Most Common Birds in Washington State

When it comes to birding, Washington’s “Evergreen State” is a wonderful location to be. You have a recipe for a rich and diversified birding habitat when you have locations like the Rocky Mountains, Coast Range, and Puget Sound Lowlands. 

There are many bird species in Washington. Birds of more than 508 different kinds may be found there. Many species of birds may be found across the state of Washington, including the American Robin and the Bank Swallow. 

The American Goldfinch is Washington’s state bird, having been designated as such in 1928. It’s a little, delicate bird with a yellow body and black wings, called the American Goldfinch. It may be viewed all year long in Washington, DC.

In little time at all, let’s examine Washington’s favorite backyard birds. Our topic today is Birdwatching in Washington State. We’ll speak about the species we can observe, what they eat, and more. 

ImageName
black headed grosbeakBlack-headed Grosbeak
summer tanagerSummer Tanager
violet green swallowViolet-green Swallow
white crowned sparrowWhite-crowned Sparrow
cedar waxwingCedar Waxwing
gray jayGray Jay
anna hummingbirdAnna's Hummingbird
rusty blackbirdRusty Blackbird
brown creeperBrown Creeper
tricolored blackbirdTricolored Blackbird
american robinAmerican Robin
american crowAmerican Crow
american goldfinchAmerica Goldfinch
european starlingEuropean Starling
black capped chickadeeBlack-capped Chickadee

Categories of Birds in Washington

Throughout the year, this state is home to more than 500 species of birds. You can’t avoid spotting a gorgeous bird. To give you an idea of what this state has to offer when it comes to birds, we’ve divided them up as follows:

  • Seasonal Birds (Spring/Summer/Fall)
  • Winter and Fall Birds
  • Birds that live there year-round

In addition, we’ll tell you where these birds like to hide and what sort of food will entice them into your garden so they can eat while you can get a better look at them.

Seasonal Birds in Washington (Spring/Summer/Fall)

In the south, spring is coming when the Indian Plum begins to open up and turns a brighter green color. This will result in a massive inflow of visitors to Washington, who will continue to arrive until the weather turns chilly. While if the weather is nice this year, see if you can spot one of the following birds:

1. Black-headed Grosbeak 

black headed grosbeak

Markings and coloration:

Male Grosbeaks have black backs, tiny black and white wings, and long black and white tails that are mostly white at the tip. On their mostly white underside, they have partially orange rumps with an orange patch. As the coloring advances, the underbelly turns completely orange.

These birds have black cheeks and a large, curved black beak that set them apart. Because of their brown rather than black feathering, the female or juvenile Grosbeak has an orange breast and orange underbelly.

Size:

The length of these birds is 7.1–7.5 inches, and their wingspans are around 12.6 inches broad.

Habitat:

These birds may be found in a desert oasis, mixed forests, and along the forest’s border in hilly places. When you’re out trekking, keep your eyes out for a Black-headed Grosbeak.

Diet:

Sunflower seeds, both normal and striped, are a favorite of Grosbeaks, as are Safflower seeds if you have them.

2. Summer Tanager 

Summer Tanager

Markings and coloration:

Male Summer Tanagers are extremely remarkable, with the exception of their bills, which are entirely crimson. As well as their reddish-yellow beak, they have short red wings and long red tails with a lighter red hue on the underside. 

Females and juveniles have yellowish heads with greenish bodies and paler-colored bills. When juvenile males are molting and reaching maturity, they may show a strong mix of yellow and red.

Size:

From head to tail, these birds are around 6.7 inches long with a wingspan of 12 inches.

Habitat:

These birds prefer deciduous forest edges and mixed pine/oak forests. However, they do wander out into parks and backyards on occasion, so leave something out for them. 

Diet:

Considering that this bird is an insectivore, you may lure it with dried or live mealworms, but you can also feed it blackberries or chopped cherries.

3. Violet-green Swallow

violet-green swallow

Markings and coloration:

Violet-green Swallows have greenbacks with purple on the lower back and bronze on the upper back. They have long, pointed grey wings with a little purple mixed in, as well as some green and blue near the shoulder. 

The stomach and breast of this bird are a beautiful pure white, and the tails are short purple and grey with a little fork. In addition, the bird’s face is mainly white, save for some grey in front of the eyes and a green cap that runs down to the nape of its neck. 

The beak of these birds is tiny and triangular. However, females will have greyish-brown heads and backs, along with ducky coloration on their cheeks.

Size:

The length of these birds is around 4.7 inches from tip to tail, and their wingspans are about 10.6 inches wide.

Habitat:

Violet-green swallows may be found in a wide range of environments, including evergreen and deciduous forests. Look for them in open settings like meadows and woods, especially if there is a stream nearby.

Diet:

Because these birds consume primarily flying insects, they are unlikely to visit your feeder. However, you may use mealworms to try to attract them, but there are no guarantees.

4. White-crowned Sparrow

White-crowned Sparrow

Markings and coloration:

White-crowned Sparrows have dark backs with streaks and two tiny white wing bars on each wing. Their tails are long and dark, with a white rump and a warm brown underbelly that fades to grey as the coloring goes up and towards the breast.

The grey coloring extends over the bird’s long, thick grey neck and ends just below the eyes, where a narrow, black eye stripe may be seen. White coloring appears above this, followed by another black stripe and white at the crown. Short, sturdy, triangular orange bills characterize these birds.

Size:

These birds have wingspans of 8.3 to 9.4 inches and a length of 5.9 – 6.3 inches from head to tail.

Habitat:

These birds enjoy feeding in open regions, but they also enjoy bush, brambles, thickets, and thorns. If both are present in the same area, this is an excellent spot to look for a White-crowned Sparrow.

Diet:

Thistle of Nyjer and hulled Black Oil With this bird, sunflower seeds are the finest option. If you leave them out, the White-crowned Sparrow may pay you a visit. 

5. Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing

Markings and coloration:

The tops of their backs are light brown, while the bottoms are grey. They have tiny grey wings with brown shoulders and a waxy-red arrangement of vertical lines that resembles a pan-pipe, as well as a white line at the wing’s inner terminal. 

They have short, squared grey tails with yellow ends and a white rump, as well as a yellow underside. This yellow extends up the breast, turning brown at the top part, and the birds’ faces are mainly brown. 

Unusual features of their appearance include up curving black masks with a hint of color on either side of the eyes, as well as brown “beards” that extend into the breast.

Size:

The length of these birds ranges from 5.5 to 6.7 inches, with wingspans ranging from 8.7 to 11.8 inches.

Habitat:

These birds prefer the forests, although they may also be found in farms, gardens, and orchards.

Diet:

Fresh fruits and berries are preferred, dried fruits and berries can be substituted.

Fall and Winter Birds in Washington

It’s reasonable to say that Washington’s winters are harsh, with overnight temperatures as low as -10 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Despite this, there are a handful of courageous and committed flying foragers out there that might need your help while the weather is so frigid. Remember to leave food out for one or more of Washington’s winter birds in the feeders throughout the colder months!

1. Gray Jay

gray jay

Markings and coloration:

Gray Jays have dark grey backs, short dark grey wings, and long grey tails with white ends and lighter coloration on the undersides.

This bird’s underside and breast are also a lighter grey; however, there is a white ‘V at the top of the breast that runs down from the face.

The grey hue originating from the rear of the eyes and fanning out across the back of the skull gives these birds a snowy white appearance. Short, thick, triangular black bills characterize these birds.

Size:

The length of these birds ranges from 9.8 to 11.4 inches, with wingspans averaging 18 inches wide.

Habitat:

These birds live in boreal woods and prefer places where there are a lot of evergreens. This bird may also be found in forested highlands and prefers evergreen deciduous mixtures.

Diet:

The Gray Jay is big suet, cracked corn, and grape fanatic! If you attempt this combo or anything similar, you could just get a feeder visit.

2. Anna’s Hummingbird

Anna Hummingbird

Markings and coloration:

The backs of Anna’s Hummingbirds are grey and green, with yellow above and below their short, curved grey wings. They have broad grey tails with green and yellow highlights, as well as white on the rump of this bird.

It has a greenish-grey underbelly and a white and grey breast on its upper side, with a yellow border and a white and grey breast top.

As well as having a bright, neon pink beneath the cheekbones and toward the back and top of the head on their reddish-grey faces, these birds also have green, yellow, and blue spots all over them as well. It is a bird with a golden eyebrow line and a long, narrow, straight beak with a black coloration.

Size:

Head-to-tail length is 3.9 inches, and wingspan is 4.7 inches.

Habitat:

The desert scrub and forest margins (especially those with water nearby), parks, and even residential streets are good places to find Anna’s Hummingbirds.

In the event that you have flowers in your yard, this is an added bonus. However, even without flowers, you may still have a visit. Make a small gesture to demonstrate that you care by leaving something out!

Diet:

You can give them live or dried mealworms in addition to the sugar water.

3. Rusty Blackbird

Rusty blackbird
Credits – Wikipedia

Markings and coloration:

In the summer, the Rusty Blackbird has medium-length wings and long, thin tails, just like a typical blackbird. However, you will see yellowish eyes, and the bird’s coloring will change dramatically once winter arrives. The upper back and breasts have a rusty tint and the face has a diamond-shaped black mask.

The beak of these birds is long, straight, and pointed black. Females will be a combination of browns and greys, with some rust coloring in the winter, while males will be a much glossy black during the breeding season.

Size:

The length of these birds ranges from 8.3 to 9.8 inches, with wingspans of around 14.6 inches.

Habitat:

These birds like wetlands and can sometimes be spotted in flood-prone farms. Any location that becomes very wet with water during a big rain is an excellent place to look for the Rusty Blackbird.

Diet:

Black Oil and Nyjer Thistle

When it comes to the Rusty Blackbird, sunflower seeds will offer you a greater reaction than suet. Because these birds are considered endangered, spotting one is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

4. Brown Creeper

Brown Creeper

Markings and coloration:

Black-and-white stripes run at the tips of the medium-length wings of Brown Creepers. On the underside and breast of this bird is a creamy-tan border, and its long, thin streaked tails are pure white. 

The upper parts of their heads are brown and white striped for better mixing, and there is a buffy stripe above the eyes. Brown Creepers have long, curved, black or black-and-yellow bills.

Size:

Creepers are little birds that range in size from 4.7 to 5.5 inches in length and have wingspans of 6.7 to 7.9 inches.

Habitat:

These birds like evergreen or mixed deciduous and evergreen woods, and they may be found at both high and low elevations. During the winter, they prefer to spread out and may be found in deciduous woodlands, parks, and even backyards.

Diet:

Your best bet for getting a closer look at this critter is to use suet, peanut butter, and cracked corn as bait.

5. Tricoloured Blackbird

Tricoloured Blackbird

Markings and coloration:

It’s easy to identify male Tricolored Blackbirds because of their white and red shoulder markings, which look like white shark fins with red tips when the large wings are at rest. Female Tricolors will have a longer, notched black tail than male Tricolors. 

They’re dark with a cream-colored brow line and highly streaked bellies. The black beak of these birds is thick, pointed, and medium in length. Male juveniles are easily identifiable because they are a combination of browns and blacks, with the brown gradually diminishing as they mature.

Size:

Size ranges from 7.1 to 9.4 inches from head to tail, with wingspans from 10.2 to 13 inches for this species of raptor.

Habitat:

In addition to wetlands, they may be found in farms, fields, feedlots, and the occasional garden with a well-stocked feeder.

Diet:

While these birds consume a lot of insects, they also like grains and may be persuaded to come to your feeder with a little effort. Leaving out some wheat and rolled-outs, and if you have them, some live mealworms can increase your chances of attracting them to your yard or garden.

Birds that live in Washington Year-Round

These birds are active all year and may be seen rain or shine, regardless of the season. Try to find one of the following year-round residents of Washington:

1. American Robin

American Robin

Markings and coloration:

The backs of American Robins are greyish-brown, with medium-length greyish-brown wings and long greyish-brown tails. The underside and breast of this bird are a rich orange color, while the rump is white. 

This bird has a medium-length, moderately curved yellow beak and a black head with a ‘broken’ white eyeing. There will be a lighter hue to the females’ heads compared to their backs and wings.

Size:

These birds have wingspans of 12.2 to 15.8 inches and a length of 7.9 – 11 inches from tip to tail.

Habitat:

Robin sightings have been documented in tundra zones, meadows, fields, pine woods, and even golf courses. These birds are commonly seen in parks and backyards, so keep a lookout for the renowned American Robin.

Diet:

You may attract them to your feeder by offering them suet, sunflower seeds, crushed peanuts, or raisins, all of which are favorites of the American Robin.

2. American Crow

American Crow

Markings and coloration:

American Crows are both smart and easily identifiable, as they are totally black from head to toe. Wings that are large and rounded, and short, squared-off tails. Their bills are long and straight, with a notable curve in the top bill. 

These birds are usually black, with the exception of molting when they become feathers.

Size:

These birds have wingspans of 33.5 to 39.4 inches and a length of 15.8 – 20.9 inches from head to tail.

Habitat:

Crows like fields, forests, and open wooded areas, however, they may be found all around the city.

Diet:

In terms of meats, fruits, and vegetables, crows will eat almost anything, but you must be careful what you leave out since they might get picky and demand it every time. Simple foods like unsalted peanuts rolled oats, and a small amount of suet will suffice. 

3. American Goldfinch

American Goldfinch

Markings and coloration:

Male American Goldfinches have brilliant yellowbacks and long, black wings with two white wing bars and a number of white markings in the middle of the inner wing. They feature white markings on their short, notched tails, as well as white on the undersides of their rump. 

This bird has a brilliant yellow underside and breast, as well as a tiny black cap on its forehead and a medium-length, conical orange beak. Females will be olive-colored rather than black, with duller yellows, and both genders will be a dull brown with hardly discernible wing bars in the winter.

Size:

The length of these birds ranges from 4.3 to 5.1 inches, with wingspans of 7.5 to 8.7 inches.

Habitat:

Goldfinches prefer weedy, overgrown areas, especially those that are prone to flooding and so provide ideal feeding opportunities. A tasty surprise for the Washington state bird will be appreciated if it visits your garden, park, or backyard.

Diet:

These birds prefer Nyjer thistle and Black Oil Sunflower seeds, so place them out separately or in a mixture to attract their attention.

4. European Starling

European Starling

Markings and coloration:

While European Starlings appear black from afar, up close, you can see that their summer plumage is actually a mix of purples and greens.

On the face of these birds are a large golden beak and a pair of long, pointed wings with short tails. They moult into new brown plumage with gorgeous white markings in the winter, and it’s really worth looking at.

Size:

These birds are 7.9–9.1 inches long with wingspans ranging from 12.2 to 15 inches broad.

Habitat:

It’s not uncommon to see them on farms, but they’re more frequent on phone wires, fences, and backyard bird feeders.

Diet:

Suet is a favorite of starlings, although they prefer the type with corn, peanuts, or other tasty goodies mixed throughout. If you find that the Starlings are eating too much suet in your feeder, and you want to save some for the other birds, use a Starling-proof feeder.

5. Black-capped Chickadee

Black-capped Chickadee

Markings and coloration:

Black-capped Chickadees have grey backs, short grey wings with white borders in the feathers, and long grey tails with white outer feathers.

A white underbelly and breast, with buff flanking on the sides, and a black bib, a large white stripe extending from the cheeks to the back of their heads, and a huge black cap that reaches mid-eye level are the distinguishing characteristics. These birds also have tiny black bills that are trapezoidal in shape.

Size:

These birds have a wingspan of 6.3 to 8.3 inches and a length of 4.7 – 5.9 inches from tip to tail.

Habitat:

Chickadee sightings are likely to occur in marshes, fields, and practically any other location with trees and shrub cover. They also stop by the backyard every now and again, so leave a little stuff out and you could get a visit.

Diet:

One of the simplest methods to attract a hungry Black-capped Chickadee is to combine suet with peanut butter.

Conclusion

We took some time today to investigate Washington’s birding scene.  There are enough bird species to keep you busy for a long time in this region. Just remember to fill those feeders, and because the winters are harsh, a heated birdbath is a good idea as well. 

In Washington, one thing is certain: whether you’re going out to see them or trying to entice them into your backyard, one thing is definite. There are plenty of lovely birds to view.

FAQ

What is Washington’s state bird?

Although the goldfinch, a beautiful tiny bird with a yellow body and black wings, was chosen as the official state bird, many other species were considered. In 1928, legislators gave schoolchildren the opportunity to choose the state bird, and the meadowlark came out on top.

About Lily Aldrin

I am Lily Aldrin and I am an Ornithologist. I have been a passionate bird owner since my teenage years. I have experience with all kinds of birds and founded this blog to share my experience with others.