Last Updated on March 22, 2023 by Lily Aldrin
The Pacific Northwest is home to a diverse array of bird species, each with its own unique characteristics and behaviors.
From the majestic American Robin to Anna’s Hummingbird, these birds are an integral part of the region’s ecosystem and add to its natural beauty.
Whether you’re an avid birdwatcher or just appreciate the beauty of nature, you’ll be fascinated by the 24 common birds of the Pacific Northwest.
So, grab your binoculars and get ready to discover the fascinating world of these feathered friends!
Common Birds of the Pacific Northwest
1. American Robin
American Robins may often be seen foraging for earthworms in yards.
They possess red or orange chests and a black head and back.
They spend the winter in the trees, so you won’t likely notice them until April.
The American Robin is a very adaptable bird, living in a wide variety of environments, including woods, woodlands, meadows, hillsides, gardens, and parkland.
In addition to fruit, their diet also includes snails, insects, worms, and the like.
Sunflower seeds, peanut hearts, suet, mealworms, and fruit are all great ways to increase the number of American Robins in your garden.
The best feeders are those with platforms or those that distribute food on the ground.
You might also try planting sumac, juniper, dogwood, or hawthorn trees, all of which are natural and provide fruit.
2. Song Sparrow
Though they don’t stand out among backyard birds, song sparrows utilize their near-constant singing to win the hearts of potential mates throughout the summer and spring months.
They like open regions with bushes and water, and you may frequently find them singing from a low bush.
They often visit bird feeders in residential yards. Song beetles, midges, earthworms, caterpillars, and even spiders are just some of the insects and plants that sparrows like eating.
They’ll also consume wheat, wild cherries, blackberries, rice, buckwheat, and raspberries.
Feeding nyjer, sunflower seeds, and cracked corn from platform feeders in your garden can bring in a few more song sparrows.
3. American Crow
The American crow is a huge, all-black bird with a harsh cawing call.
They are widespread birds that may be seen almost everywhere, whether it is a field, a forest, the beach, or a city.
They’ll eat just about everything, but their preferred food source is the ground, where they may find a variety of seeds, insects, and even fruit.
A wide variety of bird eggs and nestlings are likewise fair game for these predators.
During the winter, approximately two million American crows may congregate in enormous roosts to spend the night together.
American crows may be lured into your backyard by spreading peanuts, but they’ll quickly become a problem if you also leave out trash or pet food.
4. Northern Flicker
Northern Flickers are brown in appearance having black bands, dots, and crescents with red on the neck.
They are between the sizes of a crow and a robin.
In eastern birds, the undersides of the wing and tail plumage are a brilliant yellow, whereas, in western birds, they are a vibrant red.
They forage insects like ants and beetles on the forest floor or along forest margins.
Breeding populations in Canada and Alaska send their young south, but the rest of the year, they may be found anywhere in the contiguous United States.
Feeders filled with suet and black oil sunflower seeds will bring in more Northern Flickers.
5. Dark-eyed Junco
The Junco is a sparrow with dark eyes that may vary in hue from state to state.
In the east, they tend to have a grayish tint, but in the west, they are more often black, white, and brown.
They are widespread over the continent and may typically be found in plain or slightly forested regions on the ground.
In the west, as well as the Appalachians, there are many who choose to spend the whole year in one place.
During the winter, birds that spend the year breeding across Alaska and Canada fly south toward the United States.
Millet, black oil sunflower seeds, cracked corn, peanuts, and nyjer are just some of the seed varieties that may help you entice additional Dark-eyed Juncos to your garden feeders.
You may either use feeder platforms or just distribute food over the ground.
6. European Starling
The European Starling is not a native species, yet it has become one of the most common bird species.
They are large, black birds that shimmer in a variety of colors.
Their hostile demeanor has earned them a reputation as a nuisance to some.
These birds are often observed in big, loud groups, either swarming the tops of trees or swooping low over fields.
Among the bug species preferred by starlings are earthworms, flies, beetles, spiders, and caterpillars. Cherry, mulberry, holly berry, Virginia Creeper, blackberry, sumac, and seeds and grains are among the fruit they consume.
Black oil sunflower seeds, peanuts, suet, and cracked corn will all bring in more European Starlings to your garden feeders.
7. American Goldfinch
Male American Goldfinches are easily recognizable by their distinctive springtime black and yellow plumage.
Females, like males in the winter, have a darker brown color.
When spring comes, American goldfinches migrate south from their breeding grounds in Canada and the northern United States.
In the remainder of the country, they stay all year.
Searching for sunflowers, thistles, and asters, you may find them in unkempt fields and thickets. Suburbs, parks, and private yards are also typical places to find them.
Planting milkweed and thistles in your garden can bring in more American Goldfinches.
They’ll stop by just about any bird feeder, but their favorites are nyjer and sunflower seeds.
8. Spotted Towhee
Female Spotted Towhees appear brown, while males appear black, mostly on the neck, head, and back.
Both sexes have the same pattern of white dots on the wings and back, along with a reddish-brown upper body and a white underside.
The shape and size of a Robin, these birds also have lengthy tails.
Spotted Towhees forage on insects such as caterpillars, crickets, beetles, grasshoppers, bees, and wasps on the ground in thickets of plants.
Seeds, acorns, and berries are also part of their diet.
They spend the winter on the Pacific coast but may be seen in a band stretching from the northernmost to the southern central states.
If you keep your garden’s borders unmanicured, spotted towhees will be more likely to visit their platform or ground feeders in search of hulled sunflower seeds, sunflower seeds, millet, cracked corn, and milo.
9. Red-Winged Blackbird
The red and yellow wing spots of the common red-winged blackbird immediately set it apart from the other blackbirds.
Compared to the males, the females are bland, with a uniform brown hue and no noticeable patterns.
During the mating season, the males will aggressively defend their territory, even attacking humans who go too near to their nests, and they are often sighted perched on telephone lines.
Many millions of them gather for the winter in one place.
Spreading a variety of seeds and grains on the ground is a great way to entice more red-winged blackbirds toward your garden.
10. Black-capped Chickadee
A little bird with a large, rounded head—the Black-capped Chickadee.
To the delight of backyard feeder owners, these birds will eagerly explore their surroundings, including you.
They’re gray on the back, wings, and tail and also have black beaks and crowns, and white faces.
The wild and open woodlands, as well as public parks, are good places to look for them.
The diet of a black-capped chickadee includes a wide variety of foods, including berries, seeds, insects, suet, and spiders.
Suet, sunflower seeds, and peanuts or peanut butter are all good options if you want to entice Black-capped Chickadees into your garden.
Sometimes they’ll even eat out of your hand, and they’re always the first to find a new bird feeder. And if you put wood shavings in the nesting boxes, they’ll utilize them, too.
11. Barn Swallow
Small birds that are deep blue on the back, wings, and tail and reddish brown on the underside and all over the face are called Barn Swallows.
Long outer plumes provide a deep fork in the tail.
Their breeding grounds span most of North America, and thereafter they migrate to South and Central America.
They nest in mud on man-made buildings like barns and may be seen swooping over fields and farmland in search of insects.
Barn Swallows will flock to your property if you provide them with a safe place to nest and food, such as crushed eggshells, on a specially designed platform feeder.
12. White-crowned Sparrow
Large and drab in color, the White-crowned Sparrow is distinguished by its long, thin tail, short beak, and striking black and white cap.
They spend the summer breeding in the Arctic, which includes Alaska and Canada, and spend the winter in Mexico and the southern United States.
Along the coasts of the Pacific and the West, there may be permanent residents.
White-crowned Sparrows may be seen in a variety of habitats, including roadside ditches, weedy meadows, backyards, and woodland margins, where they can be seen eating fruit and weed seeds.
Sunflower seeds and the numerous other kinds of seeds thrown by other species at the feeders are great ways to increase the number of White-crowned Sparrows in your garden.
13. House Sparrow
The house sparrow is an example of a successfully introduced species that has become widespread.
Quite gentle, they could feed right out of your fingers if you catch them near a home or other structure.
They really aren’t native to the area, thus, they may be considered a nuisance, yet they will still appear in gardens if they aren’t fed.
House sparrows are common in human settlements and other populated regions. They subsist mostly on scraps, grain, and seed.
Most types of birdseed, such as sunflower seeds, millet, and maize, will bring more House Sparrows to your garden feeders.
14. House Finch
The male House Finch has a bright red head and chest, while the female has brown streaks.
It was brought to the eastern states, where it has flourished to the point that it has pushed away the Purple Finch, a bird that was formerly found solely in the western states.
They frequent household bird feeders, as well as farms, parkland, and forest margins.
They congregate in large, loud groups that are difficult to ignore.
Nyjer seeds and sunflower seeds in tube feeders and platform feeders can bring in more House Finches to your garden.
15. Cedar Waxwing
Elegant and sociable, Cedar Waxwings are mostly grayish on the tail, back, and wings, with a brownish tinge on the crest, head, and breast.
They have a white underbelly and a brilliant yellow tip.
You can identify them by the thin black mask covering their eyes and the flashes of crimson at the ends of their wings.
They spend the winter in the south yet live in the north throughout the entire year.
You may hear their high-pitched cry when you visit forests, berry bushes, or rivers with these birds.
Planting natural shrubs and trees bearing tiny fruit, such as serviceberry, juniper, winterberry, dogwood, and hawthorn, can entice Cedar Waxwings toward your garden.
Fruit on platform feeders is another tasty option.
16. Swainson’s Thrush
The undersides of Swainson’s Thrushes are white, while their chests and backs are speckled with brown.
Swainson’s Thrushes are common in woods, where they may be seen foraging for insects and, outside of the mating season, mostly red fruits like huckleberries, raspberries, blackberries, and sumac, among others, along the forest floor in leaf litter.
Nestlings will be fed ants and many other insects, among other things.
Swainson’s Thrushes breed across Alaska and Canada before migrating to South and Central America for the winter; therefore, they are seldom spotted in the lower 48 states outside of migration seasons (springtime and autumn).
Swainson’s Thrushes might be attracted to your garden by placing birdbaths on the ground and offering dense vegetation as shelter.
17. Red-Breasted Nuthatch
During the winter, if cone harvests are weak, the red-breasted nuthatch might migrate south throughout the whole of North America, although it spends the entire year in the northeastern and western states, Canada, and Alaska.
Blue-gray on top and black-and-white striped on the crown characterize these birds, which have a rusty underbelly.
While red-breasted nuthatches are most often associated with coniferous forests, they have been seen at household bird feeders.
Sunflower seeds, mealworms, suet feeders, and peanuts will bring in more Red-breasted Nuthatches to your garden.
18. Yellow-rumped Warbler
Gray having yellow highlights on the face, flanks, and rump, and white on the wings best describes the Yellow-rumped Warbler.
Females might well be tinged with brown, and in the winter, birds are a lighter brown with brilliant yellow rumps and sides before becoming bright yellow and gray in the spring.
After breeding across Canada, significant numbers of these birds go south via the United States, Central America, the Pacific coast, and Mexico.
Feeding birds such as suet, sunflower seeds, peanut butter, and raisins might entice Yellow-rumped Warblers toward your garden.
19. Chipping Sparrow
Chipping Sparrows are long-tailed, thin birds with a black eye line and redhead, a grey abdomen, and black and brown streaking on the back.
During the colder months, the hues tend to be muted.
During the mating season, they may be found all throughout North America and Canada.
They might spend the whole year in the deep south. They forage on the grass for seeds and flies in parkland, grassy woods, and gardens.
They congregate in small groups in open areas and often visit backyards in search of the many types of bird feed offered there.
20. Yellow Warbler
Common summertime sights include little, brilliant yellow birds called yellow warblers with yellow-green backs and males with chestnut stripes on the chest.
During the breeding season, they spread out over most of North America.
In the fall, they move south to northern and central South America for the winter.
In the far south, you may see them as they migrate.
Yellow Warblers may be seen hunting insects, including bugs, midges, caterpillars, beetles, and wasps, in thickets and at the borders of fields near wetlands and streams.
It might be challenging to lure warblers to your garden since they are elusive and feed mostly on insects.
Neither pesticides nor excessive cleanliness will succeed in luring in Yellow Warblers, but you may try feeding them suet, oranges, and peanut butter, and you can also grow berries and natural plants that entice insects.
Bird fountains and ponds in quiet areas with dense vegetation for cover.
21. Western Meadowlark
The bright yellow of a Western Meadowlark’s underbelly and the sweet melody it sings may put a spring in anyone’s step.
That’s presumably why six different states have chosen to declare the eagle their official state bird.
Approximately the size of a Robin, the Western Meadowlark is a relative of blackbirds and is characterized by a combination of white and brown on its upper parts and a black V-shaped band across its brilliant yellow breast, which becomes a muted gray in the winter.
Originally from Canada and the northern United States, they bred there before migrating south.
Those located in the west and midwest are permanent residents.
Western Meadowlarks may be seen feeding on the ground across fields, grasslands, and meadows, either alone or in small groups, for seeds and insects from seeds and weeds.
Put some cracked corn and hulled sunflower seeds on ground feeders to entice Western Meadowlarks toward your garden.
22. Anna’s Hummingbird
There are little birds called Anna’s Hummingbirds, and they are mostly green and gray.
The male has a brilliant rosy pink at the top of his head and down his neck.
The female has a grey neck with a few red spots here and there.
Anna’s Hummingbirds are the most frequent hummingbird along the Pacific Coast, and they do not migrate like other hummingbirds.
During courtship, the males do a spectacular dive performance in which they soar approximately 135 feet in the air and then plummet back down with a sonic boom from their tail feathers.
They frequent hummingbird feeders stocked with sugar water and other handmade treats and may often be seen in dense clusters of springtime flowers.
23. Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Small black-and-white birds with rich walnut on the back, gray on the wings and abdomen, and a white bib define the Chestnut-backed Chickadee.
They congregate in large groups in the damp, evergreen woods of the Pacific coast, and they often visit bird feeders in suburban and rural areas.
The majority of their food consists of insects like spiders, caterpillars, aphids, and wasps, with the balance coming from things like berries, fruit, and seeds.
Sunflower seeds, mealworms, suet, peanuts, and nyjer kept in tube feeders, platform feeders, or suet cages may entice Chestnut-backed Chickadees toward your garden.
They’ll also take advantage of artificial nesting areas.
24. Pine Siskin
Small birds, Pine Siskins, are brown and yellow striped.
They have a small, snoutlike beak and a pointed tail.
However, since their migration is dependent on pine cone yields, Pine Siskins might not even travel every year, despite the fact that they breed across Canada and can spend the winter in much of the United States.
The western pine woods are home to several birds that stay there year-round.
Pine siskins get most of their nutrition from conifer seeds, although they also consume grass and weed seeds and early buds.
Feeders filled with nyjer, sunflower seeds, and suet or thistle may entice Pine Siskins to gardens.
In conclusion, the Pacific Northwest is a treasure trove of bird diversity, offering a stunning array of species that inhabit its forests, mountains, rivers, and coastline.
The 24 common birds we’ve explored in this article are just a small sampling of the fascinating birdlife that thrives in this region.
From the majestic Pine Siskin to the charming Anna’s hummingbird, each bird has its own unique qualities and behaviors that make it a wonder to observe.
By taking the time to appreciate and protect these feathered creatures, we can contribute to the preservation of the natural beauty and biodiversity of the Pacific Northwest for generations to come.
So, keep your eyes and ears open, and let the magic of birdwatching take flight!
What is the most iconic bird of the Pacific Northwest?
The American Robin is often considered the most iconic bird of the Pacific Northwest.
Are there any endangered bird species in the Pacific Northwest?
Yes, there are several endangered bird species in the Pacific Northwest, including the marbled murrelet, northern spotted owl, and Oregon vesper sparrow.
What is the best time of year for birdwatching in the Pacific Northwest?
The best time for birdwatching in the Pacific Northwest is typical during the spring and fall migration seasons when many species are passing through the region. However, summer can also be a great time to spot breeding birds, and winter can bring the opportunity to see some unique species that only visit the region during the colder months.
What are some popular birdwatching spots in the Pacific Northwest?
There are many popular birdwatching spots in the Pacific Northwest, including the Skagit Valley in Washington, the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, and the Olympic Peninsula in Washington.
What is the smallest bird in the Pacific Northwest?
The smallest bird in the Pacific Northwest is the Calliope Hummingbird, which is about the size of a golf ball and weighs less than a penny.
Are there any invasive bird species in the Pacific Northwest?
Yes, there are several invasive bird species in the Pacific Northwest, including the European starling and the house sparrow. These birds can outcompete native species for resources and disrupt local ecosystems.