In “The Most Common Backyard Birds in Kansas,” readers will find a comprehensive list of the most frequently spotted bird species in Kansas, compiled from data collected by the citizen science program eBird. Alongside each bird species, the article offers captivating pictures and tips on how to attract these beautiful creatures to your backyard. Topping the list as the most common bird in Kansas is the vibrant Northern Cardinal, followed closely by the American Robin and Mourning Dove. Readers will also discover other notable backyard birds in Kansas, including the Blue Jay, American Crow, and Red-bellied Woodpecker. Furthermore, the article provides valuable insights into bird watching in Kansas, along with resources for identifying and attracting various bird species. For the most up-to-date sightings and photos of birds in Kansas, the eBird website comes highly recommended. It is worth noting that identifying birds in your backyard should take into account factors such as habitat and seasonality.
The Northern Cardinal is one of the most beautiful and well-known birds in North America. With its vibrant red plumage and distinctive crest, it is easily recognizable and a welcome sight in any backyard. The male Cardinal is known for its stunning red feathers, while the female has a more subdued reddish-brown coloration. Both sexes have a black mask around their eyes.
Northern Cardinals can be found in a variety of habitats, including woodlands, gardens, and suburban areas. They are permanent residents in Kansas, meaning they can be seen year-round. However, they are most active during the breeding season, which typically begins in late March or early April.
When it comes to feeding, Northern Cardinals are primarily seed-eaters. They have strong beaks, which allow them to crack open seeds and devour them. They also eat a variety of fruits, berries, and insects. Cardinals are known for their distinctive song, which is a series of clear, whistled notes.
To attract Northern Cardinals to your backyard, there are a few things you can do. Providing a variety of seeds, particularly sunflower seeds, is a good start. Cardinals also enjoy eating fruits such as apples and berries, so consider putting out a fruit feeder as well. Providing shrubs and dense vegetation will also attract Cardinals, as they like to nest in thick bushes or trees.
The American Robin is a familiar sight in many backyards throughout Kansas. With its orange breast and gray back, it is easily recognizable. The American Robin is larger than many other backyard birds, measuring around 9-11 inches in length.
American Robins can be found in a variety of habitats, including forests, fields, and suburbs. They are migratory birds, meaning they spend the breeding season in Kansas but migrate south for the winter. They typically arrive in Kansas in early March and leave in late September or early October.
When it comes to feeding, American Robins have a diverse diet. They eat a variety of insects, earthworms, and fruits. They are known for their habit of pulling up earthworms from the ground, which they then consume. Robins are also skilled at finding and eating berries and fruits.
To attract American Robins to your backyard, providing a variety of food sources is key. They enjoy eating mealworms, suet, and berries. Planting fruit-bearing trees and shrubs, such as crabapple trees or serviceberry bushes, will also attract Robins. Providing a water source, such as a birdbath, will be appreciated by these birds as well.
The Mourning Dove is a common sight in both urban and rural areas in Kansas. With its soft gray plumage and long, pointed tail, it is easily recognizable. Mourning Doves have a gentle cooing call, which is often heard in the early morning and evening.
Mourning Doves can be found in a variety of habitats, including open fields, woodlands, and suburban areas. They are permanent residents in Kansas, meaning they can be seen year-round. They are often found in pairs or small flocks, feeding on the ground or perched on telephone wires.
When it comes to feeding, Mourning Doves primarily eat seeds. They have a preference for small seeds such as millet and grass seeds. They also eat insects and fruits, but seeds make up the majority of their diet. Mourning Doves have a unique way of drinking water, in which they dip their beaks and suck up the water.
To attract Mourning Doves to your backyard, providing a variety of seeds is essential. They are ground feeders, so scatter seeds on the ground or use a low platform feeder. Mourning Doves also appreciate having a source of water, such as a shallow birdbath or a water dish.
The Blue Jay is a striking bird with its vibrant blue and white plumage. It is known for its loud and distinctive call, which can be heard throughout the day. Blue Jays are medium-sized birds, measuring around 9-12 inches in length.
Blue Jays can be found in a variety of habitats, including forests, parks, and suburban areas. They are year-round residents in Kansas, meaning they can be seen throughout the year. Blue Jays are known for their intelligence and often visit bird feeders and take food back to cache for later.
When it comes to feeding, Blue Jays have a varied diet. They eat a variety of seeds, nuts, insects, and fruits. They are particularly fond of acorns and can be seen burying them for later use. Blue Jays also have a reputation for taking eggs and nestlings from other birds.
To attract Blue Jays to your backyard, provide a variety of food sources. They enjoy eating peanuts, sunflower seeds, and suet. Blue Jays are also attracted to water, so providing a birdbath or shallow pool will be beneficial. Offering nesting materials such as twigs and string may attract Blue Jays to build their nests in your yard.
The American Crow is a large, all-black bird with a distinctive cawing call. It is a highly intelligent bird and is often seen in large flocks. American Crows are around 17-21 inches in length, making them larger than many other backyard birds.
American Crows can be found in a variety of habitats, including forests, farmland, and suburban areas. They are year-round residents in Kansas and can be seen throughout the year. Crows are highly adaptable and can thrive in both urban and rural environments.
When it comes to feeding, American Crows are opportunistic omnivores. They eat a wide variety of foods, including insects, fruits, seeds, carrion, and even small mammals or birds. Crows are known for their ability to use tools and solve complex problems.
Attracting American Crows to your backyard can be a challenge, as they are primarily scavengers and not usually attracted to traditional bird feeders. They are more likely to visit if you provide a consistent source of water, such as a birdbath or a shallow pool. Crows also appreciate a variety of food sources, including scraps or leftovers, nuts, and corn.
The Red-bellied Woodpecker is a medium-sized woodpecker with a unique appearance. Despite its name, it does not have a prominently red belly, but rather a red crown and nape. The rest of its feathers are black and white, and it has a long, sturdy bill.
Red-bellied Woodpeckers can be found in a variety of habitats, including forests, woodlands, and residential areas with mature trees. They are year-round residents in Kansas and can be seen throughout the year. Red-bellied Woodpeckers are often heard before they are seen, as they have a distinctive “churr” call.
When it comes to feeding, Red-bellied Woodpeckers primarily eat insects. They use their strong bills to drum on trees and find hidden insects beneath the bark. They also eat nuts, seeds, fruits, and occasionally suet.
To attract Red-bellied Woodpeckers to your backyard, provide a variety of food sources. They enjoy suet, peanuts, and live mealworms. Red-bellied Woodpeckers are also attracted to trees with dead branches or cavities, as they use these for nesting and foraging.
The House Finch is a small finch with a striking red plumage on the males and a more subdued coloration on the females. They are common visitors to backyard bird feeders and are known for their cheerful song.
House Finches can be found in a variety of habitats, including forests, urban areas, and suburban gardens. They are year-round residents in Kansas and can be seen throughout the year. House Finches are highly adaptable and can be found in a wide range of environments.
When it comes to feeding, House Finches primarily eat seeds and fruits. They are particularly fond of sunflower seeds, millet, and thistle seeds. House Finches may also visit nectar feeders, especially during the breeding season when they feed their young.
To attract House Finches to your backyard, provide a variety of seeds and fruits. They enjoy eating from tube feeders with sunflower seeds or offering them on a platform feeder. House Finches are also attracted to nectar feeders, so consider adding one to your backyard. Planting native plants that produce berries and fruits will also attract House Finches.
The Black-capped Chickadee is a small songbird with a distinctive black cap and bib. It is a lively and acrobatic bird, often seen hanging upside down while foraging. Chickadees are known for their clear, whistled calls and their ability to learn and mimic other bird songs.
Black-capped Chickadees can be found in a variety of habitats, including forests, woodlands, and suburban areas with trees. They are year-round residents in Kansas and can be seen throughout the year. Chickadees are highly vocal and can be heard singing even in the winter.
When it comes to feeding, Black-capped Chickadees primarily eat insects and seeds. They forage by gleaning insects from tree branches and foliage, and they also eat seeds from various plants. Chickadees are known for their ability to cache food for later use.
To attract Black-capped Chickadees to your backyard, provide a variety of food sources. They enjoy suet, sunflower seeds, and nyjer seeds. Offering a variety of feeders, such as tube feeders and suet feeders, will increase the chances of attracting Chickadees. Providing nesting boxes will also attract Chickadees, as they prefer to nest in cavities.
The White-breasted Nuthatch is a small songbird with a distinct appearance. It has a white face, throat, and belly, with blue-gray wings and a black cap. Nuthatches are known for their unique ability to climb down tree trunks headfirst.
White-breasted Nuthatches can be found in a variety of habitats, including forests, woodlands, and suburban areas with mature trees. They are year-round residents in Kansas and can be seen throughout the year. Nuthatches are highly territorial and often seen in pairs or small family groups.
When it comes to feeding, White-breasted Nuthatches primarily eat insects and seeds. They forage by creeping along tree trunks and branches, searching for insects in the bark. They also eat seeds and nuts, which they wedge into crevices or hammer open with their bills.
To attract White-breasted Nuthatches to your backyard, provide a variety of food sources. They enjoy suet, sunflower seeds, and peanuts. Offering a variety of feeders, such as tube feeders, platform feeders, and suet feeders, will increase the chances of attracting Nuthatches. Providing nesting boxes or tree cavities will also attract Nuthatches, as they prefer to nest in enclosed spaces.
Bird Watching in Kansas
Kansas is a great state for bird watching, with its diverse habitats and variety of bird species. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced bird watcher, there are plenty of opportunities to observe and appreciate birds in Kansas.
Finding the Best Spots:
- Kansas has several excellent birding hotspots, including state parks, wildlife refuges, and nature reserves. Some popular birding locations include Cheyenne Bottoms, Quivira National Wildlife Refuge, and the Flint Hills.
- Researching and planning your birding trip is essential. Look up birding hotspots in the area you plan to visit and find out what birds are commonly seen there. Local birding guides or online resources can provide valuable information on nearby birding locations.
Binoculars and Field Guides:
- A good pair of binoculars is essential for bird watchers. Look for binoculars with a comfortable grip, adjustable focus, and good light-gathering ability.
- A field guide is also a crucial tool for bird watchers. Look for a guide specific to the region you will be birding in, as it will have accurate and detailed information on local bird species.
- eBird is a citizen science program that allows bird watchers to record their observations and contribute to a global database of bird sightings. It is a valuable resource for bird watchers in Kansas, as you can search for recent sightings and find out what birds are being seen in your area.
- The eBird website also has photos, audio recordings, and species accounts for each bird species, which can help with identification.
Joining a Birding Group:
- Birding groups or clubs are a great way to connect with other bird watchers and learn from experienced birders. They often organize field trips, workshops, and educational events.
- Kansas has several birding organizations, such as the Kansas Ornithological Society and the Wichita Audubon Society. Joining one of these groups can provide valuable resources and opportunities to bird watch with fellow enthusiasts.
Bird watching in Kansas offers a wonderful opportunity to connect with nature and appreciate the beauty and diversity of bird species. Whether you are observing birds in your own backyard or exploring birding hotspots in the state, take the time to learn about the birds around you and enjoy the experience.