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Birds in the United States

Learn more about the birds that may visit or nest in your birdhouses.

Want to recognize the sounds of songbirds that reside in your birdhouses, and other birds that visit your garden, perch in trees, and dwell in other natural settings? Some of the bird descriptions below contain a link that you can open or download to hear the sound that particular bird makes. The .wav file opens in Windows Media Player, Real Player, WinAmp or other similar player applications.

Black-capped chickadee

Black-capped chickadees nest throughout southern Canada and the northern half of the United States. In Missouri, the black-capped chickadee generally nests north of the Missouri River and the Carolina chickadee nests south of the River. The breeding range extends farther south at higher elevations of the Rocky and Appalachian Mountain ranges than in non-mountainous areas. In Colorado, black-caps are most abundant in the ponderosa pine and aspen forests. Click on this link to hear: black-capped chickadee sounds.

Carolina chickadee

The Carolina chickadee, which inhabits the southeastern forests, is a slightly smaller version of the black-capped chickadee. In Missouri, the Carolina chickadee nests south of the Missouri River throughout the Ozarks.

Gray-headed chickadee

Broken forests or edges of aspen, willow, and spruce are the preferred habitat of gray-headed chickadees. The range is limited to western Canada and Alaska.

Boreal chickadee

Boreal chickadees are fairly common in northern forests of spruce, fir, aspen, and birch.

Chestnut-backed chickadee

Coniferous forests of the humid coastal belt from Alaska to central California are the favorite habitat, but this bird is also found in adjacent deciduous woodlands and along streams.

White-breasted nuthatch

White-breasted nuthatches are non-migratory in most forest types in the United States. They show a preference for deciduous woodlands. In the Rocky Mountains, they occur most commonly below 9,500 feet elevation. Click on this link to hear: white-breasted nuthatch sounds.

Red-breasted nuthatch

Red-breasted nuthatches nest throughout the high elevations of the Rocky Mountains and in the Canadian boreal forests. They are erratic winter migrants to the eastern forest types. In Colorado, their preferred habitat is the coniferous-aspen type from the Canadian Life Zone to timberline. Click on this link to hear: red-breasted nuthatch sounds.

Brown-headed nuthatch

Clearings and areas that have been burned (more old stumps available for nesting) in southern pine woods are preferred by brown-headed nuthatches. They can also be found in mixed pine and hardwood forests of extreme southeastern United States.

House wren

House wrens are common throughout the northern two-thirds of the United States, but they winter in the southern states. They range from the plains to timberline throughout the Rocky Mountains. They are commonly found along the edges of woods, swamps, fields, and in orchards. Click on link to hear how house wren sounds.

Brown-throated wren

Brown-throated wrens inhabit oak forests, mostly in desert ranges, but can be found up to elevations of 8,000 feet in southern Arizona.

Bewick's wren

Bewick's wrens are common and widespread in the West, but uncommon and local in the Appalachians and Ozarks. They are usually found in farmyards, brushlands, fencerows, and suburban areas. Bewick's wrens are fairly common in the pinyon-juniper forest type, and in mesquite-willow-cottonwood associations along southwestern streams.

Carolina wren

Carolina wrens are common in forest types with thick underbrush throughout the eastern United States. The number in northern populations fluctuates widely depending on the harshness of winter conditions.

Eastern bluebird

Under natural conditions, eastern bluebirds prefer to use cavities in savannah-like habitats east of the Great Plains. They are an edge species and therefore do not live in dense woods or in closely built residential sections of town. Like purple martins, bluebirds have taken advantage of nest boxes provided in areas around farms, near open fields, and in orchards. Click on this link to hear: eastern bluebird sounds.

Western bluebird

Western bluebirds are most abundant in open ponderosa pine forests of the Transition Zone, but may also be found in oak woodlands, pinyon-juniper, mixed conifer, and subalpine forests.

Mountain bluebird

The mountain bluebird nests in nearly all timber types of the Rocky Mountain region, and is reported from 800 to 11,000 feet elevation in Idaho. However, this species usually ranges from 7,000 to 11,000 feet in open forests or near forest edges.

Plain titmouse

Oak and pinyon-juniper woodlands from 5,000 to 7,000 feet elevation from Oregon south and west to Texas and New Mexico are the favored habitat of the plain titmouse.

Tufted titmouse

The tufted titmouse is the largest North American titmouse and is common throughout the eastern deciduous woodlands. These active and vocal birds are generally found in groups of 2 to 6 in thick timber stands, often near water. The black-crested titmouse, found in southern Texas and northeastern Mexico, is now considered conspecific with the tufted titmouse.

Black-capped chickadee on tree branch
Black-capped chickadee on tree branch

Black-capped chickadee with wing up
Black-capped chickadee

Red-breasted nuthatch on tree branch
Red-breasted nuthatch on tree branch

Red-breasted nuthatches in hand
Red-breasted nuthatches

House wren
House wren

Eastern bluebird
Eastern bluebird

Mountain bluebird
Mountain bluebird

Tufted titmouse

Tufted titmouse

Credit for information on birds: USDA Forest Service
Credit for photographs: 1-7) U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 8) National Park Service
Credit for bird sounds: National Park Service

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