Sunday, December 5, 2021

Red, Orange, & Yellow Birds of Oregon

Did you see a brightly-colored red bird, orange bird, or yellow bird in Oregon and wonder what is was?

This page is for you!

This article shows you photos and identification of some of the most common birds in Oregon based on color.

The list of birds found in Oregon includes over 550 species. So, I can't show you all of them. I'm going to assume that you saw a common bird of this color, but you certainly could have seen something less common, or even rare!

Shape (including the shape of the bill) and size are often more helpful in starting to identify a bird than the color. In fact, most birds in North American can be easily identified with a black-and-white photo!

Many birds are multi-colored, so that it may be hard to pick out a dominant color. Males and females may be colored quite differently. And some color patterns are similar among otherwise dissimilar species.

Nevertheless, I'm going to try to pick out some of the birds that you are most likely to see in backyards or towns. And I'll show a few others that I get asked about a lot.


The birds with a noticeable amount of red on them in Oregon covered in this article are:

  • American Robin
  • Anna's Hummingbird
  • House Finch
  • Purple Finch
  • Red-breasted Sapsucker
  • Red Crossbill


The birds with a noticeable amount of orange on them in Oregon covered in this article are:

  • Barn Swallow
  • Spotted Towhee
  • Northern Flicker
  • Red-breasted Nuthatch
  • Chestnut-backed Chickadee
  • Black-headed Grosbeak
  • American Kestrel
  • Varied Thrush
  • Rufous Hummingbird
  • Ruddy Duck
  • Cinnamon Teal
  • Cooper's Hawk
  • Bullock's Oriole


The birds with a noticeable amount of yellow on them, including lots of yellow and black birds, in Oregon covered in this article are:

  • Yellow-rumped Warbler
  • Lesser Goldfinch
  • American Goldfinch
  • Western Tanager
  • Cedar Waxwing
  • Pine Siskin
  • Common Yellowthroat
  • Western Meadowlark
  • Wilson's Warbler
  • Yellow Warbler
  • Townsend's Warbler
  • Evening Grosbeak
  • MacGillivray's Warbler
  • Western Kingbird


Red birds of Oregon


Birds get the red, orange, and yellow in their feathers from carotenoids in the fruit, seeds, and plants they eat (source). 

These carotenoid colors combine with melanin to form an infinite range of red feathers--pink, rusty, scarlet, violet, red-orange.

The following are red birds that you are most likely to see in Oregon.



American Robin

These are familiar lawn birds with red breasts. 


Photo of American Robin on lawn.
American Robin. Greg Gillson.


Male American Robins are brownish-gray above with a brick red breast. Females are paler orange below and paler gray above.

They are widespread in open country with scattered deciduous trees, residential areas.

American Robins are year-round residents throughout Oregon.


Anna's Hummingbird

These are larger hummingbirds with red heads that don't migrate. 


Photo of Anna's Hummingbird on shrub.
Male Anna's Hummingbird. Greg Gillson.


These are big green hummingbirds. Adult males have the entire head red--forecrown and throat, actually. The color of the iridescent feathers is amethyst, a bright reddish purple color, tending towards pink. 

Young males have just a spot of red on the center of the throat.

Females lack red, but often show a spot of iridescent green feathers on the center of the white throat. The upper breast is gray. The lower belly and flanks have a greenish tinge. Many other western hummingbird species have cinnamon color under the tail.

They are common in flower gardens and hummingbird feeders year-round.

Anna's Hummingbirds are year-round residents in the western half of Oregon, summer residents in south-central Oregon. 


House Finch

When people ask about a bird with a red head at their feeder, it is usually this bird.


Photo of House Finch in tree top
Male House Finch. Greg Gillson.


Males of this dusty brown striped finch have red limited to the head (specifically the forehead and eyebrow), breast (chest), and rump. The red coloration tends toward orangish, and may rarely be yellowish.

Females are streaked, similar to the males but without red. They lack any strong pattern on the face and head.

Note the small round head and curved upper ridge on the bill.

Some people call these red-headed sparrows. Sparrows and finches are similar, but in general, male finches are brighter than the females and tend to hang out more in trees. Sparrow genders are usually quite similar in coloration and tend to feed mostly on the ground. 

These birds are common in residential areas, especially at bird feeders. In the West more widespread in arid regions near water.

House Finches are year-round residents throughout Oregon. 


Purple Finch

Forest finches of the foothills, delicately frosted in pinkish-red.


Photo of Purple Finch on twig
Male Purple Finch. Greg Gillson.


Told from more common House Finch by bigger square or peaked head, bigger bill, lacks sharp striping below, deeply notched tail. Red covers all plumage. 

Females lack red color, shows strongly patterned dark ear patch outlined all around with a pale stripe, is heavily streaked below.

Found in foothills and damp mountains conifers and mixed woods. Visit feeders, but less frequently than House Finches.

Purple Finches are year-round residents in western Oregon, summer residents in mountains in eastern Oregon.


Red-breasted Sapsucker

If you see a "red-headed woodpecker" in the West, it is likely this common species.


Photo of Red-breasted Sapsucker on branch.
Red-breasted Sapsucker. Greg Gillson.


The red covers the entire head and upper breast. Northern populations are deeper red; those in California paler, often with white line down neck from bill. The bold white wedge in the wing is typical of all sapsuckers.

They live in mixed woods and mountain forests. Visit orchards, parks in winter.

Red-breasted Sapsuckers are year-round residents in western Oregon.


Red Crossbill

These red finches use their uniquely crossed bills to pry seeds from cones.


Photo of Red Crossbill on branch
Red Crossbill. Greg Gillson.


Males are deep red with blackish wings and forked tail. 

Females more yellowish-green.

Always found in conifers, frequently in the mountains. Much variation in bill size. Smaller-billed populations feed on small spruce and fir cones. Larger-billed populations feed on large hard pine cones.

Red Crossbills are year-round residents throughout most of Oregon, winter visitors only in southeastern Oregon.



Orange birds of Oregon


True orange-colored birds are not that common. Many birds that I have here are paler rusty.

The common pattern is an orange body and black or brown wings and tail. Another common pattern is for the orange to be restricted to the under parts.

The following are orange birds that you are most likely to see in Oregon.



Barn Swallow

These orange-bellied birds are a familiar sight across North America in summer.


Photo of Barn Swallows on wooden railing.
Barn Swallow. Greg Gillson.


These birds are purple-blue above with orange under parts and long forked tails. The color of the underparts in winter or on females are often cinnamon or buff-colored, but breeding males can be brighter orange-red.

These birds swoop low over fields and wetlands at lower elevations. They may build their mud nests in rafters on porches, garages, or other out-buildings.

Barn Swallows are summer residents throughout Oregon. 


Spotted Towhee

These big sparrows with red sides superficially resemble the coloration of robins. 


Photo of Spotted Towhee in pine tree sapling
Spotted Towhee. Greg Gillson.


These birds have dark hoods and upper parts with rusty rufous-red sides and white bellies. They have white spots over their wings, shoulders, and on their tail corners. The upper parts of the males are jet black, females dark brown. Some populations have paler orange sides.

These are somewhat shy birds that hide in the dense brush and spend most of their time on the ground. They visit feeders during quiet periods.

Spotted Towhees are year-round residents throughout most of Oregon. 


Northern Flicker

These unusual woodpeckers with orange under wings are just as likely to be found hopping on your lawn eating ants as they are to be calling from a dead tree top.


Photo of Northern Flicker on a stump.
Northern Flicker. Greg Gillson.


Where is the orange color? 

Wait for it...


Photo of Northern Flicker in flight.
Northern Flicker. Greg Gillson.


The shafts and undersides of the wing and tail feathers are a salmon orange color. A large white rump patch also attracts attention as these birds fly away.

Northern Flickers live in open woods, residential areas. Sometimes visit feeders in winter.

Northern Flickers are year-round residents throughout Oregon. 


Red-breasted Nuthatch

These active little red-breasted birds crawls all around on the trunk and big branches of conifers. They search crevices in the bark for insect food.


Photo of a Red-breasted Nuthatch on a stick
Red-breasted Nuthatch. Greg Gillson.


These tiny birds have blue-gray backs and a black line through a white face. Some males can have quite bright rusty red under parts. Some females can have quite pale buff-colored under parts. Most birds show an orange-cinnamon breast color.

Found nearly exclusively in conifers. Readily come to feeders.

Red-breasted Nuthatches are year-round residents in western Oregon and mountains of northeastern Oregon, winter visitors throughout. 


Chestnut-backed Chickadee

These chickadees show brownish-orange coloration on the body.


Photo of Chestnut-backed Chickadee in pine tree
Chestnut-backed Chickadee. Greg Gillson.


These small birds are gray with white face, black bib, and brown cap. They show a chestnut-brown back. 

Birds in the north show brown-orange sides, which birds in the San Francisco area lack.

They are found in coniferous and mixed woods, often in foothills. Readily visit feeders.

Chestnut-backed Chickadees are year-round residents in western Oregon and mountains of northeastern Oregon.


Black-headed Grosbeak

If you didn't look closely at these big-billed birds, you might mistake these orange-breasted songsters for American Robins--their coloration and song are very similar!


Photo of Black-headed Grosbeak on stump.
Male Black-headed Grosbeak. Greg Gillson.


Males have black and white wings and tail. Huge bill. The under parts are burnt orange, fading to yellow-orange mid-belly. 

Females and first year birds have a striped heads and are brown above, pale buff or butterscotch-orange below. 

These birds are found in deciduous or mixed woods. Visit bird feeders.

Black-headed Grosbeaks are summer residents throughout Oregon.


American Kestrel

These are the familiar small rusty-orange falcons sitting on power lines on the edge of the highway, or hunting and hovering over the median strip.


Photo of American Kestrel on sign
Female American Kestrel. Greg Gillson.


Females are rusty orange barred with black on their back wings and tail. The under parts are buff with black spots. The head shows two facial stripes.

Males have blue-gray backs and rufous tail is unmarked except for black tail band.

These birds are found in open country, farms, pastures with perches.

American Kestrels are year-round residents throughout Oregon.


Varied Thrush

These birds of deep damp forests look like orange-breasted robins with black chest bands.


Photo of Varied Thrush on a stump
Varied Thrush. Greg Gillson.


These birds have slate upper parts and orange under parts. They have orange eyebrow stripe back from the eye, orange wing bars. They show a black band crossing the chest.

Females are somewhat paler than males.

These birds are found in the under story and fern-covered floor of deep wet conifer forests. Visit backyards when snow forces them down from the hills in winter.

Varied Thrushes are year-round residents in western Oregon and mountains of northeastern Oregon, winter visitors throughout (rare in southeastern Oregon).


Rufous Hummingbird

These are the common widespread hummingbirds of the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. These orange birds don't like to share the hummingbird feeder--frequent chases are the norm.


Photo of Rufous Hummingbird at feeder
Rufous Hummingbird. Greg Gillson.


Males are all-over rusty orange, tending to pinker cinnamon on the under parts. Even the back and rump and base of the tail feathers are orange. Males have a bright red throat gorget when the sunlight catches it just right.

Females are green above, with a small green or red spot in the center of the white throat. Flanks and sides cinnamon. Tail base orange.

These birds are found in forest edges, yards, in all but the highest mountains.

Rufous Hummingbirds are summer residents throughout Oregon.


Ruddy Duck

These small ducks are dark rusty-orange in spring.


Photo of Ruddy Duck swimming on lake
Ruddy Duck. Greg Gillson.


Males in breeding plumage (late winter and spring) are rusty, with a white face, and a blue bill. The long tail is often held sticking up. In winter they are brown, with white face, and dark bill.

Females all year are like winter males. Brown body, dark cap, dark line through eye of pale face. Dark bill.

These birds prefer weedy ponds to breed, but in winter may be found in deeper ponds in city parks.

Ruddy Ducks are year-round residents in south-central and southeastern Oregon, summer residents in northeastern Oregon, and winter visitors in western Oregon.


Cinnamon Teal

What an unusually colored brownish-orange duck!


Photo of Cinnamon Teal on pond
Male Cinnamon Teal. Greg Gillson.


Males are dark cinnamon orange. The wing patches are blue, green, and white. The eye is red. 

Females are more mottled brown with matching wing patches.

These birds are found in ponds and grass-lined ditches.

Cinnamon Teals are summer residents throughout Oregon.


Cooper's Hawk

These crow-sized hawks with reddish orange bars on the under parts may show up in fall or winter to hunt birds at your feeder. Oh no!


Photo of Cooper's Hawk on branch
Cooper's Hawk. Greg Gillson.


Adults with long gray and black banded tail. Dark gray above and cap on head. Under parts barred with rusty orange.

Immatures similar, brownish, streaked with brown on under parts.

Found in forests and woodlands, residential shade trees.

Cooper's Hawks are year-round residents throughout Oregon.


Bullock's Oriole

These bright orange and black birds are often seen in tall trees.


Photo of Bullock's Oriole in willows.
Male Bullock's Oriole. Greg Gillson.


The males of this species are very bright orange. The back and top of the heads are black. The black wings have large white wing patches. The tail is black with orange sides. The face is orange with a black line through the eye and a black throat.

Females and young are gray with yellow head and breast and tail.

These birds are more common in drier inland regions along watercourses in tall cottonwoods or shade trees. Rarely come to feeders for fruit or nectar in spring.

Bullock's Orioles are summer residents throughout Oregon, except absent along the coast.



Yellow birds of Oregon


Yellow is a common bird color! Often it is mixed with black and white plumage in birds.

Many birds with darker upper parts have yellow breast or belly.

The following are yellow birds you are most likely to see in Oregon.



Yellow-rumped Warbler

These are abundant warblers across North America. Affectionately called "butter butts" by many birders, because of their bright yellow rumps that flash in flight.


Photo of Yellow-rumped Warbler on weed stock
Male Audubon's Yellow-rumped Warbler. Greg Gillson.


Western form (Audubon's) with bright yellow throat and yellow rump. Large white wing patch.

Northern and Eastern form (Myrtle) with white throat, yellow rump, and two white wing bars.

Winter birds are dull gray brown, with bright yellow rump. Throat may be cream colored or white. Often difficult to tell the two forms apart in winter.


Photo of Yellow-rumped Warbler on tree
Winter Yellow-rumped Warbler. Greg Gillson.


Breed in mountain or boreal conifers. Widespread in migration. Winter in low river bottoms, open weedy deciduous areas. Rarely come to feeders in winter.

Yellow-rumped Warblers are summer residents in mountains of central and northeastern Oregon, winter visitors throughout. 


Lesser Goldfinch

Lesser Goldfinches maintain their bright yellow plumage all year--even in the winter when American Goldfinches are rather brown and colorless.


Photo of Lesser Goldfinch in willows
Male Lesser Goldfinch. Greg Gillson.


These tiny birds are bright yellow below (including under the tail), and green or black on the back. The wings and tail are black and white. Males have a black cap, which the females lack.

These birds are found near water in arid regions of the West and Southwest. They are common in residential areas, too, and come to bird feeders.

Lesser Goldfinches are year-round residents inland in western Oregon, summer residents in south central Oregon.


American Goldfinch

These small little birds are bright yellow and black.


Photo of American Goldfinch on twig
American Goldfinch. Greg Gillson.


Males are bright lemon yellow with black and white wings and tail, black cap. White under tail coverts. Pink bill.

Females are duller yellow below and brownish above. Lack black cap.

Winter birds are pale brown or gray, a touch of yellow on the throat of males.

These are birds of open country, fields with saplings, clear cuts, residential areas. They avoid dense forests, mountains, deserts. They visit feeders.

American Goldfinches are year-round residents in Oregon. 


Western Tanager

Numbers of these bright black and yellow birds may show up overnight in backyards in spring migration. Then they disappear the next night.


Photo of Western Tanager in bush.
Western Tanager. Greg Gillson.


Males are brilliant golden yellow with black back, wings, and tail, and a red or orange face. Swollen yellow bill.

Females are more green or gray, with darker wings and tail. Lack red face.

They are found in a variety of wooded habitats, usually conifers or mixed conifer woods, and residential areas with large trees, including mature conifers. Usually don't visit feeders.

Western Tanagers are summer residents in western Oregon and northeastern Oregon. 


Cedar Waxwing

These crested birds with yellow band on the end of the tail are often found in flocks. They eat flying insects in summer, fruit and berries the rest of the year.


Photo of Cedar Waxwing in tree
Cedar Waxwing. Greg Gillson.


These birds are fawn-brown above, with dark gray wings and tail. They have a black mask and wispy crest. The belly is yellow. The wings have waxy red drops on the end of the tertials. The end of the tail has a brilliant yellow tail band.

They are found in open habitats with berries, including juniper woodlands and towns in winter.

Cedar Waxwings are year-round residents throughout Oregon.


Pine Siskin

These small brown-streaked birds are relatives of the goldfinches. But you would never know it until they fly and sport yellow wing stripes and tail base. Usually in flocks.


Photo of Pine Siskins in bird bath
Pine Siskin. Greg Gillson.


These birds are streaked brown. In flight they have a yellow stripe down the length of the wing. The sides of the base of the tail is also yellow. Some birds are paler, some darker, others brighter yellow, others duller.

These birds are found in summer in northern conifer woods. Irregularly irrupt hundreds of miles southward. Frequent at feeders.

Pine Siskins are year-round residents in western and northeastern Oregon, winter vistors throughout.


Common Yellowthroat

These buttery yellow birds are abundant in the marsh vegetation.


Photo of Common Yellowthroat in maple
Male Common Yellowthroat. Greg Gillson.


These skulkers have bright yellow throats and yellow undertail coverts. Males have a black domino mask edged broadly in white, which females lack. Upperparts are dull olive-green.

Immature males in fall show a shadowed black mask.

Found in damp situations and heavy deciduous brambles following clear cuts.

Common Yellowthroats are summer residents throughout Oregon except in high mountains.


Western Meadowlark

These are streaky camouflaged prairie birds from above or from behind. But from the front, the breast is shocking yellow!


Photo of Western Meadowlark on a fence line
Western Meadowlark. Greg Gillson.


They are streaked brown, black, and gray on the upper parts. The underparts are golden yellow with a black necklace crossing the upper breast. Much paler yellow in fall and winter, as the yellow feathers are tipped with white and streaked with brown.

These are birds of pastures and grasslands and arid regions.

Western Meadowlarks are year-round residents throughout Oregon, summer residents only in far northeastern Oregon.


Wilson's Warbler

These bright yellow birds are very common, both on their summer territories and in migration.


Photo of Wilson's Warbler on branch
Male Wilson's Warbler. Greg Gillson.


These birds are bright yellow in the West, more greenish above in the East. Only males have the black cap.

Both genders have a beady black eye in the middle of the yellow face.

These birds live in damp understory, tangles, willows.

Wilson's Warblers are summer residents in western and northeastern Oregon, spring and fall migrants throughout.


Yellow Warbler

The golden yellow sun packed all into one little bird! Appears to be an all-yellow bird.


Photo of Yellow Warbler on branch
Yellow Warbler. Greg Gillson.


Some populations are bright yellow, some tend toward greenish on upper parts, some more golden. Yellow internal tail corners in flight.

Males with red breast streaking, again, variable by population.

Females somewhat to much paler yellow, some greenish, some whitish. Lack red streaks.

These birds are found in willow thickets on the edge of wetlands and ditches, stream sides in arid regions.

Yellow Warblers are summer residents throughout Oregon.


Townsend's Warbler

What beautiful woodland birds--yellow with striking black patterns on the head and face!


Photo of Townsend's Warbler on branch
Male Townsend's Warbler. Greg Gillson.


These little birds have yellow face and breast. Black crown, ear patch. Black throat on male, lacking on female. Back is green. Wings gray with two wide white wing bars. Show dark gray tail with white outer tail feathers in flight.

Breeds in conifer mountain forests. Winters in lowlands, oaks and conifers, residential trees.

Townsend's Warblers are summer residents in northern Cascade Mountains of western Oregon, and mountains of northeastern Oregon. Townsend's Warblers are winter visitors in western Oregon, spring and fall migrants throughout.


Evening Grosbeak

These large yellow northern finches are usually found in flocks.


Photo of Evening Grosbeaks at feeder
Evening Grosbeaks. Greg Gillson.


Males are brilliant yellow, with black and white wings. Dusky brown head with bold yellow eyebrow. Huge thick yellow-green bill. White wing patches in flight.

Females are grayer with yellow hind collar, black and white wings. Huge yellow-green bill.

These are birds of northern conifer forests. They often descend to the lowlands in spring to eat seeds of maples, elms.

Evening Grosbeaks are year-round residents in western and northeastern Oregon, winter visitors throughout.


MacGillivray's Warbler

These are yellow-bellied birds of brushy clear cuts.


Photo of MacGillivray's Warbler on branch
MacGillivray's Warbler. Greg Gillson.


These ground-loving birds have gray hoods with white eye arcs. Rest of upper parts green. Breast, belly, under tail bright yellow.

Females have slightly paler gray hood, but are otherwise similar to males.

These birds love brushy clear cuts, tangles, thick cover. They stay low.

MacGillivray's Warblers are summer residents in western and northern Oregon.


Western Kingbird

These yellow-bellied birds of the prairies often perch on power lines and fence lines.


Photo of Western Kingbird on a branch
Western Kingbird. Greg Gillson.


These birds are pale gray on the head and breast. Brown wings. The belly is lemon yellow. Black tail has white outer tail feathers, especially obvious in flight.

These are birds of prairies, deserts, pastures, often near water.

Western Kingbirds are summer residents in the eastern two-thirds of Oregon.




Related:

See photos and learn about the most common backyard birds in Oregon, regardless of color.

See photos and learn what to feed winter birds in Oregon. [Coming soon]

Here's a quick tutorial of how I would teach you to identify birds: 7 Steps to Identify Birds!

Birds with red heads in North America.

Yellow-and-black birds in North America.

Little Brown Birds at your Feeder.



Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Feeding winter birds in Alabama

 Are you planning on setting up a bird feeder and feeding winter birds in Alabama?

Are you looking for new ideas on what to feed birds this winter?

Do you wonder what birds come to feeders in Alabama in winter?

Wonderful! This article is for you!


This article tells why and how to set up a bird feeder in Alabama in the winter. I'll also show you photos of the common feeder birds in Alabama that you can look for at your own backyard feeder! I will give brief identification tips. I will tell you what foods and what type of feeders attract each species.



In this article
Why feed winter birds in Alabama?
What birds come to feeders in winter in Alabama?
Setting up a winter bird feeding station in Alabama
Related articles




Photo of bird feeder. Pixabay



Why feed winter birds in Alabama?


Winters are mild to cool and rainy in Alabama. It drops below freezing occasionally at night.

These milder temperatures mean that the birds do not really need us to feed them in order for them to survive.

However, the birds certainly will take advantage of any foods we offer.

And, at the southern edge of the United States, many birds spend the winter here that summer farther north. They will appreciate a steady supply of feed at your feeders over winter. Then they can fatten up before they migrate back north in the spring.

Birds are one of the best and easiest ways to connect with nature. This brings joy into your life. Seeing colorful and active birds on those dreary winter days will certainly cheer you up!

Bird watching at your feeders can be a social past-time, too. Many of your friends and neighbors no doubt feed birds in winter, or throughout the year.


What birds come to feeders in winter in Alabama?


Many of the birds that come to your feeder in winter are year-round residents. Once you learn these common birds at your feeder, you'll be able to immediately notice the more unusual visitors to your yard.

Of course, you can watch the birds at your feeder without learning their names. But learning a bird's name is the first step into getting to know them better.

If you are interested, I have written an article on the common backyard birds of Alabama--not just winter, and not just the birds that come to your feeder. I'll link to this resource again at the end of this article.

Here, then, are the birds that are most-likely to show up at your bird feeder in Alabama during the winter.



Northern Cardinal

These are well-known birds due to their bright red coloration, fairly large size, and perky crest.


Photo of Northern Cardinal on bird feeder
Northern Cardinal. GeorgeB2 from Pixabay.


These are year-round residents throughout the East and South.

Northern Cardinals are year-round residents throughout Alabama.

Larger than sparrows, but smaller than robins. Males are bright red, females brown. They have thick orange bills, black chin and throat, and obvious crests.

Northern Cardinals eat larger seeds, including sunflower seeds and safflower seeds from hopper and platform feeders, but often feed on the ground.


Mourning Dove

These birds are one of the most widespread in North America.


Photo of Mourning Dove on stump
Mourning Dove. Greg Gillson.


In summer they breed in open fields, farms, prairies, towns, across all of the United States and north into Canada. In winter they depart most of Canada and the northern Great Plains and higher elevations in the northern states.

Mourning Doves are year-round residents throughout Alabama.

These plump birds have a small round head and pointed tail. They are larger than most feeder birds, but not as large as a domestic pigeon.

Mourning Doves eat mixed seeds and grains. They prefer eating on the ground or from platform feeders.


Carolina Chickadee

This cute little bird is widespread throughout the southeastern United States in deciduous forests.


Photo of Carolina Chickadee at feeder
Carolina Chickadee
Image by George2 from Pixabay


Carolina Chickadees are year-round residents throughout Alabama. 

It gives a rapid chick-a-dee-dee-dee call and a whistled song fee-bee, fee-bay.

Gray back, wings, tail, and pale gray flanks. Black cap and throat contrasting with white face.

Carolina Chickadees like seeds, especially black oil sunflower seeds. They like suet, too. They eat from any kind of feeder.


Carolina Wren

This wren is a common resident in woodland tangles and backyards throughout the East. 


Photo of a Carolina Wren on a stump
Carolina Wren
Image by SOARnet from Pixabay


Carolina Chickadees are year-round residents throughout Alabama.

They sing all year, a loud musical teakettle, teakettle, teakettle or cheery cheery cheery. The call notes are loud and varied, including a chert call.

These have typical round wren bodies with short neck and long active tails. They are rich brown above, warm buffy below with a white throat and long white eyebrow strip back from the eye.

Carolina Wrens visit suet feeders.


Blue Jay

These are well-known birds, displayed in advertising and sports teams.


Photo of Blue Jay in a bird bath
Blue Jay. Skeeze from Pixabay.


They live year-round in deciduous woods with oaks or nuts through most of the United States east of the Rocky Mountains. In summer they also migrate north well into Canada.

Blue Jays are year-round residents throughout Alabama.

These are blue above, white below and on the face, with a black necklace across the throat wrapping behind the head. The blue crest is a distinguishing mark.

Blue Jays eat sunflower seeds. They love peanuts, too. They use hopper and platform feeders.


Tufted Titmouse

These plain birds are rather common at bird feeders in the East.


Photo of Tufted Titmouse on bird feeder
Tufted Titmouse. Anne773 from Pixabay.


These birds live year-round in deciduous woods east of the Great Plains in the United States.

Tufted Titmouses are year-round residents throughout Alabama.

Small, a bit larger than chickadees. They are plain gray with a bit of black feathers on their forehead. The crest is often inconspicuous.

Tufted Titmouses eat black oil sunflower seeds from hopper feeders. They are also fond of peanuts.


Red-bellied Woodpecker

These woodpeckers are fairly common at bird feeders in the East, especially where there are larger hardwood trees.


Photo of Red-bellied Woodpecker on tree trunk
Red-bellied Woodpecker. Skeeze from Pixabay.


These birds live year-round in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains and Great Plains.

Red-bellied Woodpeckers are year-round residents throughout Alabama.

These birds cling to tree trunks. They have finely barred black-and-white backs. The head and under parts are rather pale gray. Red feathers on the back of the neck reach the bill on males.

Red-bellied Woodpeckers love peanuts from platform feeders. They also eat sunflower seeds and suet.


Yellow-rumped Warbler

Watch your suet feeders or bushes with berries for these birds in winter.


Photo of Yellow-rumped Warbler on tree branch
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Photo by Greg Gillson


These abundant warblers nest in conifer and mixed forests across Alaska and Canada and in the mountains of the northeastern United States and the West. They winter along both Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the Unites States and across the southern states into Mexico. 

Yellow-rumped Warblers are winter visitors throughout Alabama.

In summer they are very bright. The upper parts are bluish and they have a black chest. They have a yellow crown patch. Western birds have a yellow throat and large white wing patch. Eastern birds have white throat and two white wing bars. 

In winter they are very dull. But, summer or winter, they flash white tail corners in flight and have a bright yellow rump.

They have a complicated slow warble ending in a trill. Their call note is a flat tchep.

While you may see Yellow-rumped Warblers crawling through leafy foliage gleaning insects, or flying out to snatch bugs out of the air, they will come to your feeder if you offer suet.


Eastern Bluebird

If you have some open farmlands adjacent to your home, you may attract Eastern Bluebirds to your backyard. If so, you'll want to set up some bird houses in summer.


Photo of Eastern Bluebird on bird house
Eastern Bluebird. Image by skeeze from Pixabay.


These birds are found in orchards adjacent to open fields and pastures. They may be found in open pine forests and parks. 

Eastern Bluebirds are year-round residents throughout Alabama.

Bluebirds are pudgy and a bit larger than House Finches or sparrows. They have a large head and short bill. The tail is rather short. They are blue above with rusty orange on the throat and across the breast.

Their call is a mellow rising chur-lee.

They hunt insects by perching quietly on a fence or low tree branch, then dropping on them on the ground. 

You can attract Eastern Bluebirds to your platform feeder by offering a dish of fruit, such as raisins, blueberries, cranberries, orange slices, and cherries. They also love mealworms. 

They love bird baths, too.


American Goldfinch

This bright yellow-and-black bird is a favorite summer bird. However, many people don't recognize these birds at their feeders in their dull brown winter plumage.


Photo of American Goldfinch on teasel
American Goldfinch. Greg Gillson.


Year-round residents across the northern half of the United States. In summer birds breed north well into Canada. In winter they move south throughout most of the U.S.

American Goldfinches are year-round residents in northern Alabama, winter visitors only in southern Alabama.

These are tiny birds with short forked black tails. Wings are black. Winter birds are dull brownish. In summer females are green while males are brilliant lemon yellow with black cap.

American Goldfinches eat black oil sunflower seeds from tube feeders. They love Niger seed from thistle feeders.


House Finch

These are one of the most widespread feeder birds in the United States. 


Photo of House Finch on a twig
House Finch. Greg Gillson.


These birds are resident in towns throughout the United States, barely into southern Canada.

House Finches are year-round residents throughout Alabama.

Both males and females are rather dusty brown, heavily streaked on the chest. Only the males have red feathers on forehead, breast, and rump.

House Finches love to eat black oil sunflower seeds in the shell. They like tube feeders best.


White-throated Sparrow

These birds are fairly common in the East in winter, rather rare throughout the West.


Photo of White-throated Sparrow on bird bath
White-throated Sparrow. Greg Gillson.


These birds breed in Canada and northeastern United States. In winter they occur in the eastern and southern U.S.

White-throated Sparrows are winter visitors throughout Alabama.

These fairly large brown and gray sparrows have a striped head. The head striping can be gray and tan or black and white. The obvious white throat is bordered on the sides with throat stripes and contrasts strongly with the gray breast.

White-throated Sparrows eat smaller seeds such as white proso millet found in better mixed seed brands. They prefer to eat on the ground or platform feeders, but will also use hopper feeders.


Downy Woodpecker

This small woodpecker is widespread in North America and fairly common at bird feeders in winter.


Photo of Downy Woodpecker on post
Downy Woodpecker. Greg Gillson.


Year-round residents from Alaska and across Canada south through the United States, but absent from the Desert Southwest.

Downy Woodpeckers are year-round residents throughout Alabama.

These are less than 7 inches long, bill tip to tail tip. They have a black and white striped head, white back, and black wings with white spots.

Downy Woodpeckers love suet from suet feeders. They also eat hulled sunflower seeds.


Chipping Sparrow

Look closely at your winter sparrows and you may spot these.


Photo of Chipping Sparrow on tangled branches
Chipping Sparrow
Photo by Greg Gillson


These birds breed in orchards or scattered patches of fields and woodlands throughout Canada and most of the United States and highlands of Mexico. They winter widely across the southern United States and Mexico.

Chipping Sparrows are summer residents throughout Alabama.

These sparrows are small and slim with a longer thin forked tail. They are gray underneath, the back and wings are brown with darker streaks. The face is rather plain with a thin black line behind the eye. The chestnut crown in summer is paler and streaked with fine brown lines in winter.

In winter they give a high-pitched and rather hard seeep call.

Chipping Sparrows eat small seeds such as those found in the mixed seed blends. They eat best from the ground or on a low platform feeder, but will use a hopper feeder, too.


Eastern Towhee

These big shy sparrows hang out in the tangles and on the ground under the bushes.


Photo of Eastern Towhee in tree branches
Eastern Towhee. Skeeze from Pixabay.


These birds are found in thickets and forest edges. The breed throughout the East. In winter they move to the Southeast.

Eastern Towhees are year-round residents throughout Alabama.

These are fairly large and long backyard birds. The tail is full and rounded.

These birds are blackish above, including the hooded head. The sides are rusty. The belly is white. The eye is red.

Eastern Towhees eat millet and sunflower seeds on the ground, platform, or hopper feeder.



Setting up a winter bird feeding station in Alabama


Because many of the birds at feeders in Alabama are generalist seed eaters, I would recommend to start with a hopper bird feeder and Wagner's Songbird Supreme mixed bird seed (Amazon affiliate link). It is 50% sunflower seeds, and doesn't contain any filler seed like red milo.

The birds that will love this setup include Northern Cardinals, Mourning Doves, Carolina Chickadees, Blue Jays, Tufted Titmouses, American Goldfinches, House Finches, White-throated Sparrows, Chipping Sparrows and Eastern Towhees.

The finches prefer the black oil sunflower seeds in this mix above, and the sparrows like the white proso millet.

Next, I'd set up a suet feeder. If you have trouble with flocks of starlings, or grackles, or red-winged blackbirds, or hungry jays stealing all the suet, then try out an upside-down suet feeder. 

Suet will attract many different kinds of birds in winter. It will especially attract Carolina Wrens, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Downy Woodpeckers, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Carolina Chickadees, and Blue Jays.

Just below is the article My recommended bird feeder setup with Amazon affiliate links conveniently provided to the best bird feeders and bird foods.




These related articles should answer your questions on setting up a bird feeder and get you started viewing and identifying your backyard birds: 

The most common backyard birds in Alabama

My recommended bird feeder setup

Bird seeds that attract the most birds

Different kinds of bird feeders for different birds

Bird baths that birds actually use

Binoculars for beginning bird watchers

Bird watching books for beginners



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