Birds of Pennsylvania: Explore Curious Facts On Birds For Kids

Ritwik Bhuyan
Feb 29, 2024 By Ritwik Bhuyan
Originally Published on Oct 23, 2021
Edited by Lara Simpson
Fact-checked by Sakshi Raturi
A Barn Swallow in nature.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 12.8 Min

Pennsylvania is home to many species of birds, and both native birds and migratory birds are flocking this place.

Pennsylvania birds are found everywhere in the state of Pennsylvania, both in your backyards or out in nature. Pennsylvania birds often mean forest birds as there are still a lot of forests in the lands of Pennsylvania, such as the Penn's Woods.

Sources say there are over 450 species of birds seen in the state going back to the colonial days, and of these 450 bird species, almost 300 bird species are regulars to Pennsylvania. The habitat in this area is well-suited to the categories of birds that live and nest here, and we get to see many migratory bird species flocking these regions. Bird-viewing groups flock to this area for an opportunity to see birds in their natural habitats as there is no better place to see a plethora of bird species in this part of North America. North America, as you know, is home to many birds. Whether songbirds or predatory birds, all species find a reason to live here, and it is beautiful! The birds in Pennsylvania are common to most parts of the North American continent, and we will learn about a few birds of the region in the coming topics.

Backyard birds commonly seen moving around near you are always in large numbers in the region. Pennsylvania remains a great place to visit and live for the birds, and this has been proved by the continuous flocking of birds year after year. Some of the birds are neotropical migrants. Birds like the Chestnut-sided Warbler (Setophaga Pensylvanica) are known to breed near the north boundary of the state. The state's official bird, the Ruffed Grouse, can be seen everywhere with its mottled gray, brown, and black coloration. This bird is known to be a ground feeder and dweller.

Pennsylvania birds can be seen regularly by locals near their homes and bird feeders. Some feeder birds include the Tufted Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch, House Finch, Blue Jay, Black-capped Chickadee, Downy Woodpecker, American Goldfinch, Dark-eyed Junco, Northern Cardinal, Mourning Dove, and many more. There are around 12 species of sparrows which are common feeder birds. Birds like the Blue Grosbeak and the Red-breasted Grosbeak often come back to the feeders during migration.

Finch birds like the Pine Grosbeak, Evening Grosbeak, and Red Crossbill are migratory and can be found in Pennsylvania. Woodpeckers are another bird often found in these regions. However, to attract more birds to the feeder, keep it clean and full of food. We will continue our discussion on the various bird species seen in Pennsylvania. This guide will help you find the perfect picture-perfect moment for your photo walls!

If you enjoyed this article, why not also read about why do dogs howl at night and birds of North Carolina here on Kidadl?

What are the common bird species in Pennsylvania?

There are various bird species found in the state of Pennsylvania in the United States. While some are native to the region, others were introduced, and many are migratory. Here is a list of some birds commonly found in the state of Pennsylvania.

Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis Cardinalis): The Northern Cardinal is one of the most common and recognizable bird species of North America. You can easily recognize them by their bright red feathers and black mask in males, while the females are identified by their duller plumage of tawny brown with some reddish coloration. Their crests (similar to mohawks on the top of the head) and reddish-orange beaks are easy giveaways of these birds. One look at a Northern Cardinal, and you will be able to identify them quickly. They are feeder birds, and you can offer them black sunflower seeds and seed blends.

Tufted Titmouse (Baeolophus Bicolor): Tufted Titmouse are very common feeder birds, and they can be recognized by a small mohawk (similar to the cardinals). The Tufted Titmouse is silver-gray on the top and lighter at the bottom. This bird will have a black patch above its beak with an orange patch sometimes seen on the underside of its wings. They enjoy eating sunflower seeds mixed in with other seed blends.

Blue Jay (Cyanocitta Cristata): The Blue Jay is also a feeder bird found in backyards and feeders. The Blue Jay is found all over North America and the US and is also common in Pennsylvania. As the name suggests, a Blue Jay can be identified by a large blue crest on the head. The bird will have blue feathers on the top and white ones at the bottom. A necklace-like black ring can be seen around the neck of a Blue Jay. The male and female look similar. The wings are with barred patterns and colored black, blue, and white. Blue Jays can be fed sunflower seeds, peanuts, and mixed seeds.

Chickadees: There are two species of chickadees found in the state; Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile Atricapillus) and Carolina Chickadee (Poecile Carolinensis). The Black-capped Chickadee and the Carolina Chickadee can be easily recognized by their small size, black cap, and black bib. The Carolina Chickadee and the Black-capped Chickadee look similar with white cheeks, gray wings and backs, and light, fluffy underbodies. The Black-capped Chickadee can be found throughout the state, while the Carolina Chickadee is seen more in the southern part. These bird species can be fed food similar food to the Tufted Titmouse.

Eastern Bluebird (Sialia Sialis): The Eastern Bluebird is colored blue on top and has a rusty reddish-orange belly. Males and females look pretty similar, but females are duller. They are not a feeder bird species; however, they are common in backyards. The bird is a common birdhouse species. Although these bird species are known to migrate in some parts of the continent, they are native to Pennsylvania. They do not eat seeds. So, to attract a bluebird to a bird feeder, you need to feed mealworms.

American Robin (Turdus Migratorius): The American Robin is a backyard bird seen hopping around for invertebrates and worms. Although you might think American Robins migrate, they do not. The bird species instead move to the forests in winters and come out in the spring. The identification is easy and can be done by their large size, yellow beaks, and bright orange bellies. You can lure these backyard birds to a bird feeder by providing native fruit-bearing plants and mealworms.

White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta Carolinensis): The White-breasted Nuthatch is a common feeder bird found in the backyard. It is small in size and can be identified by a thick black stripe on the top of the head with white coloration on either side and on the belly. The wings are colored gray or black, and the bill is longer than most feeder birds. The name White-breasted Nuthatch comes from the bird's behavior of stuffing nuts and seeds under the barks of trees. A White-breasted Nuthatch uses the long and sharp beaks to hatch their food back out.

Mourning Dove (Zenaida Macroura): The Mourning Dove is similarly sized to a robin and can be seen commonly in a backyard. Mourning Dove birds can be seen in groups sitting on trees or telephone posts. The overall gray coloration can identify the bird with black spots on the top and a pale coloration below. The legs of the bird are pink. Although they will visit the feeders, the birds are known for feeding on the ground with seeds. You can fill a ground feeder with seeds to attract these birds. They are common birds to see for bird-watching enthusiasts.

European Starling (Sturnus Vulgaris): These birds are all dark in color with white specks on the backs and wings and yellow beaks and feet. These are ferocious birds taking over other birds' nests and killing the young. They will take over the feeders, not letting other birds come. They are through and through Pennsylvania birds.

American Goldfinch (Spinus Tristis): The American Goldfinch has bright yellow feathers in the summer and spring seasons. The bird is considered one of the popular ones of the feeders as it is beautiful with yellow plumage and black-tipped wings. Males of the American Goldfinch have a black cap on the top of their heads. However, the yellow coloration vanishes in the winter season, and the birds become more brown or olive color. They have finch-like beaks and black wings with white bars.

House Finch (Haemorhous Mexicanus): The House Finch is a very common backyard bird of the state. If House Finches are attracted to your feeders, they may arrive with a flock and invade the feeder. The plumage is brown with white streaks. The males are known to have red splashed on the back, head, and chest. The bird will probably visit a thistle feeder.

Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius Phoeniceus): The Red-winged Blackbird stands out from other feeder birds due to the red and yellow shoulders in a black body. Females are different with brown bodies and light streaks. They often show up in large flocks to the feeders nearby; however, they are known to live in areas near water.

House Sparrow (Passer Domesticus): A House Sparrow is often seen as a pest due to its invasive nature. The House Sparrow bird species have now spread across all of the US. Their plumage is primarily brown, and the bird has black and brown streaks on the wings and chest. Males have a black chest and black mask. They might become a threat to native species.

Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus Ater): This bird travels in large groups and is often considered a part of the blackbird category. The bird can quickly rob any bird feeder available. It is recognized by a black body and dark brown head. Females, however, are a lighter brown color.

Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes Carolinus): A Red-bellied Woodpecker is medium-sized and commonly seen in a feeder or the backyard. There is a bright red streak along the back of the head of a Red-bellied Woodpecker. The breast area is white with a pinkish-red coloration in the belly area. The wings of a Red-bellied Woodpecker have black and white barring. The range might become scarce in the far northeastern part of the state.

Song Sparrow (Melospiza Melodia): The plumage of this bird varies from region to region, and although the bird is migratory, it is found throughout the year in Pennsylvania.

Downy Woodpecker (Picoides Pubescens): The Downy Woodpecker bird loves to visit feeders and is a backyard bird. This bird is known to be the smallest woodpecker in North America. It has a white underbody, white spots on black wings, and heads striped black and white. Males have a red spot on the back of their heads. The bird is similar to a Hairy Woodpecker, but the Hairy Woodpecker is larger with a longer beak.

Dark-eyed Junco (Junco Hyemalis): Although a Dark-eyed Junco can be seen throughout the year in the state, the number of Dark-eyed Junco birds increases in winters. Dark-eyed Junco visits Canada in the summers. They are a dark gray color on their head, chest, wings, and tail, while their underside is white. Females might be buffy brown instead of gray.

Chipping Sparrow (Spizella Passerina): The Chipping Sparrow bird spends summer in the north of North America and the winter season in Mexico. The breeding season shows their buffy gray breast, tan and brown-streaked wings, red cap, and a black line through the eyes. These mostly gray birds are seen in the state in spring and summer only.

Gray Catbird (Dumetella Carolinensis): The Gray Catbird is similarly sized to robins with a dark slate gray coloration. A rusty red patch is seen just below the tails of a Gray Catbird. The call resembles a cat, hence the name. The bird is seen in the state in the spring and the summer seasons.

Other birds common to Pennsylvania are - Northern Flicker (Colaptes Auratus), White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia Albicollis), Eastern Towhee, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Cedar Waxwing, Indigo Bunting, and Carolina Wren.

What bird is native to Pennsylvania?

As the name suggests, Pennsylvania birds are native to the region, and here we will discuss a few of these beautiful species living in the state the whole year-round.

There are many species of birds that live in the state of Pennsylvania. As discussed in the topic above, the most commonly found species in the region live their whole lives without migrating out of the state. They have made the region their home ultimately, with some species living in urban areas while others choose to stay hidden in the wild. The Ruffed Grouse is considered the state bird of Pennsylvania. It was an essential bird for early settlers of the area, and the bird is still seen in the forests of Pennsylvania.

Black-capped Chickadee in nature.

What is the rarest bird in Pennsylvania?

Not long ago, residents and bird-watchers alike were astonished to find a rare bird in Lancaster County of Pennsylvania.

The bird typically found in the southwestern United States and Mexico was found in this region of the state. The bird, called Scott's Oriole, is not a common sight in the region, and people have since visited the area to get a glimpse of it. Some species of orioles are common in the eastern US, but this yellow-bodied bird was a new sight for everyone. It has a distinctive yellow-colored body with white-striped wings. These features make the bird different from other orioles. This sighting was only the second time this bird has been spotted in Pennsylvania.

What is the largest bird in Pennsylvania?

Sandhill Cranes are considered to be the tallest bird living in the state of Pennsylvania.

The Sandhill Crane with a large body and spindly legs with no tail is different from all birds found in the state. The bird can grow high up to 4 ft (1.2 m) and have a wingspan of around 7 ft (2.1 m). The bird is the tallest one in the state, and although the population is currently small, it is steadily growing in the region. If you try searching for one, you might see one of these majestic creatures in the fields near you. There will be other big birds in the region, but once you spot one, the size of the Sandhill Crane will amaze you.

Do storks live in Pennsylvania?

There are not many Storks found in the US; however, one species of stork you can spot is named the Wood Stork and is known to reside in some parts of the country.

The Wood Stork is a large American wading bird found in the tropical and subtropical wetlands around the United States. The Wood Stork breeds in North America, South America, Central America, and also the Caribbean. It is quite possible to see one or two Wood Storks in Pennsylvania, too, as they breed in the northern part of the continent. Small breeding populations can be found in Georgia, Florida, and the Carolinas. The bird is found in habitats with estuaries, mangrove forests, swamps, ponds, and rivers abundant in the region. To identify the Wood Stork bird, you should note that it has no feathers on the neck and its head and is a dark gray color. The rest of its plumage is white.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for birds of Pennsylvania, then why not take a look at what do cockroaches eat, or can ferrets eat cat food.

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Written by Ritwik Bhuyan

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English

Ritwik Bhuyan picture

Ritwik BhuyanBachelor of Arts specializing in English

A skilled content writer, Ritwik holds a Bachelor's degree in English from Delhi University. He has refined his writing abilities through his past experience at PenVelope and his current role at Kidadl. In addition to his proficiency in writing, Ritwik has pursued his passion for flying by achieving CPL training and becoming a licensed commercial pilot. This diverse skill set highlights his commitment to exploring multiple fields. Ritwik's experience in the aviation industry has provided him with a unique perspective and attention to detail, which he brings to his writing.

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