The Most Common Backyard Birds in New Hampshire

“The Most Common Backyard Birds in New Hampshire” is a captivating article that offers valuable insights into the bird species frequently found in the idyllic state of New Hampshire. With actual data gathered from the citizen science program eBird, this article presents a comprehensive compilation of the most common birds that grace the backyards of New Hampshire residents. Complete with stunning pictures and expert tips on attracting these delightful creatures to your own backyard, this article is a must-read for any bird enthusiast. Topping the list of frequent visitors is the charismatic Black-capped Chickadee, closely followed by the vibrant Blue Jay, the intelligent American Crow, and the enchanting American Goldfinch. Additionally, this article provides a delightful introduction to birding in New Hampshire, with an overview of the state’s avian wonders, the identification of common backyard birds, and a special focus on the bustling city of Manchester. To delve deeper into the world of birds in New Hampshire, eBird is recommended as a valuable resource, while joining a local bird group offers a wonderful opportunity to connect with fellow enthusiasts in the area.

The Most Common Backyard Birds in New Hampshire

State Overview

New Hampshire, located in the northeastern United States, is a state known for its scenic beauty and rich wildlife. Situated in the New England region, this small yet stunning state is bordered by Maine to the east, Vermont to the west, Massachusetts to the south, and the Canadian province of Quebec to the north. Its diverse geography, ranging from mountains to lakes and forests, makes it a perfect habitat for a wide variety of bird species. The state experiences a humid continental climate, with four distinct seasons that contribute to the unique birding opportunities found here.

Geography and Climate

New Hampshire boasts an impressive landscape marked by the majestic White Mountains, picturesque lakes, and dense forests. The state is characterized by its peaks and valleys, with the highest point being Mount Washington, standing at an impressive 6,288 feet. These mountains provide a diverse range of habitats for birds, including alpine zones, spruce-fir forests, and hardwood forests. The numerous lakes and rivers throughout the state also attract many waterbirds, enhancing the overall birding experience.

The climate in New Hampshire varies from region to region. The northern parts of the state have a colder and more severe climate due to their proximity to the mountains. Here, winters can be long and snowy, while summers are cool and mild. The southern parts of the state experience milder winters and warmer summers, bordering on a humid subtropical climate. These climatic variations contribute to the diversity of bird species found throughout New Hampshire, with some species being more prevalent in specific regions.

Habitats in New Hampshire

New Hampshire is home to a diverse range of habitats, offering a haven for a multitude of bird species. The state’s habitats include forests, wetlands, grasslands, and shoreline areas, each supporting its own unique avian communities. The vast expanses of forests in New Hampshire provide suitable breeding grounds for many bird species, while the marshes and swamps support various water birds. The grasslands and meadows are important for species like the Northern Bobwhite and Eastern Meadowlark, while the shoreline areas offer nesting spots for waterbirds such as herons and terns. With such a variety of habitats, New Hampshire provides ample opportunities for bird enthusiasts to observe and enjoy a wide array of species.

Common Backyard Birds in New Hampshire

Black-capped Chickadee

The Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus) is the most common bird species in New Hampshire. These small, lively birds are known for their distinctive black cap and bib, white cheeks, and grayish wings. They are highly adaptable and can be found in a range of habitats, including woodlands, parks, and, of course, backyard feeders. Black-capped Chickadees have a cheerful and friendly nature, often entertaining observers with their acrobatics and melodious songs.

Blue Jay

Another frequent visitor to New Hampshire’s backyards is the Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata). With its striking blue plumage, crest on its head, and white chest, the Blue Jay is hard to miss. These intelligent and vocal birds are known for their strong personalities and opportunistic feeding behavior. Blue Jays are omnivorous and will consume a wide variety of food, including seeds, nuts, insects, and even small vertebrates. Their loud calls and raucous behavior add a lively and colorful aspect to any backyard birding experience.

American Crow

The American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) is a large, all-black bird that is highly adaptable and can be found in a variety of habitats, including suburban areas, woodlands, and agricultural fields. Known for their intelligence and problem-solving abilities, American Crows are often seen in small groups or large flocks, especially during the winter months. Their distinctive cawing calls and inquisitive behavior make them an interesting and common sight in New Hampshire’s backyards.

American Goldfinch

The American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis) is a vibrant and eye-catching bird that adds a splash of color to New Hampshire’s backyards. During the summer months, the males sport a bright yellow plumage adorning their bodies, contrasting with their black wings and crown. The females have a more subdued olive-brown appearance. American Goldfinches are primarily seedeaters and can often be seen feasting on dandelion seeds or visiting feeders filled with nyjer (thistle) seed. These beautiful birds are known for their cheerful and melodic songs, which brighten even the dullest of days.

Northern Cardinal

The Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) is a beloved backyard bird known for its stunning red plumage and distinctive crest. Found throughout New Hampshire, the males sport bright red feathers while the females have a more muted brown color with reddish highlights. Northern Cardinals are known for their beautiful songs, often heard early in the morning and at dusk. These birds are cavity nesters and can often be seen nesting in shrubs, thickets, or even in well-hidden areas of the backyard.

Tufted Titmouse

The Tufted Titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor) is a small but lively bird that frequents New Hampshire’s woodlands and suburban areas. Recognizable by its gray upperparts, white face, and prominent crest, these birds are known for their active foraging behavior and distinctive calls. Tufted Titmice feed on a variety of insects, nuts, and seeds, and can often be seen exploring trees, shrubs, and even bird feeders. With their energetic nature and friendly demeanor, Tufted Titmice add a delightful touch to any backyard birdwatching experience.

White-breasted Nuthatch

The White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis) is a small but charismatic bird that can be found in New Hampshire’s forests, woodlands, and even suburban areas. Recognizable by their bluish-gray upperparts, white face, and distinctive black stripe across their eyes, White-breasted Nuthatches are adept at climbing tree trunks and branches. Their unique ability to walk headfirst down trees sets them apart from other bird species. These birds feed primarily on insects and seeds, often caching food in tree bark crevices for later consumption. Their nasal calls and upside-down feeding behavior provide a charming addition to backyard birding in New Hampshire.

Downy Woodpecker

The Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens) is a small but resilient bird that can be found throughout New Hampshire. With its black and white plumage, down-curved bill, and distinctive black spots on its white outer tail feathers, the Downy Woodpecker is easily recognizable. These birds are often seen drumming on trees, using their sharp bills to excavate insects or to hollow out nest cavities. Downy Woodpeckers frequent backyard feeders, where they feed on suet, seeds, and nuts. Their rhythmic drumming and peeping calls are a familiar sound in New Hampshire’s woodlands and neighborhoods.

Red-breasted Nuthatch

The Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis) is a small songbird that inhabits the coniferous forests of New Hampshire. These birds are characterized by their blue-gray upperparts, rusty-red breast, and distinctive black stripe through the eye. Red-breasted Nuthatches have a unique habit of wedging seeds into tree bark and then hammering them open with their beak. Their nasal calls, similar to a toy horn, add a touch of whimsy to the forest. These birds can often be seen moving up and down tree trunks in their search for insects and seed caches.

Mourning Dove

The Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) is a common sight in New Hampshire’s backyards and open areas. With its slender body, small head, and long, pointed tail, the Mourning Dove has a graceful and serene appearance. These birds have a soft and mournful cooing call, hence the name “Mourning Dove.” They feed mainly on seeds, and can often be seen foraging on the ground or visiting feeders. Their gentle nature and soothing calls make them a popular backyard bird in New Hampshire.

Pictures and Identification

Each bird species mentioned above is accompanied by a picture and a brief description for easy identification. Whether you are a seasoned birder or new to birdwatching, these visuals will help you identify and appreciate the vibrant birdlife that frequents New Hampshire’s backyards.

Tips for Attracting Backyard Birds

Attracting birds to your backyard can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience. Here are a few tips to create an inviting space for birds:

  1. Provide a Variety of Feeders: Different bird species prefer different types of feeders. Offering a variety of feeders, such as tube feeders, hopper feeders, and suet feeders, will attract a wider range of species.

  2. Offer a Variety of Food: Different birds have different dietary preferences. Provide a mix of seeds, nuts, suet, and fruit to cater to the needs of various bird species.

  3. Create Shelter and Cover: Birds need places to rest and take cover from predators. Planting native trees, shrubs, and providing birdhouses or nesting boxes will offer birds suitable shelter.

  4. Provide Fresh Water: Birds need water for drinking and bathing. Installing a bird bath or a shallow dish of water will attract birds and provide them with a vital resource.

  5. Avoid Pesticides and Herbicides: Chemicals can be harmful to birds and their food sources. Opt for natural alternatives and try to create a safe and pesticide-free environment.

By incorporating these tips into your backyard, you’ll be able to create an appealing habitat that will attract a diverse array of bird species.

The Most Common Backyard Birds in New Hampshire

Birding in New Hampshire

New Hampshire offers exceptional opportunities for birdwatching, whether you are a beginner or an experienced birder. Here’s a guide to exploring the birding scene in the state:

State Parks for Birding

New Hampshire’s state parks provide fantastic locations to observe birds in their natural habitats. Parks such as Franconia Notch State Park, Pawtuckaway State Park, and Odiorne Point State Park offer diverse ecosystems and well-maintained trails for birding enthusiasts. These parks provide a chance to see a wide range of species, from forest-dwelling birds to shorebirds and waterfowl.

Birding Hotspots

In addition to state parks, New Hampshire has several designated birding hotspots that attract both local and migratory bird species. One such hotspot is the Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge, located in Newington. This expansive wildlife refuge encompasses 1,147 acres of salt marshes, mudflats, and upland forests, providing an ideal habitat for numerous bird species. Another popular hotspot is the White Mountain National Forest, which offers breathtaking scenery and a variety of bird species, including the Bicknell’s Thrush, a rare and sought-after bird.

Birding Festivals

New Hampshire hosts several birding festivals throughout the year, providing excellent opportunities to join fellow bird enthusiasts and learn more about the state’s avian population. The New Hampshire Audubon organized “Wings of Winter Bird Festival” and “New Hampshire Birding Festival” are two notable events that offer workshops, guided walks, and presentations by expert speakers.

New Hampshire Bird Checklist

For those interested in keeping track of the birds they’ve spotted, the New Hampshire Bird Checklist provides a comprehensive list of the species known to occur in the state. It is a valuable resource for both novice and experienced birders, offering a comprehensive inventory of all the birds that call New Hampshire home.

Common Birds in Manchester, New Hampshire

Manchester, the largest city in New Hampshire, offers its residents and visitors unique opportunities for birdwatching. Some common bird species found in Manchester include the Black-capped Chickadee, Blue Jay, American Crow, American Goldfinch, Northern Cardinal, and Mourning Dove. These birds can often be observed in local parks, residential areas, and backyard feeders. Enjoy the beauty and diversity of birds right in the heart of Manchester.

The Most Common Backyard Birds in New Hampshire

eBird for More Information

For those seeking more detailed information about bird species and their distribution in New Hampshire, the citizen science program eBird is an excellent resource. Managed by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society, eBird allows birdwatchers to record their bird observations and contribute to a shared database. The website offers bird checklists, map views, and species abundance charts, giving birders a wealth of information to enhance their understanding and birdwatching experiences.

Join a Local Bird Group

For bird enthusiasts wishing to connect with fellow birders and participate in organized birding events, joining a local bird group is a great option. Organizations like the New Hampshire Audubon and local birding clubs offer opportunities to engage with like-minded individuals, attend workshops and field trips, and contribute to bird conservation efforts in the state. These groups provide a supportive community and a chance to learn from experienced birders while enjoying the beauty of New Hampshire’s avian residents.

In conclusion, New Hampshire is a haven for birdwatching enthusiasts, offering a diverse range of bird species and stunning natural landscapes. Whether you’re exploring the state’s parks, creating an inviting backyard habitat, or joining local bird groups, there are countless opportunities to appreciate and learn about the vibrant birdlife that calls New Hampshire home. So grab your binoculars, step outside, and let the wonders of New Hampshire’s birds unfold before you. Happy birding!

The Most Common Backyard Birds in New Hampshire

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