20 Most Common Backyard Birds in Massachusetts

20 Most Common Backyard Birds in Massachusetts

Have you ever wondered what kinds of birds are in the backyard of your home in Massachusetts? Do you need assistance in finding the most common birds that frequent your backyard in Massachusetts so you can help feed them and coexist as one big community?

It is an amazing experience when you put the bird feeders up and see the birds that visit, but it’s even more enjoyable when you know what they are.

In this article, we’ll examine the popular backyard birds in Massachusetts, particularly those that are near home. Some species reside in Massachusetts all year round, some are migratory while others are only residents for a short period of time.

Let’s look at the top 20 backyard birds found in Massachusetts and find out a bit more about each of the species.

I’ll also show you how to attract the type of birds you love to your backyard, and give an overview of the various types of bird feeders you could make use of and will also mention some birdwatching hotspots as well as organizations for birdwatching in Massachusetts.

It’s not easy to find precise figures on how many bird species exist within North America, the United States or even within the Massachusetts state but as per Wikipedia, 505 species are listed in the official list of state birds.

According to one report, there are 2,059 species found in North America, another older source claims there are only 914. So, although it’s actually important to know a closely related figure it’s near impossible to arrive at a certain number.

If you’re eager to take a birding walk in the backyard in Massachusetts follow this article to learn the best ways to spot birds and how to draw even more bird species to your backyard.

20 Most Common Backyard Birds in Massachusetts

BirdPercentage of Popularity
Black-capped Chickadee48%
Blue Jay47%
American Robin45%
Northern Cardinal43%
Song Sparrow42%
American Crow39%
Mourning Dove38%
American Goldfinch38.5%
Tufted Titmouse34%
Downy Woodpecker33%
White-breasted Nuthatch29%
House Sparrow28%
Red-winged Blackbird27.8%
Common Grackle26.8%
European Starling23.4%

These are the most commonly seen backyard birds found in Massachusetts that might visit your yard or feeds.

The 20 most frequent birds that live in Massachusetts

Black-capped Chickadee

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Black-capped Chickadee
Kingdom:Animalia
PhylumChordata
ClassAves
OrderPasseriformes
FamilyParidae
GenusPoecile
SpeciesP. atricapillus
Lengthfour to six inches
Weight11 g

The Black-capped chickadee is a adorable bird with a round head and a tiny body. They love to feed at backyard feeders and look around, even yours!

They sport black-caps and beaks with white cheeks and have gray spots on their back as well as on the wings and tail. They are particularly fond of suet, sunflower seeds, as well as peanut butter or peanuts. They can even feed from your hands.

 Blue Jay

20 Most Common Backyard Birds in Massachusetts
Blue Jay

Blue Jays can be described as common birds of song, sporting blue upright crests as well as black and blue backs as well as white undersides. They can be noisy birds and move together in group of families, and eat acorns if they are they are available.

They like sunflower seeds, peanuts, and suet. They prefer these in hoppers, tray feeders, or feeders that are mounted on posts. They also love the birdbath.

American Robin

American Robin
KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassAves
OrderPasseriformes
FamilyTurdidae
GenusTurdus
SpeciesT. migratorius

The American Robin is a frequent sight in lawns and backyards in Massachusetts where they eat earthworms. They have black heads , and backs with orange or red breasts.

They are known to nest in trees during winter months, which is why it is more likely that you will find them in your backyard in spring.

They eat sunflower seeds suet, peanut hearts, fruit, as well as mealworms. They might even eat mealworms straight from your hands.

Platform feeders are ideal or food sprinkled in the dirt.

 Northern Cardinal

20 Most Common Backyard Birds in Massachusetts
Northern Cardinal
Kingdom:Animalia
PhylumChordata
ClassAves
OrderPasseriformes
FamilyCardinalidae
GenusCardinalis
SpeciesC. cardinalis
Length21 – 24 cm
Weight43 g

The bright male Northern Cardinal with black around their faces is an amazing image, particularly against a white winter backdrop.

Females can be quite glitzy, by their brown coloring, sharp brown crests with red highlights with red eyes.

Northern Cardinals will sometimes attack their reflections during the breeding season when they are compelled to defend their territory.

You can attract more Northern Cardinals to backyard feeders by using sunflower seeds, peanuts millet, milo.

They feed from huge tubes, feeders or platforms feeders, or food that is scattered across the ground.

There’s an amazing number of red-headed birds in Massachusetts to be spotted.

Song Sparrow

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Song Sparrow
KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassAves
OrderPasseriformes
FamilyPasserellidae
GeniusMelospiza
Species
M. melodia

Song sparrows may not be so impressive like other backyard birds but the brown-streaked birds rely on their song almost continuously to attract their mates in the spring and summer months.

They are located in open, shady and wet areas, usually perched on low tree that is singing. They are usually found in backyard feeders.

You can attract more song sparrows and birds at your feeders in the back yard by placing sunflower seeds with black oil cracking corn, Nyjer on feeders with platforms.

 American Crow

American crow
Kingdom:Animalia
PhylumChordata
ClassAves
OrderPasseriformes
FamilyCorvidae
GenusCorvus
SpeciesC. brachyrhynchos

American Crows are massive all-black birds which make the sound of a cawing, hoarse. They are common birds and can be seen in all habitats such as treetops, forests and fields, beaches or in towns.

They eat almost everything and typically feed on earthworms that eat earthworms, insects seeds, fruits, and seeds.

You can draw more American Crows to your yard with the scattering of peanuts.

 Mourning Dove

20 Most Common Backyard Birds in Massachusetts

Kingdom:Animalia
PhylumChordata
ClassAves
OrderColumbidae
ClassColumbiformes
GenusZenaida
Species
Z. macroura

Mourning Doves look elegant with their small-headed birdswith large bodies with long tails. They have a soft brown, with black spots on their wings.

They are often seen perched on telephone wires, and searching to find seeds on the ground.

You can attract more Mourning Doves in your yard by scattering millet over the ground or on platforms feeders. They also consume the seeds of black sunflower, Nyjer cracked corn, peanut hearts.

American Goldfinch

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American Goldfinch
Kingdom:Animalia
PhylumChordata
ClassAves
OrderFringillidae
FamilyCarduelinae
GenusSpinus
SpeciesS. tristis

American Goldfinches are popular birds with males sporting who have bright black and yellow colors in spring. Females are dull brown and males are more in winter.

To draw even more American Goldfinches to your backyard Try planting milkweed and thistles. They are frequent visitors to bird feeders and will also eat sunflower seeds and nyjer seeds.

Tufted Titmouse

20 Most Common Backyard Birds in Massachusetts
Tufted Titmouse
KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassAves
OrderPasseriformes
FamilyParidae
GenusBaeolophus
SpeciesB. bicolor
Length15 – 17 cm
Weight21 g

Tufted Titmouse has a gray back, and white beneath with cute gray crests and big eyes that frequently are a favorite of chickadees, nuthatches and woodpeckers.

They may be aggressive over smaller birds, and can be frequently seen in parks, woodlands and in backyard feeders.

It is possible to attract more Tufted Titmice to your backyard food sources by placing suet, sunflower seeds and peanuts in suet cages and tube feeders. They can also eat suet from platforms for feeding.

Downy Woodpecker

20 Most Common Backyard Birds in Massachusetts
Downy Woodpecker
KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassAves
OrderPiciformes
FamilyPicidae
GenusDryobates
SpeciesD. pubescens
Length14 –17 cm
Weight21 – 28 g

Downy Woodpeckers are tiny birds that are often seen in backyard feeders. They are usually paired with other birds, such as nuthatches and chickadees.

They have a black and white colors, and red spots on the rear of their heads. They look like their cousins, the Hairy Woodpecker.

To lure more Downy Woodpeckers in your yard, Try suet feeders, but they are also known to eat sunflower seeds with black oil millet, peanuts, and millet on feeders with platforms.

White-breasted Nuthatch

20 Most Common Backyard Birds in Massachusetts
White-breasted Nuthatch
KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassAves
OrderPasseriformes
FamilySittidae
GenusSitta
SpeciesS. carolinensis
Length15 cm
Weight20 g

White-breasted Nuthatches are lively birds with gray-blue coloration on the back, and white on the belly and face and have black caps.

They put massive nuts and acorns inside the tree bark, and then smash them with their hands to crack or “hatch” them in order to take the seeds out.

You can draw more White-breasted Nuthatches into your yard by putting sunflower seeds and peanuts in suet feeders and tube feeders.

House Sparrow

20 Most Common Backyard Birds in Massachusetts
House Sparrow
KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassAves
OrderPasseriformes
FamilyPasseridae
GenusPasser
SpeciesP. domesticus
Length14 – 18 cm
Weight24 – 40 g

It is the House Sparrow is another introduced species that has fared successfully and now is among the most commonly seen birds.

They can be found close to homes and structures and are quite gentle and they can feed off your hands.

They could be considered to be an insect pest since they are not native, but can be seen in backyards, even when you don’t feed them.

It is possible to attract additional House Sparrows to your backyard feeders by using a variety of birdseeds, including millet, corn, as well as sunflower seeds.

Red-winged Blackbird

20 Most Common Backyard Birds in Massachusetts
Red-winged Blackbird
Kingdom:Animalia
PhylumChordata
ClassAves
OrderPasseriformes
FamilyIcteridae
GenusAgelaius
SpeciesA. phoeniceus

The red-winged blackbird is very widespread and easy to recognize due to their all-black color, with the exception for the bright yellow and red shoulder patches. The females appear dull in comparison to the brown streaks of color.

They are often seen perched on telephone wires, and males will fight for their territories during the breeding season, even attacking those who get close enough to nests. In winter, they nest in huge numbers, often reaching millions.

To draw more blackbirds with red wings to your yard, try mixing seeds and grain spread on the ground. They be able to feed from large tubes as well as platforms feeders.

Common Grackle

20 Most Common Backyard Birds in Massachusetts
Common Grackle
KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassAves
OrderPasseriformes
FamilyIcteridae
GenusQuiscalus
SpeciesQ. quiscula
Length28 – 34 cm
Weight110 g

It is also known as the Common Grackle is a blackbird which is bigger and more tail than the typical blackbird. It also has glossy bodies that sparkle with iridescence.

They eat a variety of crops, but they eat the majority of corn. They also are often seen in large groups, high in the trees.

You can draw even more Common Grackles to your backyard by using the majority of mixed seed and grain sprinkled on the ground or placed on platforms feeders.

European Starling

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European Starling
Kingdom:Animalia
PhylumChordata
ClassAves
OrderSturnidae
FamilyPasseriformes
GenusSturnus
Species
S. vulgaris

European Starlings are not native but they are among the largest songbirds. They are large, black birds with iridescent green, purple and blue hues.

Some consider them to be a nuisance because of their aggressive nature, They fly in large crowds of noise and are observed perched at the tree’s tops or flying across fields in large flocks.

It is possible to attract the European Starling to your feeders by using sunflower seeds with black oil Suet, corn, cracked and peanuts.

Gray Catbird

20 Most Common Backyard Birds in Massachusetts
Gray Catbird
KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassAves
OrderPasseriformes
FamilyMimidae
GenusDumetella
C.T. Wood, 1837
SpeciesD. carolinensis
Length21 – 24 cm
Weight35 g

Gray Catbirds are so named due to their distinctive catty mew sound which can last as long as 10 minutes.

They are songbirds of medium size with slate gray coloration, black cap and tail, as well as the reddish-colored patch that is under their tails.

It is possible to spot Gray Catbirds in dense shrubs or small trees in hedgerows and along edges of the forest.

You can draw additional Gray Catbirds to your backyard feeders by planting fruit and shrubs like winterberry, dogwood and serviceberry.

Red-bellied Woodpecker

20 Most Common Backyard Birds in Massachusetts
Red-winged Blackbird
KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassAves
OrderPiciformes
FamilyPicidae
GenusMelanerpes
SpeciesM. carolinus
Length23 – 27 cm
Weight72 g

Red-bellied Woodpeckers are characterized by a light red belly, which can be difficult to identify, and are characterized by nape and cap in red and the black-and-white stripe back.

They call loudly during the summer and spring months and can be found in forests and woods particularly with deadwood.

You can draw more Red-bellied Woodpeckers by feeding them suet and they can feed from feeders for hummingbirds.

House Finch

20 Most Common Backyard Birds in Massachusetts
House Finch
Kingdom:Animalia
PhylumChordata
ClassAves
OrderPasseriformes
FamilyFringillidae
GenusHaemorhous
SpeciesH. mexicanus

House Finches sport a red breast and head in the males and brown-streaked colors in females. They were originally only found in western states and since they are migration they are also found in eastern states, and has been doing exceptionally well, even entirely eroding its cousin, the Purple Finch.

They are often found in farms, parks forests, along forest edges, and backyard feeders. They are often found in groups of a loud nature which are hard to miss.

You can draw additional House Finches your backyard feeders by planting black sunflower seeds or Nyjer seedlings in tubes and platforms feeders.

Northern Flicker

20 Most Common Backyard Birds in Massachusetts
Northern Flicker
Kingdom:Animalia
PhylumChordata
ClassAves
OrderPiciformes
FamilyPicidae
GenusColaptes
SpeciesC. auratus

Northern Flickers are big woodpeckers that measure about the size of a bird like a crow and robin, with brownish coloring, bars, black spots and crescents, as well as Red on their nape. The tail’s underside and wings appear bright yellow for birds of the eastern region and red in western birds.

They can be seen on the ground , searching for beetles and ants in forests and along forest edges.

You can lure even more northern Flickers into your backyard’s feeders by using suet and sunflower seeds with black oil.

Dark-eyed Junco

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Dark-eyed Junco
KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassAves
OrderPasseriformes
FamilyPasserellidae
GeniusJunco
Species
J. hyemalis

The dark-eyed Juncos are sparrows that have various colors based on state. They generally have a slate-colored color in the east, while they are black, white and brown in the west.

They are located in open and partly wooded areas that are often found on the ground , and are prevalent throughout the continent.

It is possible to attract more dark-eyed Juncos to your backyard feeders by using many seeds, including black oil sunflower seeds cracked corn, nyjer, millet and peanuts. Feeders on platforms or sprinkled across the ground are the best.

Best Bird Feeders to Attract Birds In Massachusetts

A wide variety of bird feeders are able to attract the many species of birds.

Tube Feeders can be filled with different kinds of birdseed , and based on the type of seed, various birds are attracted. Black sunflower seeds are a magnet for Goldfinches, Chickadees, Woodpeckers, Nuthatches, and Pine Siskins.

Ground Feeders or a tray beneath the Tube Feeder that has Black oil sunflowers, tube feeders draw Cardinals, Jays, Finches and Sparrows.

Platform feeders that contain Millet or Corn are a great way to attract smaller and medium-sized birds, such as the sparrows Blackbirds, Towhees, Juncos, Doves, Grackles and Starlings.

Peanut feeders draw Woodpeckers, Chickadees, Nuthatches, Titmice, Jays, Juncos, Finches, and Sparrows.

Suet Feeders are wonderful especially in winter especially for Woodpeckers, Cardinals, Nuthatches, Kinglets, Wrens, and Chickadees.

Hummingbird feeders draw these amazing birds but they also draw other birds as well.

How to Attract Birds to Your Backyard

If you want to draw more birds into the backyard of your home in Massachusetts here are some suggestions:

  • Offer bird feeders to different types of birds in order to get the largest variety of birds to come into your backyard.
  • Install a water feature, like a birdbath fountain or stream. Be sure the water is clear and is not stagnant.
  • Plant native plants that provide shelter and food. Trees, plants and other shrubs that offer fruits, berries, as well as nuts. Wild grasses, blackberries elderberries, serviceberries Oaks, Beeches, Cherries Sumacs, Hemlocks, purple Coneflowers, Sunflowers, Milkweed, Cardinal Flowers, Trumpet Honeysuckle, Virginia Creeper, Buttonbush and Dogwoods.
  • Grow your grass long, to cover the ground and seed.
  • Make a pile of brush to provide food, shelter and nesting sites for birds.
  • Do not use herbicides and pesticides since they could be toxic to birds and hinder the natural food sources of insects, seeds and other insects birds are likely to seek out within your yard.
  • Create nest boxes that draw breeding birds in and make sure they are regularly cleaned.

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