Last updated 11-04-2023 by Mathias
In this article, we try to help you answer the question: What species of backyard birds can I find in Idaho?
This article will show off the backyard birds most frequently found in the Gem State, Idaho. This northwestern state is most known for its mountainous landscapes, and vast areas of outdoor recreation. Grizzly bears, woodland caribou, fishers, North American lynx, grey wolves, coyotes, and wolverines are just some of the large array of wildlife found in Idaho, but today we will be learning about their birds.
25 most common backyard birds in Idaho:
- Dark-eyed Junco (90.20% frequency)
- House Finch (81.37% frequency)
- Black-capped Chickadee (79.41% frequency)
- American Goldfinch (74.51% frequency)
- Red-breasted Nuthatch (70.59% frequency)
- Northern Flicker (69.61% frequency)
- House Sparrow (64.71% frequency)
- Pine Siskin (59.80% frequency)
- Eurasian Collared-Dove (56.86% frequency)
- Downy Woodpecker (53.92% frequency)
- American Robin (46.08% frequency)
- Mourning Dove (44.12% frequency)
- European Starling (42.16% frequency)
- Mountain Chickadee (42.16% frequency)
- Song Sparrow (41.18% frequency)
- Black-billed Magpie (39.22% frequency)
- Red-winged Blackbird (33.33% frequency)
- Sharp-shinned Hawk (32.35% frequency)
- California Quail (31.37% frequency)
- Cassin’s Finch (31.37% frequency)
- Cooper’s Hawk (28.43% frequency)
- Lesser Goldfinch (27.45% frequency)
- Evening Grosbeak (25.49% frequency)
- White-crowned Sparrow (21.57% frequency)
- Cedar Waxwing (20.59% frequency)
1. Dark-eyed Junco
Image: © Chris Wood | Macaulay Library
Scientific name: 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 (18-35 cm)
Found in 90.20 percent of the sites visited in Idaho
Juncos may be found in a variety of hues throughout the nation, although they are typically dark grey or brown in appearance. They have a pink beak with white tail feathers and a white tail feather. When it comes to the Dark-eyed Junco, there is a wide variety of geographical diversity. There are 15 different Junco races, with some of the most notable being the Slate-Colored, Oregon, Pink-Sided, Red-Backed, Grey-Headed, and White-Winged.
Dark-eyed Juncos are among the most common birds found in the woods of North America, where they may be seen in large numbers. The eagle is also one of the most common birds in North America, and can be found all over the continent, from Alaska to Canada to California to New York and even Mexico. They are foragers that forage on the ground and also build their nests on the ground. They bounce about the ground among trees and bushes looking for seeds that have fallen.
In Idaho, the Dark-eyed Junco may be seen all year round. In the winter months, these juncos migrate from their breeding grounds in Canada and Alaska to the southern United States, where they spend the winter months.
Juncos are frequent visitors to bird feeders, and their favorite foods are black oil sunflower seeds, oats, cracked corn, and Nyjer. They are ground feeders, which means that you can just put the seeds on the ground and they will consume them. They also like huge hopper feeders and platform feeders.
2. House Finch
Image: © Martina Nordstrand | Macaulay Library
Scientific name: 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)
Found in 81.37 percent of the sites visited in Idaho
The face and upper breast region of the mature male House Finch have a bright rosy red color. Their back, belly, and tail are all streaked with brown. The mature females are not red; instead, they are a plain grey-brown color with a barely distinguishable facial pattern. The House Finch has a petite body, broad beaks, and flat heads, which distinguish it from other finches. They have short wings, which gives the appearance of a larger tail. Some finches have notched tails; the House Finch, in comparison to other varieties of finches, has a modest notch on its tail.
In addition to congregating at feeders or sitting high in trees, the House Finch is a sociable bird that enjoys socializing with other birds. In the absence of feeders, they might be seen eating on weed stalks or on the ground under the ground cover. Their flying is quite bouncy, which is comparable to that of most other finches.
Throughout the year, these finches may be seen in southern Idaho. The House Finches of the northeastern United States and the Great Lakes migrate south during the winter months.
Looking in established environments such as city parks, urban centers, woodland borders, farms and backyards can provide results if you are looking for House Finches. They are found in large groups that are quite loud, making them difficult to overlook.
If you load your bird feeders with little, black oil sunflower seeds, you’ll get better results. In the event that these birds discover your feeders, they will bring flocks of up to 50 or more birds with them. They like to be fed from platforms, hoppers, and tube feeders, among other things. They also like eating hulled sunflower seeds, safflower seeds, and Nyjer (a kind of wildflower).
3. Black-capped Chickadee
Image: © Evan Lipton | Macaulay Library
Scientific name: 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)
Found in 79.41 percent of the sites visited in Idaho
The Black-capped Chickadee’s colors are black, white, and grey, with a black hat. The top of the head and the bib are both black, while the feathers on the wings are a mixture of grey and white in color. Because the black cap of the bird extends beyond the bird’s black eyes, it is difficult to discern the bird’s pupils. This bird has a short neck and a huge head, which is nearly spherically formed, and it is found throughout North America. There is a slender and long tail, and a small and thick beak on this creature.
It is believed that the Black-capped Chickadee can remember hundreds of hiding sites, and that they like concealing their food and seeds in a variety of locations that they may return to later. They are inquisitive birds that have a proclivity to investigate everything in their native zone, including humans.
The Black-capped Chickadee may be seen all year long in Idaho, and since they are fast to locate bird feeders, they are often the first bird that people learn to recognize.
Chickadees are among the most straightforward birds to lure using bird feeders. This bird visits feeders in search of suet, sunflower seeds, and peanuts. If you plant willow, birch, or alder trees, you may be able to offer chickadees with new nesting sites in the future.
4. American Goldfinch
Image: © Darren Clark | Macaulay Library
Scientific name: Spinus Tristis
Length: 4.3-5.12 in (11-13 cm)
Weight: 0.4-0.7 oz (11-20 g)
Wingspan: 7.5-8.7 in (19-22 cm)
Found in 74.51 percent of the sites visited in Idaho
Adult males are brilliant yellow with a black forehead in the early spring, and their wings are black with white patterns on the underside. The mature females are a duller yellow in hue and have a more olive overall tone to their appearance. In the winter, the Goldfinch looks drab, with brown spots that aren’t striped and blackish wings.
This little bird is acrobatic and lively, clinging to weeds and seed socks, and they may be seen milling about feeders or on the ground under feeders in huge groups at times. It is common for them to fly in an undulating, bouncing pattern, and they often call loudly while in flight, which attracts attention to them.
These finches may be seen all year in Idaho, but while they are breeding, they can also be found in northern Minnesota, Michigan, and even Canada, depending on where you live. When they are not in the process of reproducing, they may be found all throughout the United States.
Almost any kind of bird feeder, including hanging feeders, platforms, and hoppers, will draw the attention of the American Goldfinch. Plant native thistles or other composite plants in your yard if you want Goldfinches to visit your yard. Sunflower seeds and Nyjer are the foods that they are most drawn to.
5. Red-breasted Nuthatch
Image: © Simon Boivin | Macaulay Library
Scientific name: 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)
Found in 70.59 percent of the sites visited in Idaho
With a blue-grey body and a heavily patterned head with a black cap and white stripes above the eyes, the Red-breasted Nuthatch is an attractive bird. The underparts of males and females have a cinnamon hue, with the females’ being lighter. They have a large, pointed beak and are compact in appearance. Red-breasted Nuthatches have a very short tail and nearly no neck, which makes them difficult to see. They are around the same size as sparrows.
Red-breasted Nuthatch becomes quite active throughout the process of constructing a nest, chasing away competitors like as the Downy Woodpecker, White-breasted Nuthatch, and the House Wren from their nesting sites. Other birds, such as Mountain Chickadees and Pygmy Nuthatches, have been known to take material from these Nuthatches in order to line their nests.
When not in breeding season, the Red-breasted Nuthatch may be found in a relatively limited region in eastern Idaho. The Red-breasted Nuthatch can be seen throughout the year in Idaho. The Red-breasted Nuthatch migrates south each year from its northernmost populations; in certain years, the Red-breasted Nuthatch may be spotted as far south as the Gulf Coast.
Finding Red-breasted Nuthatches may be accomplished by listening for their nasal cry, as well as the noises made by a flock of chickadees and other foraging birds. Look for these Nuthatches as they climb the trunks and branches of trees and shrubs.
Red-breasted Nuthatches like feeding from a variety of feeders, including tube feeders, suet cages, hoppers, and platform feeders. Fill your bird feeder with hulled sunflower seeds, black oil sunflower seeds, suet, peanut hearts, mealworms, and black oil sunflower seeds.
6. Northern Flicker
Image: © Warren Lynn | Macaulay Library
Scientific name: 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)
Found in 69.61 percent of the sites visited in Idaho
In general, the Northern Flicker has a brown body with a white patch on the rump. The undersides of the tail and wings of eastern birds are brilliant yellow, but the undersides of the tail and wings of western birds are red, as seen in the photo above. Compared to other birds of prey, Northern Flickers are around the size of a robin or a crow. They are relatively big woodpeckers, with rounded, thin heads, and they live in huge groups. Their bills have a little downward slant to them.
Northern Flickers are known to spend a significant amount of time on the ground. When they are truly perched on trees, they remain erect on horizontal branches; nevertheless, many woodpeckers like leaning against the trunk of the tree with their tails against it.
The Northern Flicker may be seen all year in Idaho, and it is a common sight. They are either permanent or short-distance migratory, and they often migrate to and from the northern sections of their territory to spend the winter. Flickers breed farther south in the southern states and often remain in the area for the winter.
If you wish to see a Northern Flicker, take a trip in open woodlands or along the boundaries of forests. Check on the ground for a feeding location, or look in a nearby tree for a feeding site. When they are in flight, keep an eye out for their white patch.
Try putting up some nesting boxes in your garden to attract a breeding pair of Northern Flickers, but make sure you do it well in advance of the mating season to ensure a successful breeding season. They like to eat from suet cages, hoppers, and platform feeders, among other things. Fill your bird feeders with suet, peanuts, millet, sunflower seeds, safflower seeds, cracked corn, and peanut hearts to attract more birds.
7. House Sparrow
Image: © Evan Lipton | Macaulay Library
Scientific name: 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)
Found in 64.71 percent of the sites visited in Idaho
The male House Sparrow is a vividly colored bird with a grey head, a black bib, and white cheeks on a white background. Females are a simple brown hue with a few flecks of dingy grey on their backs, and they have a distinct stripe along their backs. In contrast to most North American sparrows, the House Sparrow is significantly chunkier in the chest, has a bigger head, shorter tail, and a rounder head when compared to the rest of the North American sparrow family.
In 1851, the House Sparrow made its way to Brooklyn, New York, to establish itself. It had made it all the way to the Rocky Mountains some 50 years later. A lack of fear of people has evolved in the House Sparrow as a result of the bird’s abundance; as a result, the House Sparrow has been used as a model organism for many different avian research, with around 5,000 scientific articles produced using the House Sparrow as the study species.
In North America, the House Sparrow may be found practically everywhere at any time of year; it can also be found in many nations in Central and South America, as well as the Caribbean.
One of the most effective methods of locating a House Sparrow is to go to an urban location, where you are likely to notice a little sparrow hopping around the ground as you walk. Even better, you may be able to get them to eat right out of your hand.
House Sparrows are so plentiful in the United States that you will most likely not even need to set out a feeder to attract House Sparrows to your yard. Feeding sources include tubes, hoppers, platform feeders, and direct from the ground, among other things. Hulled sunflower seeds, milo, peanut hearts, black oil sunflower seeds, and millet are among the seeds that they like eating.
8. Pine Siskin
Image: © Ryan Sanderson | Macaulay Library
Scientific name: Spinus pinus
Length: 4.3-5.5 in (11-14 cm)
Weight: 0.4-0.6 oz (12-18 g)
Wingspan: 7.1-8.7 in (18-22 cm)
Found in 59.80 percent of the sites visited in Idaho
Pine Siskins are about the size of a sparrow, with sharp and pointed beak and short notched tails. Pine Siskins are found across the United States. The wings and tail of these birds are brown, with slight golden borders on the wings and tail. In comparison to most other finches, their beak has a more thin form. When in flight, these birds may be distinguished by their forked tails and sharp wingtips.
Pine Siskins have the ability to increase their metabolic rate by up to five times their regular rate when temperatures drop overnight. They may maintain this state for many hours at a time while surviving temperatures as low as –70°C (-94°F)
While not reproducing, the Pine Siskin may be found in southern Idaho, where it spends most of its time. These birds may be seen throughout the year in most parts of Idaho. In fact, at certain times of the year, these birds may be found across much of North America, including Alaska, Canada, Texas, Minnesota, and even certain portions of Mexico.
The Pine Siskin may be found on the extremities of pine branches, and they can even be seen hanging upside down. Maintain your attention for the unique, loud winding cry. This cry has been described as sounding like a piece of paper being slowly pulled apart. Throughout North America, the Pine Siskin will sometimes be sighted one winter and then disappear completely the next season.
Set up a Nyjer feeder or even a thistle feeder in your garden to attract Pine Siskins to your property. Also popular with them are smaller seeds such as millet or hulled sunflower seeds. They may be spotted eating in the vicinity of plants or weeds that have seed heads on them.
9. Eurasian Collared-Dove
Image: © Paul Fenwick | Macaulay Library
Scientific name: Streptopelia decaocto
Length: 11.4-11.8 in (29-30 cm)
Weight: 4.9-6.3 oz (140-180 g)
Wingspan: 13.8 in (13.8 cm)
Found in 56.86 percent of the sites visited in Idaho
There are broad white patches on the tail of these Doves, and their color ranges from chalky-brown to grey buff. The Dove’s neck is adorned with a slender black collar that runs down the back. Approximately the size of a Robin, but somewhat larger than a Crow, the Eurasian Collared-Dove is larger in stature than the Mourning Dove but smaller in stature than a Rock Pigeon.
Often spotted sitting on telephone lines and in tall trees, Eurasian Collared-Doves are a common sighting. They have a three-syllable coo that they repeat incessantly. These Doves are often seen eating at backyard feeders in suburban areas. European Collared-Doves fly with a powerful flying pattern that is characterized by rapid wingbeats and looping gliding motions.
Because the Eurasian Collared-Dove is a nonmigratory bird, it may be found throughout its North American range as a permanent bird. They may be observed all year in Idaho, and they are particularly common in the spring.
In contrast to the Mourning Dove, the Collared Dove makes a koo-KOO-kook call that is more frequent and impatient than the former. The Eurasian Collared-Dove is sometimes confused with the Mourning Dove; however, the Collared-Dove may be distinguished by its white patches on its tail, darker wingtips, and a black collar on the nape of its neck.
Birds of prey such as Eurasian Collared-Doves will often come to eat on seed and grain, notably millet, that has been strewn on the ground or placed in platform feeders. Because food is easily accessible in urban and suburban environments, they prefer to nest in close proximity to people and buildings.
10. Downy Woodpecker
Image: © Evan Lipton | Macaulay Library
Scientific name: 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)
Found in 53.90 percent of the sites visited in Idaho
Throughout addition to having checkered black-and-white wings, Downy Woodpeckers have striped black-and-white heads, with males having a little red patch on the rear of their heads. Downy Woodpeckers are found in North America. Downy Woodpeckers are often darker in color in the western hemisphere than they are in the eastern hemisphere. When compared to the western United States, they have whiter wings in eastern North America. In the Pacific Northwest, the overall color is a dark brown.
Downy Woodpeckers are often seen in mixed-species flocks throughout the winter months. Because they are flocking together, they may spend less time on the lookout for predators and have greater chance obtaining food because there are other birds nearby. The Downy Woodpecker may be seen all year long in Idaho and across much of North America.
They are the most frequent Woodpeckers you might see at a backyard feeder, and they are the most colorful. The suet cage is their preferred method of feeding, but they also appreciate black oil sunflower seeds, millet, and even chunks of peanut butter. Some hummingbirds may even drink from hummingbird feeders on occasion.
11. American Robin
Image: © Alex Eberts | Macaulay Library
Scientific name: 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)
Found in 46.08 percent of the sites visited in Idaho
The American Robin is mostly grey-brown in color with white spots around the eyes, a bright yellow beak, and warm orange underparts. It has a dark brown head with white dots around the eyes, a bright yellow beak, and warm orange underparts. Females have lighter heads that contrast less with the grey on their backs than do males. American Robins are huge songbirds, with a broad, spherical body, a long tail, and long legs. They are also very large for songbirds. When comparing the size and form of different birds, robins are thought to be a suitable point of comparison.
An active bird, the American Robin enjoys bounding over lawns and even standing upright with its mouth cocked upward to take in its surroundings. During the winter months, they congregate in big groups on trees, where they eat berries and sometimes even sleep. American Robins have been known to get inebriated when they consume just honeysuckle berries for a long period of time. In the autumn and winter, the American Robin consumes a large amount of fruit.
These robins may be seen throughout the year in Idaho. In the United States, the American Robin may be found almost anyplace south of the border with Canada; some individuals have reported sightings of these birds as far south as the Gulf Coast, the Southwest, and even Mexico.
These Robins may be seen dashing across your yard or snatching worms from the ground at your neighborhood park. If you listen carefully, you will be able to identify them since their cry is distinct and melodious. Find them in huge groups in the treetops or around fruit trees throughout the winter, and listen for their low call notes to hear whether they’re around.
They may be spotted eating from ground or platform feeders, which are provided by homeowners. Fill your feeders with suet, fruit, mealworms, hulled sunflower seeds, and peanut hearts to attract these birds to your yard. Suet, fruit, and mealworms are all good choices.
12. Mourning Dove
Image: © Ryan Schain | Macaulay Library
Scientific name: 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)
Found in 44.12 percent of the sites visited in Idaho
Mourning Doves have hues that typically help them blend in with their natural environments, which are generally in the open country. Their general color is brown-tan, and they have black patches on their wings as well as white tail feathers with black borders on them. These doves have a chubby body, long tails, and small legs, and they are easy to identify.
Mourning Doves are swift flyers with strong wingbeats, and they are known for performing rapid descents, ascents, and dodges in flight. Three Mourning Doves may be observed flying in close formation during the breeding season; the bird in the lead is almost often the male of a couple that has successfully mated with another bird. The second image depicts an unmated male pursuing his adversary to a location where he intends to establish a nest. The third member of the mated couple is the female.
The Mourning Dove may be found throughout Idaho year-round; however, during the mating season, they migrate to Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, and Canada to lay their eggs.
They are often seen perched on telephone lines and other perches throughout your area. Keep an eye out for bare areas of land where birds congregate to stock up on food.
To entice these doves to your backyard, put seeds such as millet on platform feeders or on the ground around your property. If you grow thick shrubs and evergreen trees in your yard, you may be able to offer them with potential nesting sites. Make careful to keep your cats inside, too, since birds that spend a lot of time on the ground are more prone to being attacked by cats.
13. European Starling
Image: © Matt Davis | Macaulay Library
Scientific name: 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)
Found in 42.16 percent of the sites visited in Idaho
European Starlings may appear to be black at first glance, but in the summer they have an iridescent purple-green color with bright yellow beaks, which contrasts with their dark plumage. During the winter, these starlings are brown with white markings on their wings. This bird is about the same size and shape as an adult American Robin, but it has shorter tails and longer, thinner beaks. When in flight, they have short, pointed wings that give the impression that they are quite little in comparison.
The European Starling originally arrived in the United States in the 1800s, when 100 of them were released in New York’s famous Central Park, where they quickly became established. These starlings were purposefully released because a group of people wanted to have every bird mentioned by Shakespeare in America, which is why they were intentionally released. In North America, there are about 200 million European Starlings, which is a record number. These creatures have been observed as far north as Alaska, and some have even been spotted as far south as Mexico.
The European Starling can be seen all year in Idaho, and it is a common sighting. In their non-breeding season, they can be found all the way down to Mexico and the Caribbean.
Throughout Europe, the European Starling can be found primarily in urban areas and towns. Look for these starlings on lawns, in city parks, and in fields if you want to see them. You will be able to watch them moving across the grass in a zig-zag pattern as they do their work. Every few steps, these starlings pierce their beaks into the earth with their beaks. Those living in the countryside, on the other hand, are more likely to come across the European Starling perched on the tops of trees, in groups, or even flying over fields and highways in flocks.
This species of starling like to eat from suet cages, hoppers, platform feeders, tube feeders, and even directly off the ground in the wild. When feeding these birds in your backyard, consider using peanuts, black oil sunflower seeds, rolled oats, peanut hearts, cracked corn and millet as well as whole sunflower seeds in your feeders.
14. Mountain Chickadee
Image: © Evan Lipton | Macaulay Library
Scientific name: Poecile gambeli
Length: 4.3-5.5 in (11-14 cm)
Weight: 0.4 oz (11 g)
Found in 42.16 percent of the sites visited in Idaho
The Mountain Chickadee, like most chickadees, has a black and white pattern on the top of its head and a grey pattern on the rest of its body. The Mountain Chickadee is distinguished by a white stripe over the eye, which aids in identification. Mountain Chickadees are little birds with huge heads, long tails, and rounded wings. They are found in mountainous areas.
It is incredibly acrobatic and lively, which is why it is called the Mountain Chickadee. They prefer to hang from pine cones, small tree branches, and even twigs, which they find attractive. Mountain Chickadees enjoy congregating in groups with nuthatches and kinglets. Unless they are starving, these chickadees require only 10 calories a day to survive, which is the same amount of energy as one twentieth of an ounce of peanut butter.
The Mountain Chickadee can be found all year round in northern Idaho, where it is known as the Mountain Chickadee. They are resident birds, however they occasionally prefer to migrate to lower elevations during the winter months.
Mountain Chickadees can be found in the mountains, so take a hike up your favorite route to find them. Within a few minutes of getting out of your car, you should be able to spot a group of little birds and Mountain Chickadees scurrying among the treetops.
Mountain Chickadees can be attracted to your yard by simply placing a nest box in an area where a breeding couple is likely to be found. When attempting to attract Mountain Chickadees, the following feeder types should be used: tube feeders, suet cages, hoppers, and platforms. Fill your bird feeders with sunflower seeds, Nyjer seeds, Safflower seeds, peanuts, and mealworms to attract more birds.
15. Song Sparrow
Image: © Jonathan Irons | Macaulay Library
Scientific name: 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)
Found in 41.18 percent of the sites visited in Idaho
The Song Sparrow is streaky brown in color, with thick streaks of white on the flanks and chest parts of the bird’s body and head. It is a medium-sized sparrow with a large amount of bulk, and these are the sparrows in question. Song Sparrows have a rounded head, short beak, a long tail, and broad wings, and they have a long tail and broad wings.
Song Sparrows prefer to walk through low plants or branches, and they frequently move into open areas in search of food. The male Song Sparrow sings from exposed perches, such as tiny trees, on a regular basis. This species of sparrow can be found over most of North America.
The Song Sparrow can be found all year in the Pacific Northwest, Northern Midwest, Eastern, and Western United States, as well as parts of Canada. When they are not reproducing, they can be found across the rest of the United States and Mexico. The Song Sparrow breeds in Canada, which is where the Song Sparrow can be found.
Keep an eye out for the Song Sparrow, which is known to move among wetlands and dense vegetation. When perched on exposed trees, the males like singing to attract females.
Song Sparrows can be seen foraging on platforms and on the ground.. In order to attract these sparrows to your yard, fill your feeders with milo, sunflower seeds, millet, safflower seeds, peanut hearts, nyjer, and cracked corn, among other foods.
16. Black-billed Magpie
Image: © Kathryn Keith | Macaulay Library
Scientific name: 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)
Found in 39.22 percent of the sites visited in Idaho
With tails that are fashioned like a diamond, the Black-billed Magpie is slightly larger than the Jay and has significantly longer tails. Despite the fact that these Magpies are primarily black and white in color, they have an iridescent blue-green sheen to their wings and tails. They appear to have wings that are too short for the size of their bodies when they are in flight.
It is a very gregarious and curious bird, and this Magpie is no exception. They feed on insects, fruit, small animals, and cereals, and they prefer to congregate in huge groups. With its cackle, trill, and whistle-like cries, the Black-billed Magpie prefers to move in groups and attract mates.
These Magpies can be spotted all year in Idaho, and they are a common sight. They are primarily permanent birds, however they do make occasional seasonal winter excursions around the region.
Black-billed Magpies are extremely noisy, and they prefer to perch on the limbs of trees or even fenceposts in order to be seen and heard more easily. Pay attention for their gliding flight patterns over open or forested areas.
These birds are fairly prevalent at feeders in small towns, where they graze on seeds. Sunflower seeds, suet, peanut hearts, cracked corn, millet, milo, and fruit are among the foods that the Black-billed Magpie enjoys eating. They prefer to feed from platform feeders as opposed to feeding from the ground directly.
17. Red-winged Blackbird
Image: © Henry Burton | Macaulay Library
Scientific name: 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)
Found in 33.33 percent of the sites visited in Idaho
The Red-winged Blackbird The blackbird is a stocky bird with broad shoulders and a short cone-shaped bill. It has a medium-length tail and a stocky appearance. They are shiny black on the outside and brilliant red and yellow on the inside of the shoulders. When perched, Red-winged Blackbirds have a distinctive hump on their backs. With their vivid shoulders, these birds are difficult to mistake for anything else.
To attract female attention, male Red-winged Blackbirds would do practically anything, including perching on high perches and singing out their song throughout the day. The females, on the other hand, remain at a lower level and sprint through foliage in search of food, as well as fast constructing nests. Red-winged Blackbirds congregate in large groups for the winter, and these groups may include starlings and other kinds of blackbirds, depending on the circumstances.
Across the year, these blackbirds can be seen throughout the state of Idaho. The blackbird population in the southern United States and Mexico does not migrate, whereas the blackbird population in the northern United States spends its winters approximately 800 miles away from its breeding range.
If you take a trip across the countryside, you will most likely come across a Red-winged Blackbird perched on a telephone wire. They can also be spotted while walking through cattail marshes and flooded areas. These blackbirds will most likely be the most often observed and heard birds.
Red-winged Blackbirds may visit your yard if you place a mixture of grains and seeds in your bird feeders. Because Red-winged Blackbirds prefer to dine on the ground, you might sprinkle seed or grain on the ground to attract them.
18. Sharp-shinned Hawk
Image: © Vickie Anderon | Macaulay Library
Scientific name: Accipiter striatus
Length: 9.4-13.4 in (24-34 cm)
Weight: 3.1-7.7 oz (87-218 g)
Wingspan: 16.9-22.1 in (43-56 cm)
Found in 32.35 percent of the sites visited in Idaho
Sharp-shinned Hawks are blue-grey in color above their heads. They have horizontal orange bands running along the middle of their chests. These hawks are in the size range of a robin and a crow in terms of size. Sharp-shinned Hawks have long tails, rounded wings, and small heads, which distinguish them from other raptors.
This hawk is an extremely agile flier, and they enjoy flying at fast speeds through dense forest to surprise their prey and catch them off guard. Sharp-shinned Hawks do not stoop to catch prey from above; instead, they prefer to pounce on prey from low perches. Songbirds are the most common prey for these predators.
While these hawks can be found all year in most of Idaho, they can only be found in the southwest portion of the state during the non-breeding season. Sharp-shinned Hawks are found in a variety of habitats, from permanent residents to seasonal migratory.
The most usual approach to see one of these hawks is to observe them during their migration, which occurs primarily in the autumn. As a stealthy nester, the Sharp-shinned Hawk spends most of its summers in dense forest canopy, where it can be difficult to spot.
Sharp-shinned Hawks are frequently attracted to backyard feeders; however, most bird watchers prefer to prevent this behavior as much as possible. If a hawk begins to hunt in your yard, remove your bird feeders for a few days and wait for the hawk to move on to a new site to feed.
19. California Quail
Image: © Nancy Christensen | Macaulay Library
Scientific name: Callipepla californica
Length: 9.4-10.6 in (24-27 cm)
Weight: 4.9-8.1 oz (140-230 g)
Wingspan: 12.6-14.6 in (32-37 cm)
Found in 31.37 percent of the sites visited in Idaho
Despite being a plump bird, the California Quail is characterized by its short necks, small heads, and little beak. The adult male birds are grey and brown in color, with a black face that is striped with prominent white lines. Unlike the males, the females are a plain brown color and do not have any of the facial patterns that the males do. Flight is accomplished by relatively short but broad wings; the tails of these quail are both long and square in shape.
California Foraging for food on the ground occupies a significant portion of the time spent by quail. Foraging beneath shrubs or on open ground close to cover is preferred by these birds in the morning and evening, however they will forage wherever. Coveys of quail are the most common way in which they travel.
These quail are not migratory birds, and they rarely go more than 10 miles from where they were hatched. They can be seen all year in some eastern sections of Idaho, but they are most common in the spring and summer.
Keep a watch out for this quail, which can be seen foraging in low, patchy foliage. These birds frequently forage in close proximity to humans, but if they are disturbed, they will flee for safety. The California Quail can be identified by its distinctive Chi-ca-go call, which can be heard throughout the state.
One effective method of attracting California Quail to your backyard is to scatter birdseed or grain on the ground, especially near dense shrubs that provide shade from the sun and wind. In addition to feeding from platform feeders, California Quails can often be observed foraging on the ground. They are particularly fond of sunflower seeds, nyjer (seed of the sunflower plant), cracked corn, millet, oats, and milo.
20. Cassin’s Finch
Image: © Milton Vine | Macaulay Library
Scientific name: Haemorhous cassinii
Length: 6.3 in (16 cm)
Weight: 0.8-1.2 oz (24-34 g)
Wingspan: 9.8-10.6 in (25-27 cm)
Found in 31.37 percent of the sites visited in Idaho
Cassin’s Finches are a rose pink color throughout with a vivid red cap on the adult males. The females and juvenile birds are brown and white with dark streaks on their chests, while the males are black and white. They are little songbirds with peaked heads, short-medium tails, and hefty, strong beaks. They are a subspecies of finch.
The Cassin’s Finch prefers to eat tree buds and seeds as its primary sources of nutrition. They are frequently seen mingling with other finches, such as crossbills and siskins, in order to feed. Cassin’s are mimics, which means they have incorporated the calls of other species into their own vocalizations.
The Cassin’s Finch can be seen throughout the year in Idaho. They range from long-distance migrants to those who live nearby. A significant fraction of the Cassin’s Finch population prefers to remain in the nesting grounds throughout the year.
Keep an eye out for these birds in mountainous areas, and listen for their quick, rolling songs to help you identify them. Keep an eye out for small seed-eating birds such as crossbills, grosbeaks, and other finches, as the Cassin’s Finch enjoys congregating with other small seed-eating birds in large flocks.
Cassin’s Finches are particularly common at sunflower seed feeders during the winter months. They can also be spotted feasting on the fruit of fruiting bushes such as cotoneaster, mulberries, firethorn, apple, and grapevines. Tube feeders, hoppers, and platforms are among the favorite feeding stations for these finches. Nyjer, black oil sunflower seeds, and hulled sunflower seeds are some of their favorite foods.
21. Cooper’s Hawk
Image: © Jean-Sébastien Mayer | Macaulay Library
Scientific name: Accipiter cooperii
Length: 14.6-15.3 in (37-39 cm)
Weight: 7.8-14.5 oz (220-410 g)
Wingspan: 24.4-35.4 in (62-90 cm)
Found in 28.43 percent of sites visited in Idaho
The upperparts of the adult Cooper’s Hawk are predominantly blue-grey in appearance, with cinnamon-colored streaks running down its underparts. The juvenile hawks have a brown upper body and a brown breast with brown streaks running through it. These hawks are about the same size as a crow in terms of size. Cooper’s Hawks are a medium-sized hawk in comparison to other raptors. Their wings are large and rounded, and their tails are extremely lengthy. A huge head and broad shoulders distinguish these hawks, which also have a rounded tail at the end of their long tail.
Cooper’s Hawks rarely flap their wings consistently when crossing a big open region, as evidenced by this video. When attacking, they prefer to fly quickly and very low to the ground, then ascend above the ground to impede and startle their victim as they come around the opposite side of the cliff.
The Cooper’s Hawk is a migrant that travels short to medium distances. Hawks can be seen spending their winters over the majority of the United States’ 48 states, and some of them can migrate as far south as Mexico and even Honduras. They can be found throughout the year in southern Idaho, and during the breeding season, they can be found in northern Idaho.
Keep your eyes peeled for a Cooper’s Hawk if you want to see one. They are common, but they are also incredibly sneaky. They are also smaller in stature than the majority of Hawks.
If you have Cooper’s Hawk feeders in your backyard, there is a good probability that you may attract one of these birds. The Hawk will hang about your house, snatching the smaller birds as they fly by. If this occurs, you should remove your feeders for a few days until the Cooper’s Hawk gives up and moves on to a different location.
22. Lesser Goldfinch
Image: © Sharif Uddin | Macaulay Library
Scientific name: 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)
Found in 27.43 percent of the sites visited in Idaho
The Lesser Goldfinch is a little songbird with a stubbed bill that can be found in the eastern United States. Their large pointed wings and notched tails distinguish them from other species. Male Lesser Goldfinches are bright yellow with a black hat and white patches on the wings. Female Lesser Goldfinches are brilliant yellow with a black crown and white patches on the wings. The underparts of the female finches are yellowish-dark on the back, with olive underparts.
It is common for these Goldfinches to congregate in large groups of several hundred individual birds. The Lesser Goldfinch frequently congregates with other goldfinches, such as Lawrence’s and American Goldfinches, as well as with other species of birds, such as Pine Siskins, Lark Sparrows, Western Bluebirds, House Finches, and White-crowned Sparrows, when at feeding places.
Lessers are people who live in a particular area or who migrate short distances. The Lesser Goldfinches disappear in the northern parts of their range during the cold winters, and scientists are baffled as to where they go. During the breeding season, the Lesser Goldfinch can be found in a few specific regions of southern Idaho.
Lessers can be found in big groups of birds at feeding places, where they are easy to spot. Their all-black headwear make them stand out from the crowd. These Goldfinches prefer to congregate in weedy areas, especially at the tops of thistle bushes, to rest.
Greater Goldfinches are attracted to feeders, and the types of feeders that they prefer include tube feeders, hoppers, and platforms. They enjoy eating black oil sunflower seeds, hulled sunflower seeds, and nyjer (a type of buckwheat).
23. Evening Grosbeak
Image: © bellemare celine | Macaulay Library
Scientific name: Coccothraustes vespertinus
Length: 6.3-7.1 in (16-18 cm)
Weight: 1.9-2.6 oz (53-74 g)
Wingspan: 11.8-14.2 in (30-36 cm)
Found in 25.49 percent of the sites visited in Idaho
A huge, noticeable white patch on the underside of the wings distinguishes the mature male Grosbeaks from other birds. They are dressed in all black with a yellow stripe over their eyes. Females and immature birds are primarily gray in color, with black and white wings on the males. The Evening Grosbeak is a huge and powerful finch with a long tail. They have large, strong bills that are practically conical in shape.
Evening Grosbeaks are highly gregarious birds that are most typically observed in groups, particularly during the winter months. During the summer months, they like to forage on insect larvae in the highest branches of trees. They feed on seeds, tiny fruits, and berries during the winter months.
Grosbeaks can be seen in southwestern Idaho during the non-breeding season, but they are difficult to come by. Year-round, these finches can be found in the rest of Idaho’s forests and fields.
In the woods, if you keep your ears open for the call notes of Evening Grosbeaks, you might have some luck spotting a group of them. These birds are more difficult to locate since they search for food and live in trees at high altitudes. They also go in smaller groups and make less noise than the general public.
Even though they won’t frequent your backyard feeders on a consistent basis, the Evening Grosbeak will appear at feeders on an irregular basis during the winter months. Sunflower seeds are a favorite snack of theirs. The seeds, berries, and buds of trees will all attract the attention of the Evening Grosbeak. The tube feeders, hoppers, and platforms where they feed are all common places to find them.
24. White-crowned Sparrow
Image: © Michel Bourque | Macaulay Library
Scientific name: 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)
Found in 21.57 percent of the sites visited in Idaho
White-crowned Despite their size, sparrows have small bills and lengthy tails, which is unusual for their species. These birds are basic and pale grey in color, with black and white stripes on the top of their heads. The bills of these sparrows are pale pink or yellow in color. Their heads might appear to be peaked or even smooth and flat, depending on the angle of the light.
These sparrows can be seen low to the ground in brushy habitat, hopping around and hopping around. The White-crowned Sparrow can also be found on the open land, particularly on breeding grounds, and is a common sighting. However, for reasons of protection, they choose to congregate in regions where there are trees or shrubs nearby.
The mating season for these sparrows occurs in eastern Idaho, where they can be found in large numbers. They can be seen throughout the year in central Idaho. Outside of the breeding season, the White-capped Sparrow can be found in southern Idaho.
The White-crowned Sparrow is typically a winter bird, and can be found throughout much of the United States during the winter months. These birds can be found in fields, along roadside borders, and along the edges of trails where the vegetation is low. They can be seen for the first time in September and disappear by March or even April of the following year.
The White-crowned Sparrow can be seen at platform feeders as well as on the ground, where it forages for food. They enjoy eating black oil sunflower seeds, hulled sunflower seeds, milo, millet, and cracked corn, to name a few foods.
25. Cedar Waxwing
Image: © Malcolm Gold | Macaulay Library
Scientific name: Bombycilla cedrorum
Length: 5.5-6.7 in (14-17 cm)
Weight: 1.1 oz (32 g)
Wingspan: 8.7-11.8 in (22-30 cm)
Found in 20.59 percent of the sites visited in Idaho
While the Cedar Waxwing is pale brown around the head and chest area, the rest of its body is a silky grey that extends down to the wings and back. Its bellies are a light shade of yellow, and its tail is a mixture of grey and bright yellow towards the tip. Their wings feature crimson tips, which can be difficult to discern at times. With a wide head and short neck, Cedar Waxwings are a medium-sized bird with a distinctive call.
Waxwings are extremely gregarious birds, and you are more likely to spot them in large groups throughout the year. They take pleasure in sitting in fruit trees and gulping down the berries whole. Cedars enjoy flying over bodies of water in search of insects.
Depending on the species, these birds are short- to long-distance migrants; eastern birds travel to the southeastern states. Some of these waxwings go as far as Panama and even Costa Rica in search of food and shelter. These birds can be found throughout the year in Idaho.
The Cedar Waxwing can often be heard before it is seen, which is a good sign. Learn their high-pitched call notes so that you may more easily locate these birds. They can be found in low berry bushes, up high in evergreens, and even along rivers and ponds, depending on where you go looking.
A favorite food of the Cedar Waxwing is fruit, and they are attracted to trees and bushes that contain little fruits. Their favorite food sources include dogwood, serviceberry, cedar, juniper, winterberry, and hawthorn plants and trees, among other things.
Bird Watching in Idaho
Bird watching in Idaho is an unforgettable experience. Idaho has a diverse bird population, ranging from the majestic forests of the Idaho panhandle to the lush wetlands of the south. Nearly 500 bird species have been recorded in the state, ranging from the red-tailed hawk to the western meadowlark. With its diverse habitats and altitude range, Idaho is a birder’s paradise for all skill levels.
The best time to go bird watching in Idaho depends on the species that you want to observe. In the spring, warblers, tanagers, and other migratory birds are abundant, while summer is the ideal time for waterfowl and shorebirds. Fall and winter bring a variety of species to the state, including owls, ducks, and geese. No matter the season, Idaho offers a wealth of bird watching opportunities.
The weather in Idaho can play a role in bird watching as well. In the winter, temperatures can be quite cold, and it is important to dress warmly if you plan to be out for any length of time. During the spring and summer, thunderstorms can be frequent, so bring an umbrella and be prepared to take shelter if needed.
Attracting Backyard Birds in Idaho
Adding bird feeders and bird houses to your backyard can be a great way to bring a variety of birds to your home in Idaho. By providing food and shelter, you can attract a wide variety of species, from songbirds to woodpeckers. There are a few things to consider when setting up bird feeders and houses in Idaho.
The type of feeder and food you provide are the most important factors to consider. Because different birds have different food preferences, provide a variety of feeders with a variety of seeds and suet. Keep your feeders clean and fresh as well, as birds will avoid dirty feeders.
The type of bird house you select is also critical. Different bird species prefer various types of bird houses. Some woodpecker species, for example, prefer larger houses with larger holes, whereas smaller birds prefer smaller houses with smaller holes.
Finally, it is critical to consider the weather in your area. During the colder months in Idaho, you may need to provide additional water sources and insulation. Additionally, you may need to relocate your bird houses to provide protection from the wind and snow.