Arkansas, known for its diverse bird population, is a haven for both experienced birders and beginners alike. In this informative article, readers will uncover the wonders of Arkansas’s common backyard birds. Drawing data from the citizen science program eBird, the article lists various bird species found in the state and offers detailed pictures and identification tips for each. Additionally, it shares valuable insights on how to attract these feathered friends to your own backyard, making it a bird-watching paradise. Highlighting the Northern Cardinal’s prevalence as the most common bird in Arkansas, the article also provides readers with information on bird watching resources and birding clubs within the state. Prepare to embark on an avian adventure, right from your own backyard.
Welcome to this comprehensive article on common backyard birds in Arkansas! If you’re a bird lover, or just enjoy observing nature, then this guide is perfect for you. Arkansas is home to a wide variety of bird species, each with its own unique behaviors, habitats, and charming features. In this article, we will explore the top 10 most common backyard birds in Arkansas, providing you with identification tips, information on their habitats and behaviors, and even tips on attracting them to your backyard. So grab your binoculars, and let’s dive into the fascinating world of Arkansas backyard birds!
Common Backyard Birds in Arkansas
1. Northern Cardinal
The Northern Cardinal, with its vibrant red plumage and distinctive crest, is undoubtedly the most iconic bird in Arkansas. Its melodious song and widespread presence make it a beloved sight for birdwatchers across the state. The male cardinal boasts a brilliant red color, while the female is a bit more subtle in appearance with a mix of gray and red. Cardinals can be found in a variety of habitats, from woodlands to residential areas, and their range extends throughout the entire state of Arkansas. They are known for their loyalty to their mate and often stay in the same territory year-round. To attract these striking birds to your backyard, consider providing a steady source of food such as sunflower seeds and a water source, along with dense shrubs or trees for them to nest in.
2. American Robin
With its rusty orange breast and cheerful song, the American Robin is a familiar sight in many Arkansas backyards. These medium-sized birds are known for their sharp eyesight and love for worms and insects, which they often hunt for in lawns and gardens. Robins are migratory, so you are more likely to spot them in Arkansas during the spring and summer months. They build their nests in a variety of habitats, from trees to shrubs, and are quite adaptable in their choice of residence. To attract robins to your backyard, create a welcoming environment with a mix of open areas and trees or bushes. Providing a bird bath or shallow pool of water will also help attract them, as they are fond of bathing to keep their feathers clean.
3. Blue Jay
The Blue Jay is another stunning bird commonly found in Arkansas. Known for its striking blue plumage, white chest, and prominent crest, the Blue Jay is a favorite among birdwatchers. These intelligent birds have a wide range of vocalizations, including their distinctive “jay-jay” call. Blue Jays can be found in a variety of habitats, including forests, woodlands, and even urban areas. They are highly adaptable and will readily visit bird feeders if provided with peanuts, sunflower seeds, or suet. To attract Blue Jays to your backyard, offer a diverse selection of food and consider providing a platform feeder where they can land and enjoy their meal.
4. Carolina Chickadee
With its small size and unmistakable black cap and bib, the Carolina Chickadee is a delightful visitor to any Arkansas backyard. These social birds are often seen in small flocks and are known for their acrobatic antics. Chickadees are cavity nesters and will readily make use of birdhouses if provided. They prefer woodland habitats with plenty of trees and shrubs, but can also be found in residential areas. To attract Carolina Chickadees to your backyard, offer a variety of seeds, suet, and mealworms in feeders, and consider adding nest boxes with 1.125-inch entrance holes for them to raise their young.
5. Tufted Titmouse
The Tufted Titmouse is a small, gray bird with a distinct crested head and a rusty-colored flanks. You can often find them hopping from branch to branch in search of insects, seeds, and nuts. They are especially fond of sunflower seeds, which can be provided in a hopper or tray feeder. Titmice are cavity nesters and will readily use birdhouses if placed with the entrance hole 1.25 inches in diameter. To attract Tufted Titmice to your backyard, offer a mix of foods including sunflower seeds, peanuts, and suet. They are known to be curious and will readily investigate feeders.
6. Mourning Dove
The gentle cooing sound of the Mourning Dove is a familiar sound in Arkansas, and these birds are a common sight in both rural and urban areas. They have a soft, gray-brown plumage and a slender build. Mourning Doves are ground-feeders and prefer open areas with plenty of seeds and grains. They will readily visit platform feeders or ground feeding areas if provided with a variety of seeds, such as millet, cracked corn, and safflower. To attract Mourning Doves, create a ground feeding area with a mix of seeds, and consider providing a shallow birdbath for them to drink and bathe in.
7. Northern Mockingbird
The Northern Mockingbird is a highly skilled mimic and can imitate a wide range of sounds, from other birds to mechanical noises or even the sound of a barking dog. These medium-sized birds have a gray plumage, white wing patches, and a long tail. They can be found in a range of habitats, including residential areas, farmland, and woodlands. Mockingbirds are territorial and will readily defend their chosen territory from intruders. To attract Northern Mockingbirds to your backyard, provide a diverse selection of fruits, berries, and insects. They are also fond of bird baths, so providing a clean source of water will be highly appreciated.
8. Carolina Wren
The Carolina Wren is a small, round-bodied bird with a distinctive white eyebrow stripe and a rich, melodious song. They have rufous-brown plumage and can often be found hopping along the ground or exploring brush piles and thick vegetation. Carolina Wrens are cavity nesters and take advantage of nooks and crannies in tree stumps, brush piles, or nest boxes. They are fond of insects, spiders, and small fruits. To attract Carolina Wrens to your backyard, offer a variety of foods, including mealworms, suet, and sunflower seeds. Providing dense vegetation and brush piles will also create a favorable environment for these lively birds.
9. House Finch
The House Finch is a small, sparrow-like bird with a vibrant red or orange plumage on the males and subdued brown plumage on the females. Originally native to the western United States, House Finches have expanded their range across the entire country, including Arkansas. They have a melodious, warbling song and can often be found in residential areas, gardens, and parks. House Finches are granivorous and prefer seeds, particularly sunflower seeds and nyjer seeds. To attract House Finches to your backyard, offer a variety of seeds in tube feeders or hopper feeders. These social birds will readily visit feeders in small flocks.
10. Downy Woodpecker
The Downy Woodpecker is the smallest woodpecker species in North America and can often be spotted tapping away at tree trunks in Arkansas backyards. They have a black and white plumage, with the males sporting a small red patch on the back of their heads. These agile birds are adept at searching for insects hidden underneath tree bark and will often visit suet feeders as well. To attract Downy Woodpeckers to your backyard, offer a variety of foods, including suet, peanuts, and black oil sunflower seeds. Providing dead trees or snags can also create a favorable environment for nesting and foraging.
Resources for Bird Watchers
Arkansas is a haven for bird enthusiasts, and there are numerous resources available to help you deepen your love for our feathered friends.
Birding Clubs in Arkansas
Joining a birding club is a fantastic way to connect with fellow birdwatchers, learn from experienced enthusiasts, and explore new birding hotspots. Some notable birding clubs in Arkansas include:
- Arkansas Audubon Society
- Central Arkansas Audubon Society
- Northwest Arkansas Audubon Society
- Audubon Society of NWA
- Ozark Highlands Audubon Society
Mobile Apps for Bird Identification
Technology has made bird identification more accessible than ever before. With the help of mobile apps, you can identify birds on the go, learn about their habits, and even contribute to citizen science projects. Some popular bird identification apps include:
- Merlin Bird ID by Cornell Lab
- Audubon Bird Guide
- iBird Pro Guide to Birds
- eBird by Cornell Lab
Books on Arkansas Birds
For those who prefer a more traditional approach to bird identification and learning, consider adding these books to your collection:
- “The Birds of Arkansas” by Michael A. Floyd
- “Birds of Arkansas Field Guide” by Stan Tekiela
- “Birds of Arkansas” by Allen D. McDaniel
- “The Sibley Guide to Birds” by David Allen Sibley
Online Birding Forums
Online birding forums provide a platform to connect with birders from around the world, share sightings, ask questions, and learn from the collective knowledge of the birding community. Some popular forums include:
- Arkansas Birding Forum on BirdForum.net
- Arkansas Birding Facebook Group
- Arkansas Birding Subreddit
No matter your level of expertise, these resources will help you expand your knowledge and enhance your birdwatching experiences in Arkansas.
In conclusion, Arkansas is a birdwatcher’s paradise, with a diverse range of bird species that call the state home. From the vibrant Northern Cardinal to the resourceful Carolina Wren, each bird brings its own unique charm to the backyard. By offering food, water, and suitable habitats, you can create an inviting environment for these feathered friends. So, grab your binoculars, join a birding club, download a bird identification app, and immerse yourself in the world of Arkansas backyard birds today!