New Hampshire's common backyard birds

New Hampshire's common backyard birds (part 3)

The most common birds in your backyard are listed and discussed in this article. The birds featured in this article were chosen based on data from the eBird citizen science program. As a result, it is more precise than some other identical articles on the internet. Photographs of each of the bird species are included in this article.  This article explains how to get them to come to your backyard.

In New Hampshire, the following are the common backyard birds:

  • Eastern Phoebe
  • Red-breasted Nuthatch
  • Chipping Sparrow
  • Gray Catbird
  • Common Grackle
  • White-throated Sparrow
  • European Starling

What is the content of this article?

  • State overview of birds and bird watching in New Hampshire
  • Photos and identification of common backyard birds
  • Most common birds by season
  • New Hampshire birds and Birding in New Hampshire

New Hampshire is home to around 420 different bird species, according to eBird.

The most prevalent bird is the Black-capped Chickadee, which is the most common bird in New Hampshire. It is reported on 55% of bird-watching lists. Purple Finch is the state bird of New Hampshire. Check out eBird for New Hampshire if you're serious about learning about the birds that call New Hampshire home.   Join a local bird group if you wish to meet other people who are interested in birds in your region. Each state's list of bird-watching clubs is maintained by the American Birding Association.

Identification of Birds in New Hampshire

This section describes species. These are provided to help you in identifying birds in your backyard.  Each species profile begins with a photo. Before evaluating the color or patterns on the birds, size, shape, and bill type are used in the identification phase. When trying to identify an unknown bird, these are more reliable. Pay attention to the shape of the bird's body and tail, as well as the shape of its bill, rather than just the color of its plumage.

How to attract each species is covered in the section on bird feeders and foods. Feeders will not attract all sorts of backyard birds. Water, on the other hand, can attract all backyard birds.

Most birds that appear in this article are found across the state and are generally year-round inhabitants. Even if a species is found throughout a large area, it only occurs in the habitat that it prefers. As a result, the exact habitat of your area has a role in the presence or absence of specific bird species.

1. Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe)

Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe)

In the East, this simple bird is common in backyards.

Range in New Hampshire: Eastern Phoebes can be found across New Hampshire all through the summer months.


Size: Of the size of a bluebird. They are l arger than House Sparrows.

Shape: Stout, with long wings and a medium-length tail.

Bill: Black, wide, flat, and pointed, 

Color: Above, brownish-gray; sides, somewhat yellow-olive. The undersides of the tail coverts are white. They don't have an eye-ring or wing bars to identify them from other flycatchers.

Habitat, range, and behavior: This species can be found in woods, suburbs, and farms. Rafters, under eaves, and porches are common places for them to build their nests. From Canada southward, they spend their summers east of the Rocky Mountains. Year-round residents in the Southeast, to Texas. Visitor to the Gulf Coast and the southern Atlantic in the winter. The tails of phoebes are pumped down. They also spread their tails a lot.

Food and feeder preference: Eat insects caught on their wings. Not a feeder visitor.

2. Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis)

Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis)

Conifer groves and mountain woodlands are home to these little birds.

Range in New Hampshire: Red-breasted Nuthatches can be found all year in New Hampshire.


Size: Smaller than Black-capped Chickadees and American Goldfinches.

Shape: The body is compact, with a huge head and a short neck. Tail with a stubby appearance.

Bill: It's long and sharp-pointed.

Color: Back and upper sections are of dark blue-gray color. Long white brow with a black crown and line through the eye. White face with rusty underparts. Females have a paler complexion.

Habitat, range & behavior: Conifer trees in woods and residential areas are their usual habitat.  From Alaska through Canada, the Northeast, and much of the West, this species can be found. Winter visitors flock to the south across the majority of the United States. Crawls actively on tree trunk bark and around smaller branches, often falling head-first.

Food and feeder preference: Insects and invertebrates. In the fall, save nuts and seeds to consume later in the winter. Sunflower seeds, peanuts, and other nuts from hopper and tube feeders, as well as suet, are consumed.

3. Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina)

Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina)

Chipping Sparrows are a widely distributed species that has evolved to adapt with human disturbance. They're quite gentle. They're most common in cemeteries with huge trees.

Range in New Hampshire: Chipping Sparrows can be seen all around in New Hampshire during the summer.


Size: These sparrows are larger than goldfinches or chickadees, but smaller than House Finches or Song Sparrows.

Shape: Plump, with a long tail.

Bill: Conical and short.

Color: Above, striped brown and dark brown. Underparts are greyish. Through the eye, blackline. In the winter, the crown is streaked, but in the summer, it is solid chestnut. There are two white wing bars.

Habitat, range & behavior: Grassy open conifer forests with some shrubs, parks, and orchards are where you'll find this species. Breeds from Alaska through Canada and south into the Middle American highlands.  In the winter, they migrate south to the southern United States and northern Mexico . They forage in flocks of up to 50 birds in the winter.

Food and feeder preference: Weed seeds, supplemented by insects in the summer, are the preferred food. They may consume the black oil sunflower seeds in your feeder, but they are more likely to eat the mixed seeds on the ground beneath the feeder.

4. Gray Catbird (Dumatella carolinensis)

Gray Catbird (Dumatella carolinensis)

It's a very common bird in the area where it lives, but it's also a little secretive.

Range in New Hampshire: Gray Catbirds can be found all around in New Hampshire during the summer months.


Size: Similar to a Red-winged Blackbird or Northern Cardinal in size.

Shape: Long-tailed with a spherical head.

Bill: Of medium length but pointed.

Color: Gray with a black tail and a black hat. Undertail coverts are rusty.

Habit, range, and behavior: Dense forest borders, scrub, and abandoned orchards are home to this species. Breeds in the eastern and central United States, as well as southern Canada. Winters in the Gulf states of the United States, as well as eastern Mexico and Panama. They spend a lot of time on the ground or in low shrubs hopping.

Food and feeder preference: Insects and berries are preferred foods. Using jelly and fruit feeders, suet, and water, you can attract this species.

5. Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula)

Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula)

Grackles are longer and lankier than blackbirds and are often considered pests to crops.

Range in New Hampshire: Common Grackles are summer residents across New Hampshire and year-round residents in the southern part of the state.


Size: They are slightly larger than Red-winged Blackbirds and about the same length as Mourning Doves.

Shape: Long with a full keel-shaped tail, long legs, and a flat crown.  

Bill: The bill is longer than the head, pointed, and stouter than other blackbirds.

Color: The head is glossy black with a tinge of bronze or green (depending upon population). Yellow eye.

Habitat, range, and behavior: Agricultural regions, woodland edges, urban parks, and lawns are all places where they can be found. Currently residing in the southeast of the United States. They move north and west to the central United States and Canada in the summer. They take over feeders and bully other birds.

Food and feeder preference: Grain, corn, acorns, tiny aquatic fish, and amphibians are preferred foods. Use tube feeders instead of hopper or tray feeders to dissuade them. Don't overfeed.

6. White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis)

White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis)

A reasonably common northern forest bird that can be seen in backyards across much of the United States.

Range in New Hampshire: White-throated Sparrows can be found across New Hampshire throughout the summer and year-round in the southern part of the state.


Size: Approximately the same size as a White-crowned Sparrow, Smaller than a starling, but larger than a House Finch.

Shape: They have a longer body with a short neck and a round head. Long-tail with a notched tip.

Bill: Conical and short.

Color: Tan and brown striped top, mild grey bottom. Black and white head stripes on a white-striped form . Adult tan-striped birds seem similar to first-year birds, but first-year birds are streakier overall. Between the brow and the bill is a bright spot. Gray breast and face contrast  with whitethroat.

Habitat, range, and behavior: Forests, brush, and open woodland borders are where you'll find this species. Breeds in Canada and the United States' far northwestern states. Winters in the eastern United States, the southern United States, and the West Coast. Small flocks of them can be seen on the ground near brush where they can hide. Kick up the leaves in order to look for food beneath them.

Food and feeder preference: In the winter, eat seeds and berries, and in the summer, eat more insects and fruit. They will consume a variety of seeds from a platform feeder and from the ground.

7.  European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)

European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)

They were introduced to North America in the late 1800s and quickly spread over the continent.

Range in New Hampshire: European Starlings can be found throughout the year in New Hampshire.


Size: Similar to a Red-winged Blackbird. Smaller than an American Robin. White-crowned Sparrow and Spotted/Eastern Towhee are both smaller birds than this one.

Shape: Stocky, with a huge head and a short, square-ended tail. Longer legs.

Bill: As long as head. S harp and pointed. In the spring, it's yellow, but otherwise, it's dark.

Color: Throughout the year, they are grayish-brown, with glossy iridescence and white spotting in the spring.

Habitat, range, and behavior: Lowland birds require tall trees for nest chambers but also require a lot of open space to forage. They are especially common in cities and suburbs, where they may find food and artificial nesting chambers. From southern Canada to northern Mexico, they live coast to coast. In the summer, travel north across Canada and Alaska. The native range of this species extends from Europe to Pakistan and North Africa. Starlings are sometimes considered a pest because they intimidate other backyard birds, stealing bird feeders and nest cavities from smaller native birds. They can create tens of thousands-strong flocks in the winter.

Food and feeder preference: European Starlings eat primarily insects. Never feed table scraps to these birds in your backyard hopper and tray feeders to keep them away. They have shaky feet and struggle to perch on tube feeders. Keep them out of your small hopper feeders with the help of cage mesh.

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