Hello, bird enthusiasts!
Welcome to an exciting journey into the world of avian wonders.
In this article, we will explore the diverse bird species that call Massachusetts home.
From vibrant songbirds to majestic raptors, Massachusetts boasts a rich variety of winged creatures.
Whether you’re a seasoned birder or simply curious about the fascinating world of birds, join me as we discover 16 common birds that grace the skies of Massachusetts.
Get ready to be amazed by their beauty, behavior, and unique characteristics.
Let’s spread our wings and embark on this avian adventure together!
If you don’t have the time to read the whole article, check out this video on 16 Common Birds in Massachusetts for a quick understanding.
Common Birds of Massachusetts
1. European Starling
European starling was introduced to northern America in the 1800s, as pretty evident from the name they came from the European continent.
They flew all the way from Europe.
They now reside in Massachusetts all year around.
Sizes of European starling range from eight to twelve inches.
They have a size similar to a red-winged blackbird.
They have long legs, and they are usually of greyish brown color.
Lowland birds require huge trees for nesting cavities but plenty of open space to forage.
They are especially common in cities and suburbs, where they may find food and artificial nesting chambers.
They live coast to coast, from Northern Mexico to Southern Canada.
In the summer, travel north across Canada and Alaska.
Starlings are sometimes considered a problem because they intimidate other backyard birds, stealing bird feeders and nest holes from smaller native birds.
They can create tens of thousands-strong flocks in the winter.
These birds show a greater tendency to feed on insects.
You should refrain from feeding them via tray feeders.
They have shaky feet and struggle to perch on tube feeders.
Smaller hopper feeders may be kept out by a cage mesh around them.
Below are the characteristics of the European Starling,
|Scientific Name||Sturnus vulgaris|
|Habitat||Wide range including urban areas|
|Food||Insects, fruits, berries, seeds, and carrion|
2. Black-Capped Chickadee
The Black-capped Chickadee is a tiny songbird that can be found throughout North America, in sections of Central America and northern South America.
They can be witnessed within a large area ranging from the southern part of Canada to Mexico’s central region.
Wilderness woodlands, coniferous and deciduous forests are their primary abode.
These birds can adapt to a variety of environments, but they prefer mixed or deciduous woodlands where they can forage both on the ground and in the trees.
Their major food sources are plant stuff like buds and berries.
Moreover, they also eat insects like ants, beetles, and grasshoppers; the northern part of Cape Cod is the ideal area to seek Black-capped Chickadees.
In May and June, they can be found along the coast.
They travel along the eastern coast of the United States into Maine and Canada in July.
In August, they fly towards the South crossing the Atlantic Ocean.
Below are the characteristics of the Black-Capped Chickadee,
|Scientific Name||Poecile atricapillus|
|Habitat||Woodlands, forests, gardens|
|Food||Insects, seeds, nuts, berries, and suet|
3. Eastern Phoebe
The Sayornis phoebe, often known as the Eastern Phoebe, is a tiny passerine bird in the Phoebe family.
They are known to be nomadic birds, who during the winter season will migrate toward the western United States.
Its shape is similar to that of a sparrow, but its feather colors and plumage are different.
They are tiny, measuring just five inches long with a wingspan of nine inches and weighing only 21 grams.
Males weigh more than females and have duller plumage than adult males.
The bird’s chest is grey-white brownish, while the wings and tail are brown-blackish.
Black is used for the beak and eyes.
During the summer, the Eastern Phoebe visits several bird feeders for food.
They eat a variety of berries, seeds, and fruits, as well as small worms and insects on occasion.
Below are the characteristics of Eastern Phoebe,
|Scientific Name||Sayornis phoebe|
|Habitat||Woodlands, open areas, farmlands|
|Food||Insects, spiders, small fruits, and berries|
4. Yellow Warbler
The Yellow Warbler, sometimes known as the American Yellow Warbler, is a tiny bird.
Its scientific name is Setophaga petechia.
It is a tiny songbird that is endemic to North America and belongs to the Warbler family.
Predominantly they are in abundance in the northern region and they also belong to the northern section, however, they can also be witnessed in the southern parts.
They are distinguished by their yellow plumage.
There is a minute difference in appearance, where males are more bright and have vibrant colors.
Yellow warbler males are likewise larger and heavier than females.
They enjoy picking worms and insects from the ground or trees to eat.
They also consume small berries, fruits, and seeds from various plants.
They tend to pay a visit to feeders looking for food.
Below are the characteristics of the Yellow Warbler,
|Scientific Name||Setophaga petechia|
|Habitat||Wetlands, shrubby areas, forests|
|Food||Insects, spiders, berries, and nectar|
5. Northern Mockingbird
The only mockingbird species present in North America is the Northern Mockingbird, also known as Mimus polyglottos.
This species does not migrate and is a permanent inhabitant of the northern states.
They can be also seen in backyards where bird feeders are installed but not that frequently.
Gray upperparts and whitish-gray underparts distinguish the Northern Mockingbird.
The bird has longer legs and a longer tail than many other birds of the same size.
The male Northern Mockingbird has the same plumage color as the females and has the same shape, wingspan, and size.
When it comes to weighing both sexes males are found to be heavier than females.
Their lengthy tail and wings are similarly covered in black feathers.
Northern Mockingbirds have a life expectancy of almost 20 years.
They pay a visit to bird feeders in a variety of locations.
Small worms, grass, berries, seeds, fruits, grains, and small insects are all-time favorites of the Northern Mockingbird.
Below are the characteristics of the Northern Mockingbird,
|Scientific Name||Mimus polyglottos|
|Habitat||Open woodlands, urban areas, parks|
|Food||Insects, berries, fruits, and seeds|
6. Tufted Titmouse
The upper part of these birds is grey in color and under the belly white color is widespread.
Their flanks are washed with a pink tint.
Above its beak is a little black spot.
These birds appear to be larger than the little birds at feeders, with enormous heads and eyes.
They also have thick necks.
In terms of size, Tufted Titmice are vigilant foragers who move slowly and more deliberately than chickadees.
They frequently congregate with woodpeckers, chickadees, and nuthatches, and they frequently pay visits to feeders.
Tufted Titmice are more forceful than smaller birds at feeders.
The Tufted Titmice may be seen all year in Massachusetts.
You can occasionally hear the Tufted Titmouse’s high-pitched whistled song, which you will often hear before you see the Tufted Titmouse.
The Tufted Titmouse recurrently pas visits backyard feeders, and its numbers increase in the winter.
They consume a lot of peanuts, seeds, and suet, but sunflower seeds are their favorite.
Set up nest boxes in your backyard to attract them and encourage them to breed there.
Simply ensure that the nesting boxes are in place well ahead of the breeding season.
Below are the characteristics of the Tufted Titmouse,
|Scientific Name||Baeolophus bicolor|
|Habitat||Woodlands, forests, gardens|
|Food||Insects, seeds, nuts, berries, and suet|
7. Northern Cardinal
A bright blazing male Northern Cardinal featuring black surrounding his face and white snowy background is a lovely sight to see.
Females have very astounding features with brown plumage, and a blazing red beak, and their pumped-out brown chest is a very spectacular scene to witness.
Northern cardinals are very insecure birds, and when it comes to protection, they can go to the extent that they may attack their own reflection.
They fiercely protect their territories.
Peanut hearts, milo, sunflower seeds, and millet, attract a number of Northern Cardinals to backyard feeders.
Large tube feeders, hoppers, platform feeders, and food thrown on the ground will all be used to feed them.
Massachusetts is known to be home to a variety of red birds.
Below are the characteristics of the Northern Cardinal,
|Scientific Name||Cardinalis cardinalis|
|Habitat||Woodlands, gardens, shrublands|
|Food||Seeds, fruits, insects, and berries|
8. Downy Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker’s head is beautiful.
It has black and white alternate stripes.
Their wings are black in color with white spots on them.
Their tale is black in color, and the outer feather of the tail is pointed out to have black spots.
They are usually found in willows, or they can also be seen near water or weed stocks.
They are witnessed in a bulk quantity in the northern territory.
Canada and the northern region of the USA are their most common homes.
These beautiful birds are absent in the deserts of the southwest.
One amazing and interesting thing about them is that males prefer to be hanging around smaller plants, whereas females tend to be on huge tree trunks.
They love feeding on fruits, insects, and seeds.
These birds are insectivorous.
You can attract these birds using a suet feeder.
Black oil sunflower seeds are also enjoyed by them.
Below are the characteristics of the Downy Woodpecker,
|Scientific Name||Picoides pubescens|
|Habitat||Woodlands, forests, parks|
|Food||Insects, larvae, seeds, and berries|
9. Gray Catbird
This songbird originally belonged to North America and Central America, although it can now be found in a variety of locations across the world.
During the winter, their population migrates to different states, which is why they are less frequently seen.
They usually weigh within a range of 30 and 50 grams.
An adult Gray Catbird has a height of just 8 inches long on average, with a wingspan is 11inch.
The Gray Catbird’s entire body is covered in lead-gray feathers.
The head, wings, and body are of a darker hue when compared to the neck and belly.
Males and their female counterparts are almost the same, making it harder when you need to distinguish between them.
The male has a melodious voice that attracts the female to mate with him.
Whilst looking for the food they may fly to birdfeeders in your backyard.
During the summer, they come more regularly.
Ground dwellers, small crawlers, insects, arthropods, and tiny worms are eaten by the Gray Catbird.
Fruits and various berries are also very liked by them.
They also enjoy consuming grains, seeds, and a variety of shrubs from different plants.
Below are the characteristics of the Gray Catbird,
|Scientific Name||Dumetella carolinensis|
|Habitat||Woodlands, thickets, gardens|
|Food||Insects, fruits, berries, and seeds|
10. Red-winged Blackbird
The Agelaius phoeniceus, popularly known as the Scarlet-winged Blackbird, is most easily recognized by its black plumage and red wings.
The female species of Red-winged blackbirds are different from the male species.
They have feathers that are an amalgamation of brown, red, and black color.
The Red-winged Blackbird can easily be found in every Northern state.
When they are outside during a sunny day their bright shiny black tone sparkles and appears to be.
Colors of plumage, physical appearance, and weight vary between males and females.
Males have a larger build, bright-colored plumage, and more weight than females.
The males due to their distinctive and peculiar features can be easily identified.
They readily enjoy eating tiny insects such as worms, spiders, and larvae of insects that are favorites of a blackbird.
They also enjoy eating fruits, seeds, cracked nuts, and berries from various trees and bushes.
Below are the characteristics of the Red-winged Blackbird,
|Scientific Name||Agelaius phoeniceus|
|Habitat||Wetlands, marshes, meadows|
|Food||Insects, seeds, grains, and berries|
11. Common Grackle
The Common Grackle is present in a huge quantity in the length and breadth of North America.
During the spring and fall, the common grackle migrates to avoid extremes in temperature or food shortages caused by a lack of rain or heavy snowfall.
They are not confined to a single sort of habitat and this is one reason that they are observed very frequently they reside in a number of places.
This is due to their preference for living near water, particularly ponds or streams.
These birds inhabit different types of habitats, including urban, rural areas, forested areas, and wetlands.
They tend to live in swampy marshlands, wilderness, meadows, parks, and also fields.
Common Grackles eat large insects but will also eat crickets worms, and tiny rodents, as well as grains and fruits if they can locate them.
They love to feed on raspberries, blueberries, seeds, ground crawlers, and anthropoids.
The overall color is black with blue and purple iridescence.
Its body is covered in feathers.
Below are the characteristics of the Common Grackle,
|Scientific Name||Quiscalus quiscula|
|Habitat||Urban areas, woodlands, fields|
|Food||Insects, fruits, grains, and seeds|
12. Red-bellied Woodpecker
Red-bellied woodpeckers are the most abundant birds that are found in the eastern wing of the United States.
For a backyard bird, it’s quite enormous.
In size, it’s between a Starling and an American Robin.
Stout, with a big head and a short tail.
Clings to the tree stem with a short, stiff tail and sturdy short legs.
Its body color is a pale grey body with several thin black-and-white bars over the back and wings.
The male has a red nape that extends forward on the crown.
These birds can be found in a number of woodland types, including hickory, pine, and oaks.
They can be found eastward from Florida northward just to the southern boundary of the New England states, from the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains in the lower 48 states, from extreme southern Canada to Texas, and eastward from Florida northward just to the southern edge of the New England states.
It clings to the tree trunk and larger branches in traditional woodpecker form.
When comes to their forage pattern they are inclined to eat nuts and a variety of insects.
They can eat peanuts from a tray feeder as well as suet from a block.
Below are the characteristics of the Red-bellied Woodpecker,
|Scientific Name||Melanerpes carolinus|
|Habitat||Woodlands, forests, parks|
|Food||Insects, fruits, nuts, and seeds|
13. Carolina Wren
Carolina wren generally has a red-brown color, with a warmer orange below.
The Carolina Wrens are small and bulky birds with spherical bodies.
They have elongated tails.
Wrens have huge heads, short necks, and a long, downward-curving beak.
While searching for food and insects, Carolina Wrens like to sneak about bushy regions and scale-up tree trunks.
These birds will continually sing to protect their area.
Southeastern Massachusetts is home to the Carolina Wren.
These wrens are residents, which means they don’t migrate.
Observe keenly and watch out for male Carolina Wren.
They have a loud pitch that can be heard in the wilderness
During the winter, Carolina Wrens will occasionally visit suet feeders.
If there is food available in the backyard, this species will visit very frequently.
Below are the characteristics of the Carolina Wren,
|Scientific Name||Thryothorus ludovicianus|
|Habitat||Woodlands, thickets, gardens|
|Food||Insects, spiders, fruits, and seeds|
14. House Finch
In the United States, this is one of the most frequent backyard birds.
These birds more often can be observed in residential areas from bill tip to tail tip.
It’s around 6 inches.
Goldfinches and chickadees are smaller.
White-crowned Sparrows and Spotted/Eastern towhees are smaller.
With a medium-long notched tail, these birds have a medium-sized physique.
With a round head. Brown and grey on top, with pale underparts with stripes on the sides.
Males have a redhead, breast, and rump (occasionally orange or yellow).
Small flocks can be found on wires, on trees, and in shrubs’ grasslands.
They’re presently most frequent in rural and urban locations.
Previously found throughout Mexico and western North America.
Then brought to the northeastern United States, it is now present in practically every state in the lower 48 and extreme southern Canada.
Plains states Texas to Dakota and southern Florida are rare.
Below are the characteristics of the House Finch,
|Scientific Name||Haemorhous mexicanus|
|Habitat||Urban areas, open woodlands|
|Food||Seeds, fruits, buds, and insects|
15. Red-Breasted Nuthatch
The Red-breasted Nuthatch is of blue and grey color with a distinctive head design that includes a black crown and white stripes above the eye.
The underbelly of males has a cinnamon hue, while females’ underbelly is lighter.
They have a long, pointed beak and are tiny birds.
Red-breasted Nuthatches have a very short tails and nearly no neck.
They’re around the same size as sparrows.
The Red-breasted Nuthatch becomes quite aggressive during nest construction, chasing away other hole-nesting birds, including the Downy Woodpecker, White-breasted Nuthatch, and House Wren.
Other species, such as Mountain Chickadees and Pygmy Nuthatches, are often used to line the nests of these Nuthatches.
The Red-breasted Nuthatch may be observed all year in Massachusetts.
Each year, the northernmost populations of this Nuthatch move south, and the Red-breasted Nuthatch may be spotted as far south as the Gulf Coast in some years.
These Nuthatches can be found scurrying up tree trunks and branches.
Red-breasted Tube feeders, hoppers, suet cages, and installed feeders are popular with nuthatches., suet, peanut, black oil sunflower seeds, hulled sunflower seeds, hearts, and mealworms should be a part of your feeder.
Below are the characteristics of the Red-Breasted Nuthatch,
|Scientific Name||Sitta canadensis|
|Habitat||Coniferous forests, woodlands|
|Food||Insects, seeds, nuts, and sap|
16. Blue Jay
In the eastern section of the United States, this is a common and well-known bird.
The blue jay is a bluebird with white underparts and a 9 to 12-inch wingspan.
They have a distinctive blue crest that they raise when they are angry.
The rear of their crest is framed by their black collar, which extends up from their neck.
Black and white barring may be seen on their wings and tail. Individuals’ black marks on their faces and neck differ.
They make a variety of noises and cries; they may imitate raptor sounds to frighten other birds away from food sources.
The northern blue jay is the biggest and has the lightest blue hue among the four subspecies.
They may be found in Canada and the United States northwestern states.
The common abode of this species is the eastern part of the United States.
In the summer, they travel to southern Canada.
Bold and outspoken. Smaller birds may be bullied.
Jays consume a large number of seeds or other food at once and store it in their crop.
They then take off and bury food in a secret stash.
They are super active and are so rapid that it won’t take much time for them to empty your feeder.
Some people employ mesh cages around smaller bird feeders because they are hostile toward other feeding birds.
Small birds are let through, but squirrels and larger “pest” birds are not.
Some people give peanuts to jays to keep them away from the seed feeders.
Below are the characteristics of the Blue Jay,
|Scientific Name||Cyanocitta cristata|
|Habitat||Woodlands, forests, parks|
|Food||Seeds, nuts, insects, and fruits|
Check out this article on Birds of Prey in Massachusetts.
As we conclude our exploration of the 16 common birds of Massachusetts, we hope you have gained a deeper appreciation for these remarkable creatures and the diverse ecosystems they inhabit.
From the cheerful melodies of the Red-bellied Woodpecker to the elegant flight of the Northern Cardinal, each bird brings its own charm and significance to the natural world.
By observing and protecting these species, we play a crucial role in their conservation and the preservation of their habitats.
Remember, the birds of Massachusetts are not only a joy to observe but also serve as indicators of the overall health of our environment.
As we continue to appreciate and learn about these avian wonders, let us also strive to be responsible stewards of nature, ensuring that future generations can revel in the same awe-inspiring sights and sounds.
So, grab your binoculars, venture into the great outdoors, and let the mesmerizing world of birds captivate your senses.
Whether you spot a vibrant Black-Capped Chickadee perched on a fence post or witness the aerial acrobatics of a Red-Breasted Nuthatch, may these encounters inspire a lifelong passion for the beauty and significance of our feathered friends.
Remember, the sky is not the limit when it comes to appreciating and protecting the birds of Massachusetts.
Together, let us soar toward a future where these magnificent creatures thrive and continue to fill our lives with wonder.
Where can I see these common birds in Massachusetts?
Common birds can be found throughout Massachusetts in various habitats such as parks, gardens, woodlands, suburban areas, and near water bodies like lakes and rivers. They are often seen in backyards, nature reserves, and wildlife refuges as well.
What is the best time to spot these common birds in Massachusetts?
Common birds can be observed year-round in Massachusetts, but the spring and summer months are particularly active as many species are nesting and raising their young. Additionally, migratory seasons in spring and fall bring a diverse range of bird species to the state.
How can I attract common birds to my backyard in Massachusetts?
To attract common birds to your backyard, provide a variety of bird feeders with different types of seeds and suet. Plant native trees, shrubs, and flowers to create a bird-friendly habitat and offer fresh water in a birdbath. Avoid using pesticides and create a shelter with birdhouses and nesting boxes.
Are there any migratory common birds in Massachusetts?
Yes, many common bird species in Massachusetts undertake seasonal migrations. They travel to the state during the spring and fall as they move between their breeding grounds in the north and their wintering areas in the south. These migrations offer opportunities to spot a wide variety of birds.
Are there any online resources or apps to help identify common birds in Massachusetts?
Yes, there are several online resources and smartphone apps available to help identify common birds in Massachusetts. Some popular options include eBird, Merlin Bird ID, and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s All About Birds website, which provides species information, photos, and audio recordings to aid in bird identification.
Last Updated on June 5, 2023 by Lily Aldrin