20 Common backyard birds of Massachusetts
Are you a bird lover living in Massachusetts? If so, you are in luck! The Bay State is home to a wide variety of backyard birds that will bring beauty, song, and entertainment to your outdoor space. Here on this page, we will get more details on the backyard birds of Massachusetts.
There are many different species of birds that can be found in Massachusetts, including both year-round residents and migratory species. Some common backyard birds that you might see in Massachusetts include American Robin, Blue Jay, Black-capped Chickadee, Downy Woodpecker, Eastern Bluebird, Northern Cardinal, Tufted Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch, Dark-eyed Junco and American Goldfinch to mention a few.
How to attract backyard birds in Massachusetts
Attracting backyard birds to your Massachusetts home can be a rewarding and enjoyable hobby. There are a few key things you can do to make your yard more attractive to birds:
Offer food: Providing a reliable food source is one of the most effective ways to attract birds to your yard. You can do this by putting up a bird feeder or two and filling them with seed that is appropriate for the types of birds you want to attract.
Some popular options for backyard birds in Massachusetts include black oil sunflower seeds, Nyjer seeds, and suet. It’s important to keep your feeders clean and filled to ensure that the birds keep coming back.
Provide water: In addition to food, birds also need access to water. You can put out a birdbath or a small pond for them to drink from and bathe in. Be sure to keep the water clean and fresh, and consider adding a heater to your birdbath during the winter to ensure that the water doesn’t freeze.
Create a habitat: Providing shelter and nesting sites for birds can also help to attract them to your yard. You can do this by planting native trees and shrubs, which provide food and cover for birds, or by installing nest boxes or birdhouses.
Use native plants: Native plants are important for attracting and supporting local bird populations. They provide food, shelter, and nesting sites for birds, and they also help to support the local ecosystem. When choosing plants for your yard, try to select a mix of native species that will provide food and cover throughout the year.
Best bird feeders for Massachusetts backyard birds
When choosing a bird feeder for your Massachusetts backyard, there are a few key things to consider:
1. Tube feeders
Tube feeders are cylindrical feeders that are designed to hold the seed in a tube or cylinder. They are often used for small to medium-sized seeds, such as sunflower seeds or Nyjer seeds, and they can be hung from a tree or pole.
Tube feeders can be made from a variety of materials, including plastic, metal, and glass, and they can have either single or multiple feeding ports.
One advantage of tube feeders is that they are relatively easy to clean and refill, and they can attract a wide range of birds. However, they may be less effective at attracting larger birds, such as woodpeckers or grosbeaks.
2. Hopper feeders
Hopper feeders are box-shaped feeders that are designed to hold a larger quantity of seed, and they often have a roof or awning to protect the seed from the weather.
They can be filled with a variety of seeds, including sunflower seeds, mixed seed blends, and suet, and they can be hung from a tree or pole. Hopper feeders are a good option for attracting a wide range of birds, including larger species such as grosbeaks and woodpeckers.
3. Platform feeders
Platform feeders are flat, open-topped feeders that are designed to be placed on the ground or on a flat surface, such as a table or a deck. They can be filled with a variety of seeds, including mixed seed blends, sunflower seeds, and suet, and they can attract a wide range of birds, including ground-feeding species such as doves, sparrows, and juncos.
Platform feeders are a good option for people who want to attract a diverse range of birds, but they may be more vulnerable to pests and predators than other types of feeders.
4. Suet feeders
Suet feeders are specifically designed to hold suet, which is a type of high-energy, high-fat food that is popular with many birds, particularly during the winter months. Suet feeders can be hung from a tree or a pole, and they come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
Suet feeders are a good option for attracting birds such as woodpeckers, nuthatches, and chickadees, but they may not be suitable for other types of birds.
5. Window feeders
Window feeders are designed to be mounted on a window or a window ledge, and they allow birds to feed within close proximity to the viewer. Window feeders can be filled with a variety of seeds, including mixed seed blends, sunflower seeds, and suet, and they can attract a wide range of birds, including finches, sparrows, and chickadees.
Window feeders are a good option for people who want to observe birds up close, but they may be more vulnerable to pests and predators than other types of feeders.
20 Common backyard birds in Massachusetts
There are many different types of birds that can be found in Massachusetts, and the specific species that you see in your backyard will depend on a variety of factors, such as your location, the time of year, and the type of habitat in your yard.
Here are 20 common backyard birds in Massachusetts and some information about each of them:
1. American Robin – These birds are common throughout Massachusetts and are known for their reddish-orange breast and cheerful songs. They are often seen hopping on lawns searching for worms to eat.
2. Blue Jay – Blue Jays are easily recognized by their bright blue feathers and distinctive calls. They are known for their intelligence and are often seen gathering and storing food, as well as mimicking the calls of other birds.
3. Downy Woodpecker – These small woodpeckers are common in wooded areas and have a distinctive black and white pattern on their feathers. They can often be seen clinging to tree trunks as they search for insects to eat.
4. Eastern Bluebird – These birds are known for their bright blue feathers and orange breast. They are often seen in open areas such as fields and gardens.
5. American Goldfinch – These small, brightly-colored finches are common in Massachusetts and are known for their cheerful songs. They are often seen feeding on seeds and are attracted to bird feeders.
6. American Crow – Crows are large, intelligent birds that are common in Massachusetts. They are known for their distinctive calls and are often seen in open areas such as fields and parks.
7. Black-capped Chickadee – These small, energetic birds are common in wooded areas and are known for their black cap and white cheeks. They are often seen at bird feeders and are attracted to suet and sunflower seeds.
8. House Finch – These small, colorful finches are common in urban and suburban areas and are often seen at bird feeders. They have a reddish breasts and a distinctive conical beak.
9. Tufted Titmouse – These small, grey birds are common in wooded areas and are known for their distinctive tuft of feathers on their head. They are often seen at bird feeders and are attracted to sunflower seeds.
10. Song Sparrow – These small, plain-colored sparrows are common in open areas such as fields and gardens. They are known for their varied and complex songs.
11. Red-tailed Hawk – These large birds of prey are common in Massachusetts and are known for their distinctive red tail feathers. They can often be seen perched on telephone poles or soaring overhead.
12. American Kestrel – These small, colorful falcons are common in open areas such as fields and are known for their distinctive blue wings and reddish-orange tail feathers.
13. Great Blue Heron – These large, majestic birds are common near bodies of water and are known for their long legs and distinctive blue-grey feathers.
14. Eastern Phoebe – These small, plain-colored birds are common in wooded areas and are known for their distinctive “phoebe” call. They are often seen perched on branches or wires.
15. American Woodcock – These small, stocky birds are common in wooded areas and are known for their distinctive courtship display, in which the male flies up into the air and then “plummets” back to the ground.
16. Dark-eyed Junco – These small, plain-colored sparrows are common in wooded areas and are known for their distinctive white outer tail feathers. They are often seen at bird feeders and are attracted to sunflower seeds.
17. Purple Martin – These large, colorful swallows are common in open areas such as fields and gardens. They are known for their iridescent purple feathers and are often seen flying overhead in search of insects to eat.
18. Northern Cardinal – These bright red birds are common in Massachusetts and are easily recognized by their distinctive color and crested head. They are often seen at bird feeders and are attracted to sunflower seeds.
19. White-breasted Nuthatch – These small, grey birds are common in wooded areas and are known for their distinctive upside-down feeding behavior. They are often seen at bird feeders and are attracted to suet and sunflower seeds.
20. American Tree Sparrow – These small, plain-colored sparrows are common in open areas such as fields and gardens. They have distinctive rust-colored breasts and are often seen at bird feeders.
How to identify backyard birds in Massachusetts
Identifying backyard birds can be a fun and rewarding hobby, and it’s something that anyone can do with a little bit of practice and the right resources.
Here are a few tips for identifying birds in your Massachusetts backyard:
1. Observe the bird’s physical characteristics
Pay attention to the size, shape, and color of the bird, as well as any distinctive markings or features. Consider the bird’s beak, wings, tail, and feet, as these can often be helpful in identifying the species.
2. Watch the bird’s behavior
Observe the bird’s behavior and habits. Does it hop, walk, or fly? Does it perch or move around on the ground? What does it eat? What kind of habitat does it prefer? All of these factors can be helpful in identifying the bird.
3. Use a field guide
A field guide is a book that contains detailed information about different bird species, including their physical characteristics, behavior, and habitat preferences. You can use a field guide to help you identify birds in your backyard by comparing the characteristics of the bird you are observing to the descriptions and illustrations in the guide.
4. Take advantage of online resources
There are many online resources available for identifying birds, including websites, apps, and forums. You can use these resources to get help with identifying a bird that you are having trouble with or to learn more about different species.
How to provide water for Massachusetts backyard birds
Providing water for backyard birds is an important way to support local bird populations and make your yard more attractive to birds.
Here are a few tips for providing water for birds in your Massachusetts backyard:
1. Use a birdbath
A birdbath is a shallow dish or basin that is filled with water for birds to drink from and bathe in. You can buy a birdbath specifically designed for birds, or you can use a shallow dish or basin that you have around the house. Be sure to keep the water clean and fresh, and consider adding a heater to your birdbath during the winter to ensure that the water doesn’t freeze.
2. Create a small pond
If you have the space and the resources, you can create a small pond in your backyard to provide water for birds. A pond can be as simple as a shallow basin lined with a pond liner and filled with water, or it can be more elaborate with features such as a fountain or plants.
3. Use a dripper or mister
Another way to provide water for birds is to use a dripper or mister. These devices release a slow, steady stream of water that birds can drink from or bathe in. They are especially useful in dry or hot weather when water may be scarce for birds.
How to deter pests from backyard bird feeders in Massachusetts
Pests such as squirrels, rats, and mice can be a problem at backyard bird feeders, as they can steal food and damage the feeders.
Here are a few tips for deterring pests from your backyard bird feeders in Massachusetts:
1. Use a squirrel-proof feeder
Squirrel-proof feeders are designed to keep squirrels out while allowing birds to access the food.
There are several different types of squirrel-proof feeders available, including feeders with weight-sensitive perches that close off access to the food when a heavy animal (such as a squirrel) lands on them and feeders with spring-loaded or spinning perches that make it difficult for squirrels to hold on.
2. Place the feeder out of reach
Another way to deter pests from your bird feeder is to place it in a location that is out of reach of squirrels and other pests. This could be on a pole with a baffle or on a high shelf or balcony.
3. Use feeders with small openings
Pests such as rats and mice can sometimes gain access to bird feeders through small openings. To prevent this, use feeders with small openings that are too small for pests to fit through.
4. Use pest-resistant feed
Some types of bird seeds are less attractive to pests and can help to deter them from your feeders. For example, safflower seed is less attractive to squirrels than many other types of seed, and Nyjer seed is often too small for rats and mice to eat.
Best plants for attracting backyard birds in Massachusetts
Planting a variety of native plants in your Massachusetts backyard can help to attract and support local bird populations.
Here are a few plants that are particularly attractive to birds:
Native trees such as oak, maple, and pine provide food, shelter, and nesting sites for birds. They also help to create a diverse and healthy ecosystem in your yard.
Native shrubs such as viburnum, dogwood, and sumac provide food, shelter, and nesting sites for birds. They can also help to create a natural, attractive border around your yard.
Native flowers such as coneflowers, black-eyed Susans, and milkweeds provide nectar for hummingbirds and other pollinators, and they can also attract insects and other small animals that birds like to eat.
Native vines such as grape, honeysuckle, and Virginia creeper provide food, shelter, and nesting sites for birds. They can also add interest and beauty to your yard.
How to prevent backyard birds from spreading disease in Massachusetts
While birds can be a source of enjoyment and beauty in your backyard, they can also spread diseases to humans and other animals.
Here are a few tips for preventing backyard birds from spreading disease in Massachusetts:
Keep feeders clean
Dirty bird feeders can harbor bacteria and parasites, which can be transmitted to birds and other animals. To prevent this, it is important to keep your feeders clean and well-maintained. This means cleaning them regularly and replacing any damaged or worn parts.
Use safe birdseed
Some types of birdseed can harbor bacteria or parasites, which can be transmitted to birds and other animals. To prevent this, it is important to use safe, high-quality birdseed that is free of contaminants.
Don’t handle sick or injured birds
If you come across a sick or injured bird in your backyard, it is important not to handle it or try to care for it yourself. Instead, contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitation center or a veterinarian for assistance.
Wash your hands after handling birds or bird feeders
To prevent the spread of disease, it is important to wash your hands after handling birds or bird feeders. This will help to reduce the risk of transmitting any germs or parasites that the birds may be carrying.
How to keep backyard birds safe during the winter in Massachusetts
Winter can be a challenging time for backyard birds, as they face cold temperatures, limited food and water, and other hazards.
Here are a few tips for keeping backyard birds safe during the winter in Massachusetts:
Provide a source of food
Putting out a bird feeder or two can help to provide food for birds during the winter, when natural sources of food may be scarce. Be sure to use high-quality birdseed that is appropriate for the types of birds you want to attract, and keep the feeder clean and well-stocked.
Provide a source of water
Birds need access to water year-round, and it can be especially important during the winter when natural sources of water may be frozen. You can put out a birdbath or a small pond for birds to drink from and bathe in, and be sure to keep the water clean and fresh. Consider adding a heater to your birdbath during the winter to ensure that the water doesn’t freeze.
Create a habitat
Providing shelter and nesting sites for birds can help to keep them safe during the winter. You can do this by planting native trees and shrubs, which provide food and cover for birds, or by installing nest boxes or birdhouses.
Protect birds from predators
Winter can be a difficult time for birds, as they are more vulnerable to predators due to the limited availability of food and cover. To protect birds from predators, consider using predator guards on your bird feeders and nest boxes, and remove any potential hiding places that predators could use.
Best birdhouses for Massachusetts backyard birds
Installing a birdhouse in your Massachusetts backyard can be a great way to provide shelter and nesting sites for birds.
Here are a few things to consider when choosing a birdhouse for your yard:
Size and shape
Different types of birds prefer different sizes and shapes of birdhouses. Be sure to choose a birdhouse that is appropriate for the types of birds you want to attract.
Birdhouses can be made from a variety of materials, including wood, plastic, and metal. Each type of material has its own advantages and disadvantages, so consider which one will be the most suitable for your needs.
Birdhouses can have a variety of features, such as ventilation, drainage, and insulation, which can make them more comfortable and suitable for different types of birds. Consider which features will be most important for the birds you want to attract.
The location of your birdhouse can be important in attracting birds and ensuring their success. Choose a location that is sheltered and safe from predators and that offers good visibility and access to food and water.
How to participate in backyard bird counts in Massachusetts
Participating in backyard bird counts is a fun and rewarding way to learn about birds and contribute to scientific research.
Here are a few ways you can participate in backyard bird counts in Massachusetts:
Join a local birding group
Many local birding groups and nature centers in Massachusetts participate in backyard bird counts and other bird monitoring programs. You can join one of these groups to get involved in bird counts and other bird-related activities.
Participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count
The Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) is an annual event that takes place in February, and it is an opportunity for people all over the world to contribute to scientific research by counting the birds in their backyards.
You can participate by counting the birds in your yard for at least 15 minutes on one or more days during the event and then reporting your observations online.
Join the Massachusetts Breeding Bird Atlas
The Massachusetts Breeding Bird Atlas is a long-term project to document the distribution and abundance of breeding birds in the state. You can participate in this project by volunteering to survey a specific area or by reporting your observations of breeding birds.
Participate in other bird monitoring programs
There are many other bird monitoring programs in Massachusetts that you can participate in, such as the Massachusetts Bird Atlas, the Massachusetts Important Bird Areas program, and the Massachusetts Audubon Society’s annual Christmas Bird Count. These programs offer a variety of opportunities for people to get involved in bird monitoring and research.
How to create a habitat for backyard birds in Massachusetts
To create a habitat for backyard birds in Massachusetts, you can follow these steps:
To attract birds to your yard, you will need to provide food for them. This can include seeds, suet, nectar, and fruit. You can use bird feeders, bird baths, and birdhouses to provide these resources.
Plant native plants
Native plants are important for birds because they provide food and shelter. Some native plants that are popular with birds in Massachusetts include black-eyed Susans, coneflowers, and milkweeds.
Create water sources
Birds need water for drinking and bathing. You can create water sources by installing a bird bath or a small pond. Make sure the water is clean and fresh.
Birds need a place to roost and nest. You can provide shelter by installing nest boxes or by planting shrubs and trees that offer protection from the elements.
Keep your yard clean
Keep your yard free of trash and debris, as this can attract predators and make your yard less attractive to birds.
By following these steps, you can create a welcoming habitat for backyard birds in Massachusetts.
Massachusetts is home to a diverse array of backyard birds, including both year-round residents and migratory species. To create a habitat that is attractive to these birds, it is important to provide food, water, shelter, and a clean environment.
By following these steps, you can enjoy watching and learning about the birds that visit your yard. In addition to providing enjoyment, attracting backyard birds can also help to support local ecosystems and promote biodiversity.
Overall, creating a habitat for the backyard birds of Massachusetts can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience for birdwatchers of all ages.