Have you wondered what those birds are that are visiting your backyard in Washington? Do you need help identifying common backyard birds in Washington?
There is a great joy in putting up bird feeders and watching what comes to visit, but it gets better if you know who they are. Well, now you can find out the most common birds in Washington that visit feeders or hop across your lawn.
So if you’re ready to do some backyard birding in Washington, 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 Washington to help you identify and keep track of the birds that visit your backyard.
Top 28 backyard birds in Washington
- American Robin
- Song Sparrow
- American Crow
- Spotted Towhee
- American Goldfinch
- Black-capped Chickadee
- Barn Swallow
- Dark-eyed Junco
- European Starling
- Northern Flicker
- White-crowned Sparrow
- House Finch
- Cedar Waxwing
- Swainson’s Thrush
- Red-winged Blackbird
- Anna’s Hummingbird
- Rufous Hummingbird
- Chestnut-backed Chickadee
- Steller’s Jay
- Red-breasted nuthatch
- House Sparrow
- Yellow-rumped Warbler
- Pine Siskin
- Golden-crowned Kinglet
- Golden-crowned Sparrow
- Downy Woodpecker
- Mourning Dove
- Ruby-crowned Kinglet
These are the backyard birds most often seen in Washington that may visit your lawn or feeders. They are the birds that appear most frequently on state checklists on ebird. The data combines birds most commonly spotted in Washington in summer (June and July) and winter (December and January).
Birds that are not often seen at feeders or backyards were removed to give you the birds in Washington you are most likely to see from home.
This data mix ensures that whatever time of year you are bird-watching in Washington, these are the birds you will most likely spot at feeders or on your lawn.
Birds in Washington
The American Goldfinch is the state bird of Washington. This bird was voted in by school children in 1951 after there were 2 state birds previously selected. Previously, school children chose the meadowlark in 1929, but as it was already so popular with other states, a new choice was made. The goldfinch was selected in 1931 by Washington’s Federation of Women Clubs, so then there were two birds.
There are 511 species of bird recorded in Washington, according to ebird. Some of the highlight birds in Washington are Great Blue Heron, Bald Eagle, Double-crested Cormorant, Belted Kingfisher, Osprey, Turkey Vulture, Short-eared Owl, Tufted Puffin, Western Tanager, Harlequin Ducks, Brown Pelicans, Sandhill Crane.
The biggest bird in Washington 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 most common bird in Washington is the American Robin, which is seen in 45% of recorded checklists for the state on ebird throughout the year.
Washington has 3 national parks, 5 national forests, 23 national wildlife refuges, and 100 state parks that offer excellent bird watching opportunities if you want to get out and watch birds in their natural environment.
Read to the end of this article to find out more about the other birds you may be able to spot if you go out birding in Washington and how to attract and identify birds.
Common Birds at Different Times of Year in Washington
The birds that are attracted to backyards in Washington change throughout the year.
Notable differences show that American Goldfinches and Barn Swallows are more common in summer and Dark-eyed Juncos and Anna’s Hummingbirds are more common in winter.
Free Printable Backyard Birds Worksheet for Washington
These free bird identification worksheets have all the common backyard birds in Washington 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 bird tally of the total number of birds.
Top 28 backyard birds in Washington
1. American Robin
American Robins are a common sight on lawns eating earthworms. They have black heads and back with red or orange breasts. They tend to roost in trees in winter, so you are more likely to see them in your backyard from spring.
American Robins are 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.
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 usually 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.
3. 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.
4. Spotted Towhee
Spotted Towhees are large sparrows that are black on the head, throat, and back in the males and brown in the females. Both males and females have reddish-brown sides and white bellies and white spots on the wings and back. They have long tails and are about the size of a Robin.
Spotted Towhees can be found on the ground in dense tangles of shrubs scratching around for insects, including beetles, crickets, grasshoppers, caterpillars, wasps, and bees. They also eat acorns, berries, and seeds.
They are resident on the Pacific coast but migrate from northern central states after breeding and appear in winter in a swath from north to south across all central states.
You can attract more Spotted Towhees to your yard if you leave overgrown borders and they will visit platform feeders or ground feeders for Black Oil Sunflower seeds, Hulled Sunflower seeds, Cracked Corn, Millet, and Milo.
5. 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.
6. Black-capped Chickadee
The Black-capped Chickadee is a cute bird with a big round head and tiny body. These birds will happily feed at backyard feeders and will investigate everything, including you!
They have black caps and beaks, white cheeks, and are gray on the back, wings, and tail.
They can be found in forests, open woods, parks. Black-capped Chickadees eat seeds, berries and insects, spiders, and suet.
To attract more Black-capped Chickadees to your backyard, try suet, sunflower seeds, and peanuts or peanut butter. They will even feed on 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.
7. 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 artificial structures such as in barns.
You can attract more Barn Swallows by putting up nest boxes or cups and may eat ground-up eggshells on a platform feeder.
8. 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. Some remain resident all year in the west and the Appalachian Mountains. Those that breed in Canada and Alaska migrate south in winter to the United States.
You can attract more Dark-eyed Juncos to backyard feeders with a variety of seeds such as black oil sunflower seeds, nyjer, cracked corn, millet, and peanuts. Platform feeders or scattered on the ground are best.
9. 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.
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 in flocks.
Starlings eat insects, including beetles, flies, caterpillars, earthworms, and spiders predominantly. They also eat fruit, including cherries, holly berries, mulberries, Virginia Creeper, sumac, blackberries, and grains and seeds.
You can attract more European Starlings to your backyard feeders with black oil sunflower seeds, suet, cracked corn, and peanuts.
10. 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.
11. White-crowned Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrows are large grayish sparrows with long tails and small bills and bold black and white stripes on their heads.
They breed in Alaska and arctic Canada before heading south other much of the lower 48 and Mexico for winter. Some may remain all year over a small area along the Pacific Coast and west.
White-crowned Sparrows can be found in weedy fields, along roadsides, forest edges, and in yards foraging for seeds of weeds and grasses or fruit such as elderberries and blackberries.
You can attract more White-crowned Sparrows to your backyard with sunflower seeds and many types of seeds that are dropped by other birds at the feeders.
12. 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.
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 a surprising number of red birds in Washington that you can spot.
13. Cedar Waxwing
Cedar Waxwings are elegant social birds that are pale brown on the head, chest, and crest, which fades to gray on the back and wings and tail. Their belly is pale yellow and there is bright yellow on the tip. They have a narrow black mask over their eyes and bright red on the wingtips.
They are resident all year in northern states and in the winter in the south. They make a high-pitched call and can be found in berry bushes, in woodlands, and along streams.
To attract Cedar Waxwings to your backyard, plant native trees and shrubs with small fruit such as serviceberry, dogwood, juniper, winterberry, and hawthorn. You can also try fruit on platform feeders.
14. Swainson’s Thrush
Swainson’s Thrushes are medium-sized thrushes that are pale underneath with spotted chests and brown on the back.
Swainson’s Thrushes can be found in forests foraging along the floor in leaf litter for insects in the breeding season and predominantly red fruits such as blackberries, raspberries, huckleberries, and sumac. Ants also make up part of their diet and other insects will be fed to nestlings.
Usually only seen during migration, during spring and fall, in the lower 48, Swainson’s Thrushes breed in Canada and Alaska before heading into Central and South America for winter.
You can attract more Swainson’s Thrushes to your backyard with ground-level birdbaths and by providing tree and shrub cover.
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 streaky brown coloring.
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. Anna’s Hummingbird
Anna’s Hummingbirds are tiny birds that are primarily green and gray. The male’s head and throat are iridescent reddish-pink. The female’s throat is grayish with bits of red spotting.
Unusually Anna’s Hummingbirds do not migrate and are the most common hummingbird along the Pacific Coast. They make a dramatic dive display during courtship as the males climb up to 130 feet into the air before diving back to the ground with a burst of noise from their tail feathers.
They can be found near large colorful blossoms during the spring and readily visit hummingbirds feeders that you can fill with homemade hummingbird food and they may visit feeders all year.
17. Rufous Hummingbird
Rufous Hummingbirds are bright orange on the back and belly, a white patch below the throat, and an iridescent red throat in the males. The females are greenish-brown on the back and rusty colored on the sides with a whitish belly.
After breeding in northwest Alaska and Canada, Rufous Hummingbirds migrate down to Mexico and the Gulf Coast. They migrate north along the Pacific Coast in spring and the Rocky Mountains in late summer and fall. During migration, they can be found in mountain meadows and in winter, they live in woods and forests.
Rufous Hummingbirds feed mostly on nectar from colorful tubular flowers and from insects such as gnats, midges, and flies. They build a nest high up in trees using soft plant down and spider webs to hold it together.
They are very aggressive and chase off any other hummingbirds that may appear, even larger hummingbirds or resident ones during migration. They are one of the longest migrating birds relative to their size.
To attract Rufous Hummingbirds to your yard, hang hummingbird feeders filled with sugar water nectar and plant colorful tubular flowers. However, during migration, they won’t hang around long and will chase off most other hummingbirds even a chance.
18. Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Chestnut-backed Chickadees are tiny birds with black and white heads, rich chestnut on the back, and gray wings and belly.
They live flocks in wet evergreen forests along the Pacific Coast and are regular visitors to backyard feeders. Insects including caterpillars, spiders, wasps, and aphids make up most of their diet, with seeds, berries, and fruit making up the rest.
You can attract Chestnut-backed Chickadees to your yard with black-oil sunflower seeds, suet, nyjer, peanuts, or mealworms in tube feeders, platform feeders, or suet cages. They will also use nest boxes.
19. Steller’s Jay
Steller’s Jays are large songbirds with black triangular crests that stick up from their heads. The rest of their heads and onto their chests and back are black, with the rest of their bodies being blue.
They can be found in evergreen forests in the mountains and they will also be found around picnic tables, campgrounds, and backyard feeders. They make nests out of the mud.
Stellar’s Jays eat most things they can forage for, including insects, seeds, nuts, berries, eggs, and nestlings, but also making a nuisance of themselves around garbage and your unguarded picnic!
Stellar’s Jays can be attracted to your backyard with peanuts and suet.
20. Red-breasted nuthatch
Red-breasted Nuthatches remain all year in northeastern and western states, Alaska and Canada but may move south across all of North America in winter if cone crops are poor.
They are blue-gray birds with black and white stripes on the head and a rusty underside.
Red-breasted Nuthatches can be found in coniferous woods foraging for cones and they do visit backyard feeders.
You can attract more Red-breasted Nuthatches to your backyard with black oil sunflower seeds, suet feeders, peanuts, and mealworms.
21. 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 they will eat out of your hand.
They can be considered a pest as they are non-native but will be found in backyards even if you do not feed them. 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.
You can attract more House Sparrows to your backyard feeders with most kinds of birdseed, including millet, corn, and sunflower seeds.
22. Yellow-rumped Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warblers are gray with flashes of yellow on the face, sides, and rump and white in the wings. Females may be slightly brown and winter birds are paler brown with bright yellow rumps and sides turning bright yellow and gray again in spring.
After breeding predominantly in Canada, they migrate in large numbers south across most of southern and central North America and the Pacific Coast and throughout Mexico and Central America.
You can attract Yellow-rumped Warblers to your backyard with sunflower seeds, suet, raisins, and peanut butter.
23. Pine Siskin
Pine Siskins are small finches that are streaked brown with yellow streaks in the wing and tail. They have a forked tail and pointed wings, with a short pointed bill.
Pine Siskins breed in Canada and can overwinter in most of the U.S, but their migration depends on pine cone crops, so some years they may not migrate. Some birds remain all year in pine forests of the west.
As their name suggests, Pine Siskins predominantly eat seeds from conifers, but they also eat young buds and seeds from grasses and weeds.
Pine Siskins can be attracted to backyards with thistle and nyjer feeders but also black oil sunflower seeds and suet.
24. Golden-crowned Kinglet
Golden-crowned Kinglets are tiny songbirds with a bright orange crown patch that can be lifted and flashed when excited. Their bodies are olive on the back and pale underneath and with a black-and-white striped face and a white wingbar.
Golden-crowned Kinglets that breed in Canada move south across all of the U.S. Some stay all year in the Appalachians and the mountainous West or Pacific Coast all the way up to Alaska stay all year.
They can be found in many habitats from forests, parks, backyards and old fields, swamps, and cities. Golden-crowned Kinglets’ diet is mainly insects and in winter, they also eat seeds and are often hidden in dense coniferous needles.
To attract Golden-crowned Kinglets, plant native plants that encourage lots of insects and suet feeders.
25. Golden-crowned Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrows are grayish-brown underneath and streaked brown on the back. Their heads have a black crown and a bright-yellow forehead. In winter, the colors are duller with brown on the crown and the yellow forehead is also duller.
They breed in Alaska and far western Canada before migrating to the West Coast for winter. In winter, they can be found in weedy fields scratching for seeds such as dock, sumac, and geranium and they also eat fruit such as apple, grape, elderberry, and olives. Insects also make up some of their diets, such as ants, beetles, butterflies, and termites.
You can attract more Golden-crowned Sparrows to your backyard with seeds in ground feeders or plant native plants that fruit.
26. 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, and 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.
27. 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.
28. Ruby-crowned Kinglet
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, but great if you do.
They breed across Canada and the western mountains before migrating to southern and southwestern states and Mexico for the winter. They can also be seen during migration when they are widespread.
Ruby-crowned Kinglets can be hard to spot and they are fast-moving quiet birds that flit around in the foliage on lower branches of shrubs and trees looking for spiders and insects.
They come to suet feeders or platform feeders for hulled sunflower seeds, peanut hearts, and mealworms.
Common Birds in Washington in Different Seasons
Common birds in Washington all year
American Robin 45%
Song Sparrow 43%
American Crow 36%
Dark-eyed Junco 36%
Black-capped Chickadee 35%
Northern Flicker 32%
Spotted Towhee 31%
European Starling 30%
House Finch 25%
Red-winged Blackbird 22%
Summer birds Washington
American Robin 59%
Song Sparrow 43%
American Crow 35%
Spotted Towhee 33%
American Goldfinch 32%
Black-capped Chickadee 31%
Barn Swallow 30%
Dark-eyed Junco 29%
European Starling 28%
Northern Flicker 27%
Winter birds Washington
Song Sparrow 45%
Dark-eyed Junco 43%
Black-capped Chickadee 37%
American Crow 35%
Northern Flicker 32%
American Robin 30%
Spotted Towhee 30%
European Starling 28%
House Finch 24%
Anna’s Hummingbird 22%
Best Bird Feeders to Attract Birds in Washington
A variety of different bird feeders will attract the most species of birds
- Tube Feeders can be filled with different types of birdseed and depending on the seed different birds will be attracted. Black oil sunflower seeds attract Goldfinches, Chickadees, Woodpeckers, Nuthatches, and Pine Siskins.
- Ground Feeders or a tray below a Tube Feeder with Black oil sunflowers tube feeders attract Cardinals, Jays, Finches, and Sparrows.
- Platform feeders with Millet or Corn attract small and medium-sized birds such as sparrows, Blackbirds, Towhees, Juncos, Doves, Grackles, and Starlings.
- Peanut feeders attract Woodpeckers, Chickadees, Nuthatches, Titmice, Jays, Juncos, Finches, and Sparrows.
- Suet Feeders are great, especially in winter, for Woodpeckers, Cardinals, Nuthatches, Kinglets, Wrens, and Chickadees.
- Hummingbird feeders attract these tiny fascinating birds but they also attract other birds too.
How to Attract Birds to Your Yard in Washington
If you would like to attract more birds to your yard in Washington, 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 in Washington
Here are some tips to help you identify birds:
- Size – Size is the easiest thing to notice about a bird. Birds are often measured in inches or centimeters in guide books. It’s best to take a note of the bird in terms of small, medium, or large to be able to look for it later. A small bird is about the size of a sparrow, a medium bird is about the size of a pigeon and a large bird is the size of a goose.
- Shape – Take note of the silhouette of the bird and jot it down or draw the outline. Look at tail length, bill shape, wing shape, and overall body shape.
- Color pattern – Take a note of the main color of the head, back, belly, and wings, and tail for the main color and then any secondary colors or patterns. Also take note of any patterns such as banding, spots, or highlights.
- Behavior – Are they on the ground or high up in the trees. Are they in flocks or on their own? Can you spot what they are eating?
- Habitat – Woodlands, parks, shrubs, grasslands or meadows, shore or marsh.
- Use a bird identification app such as those created by ebird or Audubon
Birds to Spot if Out Birding in Washington
If you go out Birding in Washington, these are other birds that you may be able to spot:
- Canada Goose
- Great Blue Heron
- Bald Eagle
- Glaucous-winged Gull
- Red-tailed Hawk
- Double-crested Cormorant
- Common Raven
- Violet-green Swallow
- Belted Kingfisher
- Green-winged Teal
- Pied-billed Grebe
- Common Goldeneye
- Northern Harrier
- Northern Shoveler
- Americal Kestrel
- California Quail
- Pelagic Cormorant
- Turkey Vulture
- Gray-crowned Rosy-finch
- White-tailed Ptarmigan
- Short-eared Owl
- Tufted Puffin
- Western Tanager
- Harlequin Ducks
- Brown Pelicans
- Sandhill Crane