Before you go birding in Montana, here are some things you should know:
- Montana’s state bird is the Western Meadowlark. In 1931, schoolchildren chose this species, a well-known summer bird that appears on 25% of state checklists.
- According to ebird, Montana is home to 429 different bird species. Trumpeter and Tundra Swans, Bitterns, Avocets, Wilson’s Phalaropes, Wild Turkeys, Bald Eagles, White Pelicans, Ospreys, Northern Harriers, Sandhill Cranes, Golden Eagles, White-faced Ibis, Long-billed Curlews, Western Tanagers, and Calliope Hummingbirds are some of Montana’s most notable birds.
- The Bald Eagle is Montana’s most giant bird, with females having a wingspan of up to 8 feet (2.5 m). A formidable bird of prey, the white-headed national bird emblem of the United States is a powerful white-headed national bird symbol of the United States.
- The Calliope Hummingbird, about 3 inches long, is Montana’s tiniest bird, although it can fly enormous distances from Canada to southern Mexico.
- The American Robin is the most common bird in Montana, appearing on 37 percent of all bird checklists throughout the year.
- If you want to get out and see birds in their natural surroundings, Montana has nine national parks, eleven national forests, 21 national wildlife refuges, and 55 state parks to choose from.
20 Most Beautiful Backyard Birds In Montana
- American Robin
- Red-winged Blackbird
- Northern Flicker
- Mourning Dove
- Black-billed Magpie
- Western Meadowlark
- Brown-headed Cowbird
- Pine Siskin
- European Starling
- Cedar Waxwing
- Black-capped Chickadee
- House Finch
- House Sparrow
- Eurasian Collared-Dove
- Chipping Sparrow
- Eastern Kingbird
- House Wren
- Song Sparrow
- Yellow-rumped Warbler
- Downy Woodpecker
Top 20 Most Common Backyard Birds In Montana
1. American Robin
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American Robins, which consume earthworms, are a common sight on lawns. They have blackheads on their backs and breasts that are red or orange. Because they prefer to roost in trees during the winter, you’re more likely to see them in your backyard starting in the spring.
American Robins can be found in various environments, including woodlands, forests, mountains, fields, parks, and lawns. Earthworms, insects, snails, and fruit are among their favorite foods.
Sunflower seeds, suet and peanut hearts, fruit, and mealworms can all be used to attract more American Robins to your yard. Platform feeders or food distributed on the ground are ideal—plant juniper, sumac, hawthorn, dogwood, and other natural plants yield berries.
2. 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 streaky brown pigmentation of the males, the females are pretty 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. They roost in huge flocks during the winter, 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.
3. Northern Flicker
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Northern Flickers are large woodpeckers with brownish coloring, black spots, bars, and crescents, and red on the neck, about the size of a robin or a crow. Eastern birds’ tails and wing feathers are bright yellows, while western birds’ are red.
They can be spotted in woods and forest margins on the ground, hunting for ants and beetles. Those that breed in Canada or Alaska move to the southern states, but they can be found throughout the lower 48 states all year.
Suet and black oil sunflower seeds will attract more Northern Flickers to your garden feeders.
4. Mourning Dove
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Mourning Doves are small, graceful birds with plump bodies and long tails. The wings have a light brown color with black markings.
In grasslands, pastures, and backyards, they can be observed perching on telephone wires and forage for seeds on the ground. Mourning Doves can be found in open regions or on the outskirts of wooded areas. Mourning Doves are located across the lower 48 states throughout the year, but they may migrate after reproducing in the far north.
By sprinkling millet on the ground or platform feeders, you can attract more Mourning Doves to your yard. In addition to black sunflower seeds, nyjer, cracked corn, and peanut hearts, they will consume black sunflower seeds, nyjer, cracked corn, and peanut hearts.
5. Black-billed Magpie
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Black-billed Magpies are noisy black and white birds with long tails with blue-green iridescent flashes in the wing and tail. They are larger than Jays.
They do not migrate and feed on fruit and grain, beetles, grasshoppers in meadows and grasslands, and other open spaces. They’ve also been known to kill small animals like squirrels and voles, as well as raiding bird nests for eggs and nestlings, as well as carrion.
Black-billed Magpies will frequent backyards searching for black oil sunflower seeds, peanuts, fruit, suet, millet, and milo in platform and suet feeders.
6. Western Meadowlark
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Western Meadowlarks may brighten your day with their beautiful yellow bellies and delightful voice. This is most likely why they are so popular, to the point where they are the official bird of six states.
Western Meadowlarks are small blackbirds with brown and white upper parts and a black V-shaped band across the brilliant yellow chest that fades gray in the winter.
They breed in northern areas of the United States and Canada before migrating south. Those in the west and middle of the country stay all year. Western Meadowlarks can be found foraging insects and seeds from weeds and seeds in grasslands, meadows, and fields, either alone or in small flocks.
7. 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 eat the eggs of smaller songbirds to put their eggs in the nest and have the bird raise their young.
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 and the Pacific Coast.
8. Pine Siskin
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Pine Siskins are tiny finches with brown wing and tail streaks and yellow wing and tail streaks. Their tail is forked, and their wings are pointed, with a short pointed bill.
Pine Siskins breed in Canada and can overwinter in most United States, but because their migration depends on pine cone yields, they may not travel in some years. Some birds, however, spend the entire year in the western pine forests.
As their name suggests, Pine Siskins eat seeds from conifers, but they also eat immature buds and seeds from grasses and weeds.
Thistle and nyjer feeders, as well as black oil sunflower seeds and suet, can attract Pine Siskins to backyards.
9. European Starling
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European starlings are not native to the United States, yet they have become common songbirds. They’re stocky black birds with purple, green, and blue iridescent tones.
These birds can be seen perched in groups on the tops of trees or flying over fields in flocks, and some are regarded as pests because toas their aggressive nature. They fly in big, noisy flocks and can be seen perched in groups on the tops of trees or flying over fields in communities.
Starlings mostly eat insects such as beetles, flies, and caterpillars, as well as earthworms and spiders. Fruit such as cherries, holly berries, mulberries, Virginia Creeper, sumac, blackberries, and grains and seeds are also consumed.
Black oil sunflower seeds, suet, cracked corn, and peanuts can all be used to attract more European Starlings to your backyard feeders.
10. Cedar Waxwing
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Cedar Waxwings are graceful sociable birds with a pale brown head, chest, and crest that fades to gray on the back, wings, and tail. The tip of their tail is bright yellow, and their belly is pastel yellow. Their eyes are hidden under a tight black mask, and their wingtips are blazing red.
They spend the entire year in the north and the winter in the south. They can be found in berry bushes, forests, and streams and have a high-pitched call.
To attract Cedar Waxwings to your yard, plant natural trees and shrubs with small fruit, such as serviceberry, dogwood, juniper, winterberry, and hawthorn. Fruit can also be used in platform feeders.
11. Black-capped Chickadee
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The Black-capped Chickadee has a petite body and a large round head. These birds will cheerfully eat from your outdoor feeders and inspect everything, including you!
They have black beaks and capes, white cheeks, gray backs, wings, and tails.
Forests, open woods, and parks are all excellent places to look for them. Black-capped chickadees eat seeds, berries, insects, spiders, and suet.
Suet, sunflower seeds, and peanuts or peanut butter are all good ways to attract additional Black-capped Chickadees to your yard. They’ll even eat from your hand, and they’re usually the first to notice new feeders. They’ll also use nest boxes, especially if they’re filled with wood shavings.
12. House Finch
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Male House Finches have a redhead and breast, while females have brown-streaked coloring. Initially introduced only in western regions, they have thrived in eastern areas, even displacing the Purple Finch.
Parks, farms, woodland margins, and backyard feeders are good places to look for them. They congregate in large, boisterous groups that are difficult to miss.
Black oil sunflower seeds or nyjer seeds in tube feeders or platform feeders will attract more House Finches to backyard feeders.
13. House Sparrow
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Another introduced species that has thrived and is now one of the most frequent birds is the House Sparrow. They are commonly seen around houses and buildings and can be pretty friendly, eating from your hand.
They are pests since they are non-native, yet they will still be found in backyards if you do not feed them.
Most types of birdseed, such as millet, corn, and sunflower seeds, will attract more House Sparrows to your backyard feeders.
14. Eurasian Collared-Dove
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Eurasian Collared-Doves are an invasive species that first arrived in the United States in the 1980s and has since spread across the country. They’re light brownish-gray with white patches on the tail and a black half collar at the nape of the neck, similar to Mourning Doves. They’re also more extensive and have a square seat instead of a pointed one.
They avoid dense forests refer habitats near people where seeds are plentiful, like backyard feeders and farms. Eurasian Collared Doves eat a range of sources and grains, but they also eat berries and insects.
Millet, oats, cracked corn, and Black oil sunflower seeds or hulled sunflower seeds on ground feeders can attract more Eurasian-Collared-Doves to your yard, but they may also visit platform or hopper feeders.
15. Chipping Sparrow
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Chipping Sparrows are slender, long-tailed birds with a rusty cap and black eye line and 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 traveling south to Mexico and Florida, spending the entire year.
They congregate in small flocks on open terrain and visit backyards searching for various types of birdseed.
16. Eastern Kingbird
Eastern Kingbirds are large-headed, medium-sized flycatchers with a blackish back and white underbelly. Their heads are a darker black, and their tails have a white tip.
When defending their nests, they demonstrate violence toward each other and other birds, earning them the epithet “king.” When they defend themselves or their nest, they raise a hidden crown of yellow, orange, or red feathers.
They breed across much of the United States before wintering in Central and South America. They frequently lay their eggs in fields, orchards, and woodland margins. They often build their nests near bodies of water, such as rivers or lakes.
Bees, wasps, ants, beetles, crickets, grasshoppers, bugs, and flies are among the insects caught by Eastern Kingbirds in mid-flight. They frequently hang above fields, watching for insects to fly by. Fruit, such as serviceberries, cherries, blackberries, and elderberries, will also be consumed.
You can attract more Eastern Kingbirds to your yard with natural berry bushes and plenty of insect-attracting native vegetation.
17. House Wren
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House Wrens are little brown birds with a lighter throat and darker banded wings and tails. they breed in most states before moving to the extreme south and Mexico for the winter
Foraging for insects and spiders such as beetles, caterpillars, and earwigs in brush heaps, House Wrens can be found in backyards, parks, and open woodlands. They’re frequently seen hopping through tangles and low branches with their tails raised, pausing to sing their happy song.
For their small, House Wrens are fearsome. They may often attack larger birds to gain the best nest holes, dragging eggs or nestlings out of a nest site they want.
By leaving brush piles or erecting a nest box in your backyard, you might attract more House Wrens.
18. Song Sparrow
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Song sparrows aren’t as noticeable as other backyard birds, but these primarily brown-streaked birds use their almost continual song to attract mates in the spring and summer.
They’re commonly perched on a low shrub singing in open, shrubby, and damp settings. They’re frequently seen at backyard feeders. Beetles, caterpillars, midges, spiders, and earthworms are among the insects and plants that Song Sparrows eat. Buckwheat, sunflower, raspberries, wild cherries, blackberries, wheat, and rice are among the foods they will eat.
Put black oil sunflower seeds, cracked corn, and nyjer on platform feeders to attract more song sparrows to your backyard feeders.
19. Yellow-rumped Warbler
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Yellow-rumped Warblers have a gray body with yellow flashes on the face, flanks, and rump, as well as white wings. Females are slightly browner than males, and winter birds are paler brown with bright yellow tails and sides, which turn bright yellow and gray in spring.
After reproducing primarily in Canada, they migrate in vast numbers south through most southern and central North America, the Pacific Coast, and Mexico and Central America. Sunflower seeds, suet, raisins, and peanut butter can all be used to attract Yellow-rumped Warblers to your yard.
20. 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 resemble the Hairy Woodpecker but are smaller.
Insects, beetle larvae, berries, acorns, and grains are the primary foods of downy woodpeckers, found in woodlots, along streams, city parks, and backyards. Suet feeders are a good way toan excellentct more Downy Woodpeckers to your yard, but they will also eat black oil sunflower seeds, millet, and peanuts from platform feeders.