Northern flicker Call:

Credit: Thomas Ryder Payne, XC636252. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/636252.

Attract Northern Flickers to your backyard with suet.

Some woodpeckers are more easily recognized than others, but with this guide, you can identify all the woodpeckers in Utah.

10. Black-capped Chickadee

Black-capped Chickadee

Black-capped Chickadees can be found all year in Utah but their numbers increase from August to March. They are spotted in 16% of summer checklists and 25% of winter checklists for the state.

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 investigate everything, including you! 

They have black caps and beaks, white cheeks, and are gray on the back, wings, and tail.

  • Poecile atricapillus
  • Length: 4.7-5.9 in (12-15 cm)
  • Weight: 0.3-0.5 oz (9-14 g)
  • Wingspan: 6.3-8.3 in (16-21 cm)

Black-capped Chickadees do not migrate and can be spotted in the northern half of the US and Canada.

You can find them in forests, open woods, and parks. Black-capped Chickadees eat seeds, berries and insects, spiders, and suet.

Black-capped Chickadee Call/Song:

Credit: Matt Wistrand, XC554222. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/554222.

Attract Black-capped Chickadees to your backyard with 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.

11. Yellow Warbler

yellow warbler

Yellow Warblers are mainly spotted in Utah during the breeding season from April to September, but some stay until January. They occur in 28% of summer checklists for the state.

Yellow Warblers are small bright yellow birds with a yellow-green back, and the males have chestnut streaks on the breast.

  • Setophaga petechia
  • Length: 4.7-5.1 in (12-13 cm)
  • Weight: 0.3-0.4 oz (9-11 g)
  • Wingspan: 6.3-7.9 in (16-20 cm)

Yellow Warblers migrate a long distance to breed in Canada and the US, except for southeastern states, before heading back into Central and South America for winter. However, they can be seen during migration in southeastern US states.

You can find Yellow Warblers along streams and wetlands in thickets and along the edges of fields foraging for insects, including caterpillars, midges, beetles, bugs, and wasps.

Yellow Warbler Song:

Credit: Richard E. Webster, XC662546. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/662546.

Attract Yellow Warblers to your backyard with suet, oranges, peanut butter, and plants with berries. Also, plant native plants that attract insects without pesticides or being too tidy! Also, try birdbaths with fountains near secluded thickets to provide protection.

There are so many yellow birds in Utah that you will spot, especially in spring.

12. House Sparrow

House sparrow for identification

House Sparrows are an introduced species in Utah that can be spotted here all year. They do not migrate and occur in 22% of summer checklists and 26% of winter checklists submitted by the bird watchers for the state.

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.

  • Passer domesticus
  • Length: 5.9-6.7 in (15-17 cm)
  • Weight: 0.9-1.1 oz (27-30 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.5-9.8 in (19-25 cm)

House Sparrows live in the US and Southern Canada all year.

You can find them near houses and buildings, and they can be pretty tame, and they may even eat out of your hand.

House Sparrows eat mostly grain and seed as well as discarded food. They can be considered a pest because they are non-native, but they are found in backyards even if you do not feed them.

House Sparrow Song:

Credit: Olivier SWIFT, XC697951. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/697951.

Attract House Sparrows to your backyard feeders with most kinds of birdseed, including millet, corn, and sunflower seeds.

Sparrows are known as LBJs (Little brown jobs) but if you want to know more, check out this guide to sparrows in Utah.

13. Western Kingbird

Western Kingbird

Western Kingbirds are frequently spotted in Utah during summer and are recorded in 24% of checklists at this time. They are seen here from March to October.

Western Kingbirds are large flycatchers with yellow bellies, whitish chests, gray heads, grayish-brown wings, and black tails with white edges.

  • Tyrannus verticalis
  • Length: 7.9-9.4 in (20-24 cm)
  • Weight: 1.3-1.6 oz (37-46 g)
  • Wingspan: 15.0-16.1 in (38-41 cm)

Western Kingbirds breed in summer in western US states, the plains area, and into Canada. They migrate to Mexico and Central America, but some may overwinter in the south of Florida.

You can find Western Kingbirds in open habitats, and they are often found perched on fences and utility lines, waiting for insects to fly by before catching them in mid-flight.

Western Kingbird call:

Credit: Paul Marvin, XC552239. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/552239.

Attract Western Kingbirds to your yard by making it insect-friendly and planting elderberry or hawthorn, from which they will also eat the fruit.

14. Song Sparrow

Song sparrow for identification

Song Sparrows can be found in Utah all year. They are recorded in 22% of summer checklists and 20% of winter checklists for the state.

Song sparrows are not as remarkable looking as other backyard birds, but these predominantly brown-streaked birds use their almost constant song to attract mates in spring and summer.

  • Melospiza melodia
  • Length: 4.7-6.7 in (12-17 cm)
  • Weight: 0.4-1.9 oz (12-53 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.1-9.4 in (18-24 cm)

Song Sparrows live all year in the northern US states. Those that breed in Canada migrate to southern US states for winter.

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.

Song Sparrow Song:

Credit: Christopher McPherson, XC692182. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/692182.

Song Sparrow Call:

Credit: Manuel Grosselet, XC683210. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/683210.

Attract Song Sparrows to your backyard feeders by putting black oil sunflower seeds, cracked corn, and nyjer on platform feeders.

15. Red-winged Blackbird

Red winged blackbird for identification

Red-winged blackbirds are spotted in Utah all year. They are residents of the state all year and appear in 24% of checklists in summer and 16% of checklists in winter submitted by bird watchers for the state.

Red-winged blackbirds are very common and easy to identify with the all-black coloring except for the reddish-orange wing patches. Females are rather dull in comparison with streaky brown color.

  • Agelaius phoeniceus
  • Length: 6.7-9.1 in (17-23 cm)
  • Weight: 1.1-2.7 oz (32-77 g)
  • Wingspan: 12.2-15.8 in (31-40 cm)

Red-winged Blackbirds remain all year in the lower 48 and the Pacific Coast of British Columbia. Those that breed in Canada and some northern US states migrate south for the winter.

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 their nests. In winter, they roost in large numbers into the millions.

Red-winged Blackbird Song:

Credit: Manuel Grosselet, XC629168. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/629168.

Red-winged Blackbird Calls:

Credit: Manuel Grosselet, XC669258. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/669258.

Attract Red-winged blackbirds to your backyard with mixed grain and seeds spread on the ground. They will also feed from large tube feeders or platform feeders.

16. Eurasian Collared-Dove

Eurasian collared dove

Eurasian Collared-Doves do not migrate and live in Utah all year. They appear in 20% of summer checklists and 22% of winter checklists for the state.

Eurasian-collard Doves 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.

  • Streptopelia decaocto
  • Length: 11.4-11.8 in (29-30 cm)
  • Weight: 4.9-6.3 oz (140-180 g)
  • Wingspan: 13.8 in (35 cm)

Eurasian Collared-Doves are an introduced species that only arrived in the 1980s but now live across most of the United States.

You can find Eurasian Collared-Doves in most areas, including rural and suburban and they eat a wide variety of seeds and grain but also eat some berries and insects.

Eurasian Collared-Dove song:

Manuel Grosselet, XC722058. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/722058.

17. White-crowned Sparrow

white-crowned sparrow

White-crowned Sparrows spend the winter in Utah. However, their numbers increase during the fall migration from September to October. They are spotted in around 19% of checklists in winter but up to 36% during the migration.

White-crowned Sparrows are large grayish sparrows with long tails, small bills, and bold black and white stripes on their heads.

  • Zonotrichia leucophrys
  • Length: 5.9-6.3 in (15-16 cm)
  • Weight: 0.9-1.0 oz (25-28 g)
  • Wingspan: 8.3-9.4 in (21-24 cm)

White-crowned Sparrows breed in Alaska and arctic Canada before heading south to the lower 48 and Mexico for winter. However, some may remain along the Pacific Coast and the mountainous west all year.

You can find White-crowned Sparrows in weedy fields, along roadsides, forest edges,  and in yards foraging for seeds of weeds and grasses or fruit such as elderberries and blackberries.

White-crowned Sparrow Song:

Credit: Richard E. Webster, XC678159. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/678159.

Attract White-crowned Sparrows to your backyard with sunflower seeds, and they will also eat seeds that other birds drop at feeders.

18. Broad-tailed Hummingbird

Broad-tailed Hummingbird male (Selasphorus platycercus)
Male
Broad tailed Hummingbird female
Female

Broad-tailed Hummingbirds are spotted in Utah during summer and appear in 14% of checklists at this time. They spend the breeding season here, from March to October.

Broad-tailed Hummingbirds live in higher elevations and are iridescent green on the back, brownish on the wings, and white on the chest and into the belly. Males have an iridescent rose throat, and females and juveniles have green spots on their throats and cheeks.

  • Length: 3.1-3.5 in (8-9 cm)
  • Weight: 0.1-0.2 oz (2.8-4.5 g)

Broad-tailed Hummingbirds breed in high meadows and open woodlands between 5,000 – 10,000 feet elevation in the mountainous west, between late May and August between central Idaho, southern Montana, northern Wyoming, and south to California.

Migration south is to southern Mexico for winter, but some Broad-tailed Hummingbirds may stay on the Gulf Coast. Migration of Broad-tailed Hummingbirds occurs in April and again in late August and September.

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, and scarlet gilia. They will also come to hummingbird nectar feeders. They supplement their diet with small insects and feed their young on insects.

Broad-tailed Hummingbird nests are usually on evergreen or aspen branches and are made with spider webs and gossamer under overhanging branches for added insulation during cold nights.

19. Chipping Sparrow

chipping sparrow

Chipping Sparrows spend the breeding season in Utah and are mainly spotted from April to October. They are recorded in 15% of summer checklists.

Chipping Sparrows are slender, long-tailed birds with a grayish belly and brown and black-streaked back, with a rusty crown and black eye line. In winter, the colors are more subdued.

  • Spizella passerina
  • Length: 4.7-5.9 in (12-15 cm)
  • Weight: 0.4-0.6 oz (11-16 g)
  • Wingspan: 8.3 in (21 cm)

Chipping Sparrows spend their summer breeding in the US and Canada before flying to Mexico and Florida for winter. Some remain all year in the southern states.

You can find Chipping Sparrows in small flocks on open ground and will come to backyards for many kinds of birdseed.

Chipping Sparrow Song:

Credit: Richard E. Webster, XC611297. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/611297.

Attract Chipping Sparrows to your backyard with seeds or cracked corn on open feeders such as hoppers or platforms.

20. Brown-headed Cowbird

brown headed cowbird

Brown-headed Cowbirds are frequently spotted in Utah during summer and appear in 16% of checklists at this time. They are common during the breeding season, from April to October, but some remain in the state all year.

Males Brown-headed Cowbirds are larger than females, with black bodies, brown heads, and short tails. Female Brown-headed Cowbirds are brown all over with slight streaking.

  • Molothrus ater
  • Length: 76.3-8.7 in (19-22 cm)
  • Weight: 1.3-1.8 oz (42-50 g)
  • Wingspan: 14.2 in (36 cm)

Brown-headed Cowbirds remain all year in eastern US states, southern US states, and along the Pacific Coast. However, those that breed in northern and western US states and Canada migrate south for winter.

Brown-headed Cowbird Song:

Bobby Wilcox, XC645459. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/645459.

They are often considered a nuisance because they are parasite birds that destroy the eggs of smaller songbirds so they can lay their eggs in the nest and have the bird foster their chicks.

21. American Goldfinch

American Goldfinch for identification

American Goldfinches spend all year in northern Utah, but some spend winter in the west and the breeding season in central areas. They are recorded in 11% of summer checklists and 13% of winter checklists.

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.

  • Spinus tristis
  • Length: 4.3-5.1 in (11-13 cm)
  • Weight: 0.4-0.7 oz (11-20 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.5-8.7 in (19-22 cm)

American Goldfinches can be found in most of North America and are usually resident all year. However, those that breed in Canada and the Midwest migrate to southern US States for winter.

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.

American Goldfinch Song:

Attract American Goldfinches to your backyard by planting thistles and milkweed. They will visit most bird feeders and prefer sunflower seed and nyjer seed. 

There are a surprising number of finches in Utah that you can get to know.

22. Western Meadowlark

western meadowlark

Western Meadowlarks are spotted all year in Utah, but they are more common during the breeding season. They are recorded in 17% of summer checklists and 5% of winter checklists.

With their bright yellow bellies and melodious song, Western Meadowlarks 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 US states.

Western Meadowlarks are members of the blackbird family 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.

  • Sturnella neglecta
  • Length: 6.3-10.2 in (16-26 cm)
  • Weight: 3.1-4.1 oz (89-115 g)
  • Wingspan: 16.1 in (41 cm)

Western Meadowlarks breed in northern US states and Canada before moving to more southern states. Those in The West and Midwest remain all year.

You can find Western Meadowlarks foraging for insects and seeds from weeds. Also, they look for seeds on the ground alone or in small flocks in grasslands, meadows, and fields.

Western Meadowlark Song:

Credit: Paul Marvin, XC698318. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/698318.

Attract Western Meadowlarks to your backyard with hulled sunflower seeds and cracked corn.

23. Western Tanager

western tanager
Male
Female Western Tanager
Female

Western Tanagers are spotted in Utah during summer, mainly from April to October, and are recorded in 14% of checklists at this time.

Western Tanagers have a flaming orange-red head, yellow body, and black wings. Females have only red faces, and their bodies are yellow-green.

  • Piranga ludoviciana
  • Length: 6.3-7.5 in (16-19 cm)
  • Weight: 0.8-1.3 oz (24-36 g)

Western Tanagers breed in western US states and western Canada. They can be seen during migration in the east and south of this range. Winter is spent in Mexico and Central America.

You can find Western Tanagers in open conifer forests, but they stay hidden in the canopy, despite their bright coloring. Their numbers are actually increasing in the last forty years.

They eat mainly insects in summer, such as wasps and grasshoppers, and in the fall and winter, they also eat fruit.

Western Tanager Song:

Credit: Richard E. Webster, XC678811. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/678811.

Attract Western Tanagers with dried fruit, cut oranges, and other fruits from bird feeders.

24. Lesser Goldfinch

Lesser Goldfinch male

Lesser Goldfinches spend the breeding season in Utah, and some also remain here all year. They are recorded in 15% of summer checklists and 12% of winter checklists submitted by bird watchers for the state.

Lesser Goldfinches are tiny bright yellow and black songbirds with long pointed wings and short notched tails. Females have olive backs and are more dull yellow underneath.

  • Spinus psaltria
  • Length: 3.5-4.3 in (9-11 cm)
  • Weight: 0.3-0.4 oz (8-11.5 g)
  • Wingspan: 5.9-7.9 in (15-20 cm)

Lesser Goldfinches live in the southwestern US states and the West Coast all year, but those that breed in the interior of western US states migrate for winter.

Lesser Goldfinches can be found in large flocks in open habitats, including thickets, weedy fields, forest clearings, parks, and gardens. They forage for seeds, especially sunflower seeds, but also fruits from elderberry, coffeeberry, and buds from cottonwoods, willows, sycamores, and alders.

Lesser Goldfinch call/Song:

Credit: Manuel Grosselet, XC428720. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/428720.

Attract Lesser Goldfinches to your yard with sunflower seeds and nyjer in tube feeders or platform feeders.

25. Spotted Towhee

spotted towhee

Spotted Towhees can be spotted in Utah all year, and they appear in 13% of summer and winter checklists for the state.

Spotted Towhees are large sparrows that are black on their head, throat, and back in the males and brown in the females. Both males and females have reddish-brown sides, white bellies, and white spots on the wings and back. They have long tails and are about the size of a Robin.

  • Pipilo maculatus
  • Length: 6.7-8.3 in (17-21 cm)
  • Weight: 1.2-1.7 oz (33-49 g)
  • Wingspan: 11.0 in (28 cm)

Spotted Towhees live in western US states, but those in the interior of the north migrate south after breeding to Texas and surrounding areas.

You can find Spotted Towhees 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.

Spotted Towhee Song:

Credit: Richard E. Webster, XC662426. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/662426.

Attract 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.

26. Yellow-rumped Warbler

yellow rumped warbler

Yellow-rumped Warblers are spotted all year in Utah but are most common during the migration in September and October. They are recorded in 13% of summer checklists, 7% of winter checklists, and up to 34% of checklists during fall migration.

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.

  • Setophaga coronata
  • Length: 4.7-5.5 in (12-14 cm)
  • Weight: 0.4-0.5 oz (12-13 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.5-9.1 in (19-23 cm)

Yellow-rumped Warblers breed predominantly in Canada and parts of the Rockies and the Appalachian mountains.

During migration, they can be seen in the Midwest before overwintering in southern and southwestern US states and the Pacific Coast and into Mexico and Central America.

You can find Yellow-rumped Warblers in coniferous forests, especially during the breeding season. During winter, they can be found in open areas with fruiting shrubs. In summer, they eat mostly insects and on migration, and in winter, they eat mostly fruit, including bayberry and wax myrtle. 

Yellow-rumped Warbler Song:

Credit: Christopher McPherson, XC602699. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/602699.

Attract Yellow-rumped Warblers to your backyard with sunflower seeds, suet, raisins, and peanut butter.

27. Ruby-crowned Kinglet

ruby crowned kinglet

Ruby-crowned Kinglets spend the breeding season in central Utah, winter in the south, and during migration across the rest of the state. They are recorded in 7% of summer checklists and 8% of winter checklists.

Ruby-crowned Kinglets are small songbirds that are olive-green, and the males have a brilliant red crown that is usually flat so hard to see.

  • Corthylio calendula
  • Length: 3.5-4.3 in (9-11 cm)
  • Weight: 0.2-0.3 oz (5-10 g)
  • Wingspan: 6.3-7.1 in (16-18 cm)

Ruby-crowned Kinglets breed in Canada and the mountainous west before migrating to southern and southwestern US states and Mexico for the winter. 

Ruby-crowned Kinglets can be hard to spot as they are fast-moving quiet birds that flit around in the foliage of lower branches and shrubs and trees looking for spiders and insects.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet Song:

Credit: Richard E. Webster, XC628827. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/628827.

Attract Ruby-crowned Kinglets with suet or platform feeders with hulled sunflower seeds, peanut hearts, and mealworms.

28. Downy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker for identification in Massachusetts MA

Downy Woodpeckers are found all year in Utah but are often spotted here in winter. They appear in 6% of summer checklists and 10% of winter checklists.

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.

  • Dryobates pubescens
  • Length: 5.5-6.7 in (14-17 cm)
  • Weight: 0.7-1.0 oz (21-28 g)
  • Wingspan: 9.8-11.8 in (25-30 cm)

Downy Woodpeckers do not migrate and can be spotted in most states and provinces, except the north of Canada.

You can find Downy woodpeckers in woodlots, along streams, city parks, and backyards, and they eat mainly insects and beetle larvae but also berries, acorns, and grains.

Downy Woodpecker Call:

Credit: Christopher McPherson, XC601009. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/601009.

Attract Downy Woodpeckers to your backyard with their favorite treat of suet, but they will also eat black oil sunflower seeds, millet, and peanuts on platform feeders.

29. Mountain Chickadee

mountain chickadee

Mountain Chickadees are residents of Utah all year. They do not migrate and occur in around 7% of summer and winter checklists.

Mountain Chickadees are tiny birds with black-and-white heads and gray over the body, darker on the back and light gray underneath.

  • Poecile gambeli
  • Length: 4.3-5.5 in (11-14 cm)
  • Weight: 0.4 oz (11 g)

Mountain Chickadees live in the mountains west of the US all year and do not migrate but may move down the mountain to lower areas in winter.

You can find Mountain Chickadees in evergreen forests, especially those with pine and conifers.  They eat insects and spiders, nuts, and seeds and will often visit backyard feeders. Mountain Chickadees will often stash food for later and create a store of food.

Credit: Richard E. Webster, XC619853. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/619853.

Attract Mountain Chickadees to your yard by putting up nest boxes, and they will visit most types of feeders with black oil sunflower seeds, mealworms, nyjer, suet, and peanut butter.

30. Red-breasted Nuthatch

Red-breasted Nuthatch

Red-breasted Nuthatches can be found all year in Utah and appear in 5% of summer and winter checklists for the state.

Red-breasted Nuthatches are blue-gray birds with black and white stripes on their heads and a rusty underside.

  • Sitta canadensis
  • Length: 4.3 in (11 cm)
  • Weight: 0.3-0.5 oz (8-13 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.1-7.9 in (18-20 cm)

Red-breasted Nuthatches remain all year in northeastern and western states, Alaska and Canada but may move south in winter if cone crops are poor.

You can find Red-breasted Nuthatches in coniferous woods foraging for cones, and they also visit backyard feeders.

Red-breasted Nuthatch Call:

Credit: Christopher McPherson, XC599843. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/599843.

Attract Red-breasted Nuthatches to your backyard with black oil sunflower seeds, suet feeders, peanuts, and mealworms.

31. Bullock’s Oriole

Bullocks Oriole
Male
bullocks oriole female
Female

Bullock’s Orioles spend the breeding season in Utah and appear in 17% of summer checklists. They are mostly seen from April to September, but some remain until February.

Bullock’s Orioles males are bright orange with black and white wings and black markings on their heads.

Females and immature are duller with gray backs and yellow heads, tails, and chests.

  • Icterus bullockii
  • Length: 6.7-7.5 in (17-19 cm)
  • Weight: 1.0-1.5 oz (29-43 g)
  • Wingspan: 12.2 in (31 cm)

Bullock’s Orioles breed in the western half of the US and spend the winter in Mexico.

You can find Bullock’s Orioles in open woodlands and parks foraging for insects, fruit, and nectar.

Bullock’s Oriole sounds: They make a series of cheeps and whistles that last a few seconds.

Attract Bullock’s Orioles to your backyard with sugar water, jelly and fruit.

Common Birds at Different Times of Year in Utah

The birds that are attracted to backyards in Utah change throughout the year.  The lists below show the backyard birds that are most commonly seen at different times of the year in Utah according to ebird.org

Notable differences show that Yellow Warblers, Western Kingbirds and Black-chinned Hummingbirds are more common in summer and Dark-eyed Juncos, Black-billed Magpies, and Northern Flickers are more common in winter.

Common birds in Utah all year

American Robin 36%
House Finch 31%
European Starling 30%
Black-billed Magpie 28%
Dark-eyed Junco 25%
House Sparrow 22%
Mourning Dove 21%
Black-capped Chickadee 21%
Red-winged Blackbird 21%
Northern Flicker 21%

Summer birds Utah

American Robin 50%
Mourning Dove 34%
House Finch 27%
Barn Swallow 25%
Yellow Warbler 24%
Western Kingbird 23%
Black-chinned Hummingbird 21%
European Starling 20%
Song Sparrow 20%
House Sparrow 19%

Winter birds Utah

Dark-eyed Junco 45.79%
European Starling 36.39%
House Finch 34.74%
Black-billed Magpie 34.66%
Northern Flicker 28.00%
American Robin 27.85%
Black-capped Chickadee 26.25%
House Sparrow 26.23%
Eurasian Collared-Dove 22.14%
Song Sparrow 21.26%

Best Bird Feeders to Attract Birds in Utah

A variety of different bird feeders will attract the most species of birds

  1.  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.
  2. Ground Feeders or a tray below a Tube Feeder with Black oil sunflowers tube feeders attract Cardinals, Jays, Finches, and Sparrows.
  3. Platform feeders with Millet or Corn attract small and medium-sized birds such as sparrows, Blackbirds, Towhees, Juncos, Doves, Grackles, and Starlings.
  4. Peanut feeders attract Woodpeckers, Chickadees, Nuthatches, Titmice, Jays, Juncos, Finches, and Sparrows.
  5. Suet Feeders are great, especially in winter, for Woodpeckers, Cardinals, Nuthatches, Kinglets, Wrens, and Chickadees.
  6. Hummingbird feeders attract these tiny fascinating birds but they also attract other birds too.

How to Attract Birds to Your Yard in Utah

If you would like to attract more birds to your yard in Utah, there are some tips:

  1. Provide bird feeders for different types of birds to get the most species to visit your yard.
  2. Provide a water feature such as a birdbath fountain or stream.  Ensure that the water is clean and not stagnant
  3.  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.
  4. Let your grass grow long to provide cover and seeds.
  5. Leave a brush pile to provide food, protection, and nesting opportunities for birds.
  6. 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.
  7. Set up nest boxes to attract breeding birds and ensure they are cleaned every year.

How to Identify Birds in Utah

Here are some tips to help you identify birds:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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?
  5. Habitat – Woodlands, parks, shrubs, grasslands or meadows, shore or marsh.
  6. Use a bird identification app such as those created by ebird or Audubon

Best Birding Sites in Utah

If you decide to venture out and go birding in Utah, these are the top sites that give great bird watching opportunities in Utah:

  1. Fish Springs National Wildlife Refuge Utah, is a remote refuge of nearly 18,000 acres. The natural springs create a vast area of wetlands that attract White Pelicans, Sandhill Crane, Bald Eagles, Golden Eagles, Osprey, and vast numbers of waterfowl.
  2. Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge Utah is a waterbird delight with more than 74,000 acres of marsh and upland habitats in a desert climate. There is a 12-mile auto tour loop and, more than 200 species of birds can be found here, especially between March and November. 55,000 American White Pelicans nest on Great Salt Lakes’s Gunnison Island.
  3. Antelope Island State Park Utah, is the stopping point for millions of migrating birds in late summer and early fall, including the spectacle of seeing hundreds of thousands of Eared Grebes and Wilson’s Phalarope feeding. Waterfowl, wading birds, and shorebirds in vast numbers flock to this state park.
  4. Ouray National Wildlife Refuge Utah in northeastern Utah stretches along 16 miles of the Green River providing a refuge in this desert environment. In the wetlands, there are Grebe, White Pelicans, Snowy Egret, Avocet plus many more wetland birds.  The grassland and woodland provide shelter for Wild Turkey, Osprey, Great Horned Owl, Black-chinned Hummingbirds, Lewis’s Woodpeckers, and Sandhill Crane.
  5. Zion National Park Utah is home to California Condors whose numbers have increased thanks to conservation efforts. The spectacular scenery of the main canyon holds Peregrine Falcons, whose numbers have also increased.  Spotted Owl also call this home in the wooded canyons.

Birds to Spot if Out Birding in Utah

If you go out Birding in Utah, these are other birds that are common to spot:

  1. Mallard
  2. Common Raven
  3. Canada Goose
  4. Red-tailed Hawk
  5. American Coot
  6. American Kestrel
  7. Killdeer
  8. California Gull
  9. Great Blue Heron
  10. Ring-billed Gull
  11. Northern Harrier
  12. Turkey Vulture
  13. Gadwall
  14. Northern Shoveler
  15. Pied-billed Grebe
  16. American Avocet
  17. American White Pelican
  18. California Quail
  19. Double-crested Cormorant
  20. White-faced Ibis
  21. Sandhill Crane
  22. Osprey
  23. California Condor
  24. Bald Eagles
  25. Golden Eagles