Birdwatching is one of life’s simplest pleasures. Taking some time to sit in your backyard and breathe in the natural air and observe some of the vibrant and colorful wildlife is a great way to refresh a weary and tired mind. Bird varieties and species vary greatly from place to place, from state to state, and country to country.
The city of New Jersey is host to its own diverse range of backyard birds that you might be able to spot if you know what to look out for. But how are you supposed to know which birds are unique to New Jersey, and which ones are most worth looking out for in your backyard?
If you have the right conditions in your backyard, and extra features to draw in wildlife, such as a bird-feeder, then there is a wealth of feathered friends for you to encounter.
Join us below as we discuss 20 of the best backyard birds that you can find in the New Jersey area. You never know, some of these special creatures may be visiting your backyard soon!
When you look to the skies of your backyard you might occasionally see a dark jet-black shape carving through the air before perching on the branch of a tree.
Look close at this bird and you will notice its distinct red-winged pattern, from which its namesake is derived. This bird has a stark black feather pattern which is accented by small red patches towards the top half of its wings.
Feeding on an omnivorous diet of seeds and insects, this bird is quite easy to spot, and you will likely hear its birdsong in the morning. They will likely make their way to your backyard during the months of September and October, during their migratory period, but they can also be seen at other times, as not all of them are migratory!
True to its name, the Blue Jay features a striking and deep azure blue feather pattern accented by small black shapes and white patches. If you want to attract these beautiful birds to your backyard, then place a birdfeeder with ample food and they will soon show up.
These birds are easy to spot, thanks to their blue coat, which stands in stark contrast to the green backdrop of your backyard. Blue Jay’s can usually be found easily all year round, as they are not a strictly migratory species. Occasionally New Jersey-based Blue Jays may migrate towards the South, but some years they choose not to!
Blue Jays feed on a diet of nuts and seeds, with a particular love for acorns, which they may hide within their nests to snack on during the colder months.
The Red-Bellied Woodpecker is easy to pick out from the crowd, thanks to its bright red plumage towards the top of its head. Its wings, a dark chestnut brown with white markings, stand in stark contrast to its light red-brown belly.
The bird is small and can often be found flocking with its brethren in order to venture to backyards from its usual Woodland habitat. Set up bird feeders filled with nuts and other feeds to watch it peck away with its long beak. Red-Bellied Woodpeckers use their beaks as chisels to knock away bark from trees and to make feeding on insects easier.
These birds have a distinct call, often denoted as a ‘Churr-churr-churr’ sound which has a pleasant tone. This call is often done by the males of the species, in order to attract female mates or to signal to their flock.
This adorable tiny bird is well known for its unique ability to create diverse and pleasant sounding songs and calls. It has earned its name well, thanks to its clear and distinct call, which is pleasurable to human ears, which makes them a wonderful bird to have around. Having them land in your backyard is always a treat, as their natural song has a soothing effect on the mind.
Males make use of the distinct song to mark their territory and to claim it for themselves or for their flock. Flock sizes can vary in size and makeup. These birds feed on insects and seeds, so they are easy to attract to your backyard through the use of a bird feeding device.
Song Sparrows don’t often migrate and can be found all year round, which means you can spot them easily even if you have a busy schedule. Just listen to their unique song and let it clear your mind!
Active during the day, but flocking with its kind at night, the American Robin is easy to spot and the species has a healthy presence across the United States. In fact, the American Robin is a very abundant species, with over 370,000,000 across the country.
When looking for the American Robin, make sure to look out for its distinct red belly, which is located just under its dark silver-brown plumage, which flows down from its dark black head.
American Robins can be found across your garden, often hopping through the grass, looking for buried insects. Listen for its call, which is strongly associated with images of springtime, you can make out its call for its repeated syllables made up of short and sweet whistles.
These songs can often be heard early in the morning, which can make for a great motivational sound for your day!
The smallest bird in North America, the Downy Woodpecker is an adorable little bird that dons a beautiful black and white plumage which is accented by small white dots across its wingspan.
These birds are easy to spot, thanks to their unique patterns. You can even spot distinct genders within a crowd of them. Look out for Downy Woodpeckers with red patches towards the back side of their heads which denote the males of the species. Female Downy Woodpeckers lack this red marking.
Listen out for the short and rapid calling sound of this bird to know when it has popped up in your backyard. You might also hear the sound of it pecking away at trees, which creates a small but pleasant tapping noise.
The Downy Woodpecker is mostly drawn to insects as part of its diet, but they will happily peck away at seeds and berries that you might have in your bird feeder.
The American Crow is perhaps one of the most instantly recognizable and distinctive birds around. The subject of countless urban legends and folk tales, and commonly associated with images of death, the American Crow is actually a very beautiful species of bird.
American Crows thrive off of omnivorous diets, which provide them with a mix of grains, insects, and invertebrates. Crows can often be found scavenging at landfills, and they have thus gained a reputation as somewhat of a nuisance species. However, Crows do serve some benefit to local plant life by keeping the number of insect pests to a minimum by feeding on them.
These birds are very common and very easy to spot, thanks to their large size and jet-black plumage that covers their entire body. Look out for crows in your backyard, they are an absolute sight to behold.
You might be able to hear this bird occasionally landing in your backyard. They are distinguished by their unique cooing call that can often be heard in the early morning. This cooing sound has a rather sad tone that creates a rather haunting sensation. Despite this, they are wonderful and beautiful creatures that you might often spot in your backyard.
Look out for their Silver-brown plumage which often glistens with a peach-like pink color across their head and their chest. Y
ou will often spot them towards the ground, looking out for fallen seeds which it can store inside of a distinct area of the esophagus known as the crop. This is a large section of the body that allows them to feed on a massive number of seeds, to then digest them later in the comfort of their nest.
Mourning Doves frequently travel in flocks, so you can expect to see large groups of them gathered around your bird feeder. They may sometimes appear alone in order to forage food to bring back to their flock or their young.
The Gray Catbird is best known for its deep and satisfying grey plumage which almost gives off a deep blue shine that allows it to stand out amongst the green foliage and plant life of your backyard.
The species earned its strange and peculiar name thanks to its unique call which has a tone very much reminiscent of a cat, made up of small squeaks and gurgling sounds that add up to a sound that is pleasant on the human ear. This sound is commonly used to mark territory for the flock, which can reach a size of up to 15 during the migratory period.
Catbirds often migrate to spend winter periods along the Gulf Coast nearby to Florida or Texas. However, not all choose to migrate, and many choose to stay close to home, so you may be able to spot them easily throughout the year!
The House Sparrow is actually rather unique for popping up in many countries with very distinct shapes and plumages. Within America, they are generally characterized by their short and chunky builds, round heads, and short bills.
You can even further distinguish them based on their gender by looking for color patterns. Male House Sparrows have red features towards the face, with saturated brown feathers on their wings, and white bodies. Females, on the other hand, have more subtle brown colorings which give them an air of elegance.
House Sparrows are very friendly, as they have lived in close proximity to human populations for many years. You are highly likely to spot one of these cuties in your backyard at any time!
Small and stout, these red-brown birds can commonly be found within the New Jersey area, but they may be slightly harder to spot than other common birds.
This particular species of bird prides itself on its secrecy. They are very bashful birds, so you should make a point of looking from afar to spot the birds in your backyard.
Attract them towards your bird feeders by stocking them with foods such as seeds. These birds also feed on insects and invertebrates, so you may also spot them hopping around your lawn.
You can hear these birds easily from afar, thanks to their unique song, made up of short and sharp chirping notes sung in rapid succession. Carolina Wrens will often call to attract a mate or to signal to their larger flock.
These sociable birds can often be found perched along the branches of trees, or hanging from leaves, due to their acrobatic foraging behaviors. Carolina Chickadees are incredibly small and stout, which gives them a very adorable and appealing appearance that stands out amongst the green treetops, which can make them easy to spot.
Unlike other Chickadee breeds, the Carolina Chickadee boasts a loud and long whistling call with four distinct notes. These calls are rather high-pitched but are pleasant to the ear, so hearing them nearby is always a welcome joy. They can often be heard calling early in the morning.
These birds can be found feeding on diets of insects and seeds, and they love to gather around bird feeders. Chickadees very often flock together and will call out to each other to signal a good food source, so you may be able to spot large groups of birds in your backyard.
These small birds can take up a number of distinct forms depending on their location. Most Dark-eyed Juncos have small and stout statures, with long and round bellies and small rounded heads, completed with tiny beaks that forage for seeds. The colors of Dark-Eyed Juncos are where much of the variation stems from.
In Oregon, the adult male has a light brown body with a starkly contrasting black head. Some Juncos even vary in terms of their body shape. Some have more slender builds that show off their small and thin legs.
Dark-Eyed Juncos are, of course, most distinct for their deep black eyes that are often surrounded by a small black shadow of feathers. These birds have an adorable appearance that makes them a joy to have around whenever they decide to visit your backyard.
This small bird has a distinctive and striking feather pattern towards the top of its head. Atop its grey body, above its oak-brown wings, is its small and rounded head.
Black stripes lead from the top of the wingspan and reach down towards the bird’s small beak. This creates a striking and cool look that is then further completed by two small yellow spots just above the eyes that contrast greatly amongst the subtle greys and browns.
These birds can often be spotted towards the ground, foraging for food, such as insects and seeds that they can snack on. You will most often see them in flocks, so expect to occasionally see a whole host of these compact cuties hopping around your backyard.
This bird is also known for its long and sweet call which makes use of long and well-toned chirps that attract fellow mates and call out to the wider flock.
With an omnivorous diet of insects and seeds and a preference for open areas in which to build a nest, the Yellow-Rumped Warbler is easy to spot and attract to your backyard.
You’ll know when this friendly face is around by its slow and sweet song made up of high-pitched notes. They are easy to recognize thanks to their colorful plumage. Their striking black features rest atop a bed of grey and white feathers which creates an immediately eye-catching look.
These looks are then further complemented by yellow features towards the front, above and below the face, and across the chest.
This migratory species can best be spotted during the spring or summer times when their breeding period usually takes place. You can spot these birds thanks to their bright and saturated yellow plumage which is accented with dark black feathers across the back edge of each wing, and at the furthest end of the tail.
These adorable birds can vary in color depending on gender, with the females having a more dull color, in contrast to the males, who only adopt this dull color during the colder winter months.
These birds are further distinguished by their orange beaks which help them to forage for their food, which consists mostly of plants and seeds. They tend to feed during the daytime, due to their diurnal behavior, which means that they are most active while the sun is up.
This bird features a more desaturated and subtle yellow color that spreads across the entirety of its body. Its wings also feature this yellow color scheme, but they are mixed with wings of a more grey and brown hue that makes them look absolutely amazing when they take to the skies.
This species of bird most commonly feeds on insects, by grabbing them from shrubs with their beaks, or clutching flying insects in mid-air! Thus, you might occasionally see these little yellow guys hopping around your lawn, or softly gliding above your backyard.
They may also occasionally venture to your bird feeders for the occasional seed-based snack.
The Eastern Kingbird boasts an impressive grey plumage that rests atop its snow-white rounded body. Its head is divided by a black plumage that flows towards its back. Sophistication is the name of the game with this species, with its upright posture when perched on a tree branch.
The bird is approximately the same size as a robin, which makes them easy to spot amongst some of the smaller species that populate the greater New Jersey area. Listen out from early dawn for the song of the Eastern Kingbird, which consists of buzzy noises and warbles.
The male of the species is often much louder, and the species will also snap its beak at oncoming predators or threats!
This common bird is well known for its amazing and vibrant crystal blue plumage that glistens in the sunlight and makes them an absolute treat to the human eye. However, do not be fooled into thinking that all members of the species have this blue color.
The females of the species, while still having a similar tall and sophisticated build, instead have a more subtle desaturated brown color, which helps to distinguish them amongst the flock. Make sure to look out for both colors, as they are likely to flock closely.
These birds will often be seen on your lawn or hanging from perches, such as telephone wires. You can hear them from afar by listening out for their distinctly sharp song.
With an omnivorous diet that allows them to feed off of both seeds and insects, you will very easily post these birds in your backyard. Look out for their brown and black wings that stand
in contrast to their white and grey bodies. These birds have a tall and slender build.
Males of the species will often establish territory from which to attract a mate. You never know, it could be your backyard. They will attract a mate by using their quick, sharp, and high-pitched chirping song which is distinct and recognizable.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do I Identify A Bird In My Backyard?
If you want to identify a bird that has shown up in your backyard, make sure to approach it with care, and observe it from afar if possible. Birds are easily frightened. Look for their distinct body shape, or their distinct plumages and colors. You can even further identify them by the sound of their song.
Is There A Free App To Identify Birds?
Yes. There are many resources available via smart devices that help you to identify birds that show up in your backyard. Many of these allow you to quickly identify a bird by inputting data about them, such as their color and their general build.