20 Most Common Backyards Birds In Idaho. 


Idaho is a northwestern U.S. state known for mountainous landscapes and vast swaths of protected wilderness and outdoor recreation. The capital, Boise, is set in the Rocky Mountain foothills and is bisected by the Boise River, which is popular for rafting and fishing. One of the beauties of this state is the vast array of backyard birds which show not only beautiful scenes but also different songs.

There are over 345 species of birds. However, this article will give you all the relevant information about the 20 common backyard birds in this state. You will be enriched with the types, specifications, feeds, and how to attract lovely creatures.

20 Most Common Backyard Birds In Idaho.

1. American Robin

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American Robin

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The American robin is a migratory songbird of the true thrush genus and Turdidae, the wider thrush family. It is named after the European robin because of its reddish-orange breast. However, the two species are not closely related, with the European robin belonging to the Old World flycatcher family.

Lifespan: 2 years (In the wild)

Feeder To Attract:  Robins are mostly seen hopping around the grass, looking for worms and other invertebrates to eat.

They will occasionally visit bird feeders; they do not typically eat seeds. Their bright red, round bellies, and yellow beaks make them easy to identify.  Robins live all year in Idaho, although you may see them less frequently in your yard during the winter.

Visibility Percentage: Winter 27%, Summer 40%.

2. Downy Woodpecker

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These woodpeckers have a short bill and are relatively small. Color-wise, they have white bellies, with a mostly black back that features streaks and spots of white.

Male birds have a distinctive red spot on the back of their head, which females lack. The downy woodpecker is the smallest North American woodpecker, measuring:
Feeder To Attract: The best foods to use are suet, sunflower seeds, and peanuts (including peanut butter). You may even spot them drinking sugar water from your hummingbird feeders! If you use suet products, use a specialized suet bird feeder.

3. American Goldfinch

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American Goldfinch


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A small finch with a short, conical bill and a small head, long wings, and a short, notched tail. The American Goldfinch is a common sight at backyard feeders. The small birds are found across most North America,   though they orth America,   though they do avoid thick forests.

Feeder To Attract: Goldfinches prefer thistle feeders, they may also eat sunflower chips but a thistle feeder is your best chance to attract them.

Visibility Percentage: Summer 22%.

4. Red-winged Blackbird

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Red-winged Blackbirds

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Frequency: 27.25%.

Among the most abundant birds in North America, male Red-winged Blackbirds are unmistakable because of their red and yellow “shoulders” that stand out amongst their black bodies.

However, the females of this species look quite different and are mostly brown with light streaks. They are a polygyn species, meaning males will have up to 15 different females mating.

Unfortunately, they sometimes show up at feeders in flocks and gobble up seeds quickly. Red-winged Blackbirds can be found in Idaho all year.

Feeder To Attract: Red-winged Blackbirds visit most types of feeders and will eat seed as well as suet.

5. Red-breasted Nuthatch

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Red-breasted Nuthatch

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These little nuthatches have a dark gray back, rusty (ranges from boldly colored to pale) chest and belly, and a boldly black and white striped face. They are quick and active birds most commonly found hopping around on tree trunks and branches, looking for insects beneath the bark.

They nest in tree cavities and will even use backyard nest boxes. Red-breasted Nuthatches are found year-round in Idaho, but their population often “follows the food” and may head to other states during winters when food (conifer seeds) is less abundant.

Feeder To Attract: Red-breasted Nuthatches will readily visit feeders. Offer sunflower seeds, peanuts, or suet.

6. Mourning Dove

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Morning Dove

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About the size of a robin, doves are very common in backyards and will often sit perched on telephone wires or in groups in trees. I sometimes see them on my tray feeder, but more often, they like to hang out underneath feeders and pick up the seeds that fall to the ground.

Mourning Doves are mostly gray with black spots on top and a pale peachy color below. They have a pale bluish-gray eye ring and pink legs. Mourning Doves are found all year throughout Idaho.

Feeder To Attract: Doves will often visit seed feeders but prefer scouring the ground for fallen seeds. You might try a ground feeder with a mixed seed blend or scatter some seeds on the ground.

7. European Starling

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European Starling

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They are mostly dark with white specks on their backs and wings and have yellow beaks and feet.

While Starlings often look black, they are iridescent and have pretty purple and green plumage in the right lighting. Unfortunately, starlings are found in every lower 48 states year-round, Idaho included.

Feeder To Attract:  European Starlings will eat almost anything but are especially fond of suet. They are an invasive species, so we suggest you do not attempt to attract them; they’ll show up anyway.

Visibility Percentage: Winter 28%, Summer 22%.

8. Northern Flicker

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Northern Flicker

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This is a stocky bird with short legs, a short tail, and a big head. The back is brown with black bars. The underparts are pinkish with black spots. The black wing and tail feathers are bright salmon-red (West) or yellow (East).

Head gray (West) or brown (East) and males with red (West) or black (East) whisker marks and nape marks (East). Black crescent across the chest. A white rump was seen in flight.

Found in woodland edges and forests. A year-round resident from extreme southern Canada, across all of the lower-48 states and in the mountains of Mexico and Middle America. In summer breeds northward well into Canada and Alaska. Frequently noted hopping on the ground pecking in the ground for insects.

In late spring, males proclaim their territory by rapid pounding on a hollow tree branch. However, the ringing of metal downspouts at dawn is louder and carries much farther, to the exasperation of anyone trying to sleep inside!

Feeder To Attract: Ants and beetles are their primary foods. Will eat black oil sunflower seeds and are attracted to suet.

9. House Finch

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House Finch

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Originally a bird of the West, now found across most US. There are other red finches, but these are most likely in residential areas.

Larger than goldfinches and chickadees. Smaller than a White-crowned Sparrow or Spotted/Eastern towhees. It is medium built with a medium-long notched tail. Roundhead, short, conical.

It is brown and gray above with streaks on the sides of the pale underparts. Males with red (sometimes orange or rarely yellow) crown, chest, rump. Habitat, range & behavior: You’ll find small flocks on wires, in short, treetops, and in bushes. Originally deserts and grasslands.

Rural areas and towns are where they’re now most common. They were formerly found in the western United States and Mexico, then introduced into the northeastern United States, but now found in nearly all lower-48 states and extreme southern Canada.

Rare in plains states (Dakotas to Texas) and southern Florida. House Finches are not territorial, but males sing throughout the year–a lively, wiry song ending in a couple of buzzy notes.

Feeder To Attract: They love sunflower seeds and tube feeders. May eat from thistle socks.

Visibility Percentage: Winter 31%, Summer 20%.

10. Song Sparrow

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Song Sparrow

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A common bird, but variable and similar to many other streaked brown sparrows.

Identification: A smaller bird similar to House Finch and juncos. Larger than chickadees and goldfinches. Smaller than White-crowned Sparrows or Spotted/Eastern towhees. Plump with a round head, long rounded tail. It is highly variable in darkness and color saturation across its range (dark rusty to pale gray).

Generally gray-brown above with dark brown streaking on the back. Complicated head pattern. Streaking on sides and breast converge into dense central breast spots.

Habitat, range & behavior: Thickets, especially near water. Backyard shrubbery. Resident in the western United States, western Canada, coastal southern Alaska, northeastern US.

In summer, it also moves into mid-Canada and the northern half of the US. In the winter found in most of the US lower-48. Also a population in central Mexico. Forages on ground, never far from low cover to which they fly if startled.

Feeder To Attract: They feed on seeds and insects near the ground. Will visit hopper and tray feeders for mixed birdseed.

Visibility Percentage: Winter 23%, Summer 25%.

11. Dark-eyed Junco

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Dark-Eyed Junco

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People in the U.S often think of juncos as winter birds since they spend their summers in Canada. They are all-around birds with a pale pink beak, but their feather coloration varies across the United States. In Idaho, you can find both the “Oregon” variety and the “Pink-sided” variety.

They both have a dark head and brown back; however, Oregon’s have a light buffy breast while the pink-sided have, no surprise, pink sides. Females look similar, but their color may be duller overall.

Juncos are most common in forests and wooded areas, where they can often be seen hopping around on the ground. Spend much of their time hopping and feeding on the ground.

Feeder To Attract:  Eats mostly seeds also insects in summer. Readily feed at backyard feeders on mixed seeds on hopper or tray feeders and ground.

Visibility Percentage: Winter 39%.

12. Black-capped Chickadee


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This is a common backyard bird in the northern half of the United States. Chickadees are small birds, the same general size as an American Goldfinch. They are short, straight, and stout. Common colors are gray above buffy below. Blackcap and bib with the white lower face.
White edges on wing feathers.

They range from the northern half of the United States, the southern half of Canada, and most of Alaska. Small flocks actively from tree to tree glean insects acrobatically from twig tips.

In winter, chickadees make up the core of mixed-species flocks containing nuthatches, kinglets, creepers, woodpeckers, and others.

Feeder To Attract: Seeds, insects, berries. They eat at tube, hopper, and tray feeders. They love black oil, sunflower seeds, and suet.

Visibility Percentage:  Winter 29%.

13. Barn Swallow

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Barn Swallow

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Barn swallows, birds of the open field. These beautifully colored birds have a dark blue back orange between the eyes and throat. Their breast and belly can be anything from a light tawny to bright orange. One of their trademarks is their long, deeply forked tail.

They use a combination of mud and grass to create cup-shaped nests, often found in the eaves of barns, gazebos, covered pavilions, and under bridges.

Barn swallows migrate to the U.S. to breed, and you can find them throughout Idaho during the spring and summer.

Feeder To Attract: Since Barn Swallows eat flying insects, they won’t visit a bird feeder. You can try to attract them by putting up a nestbox or providing access if you have a barn, outbuilding, or gazebo.

14. White-crowned Sparrow

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White-crowned Sparrow

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One of the easier sparrows to identify, white-crowned sparrows have a bold black and white striped head while the rest of their face, chest, and belly remain a plain buffy brown-gray.

They like to forage in fields and along the edges of roads and trails. These sparrows will come to bird feeders but are most likely to stay on the ground and pick up spilled seed.

White-crowned sparrows spend the summer far north in Canada and Alaska, then migrate back down across the United States during the winter.

Feeder To Attract: White-crowned sparrows readily visit feeders and like to pick up fallen seeds below feeders. Offer sunflower, millet, and mixed seed blends.

15. House Sparrow


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They are mostly brown, with some black and brown streaking on their wings and buffy chest. House sparrows are overall aggressive towards other birds, especially around nests. They are known to evict other birds nesting in birdhouses.

House Sparrows are found throughout Idaho, especially around areas of human activity. If you see drab brown birds hanging out around shopping areas and building nests inside storefront signs, they are likely House Sparrows.

Feeder To Attract: Like the European Starling, House Sparrows are invasive and threaten native species. They will eat almost anything.

Visibility Percentage: Winter 20%.

16. Chipping Sparrow

Chipping Sparrow

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Chipping sparrows have their most crisp feathers in the summer, with a buffy gray breast, brown and tan striped wings, rusty red cap, and a black line through the eye with white above.

Their markings may appear less defined in winter and their coloring more buffy-brown. They are common sparrows that like to feed on open ground.

Feeder To Attract: Chipping Sparrows are common at backyard feeders and often like to remain on the ground picking up what has spilled.

Attract them with sunflowers and mixed seeds, especially scattered on the ground.

17. Western Tanager


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It’s hard to mistake a male western tanager. They have a right orange face, and their bright yellow chest and back stand out next to black wings.

Females are usually duller in color and may appear more olive-yellow with gray wings, and they do not have orange on their face.

They eat mostly insects which they carefully pluck from foliage at the tops of trees. Western tanagers can be found throughout Idaho during the spring and summer breeding seasons.

Feeder To Attract: Western tanagers don’t often visit seed feeders, so try to attract them with dried fruit or fresh oranges. A birdbath or other water feature may also draw them to your yard.

18. Eurasian Collared-Dove

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Eurasian Collared-Dove

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The Eurasian Collared-Dove is a bird found in many areas of the world. The common Eurasian Collared-Dove is one of the most widely distributed birds globally and is very adaptable to living near humans or other species of animals.

The Eurasian Collared-Doves range extends from Europe to Asia, Africa, and North America. They are found in various habitats such as coastal areas, swamps, agricultural fields, and meadows, where they find food such as seeds, fruits, and small animals like snails.

They migrate south for winter because there’s less food available during this time of year.

Feeder To Attract: They will visit feeders to find food such as seeds, fruits, and small animals like snails.

19. Pine Siskin

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Pine Siskin

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Pine Siskins are tiny members of the finch family with sharply pointed beaks. They are brown and white, streaked all over, and look like female house finches.

However, the Pine Siskin will always have yellow (of varying brightness) along with their wings and sides of their tails. They are considered nomadic and can move erratically following good seed crops each winter, with their favorite food source being conifer seeds.

This is why some winters you may see many of them, while others you may not see them at all. Pine Siskins can be found in most areas of Idaho year-round; however, in the southwest they may be more common in the winter only.

Feeder To Attract:  Pine Siskins will readily visit nyjer (thistle) feeders and may also eat millet or hulled sunflower.

20. Brewer’s blackbird


Males are very dark and often appear black, but you can see iridescent blue, purple, and green in bright sunlight. They have a black bill and a yellow eye-ring. Females are a muddled brown all over with a black eye.

These blackbirds are very social and will often be seen in small groups and will nest in colonies of 100 or more. Brewer’s blackbirds can be found year-round throughout Idaho.

Feeder To Attract: Brewer’s blackbirds will visit bird feeders, but they have trouble with small perches because of their size. They would prefer a platform feeder or seed scattered on the ground. Most seed mixes should be fine, especially those with sunflower, cracked corn, and millet.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the native bird in Idaho?

A: The mountain bluebird is the state bird of Idaho.

Q: How do I identify a bird in my backyard?

A: The best way to identify backyard birds is to use a balanced observation approach that includes noting the behavior, voice, color, and field markings of the bird.

Q: What type of food do birds eat?

A: Some eat seeds, berries, fruit, insects, other birds, eggs, small mammals, fish, buds, larvae, aquatic invertebrates, acorns and other nuts, aquatic vegetation, grain, dead animals, garbage, and much more.

Q: What is a black and white bird in Idaho?

A: Black-billed Magpies are familiar and entertaining birds of western North America. They sit on the fence posts and road signs or flap across rangelands, their white wing patches flashing and their very long tails trailing behind them.

Q: How many species of birds are there in Idaho?

A: There are about 437 different bird species in Idaho.


Bird watching is a great hobby for many people. The main task for people is to identify different species of birds and understand what they are doing in your backyard hope you have a lovely time with these wonderful neighbors with the task covered in this article. We hope you have a lovely time with these wonderful neighbors with the task covered in this article.

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