2022 | Most Common Backyard Birds In Minnesota (+ Free HD Images)
Putting up bird feeders and watching what comes to visit is a lot of fun, but it’s even more fun if you know who they are. Now you can learn about the most popular birds that visit your feeders or hop across your yard in Minnesota.
So, if you’re ready to do some Minnesota backyard birding, keep reading to learn how to recognize birds and how to attract more birds to your yard.
These are the most common backyard birds in Minnesota, so keep an eye out for them on your lawn or at your feeders. They’re the birds that show up the most on state checklists on birds, and the data is a mix of backyard birds most usually seen in summer (June and July) and winter (December and January) (December and January).
This data mix ensures that no matter what time of year you go bird-watching in your backyard, you will most likely see these birds in Minnesota.
2022 | Most Common Backyard Birds In Minnesota (+ Free HD Images)
- American Robin
- Song Sparrow
- Red-winged Blackbird
- American Goldfinch
- American Crow
- Black-capped Chickadee
- Downy Woodpecker
- Common Yellowthroat
- Blue Jay
- Mourning Dove
- White-breasted Nuthatch
- Chipping Sparrow
- Common Grackle
- Hairy Woodpecker
- Northern Cardinal
- Barn Swallow
- House Wren
- Gray Catbird
- Red-bellied Woodpecker
- Brown-headed Cowbird
1. American Robin
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American Robins, which consume earthworms, are a common sight on lawns. They have blackheads and scarlet or orange backs. Because they prefer to roost in trees during the winter, you’re more likely to see them in your backyard starting in the spring.
Sunflower seeds, suet and peanut hearts, berries, and mealworms are among their favorite foods. They might even consume mealworms straight from your hand. Platform feeders or food distributed on the ground are ideal.
2. Song Sparrow
Song sparrows aren’t as noticeable as other backyard birds, but in the spring and summer, these primarily brown-streaked birds use their almost continual song to attract mates.
They are commonly perched on a low shrub singing in open, shrubby, and damp settings. They’re frequently seen at backyard feeders. Put black oil sunflower seeds, cracked corn, and nyjer on platform feeders to attract more song sparrows to your backyard feeders.
3. Red-winged Blackbird
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The all-black plumage of red-winged blackbirds, save for the vivid red and yellow shoulder patches, makes them simple to distinguish. In comparison to the brown streaky coloring of the males, the females are quite drab.
They are frequently seen sitting on telephone wires, and during the breeding season, the males will fiercely protect their territory, even attacking individuals who come too close to nests. During the winter, they roost in enormous flocks, numbering in the millions.
Spread mixed grain and seeds on the ground to attract more Red-winged blackbirds to your yard. They’ll eat enormous tube feeders or platform feeders as well.
4. American Goldfinch
The males of American Goldfinches have a striking yellow and black plumage in the spring. In the winter, females and males are both a dull brown color.
Plant thistles and milkweed in your yard to attract more American Goldfinches. Most bird feeders will attract them, and they like sunflower and nyjer seed.
5. American Crow
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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. You can attract more American Crows to your backyard by scattering peanuts.
6. Black-capped Chickadee
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The Black-capped Chickadee has a small body and a large round head. These birds will happily eat from backyard feeders and will inspect everything, including you!
They have black beaks and capes, white cheeks, and gray backs, wings, and tails. Suet, sunflower seeds, and peanuts with peanut butter are favorites. They’ll even eat out of your hand.
7. Downy Woodpecker
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Downy Woodpeckers are tiny birds that use feeders in backyards. They’re frequently mistaken for other birds like chickadees and nuthatches. They have a red patch on the back of their heads and are black and white in appearance. They have a similar appearance to the Hairy Woodpecker.
Suet feeders are a good way to attract more Downy Woodpeckers to your yard, but they will also eat black oil sunflower seeds, millet, and peanuts from platform feeders.
8. Common Yellowthroat
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Yellowthroats are little songbirds with long tails that are brownish on the back and bright yellow beneath. The males wear a black mask that covers their entire faces. The intensity of the yellow varies by location, and some areas beneath the surface may appear more olive.
They breed across much of North America and can be found in marshy or wetland environments, brushy fields, and thick, tangled vegetation in the spring and summer. They eat large insects and can be found in vast, densely vegetated backyards.
9. Blue Jay
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Blue Jays have a blue erect crest, blue and black backs, and white undersides, and are common songbirds. They are loud birds that fly in family groups in search of acorns.
Peanuts, sunflower seeds, and suet are favorites, but they prefer to eat them from tray feeders or hopper feeders mounted on a post. They’ll also appreciate a birdbath.
10. Mourning Dove
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Mourning Doves are small, graceful birds with plump bodies and long tails. The wings have a light brown tint with black markings.
Perching on telephone wires and foraging for seeds on the ground, they can be observed. By sprinkling millet on the ground or platform feeders, you can attract more Mourning Doves to your yard. They’ll consume black sunflower seeds, nyjer, cracked corn, and peanut hearts, among other things.
11. White-breasted Nuthatch
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White-breasted Nuthatches are small, energetic birds with a gray-blue back and white face and belly, as well as a black crown.
They cram huge nuts and acorns into tree bark and then beat them open with their bills to get the seed out. Sunflower seeds and peanuts in tube feeders or suet feeders will attract more White-breasted Nuthatches to your yard.
12. Chipping Sparrow
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Chipping Sparrows are slender, long-tailed birds with a rusty cap and black eye line, as well as a grayish belly and brown and black, streaked back. The colors are more subdued in the winter.
They breed across much of North America and Canada before flying to Mexico and Florida or the further south, where they spend the entire year. They can be seen in small flocks on open terrain, and they will visit backyards in search of various types of birdseed.
13. Common Grackle
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The Common Grackle is a blackbird with glossy iridescent bodies that is taller and longer-tailed than other blackbirds.
They eat a variety of crops, but primarily maize, and congregate in noisy groups high in the trees. Most mixed grain and seed, strewn on the ground or platform feeders, can attract more Common Grackles to your garden.
14. Hairy Woodpecker
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Hairy Woodpeckers have a red patch on the back of their heads and are black and white. They are slightly larger than their Downy Woodpecker counterparts.
They’re common in woodlands, forests, and parks, as well as backyard feeders. Suet feeders, as well as peanut and black oil sunflower seeds on platform feeders, can attract more Hairy Woodpeckers to your yard.
15. Northern Cardinal
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The brilliant red male Northern Cardinal with black around his face stands out against the white winter background. With their brown coloring, pointed brown crest, red accents, and red beaks, the females are likewise a little spectacular.
During the breeding season, Northern Cardinals will occasionally attack their reflections in otorcely protect their territories. Sunflower seeds, peanut hearts, millet, and milo attract more Northern Cardinals to backyard feeders.
16. Barn Swallow
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Barn Swallows are little birds with a dark blue back, wings, and tail, as well as a reddish-brown underbelly and across the face. Long outer feathers form a deep fork in the tail.
They breed across the majority of North America before migrating to Central and South America to breed. They are commonly seen soaring over meadows, farms, and fields in search of insects, and they build mud nests in man-made structures such as barns.
Put up nest boxes or cups to attract more Barn Swallows, and they may eat ground-up eggshells on a platform feeder.
17. House Wren
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House Wrens are little brown birds with a lighter throat and darker barred wings and tails. Before moving to the extreme south and Mexico for the winter, they breed in most states. House Wrens can be seen hunting for insects in brush heaps in backyards, parks, and open woodlands. By leaving brush piles or erecting a nest box, you might attract more to your backyard.
18. Gray Catbird
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Gray Catbirds get their name from their characteristic catty mew sound, which can last up to ten minutes. They’re medium-sized songbirds with slate-gray plumage, a black crown and tail, and a scarlet spot underneath their tails.
Gray Catbirds can be found in dense shrubs, tiny trees, forest borders, and hedgerows. Fruit and fruit trees or shrubs like dogwood, winterberry, and serviceberry will attract more Gray Catbirds to your backyard feeders.
19. Red-bellied Woodpecker
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Red-bellied Woodpeckers have a faint red belly that can be hard to see, as well as a redhead and neck and a black-and-white striped back.
In the spring and summer, they have a loud call and can be found in woods and forests, especially near deadwood. Suet feeders will attract more Red-bellied Woodpeckers, and they will occasionally feed on hummingbird feeders.
20. Brown-headed Cowbird
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Brown-headed Cowbird males have short tails and thick heads and have a black body and brown head. Females are brown with faint striping all over.
They are frequently seen as a nuisance since they destroy the eggs of smaller songbirds in order to place their eggs in the nest and have the bird care for their offspring. They breed in much of northern and western North America before moving south, although they spend the entire year in the Eastern and Southern states, as well as the Pacific Coast.
Bird Hotspots In Minnesota
A hillside road in eastern Duluth overlooking Lake Superior becomes one of the Midwest’s true birding destinations from mid-August through November. Thousands of raptors pass through here on their southbound migration, and scientists and casual birders alike assemble to watch and count them.
Although raptor counts began unofficially here in 1951, the Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory now performs the count on East Skyline Parkway. During September and October, staff and volunteers are on hand to answer questions and assist visitors in identifying species.
The absolute peak migration occurs between September 10 and 25, when tens of thousands of Broad-winged Hawks may pass through on a daily basdailyause different species peak at different times, you won’t be disappointed if you come back later. For example, Golden Eagle and Rough-legged Hawk peak a few weeks after the 25th.
A visitor to Hawk Ridge in late September might see Turkey Vulture, Osprey, Northern Harrier, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Cooper’s Hawk, Northern Goshawk, Bald Eagle, Red-shouldered Hawk, Broad-winged Hawk, Swainson’s Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, American Kestrel, Merlin, and Peregrine Falcon on a good day (with a generally west wind). Mississippi Kite and Red-shouldered Hawk are occasional rarities.
The Sax-Zim Bog area of forest and wetlands is certainly a legendary birding destination, not only in Minnesota but across the country. It’s a combination of public and private acreage about 35 miles northwest of Duluth, with a lot of birding done from the roadway, though there are some paths.
Ruffed Grouse, Sharp-tailed Grouse, Sandhill Crane, Upland Sandpiper, American Woodcock, Great Gray Owl, Black-backed Woodpecker, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, Gray Jay, Boreal Chickadee, Le Conte’s Sparrow, Bobolink, and many warblers, including Connecticut and Mourning, are just a few of the sought-after nesting birds here.
While many people visit this distant location in the summer to see the breeding of boreal birds, many more come in the winter to see the owl population, which includes the Northern Hawk-Owl, Great Gray Owl, Boreal Owl, and Northern Saw-whet Owl. Birders look for owls and Northern Shrike, Snow Bunting, Pine Grosbeak, Red Crossbill, White-winged Crossbill, Common Redpoll, and Hoary Redpoll at the annual winter birding festival in February.
A winter birding center on Road 203, about 12 miles west of Cotton, is open from mid-December until mid-March (Owl Avenue). Newcomers should also check out the Friends of Sax-Zim Bog’s website, which has a very useful map.
Agassiz National Wildlife Refuge
From spring to fall, this refuge northeast of Thief River Falls is a birder’s paradise. The 61,500-acre property, designated as an Audubon Important Bird Area, protects a variety of ecosystems, including prairie, oak savannah, aspen woodlands, marsh, vast impoundment ponds, and over 2,300 acres of coniferous bog. Wolves and moose can be found here, though moose numbers have been declining in recent years.
During migration, tens of thousands of ducks and shorebirds pass through Agassiz. During the summer, large flocks of American White Pelicans and Sandhill Cranes can be seen. The refuge is home to key Franklin’s Gull and Black Tern nesting populations, as well as five different grebe species.
On the four-mile Lost Bay Habitat Drive, you may see a lot of this avian bonanza. There are a few hiking trails in Agassiz, including a half-mile self-guided foot track near the headquarters.
Least Bittern, Northern Harrier, Short-eared Owl, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, Sedge Wren, Connecticut Warbler, Le Conte’s Sparrow, Nelson’s Sparrow, Bobolink, and Yellow-headed Blackbird are among the refuge’s prominent breeding birds.
The Lost River State Forest
Highway 310 north from Roseau will take you to Canada in less than 11 kilometers. Stop before you need your passport, as there are some fantastic birding opportunities just before the border.
Because the winters can be cold here, the greatest birding season for most people is late spring through fall. Northern Hawk-Owl, Northern Shrike, Snow Bunting, and Common Redpoll are among the birds that can be found in the winter.
Lost River State Forest, on the east side of Highway 310, is home to a variety of breeding species, including the elusive Spruce Grouse, Black-backed Woodpecker, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, Gray Jay, Boreal Chickadee, Connecticut Warbler, and Mourning Warbler. A highlighted attraction is the Great Gray Owl, an amazing icon of the north country. This bird has been spotted by some birders close near Highway 310.
Roseau River Wildlife Management Area is a shelter for wetland-loving species such as ducks, grebes, American Bittern, Least Bittern, rails (including Yellow), Black Tern, Sedge Wren, and Marsh Wren a few miles west (west of Highway 89). Here, Sandhill Cranes and Le Conte’s Sparrows build their nests. Because this is a popular hunting region, it’s a good idea to contact ahead to check on seasons (218-463-1130).