Optics Mag is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Read more.

30 Common Backyard Birds in Pennsylvania (With Pictures)

Last Updated on

white-breasted nuthatch singing

If you are a bird lover, it can be helpful to know what kind of birds are in your area. Each state has a different variety of birds, and Pennsylvania is no exception. More than 400 birds can be seen in Pennsylvania, with several that you can find all year. Keep reading, as we list 30 of the most popular varieties of Pennsylvanian backyard birds.

owl divider 2

The 30 Most Common Backyard Birds in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Songbirds

1. Blue Jay

Image Credit: Scottslm, Pixabay
Body Length: 8.5–12 inches
Distinguishing Characteristics: Blue color, intelligence

The Blue Jay is a large songbird that you can find almost anywhere in the eastern United States, including Pennsylvania. It’s mostly blue with a white belly and chest and black highlights on the face, wings, and tail. These birds form tight bonds with their family members, and they like peanuts, sunflower seeds, and suet.

2. Mourning Dove

mourning dove perched on a branch
Image Credit: JackBulmer, Pixabay
Body Length: 12 inches
Distinguishing Characteristics: Soft call, light color

The Mourning Dove is a bird that you can find almost anywhere in the United States, and it’s abundant in Pennsylvania. It has a soft and drawn-out song that sounds like a lament, which is likely where it gets its name. It’s a ground foraging bird that quickly picks up seeds and stores them in an internal pouch. When the pouch is full, it flies off to digest them safely. However, while it is on the ground, the Mourning Dove is particularly vulnerable to cats.

3. American Crow

american crow perched on a log
Image Credit: JackBulmer, Pixabay
Body Length: 16–18 inches
Distinguishing Characteristics: Large size, black color, loud call

The American Crow is one of the easiest birds to find and identify anywhere in Pennsylvania and most of the United States. It’s extremely large, often growing to more than 17 inches, and it has an easy-to-identify call. They are intelligent birds that can adapt to many different environments, but they also damage plants, so many farmers consider them pests.

4. American Goldfinch

American Goldfinch
Image Credit: milesmoody, Pixabay
Body Length: 4.3–5.1 inches
Distinguishing Characteristics: Bright yellow, black forehead, white highlights

The America Goldfinch is easy to find in Pennsylvania and much of the United States. It’s a fairly small bird that can have bright-yellow coloring, especially in the breeding male. The tips of the wings and tail are black with white highlights, and while there are a few yellow birds in summer, these are the only ones that stay through the winter.

5. Tufted Titmouse

tufted titmouse during winter
Image Credit: MikeGoad, Pixabay
Body Length: 5.5–6.3 inches
Distinguishing Characteristics: Tall silvery crest

The Tufted Titmouse is a small songbird that you can find in Pennsylvania at many different bird feeders. They prefer to stay at elevations below 2,000 feet and often travel with Chickadees.

6. European Starling

European starling
Image Credit: arjma, Shutterstock
Body Length: 7.9–9.1 inches
Distinguishing Characteristics: Purplish green highlights

The European Starling gets its name from how it looks while in flight. Their short wings make them appear as a four-pointed star from below. They’re quite large overall, with a wingspan that extends more than 1 foot. They enjoy living around human settlements, and you can usually find them sitting on power wires.

7. White-Breasted Nuthatch

white-breasted nuthatch perched
Image Credit: JackBulmer, Pixabay
Body Length: 5–6.1 inches
Distinguishing Characteristics: White breast, blue body

The White-Breasted Nuthatch is a no-necked bird with a long pointy bill. It has blue feathers across its back, which may trick inexperienced watchers into thinking that it’s a Blue Jay. However, it also has rusty spots near the tail that you can see from below. You can find them all over Pennsylvania, hanging around mature trees like maple or oak.

8. Gray Catbird

gray catbird perched on a branch
Image Credit: JackBulmer, Pixabay
Body Length: 7–8.5 inches
Distinguishing Characteristics: Plain gray body

The Gray Catbird has a plain grey body with no distinguishing characteristics except for a small black cap. It has a long tail that it likes to hold down, which gives it a hunchback appearance. It’s a secretive bird that’s reluctant to fly in open areas.

9. Dark-Eyed Junco

dark-eyed junco perched
Image Credit: JackBulmer, Pixabay
Body Length: 4.5–5.5 inches
Distinguishing Characteristics: Plain gray body

Pennsylvania is one of the few lucky states to have the Dark-Eyed Junco as a permanent resident. They like to live in pine spruce and fir trees in dense forests. They get most of their food hopping on the ground and scratching at leaf litter to find insects and seeds.

10. Common Grackle

common grackle
Image Credit: GeorgiaLens, Pixabay
Body Length: 11–13 inches
Distinguishing Characteristics: Large size, long legs

The Common Grackle is a large bird that you can find in Pennsylvania all year long. These birds often come to bird feeders and will push other birds out of the way. But they prefer to spend time on the ground, so they will usually allow smaller birds to remain at hanging feeders so the seed will fall down to them.

11. Black-Capped Chickadee

Black-capped Chickadee
Image Credit: Laura Ganz, Pexels
Body Length: 6.3–8.3 inches
Distinguishing Characteristics: Black cap and throat

The Black-Capped Chickadee is a popular songbird in Pennsylvania, and it’s easy to find almost anywhere. These birds like to live at the edge of the forest where it’s easy to hunt, and they’re communal, so they tend to live in large flocks.

12. Carolina Chickadee

Carolina Chickadee Perched on a Tree
Image Credit: Ami Parikh, Shutterstock
Body Length: 4.25 inches
Distinguishing Characteristics: Small size, spherical body, black cap

The Carolina Chickadee looks extremely similar to the Black-Capped Chickadee with its black cap but is much smaller. They are extremely inquisitive birds that you will often find in parks with large trees.

13. Eastern Bluebird

Eastern Bluebird
Image Credit: Steve Byland, Shutterstock
Body Length: 9.8–12.6 inches
Distinguishing Characteristics: Blue back and a large belly

The Eastern Bluebird is a fun bird to find when you’re bird watching in Pennsylvania because it’s highly attractive with its blue back and plump body. It can also have a rusty or brick red color on the throat and chest. These birds like to sit on posts out in the open, so finding them on a farm is easy.

14. Common Yellowthroat

Common Yellowthroat
Image Credit: Canadian Nature Visions, Pixabay
Body Length: 4.3–5.1 inches
Distinguishing Characteristics: Bright yellow body and black mask

The Common Yellowthroat is a small but colorful songbird. It has a bright yellow belly, and the males have a black mask. The feathers on the back and tail also have a yellow tint, and the tail is quite long. You can find these birds in open areas with plenty of thick, low-lying vegetation.

15. Barn Swallow

barn swallow perched
Image Credit: Elsemargriet, Pixabay
Body Length: 5.9–7.5 inches
Distinguishing Characteristics: Deep blue and rusty red coloring

The Barn Swallow is the most widespread type of swallow in the world. It has a deep blue back and head with a rusty red chest and belly. The tail is long and forked, and these birds like to feed as they fly, catching insects mid-air. They are agile flyers capable of quick turns and dives, and you will find them nesting under bridges and in barns or sheds.

16. Indigo Bunting

indigo bunting in the middle of the garden
Image Credit: engalapag, Pixabay
Body Length: 4.5–5.9 inches
Distinguishing Characteristics: Blue male, brown female

The Indigo Bunting is a small songbird that likes to frequent telephone lines in the summertime, and these birds will come into your yard if you have thistle growing. The males have a bright blue color, while the females tend to be brown, and they usually eat insects, seeds, and berries.

Red Birds in Pennsylvania

17. Cardinal

male northern cardinal perched
Image Credit: JackBulmer, Pixabay
Body Length: 8–9.5 inches
Distinguishing Characteristics: Bright red male

You can find the Northern Cardinal throughout Pennsylvania and much of the eastern United States. The male of the species is easy to distinguish by its bright red body color, raised crest, and a black face mask. The females are slightly smaller and are not as brightly colored, but the Cardinals are among the few songbirds with female singers. These birds do not migrate, so you will be able to find them year-round once you locate a nest, and they mainly eat weed seed, grains, and fruit.

18. Robin

robing singing on branch
Image Credit: DSlight_photography, Shutterstock
Body Length: 4.5–6 inches
Distinguishing Characteristics: Orange chest

You can find the Robin almost anywhere in the United States, including Pennsylvania. These birds enjoy eating earthworms, and you can find them searching the ground after a rainfall in the summer. Many people start to notice these birds in the spring, but they are there all year long. They spend more time in the trees during the colder seasons.

19. House Finch

House finch perching
Image Credit: Jeff Caverly, Shutterstock
Body Length: 6 inches
Distinguishing Characteristics: Red chest

The House Finch is a red-breasted bird that you can find easily in Pennsylvania. The males can also have a red crest, throat, and rump. These birds are highly adaptable to city life, and the best place to find them is in an area with plenty of buildings and lawns.

20. Red-Winged Blackbird

Red-winged Blackbird
Image Credit: Agami Photo Agency, Shutterstock
Body Length: 6.7–9.4 inches
Distinguishing Characteristics: Black body with red and yellow markings on the wings

One of the more attractive birds you can find in Pennsylvania is the Red-Winged Blackbird. The male of this species has a black body with a red shoulder patch with yellow trimming. The female also has a red shoulder patch, but its body is brown and white, similar to the Song Sparrow. These birds enjoy marshy waters, and you can frequently find them in water hazards on golf courses.

Brown Birds in Pennsylvania

21. Song Sparrow

song sparrow perched on birch log
Image Credit: JackBulmer, Pixabay
Body Length: 4.5–7 inches
Distinguishing Characteristics: Dark streaks on a light chest

The Song Sparrow is a small bird common in Pennsylvania backyards, where it lives and breeds all year. These birds like low-lying vegetation and tree branches near open areas where they can collect food. These birds love bird feeders, and they are quite intelligent, able to watch other birds to learn about dangerous predators.

22. Carolina Wren

carolina wren
Image Credit: theSOARnet, Pixabay
Body Length: 4.9–5.5 inches
Distinguishing Characteristics: Brown body, white streak over the eye

The Carolina Wren is a mostly brown bird with a white throat. These birds like to stay by gardens and other vegetation around Pennsylvania, and you can often see them running up and down tree trunks looking for insects. They are noisy birds that defend their area by singing.

23. House Sparrow

two house sparrows
Image Credit: betexion, Pixabay
Body Length: 5.9–6.7 inches
Distinguishing Characteristics: Round head, black bib

The House Sparrow is an easy-to-find bird in Pennsylvania with a mostly brown back. The males will have white cheeks with a black bib that helps you tell them apart from the Song Sparrow. These are noisy birds that like to flutter around eaves. It’s also easy to find them near parking lots, where they like to hunt for seeds and insects.

24. White-Throated Sparrow

white-throated sparrow perched
Image Credit: Canadian Nature Visions, Pixabay
Body Length: 5.9–7.5 inches
Distinguishing Characteristics: Black-and-white face with a yellow spot between the eye and bill

As the name suggests, the White-Throated Sparrow has a white throat and a striking face pattern with black-and-white stripes and a yellow spot between the eyes and the bill. It has a brown back with a long tail, and it likes to scratch the leaves looking for food. These birds also like to hide out in bushes.

25. Chipping Sparrow

chipping sparrow
Image Credit: magaliiee13, Pixabay
Body Length: 4.5–6 inches
Distinguishing Characteristics: Black eyeline, brown cap

The Chipping Sparrow is a Sparrow type that you can easily find in Pennsylvania. You can easily identify this bird by the black line that moves from the front to the back of the head right through the eye. These birds also have a dark brown cap, and you will find them feeding on the ground and taking cover and shrubs and bushes.

Related Read: Why Can Birds Sit On Power Lines? Can They All Do It?

26. House Wren

house wren on the tree
Image Credit: ronin2435, Pixabay
Body Length: 4.3–5.1 inches
Distinguishing Characteristics: Plain brown color

The House Wren is one of the most common birds in Pennsylvania, but it’s also one of the blandest, having no noticeable distinguishing characteristics. It’s a plain brown bird with a short tail that you can find easily in the summer as it energetically hops and flies through your yard. You will see it in the winter, too, but not as often.

Pennsylvania Woodpeckers

27. Downy Woodpecker

downy woodpecker
Image Credit: JackBulmer, Pixabay
Body Length: 5.5–7 inches
Distinguishing Characteristics: Black-and-white body, red spot on the top back of the head

The Downy Woodpecker is the smallest of all North American woodpeckers, and it’s fairly easy to find in Pennsylvania. It has a white bar above and below its eye. It also has a red spot on the back of its head, near the top.

28. Red-Bellied Woodpecker

Red-bellied woodpecker
Image Credit: Scottslm, Pixabay
Body Length: 8–9.4 inches
Distinguishing Characteristics: Red head, grey face, pink belly

The Red-Bellied Woodpecker is a popular bird in the eastern United States, including Pennsylvania. It has a grey face with red plumage on top and black-and-white bar patterns on its back. You can usually find these birds in dense forests near streams.

29. Northern Flicker

Northern Flicker woodpecker
Image Credit: Scottslm, Pixabay
Body Length: 11–14 inches
Distinguishing Characteristics: Long beak, black bib, spotted belly

The Northern Flicker is a large woodpecker that you can find in Pennsylvania. It is easy to spot from a distance by its spotted belly, which is quite different than many other birds. It also has a long bill and a bright red nape. The underside of the wings will also be tinted yellow. These birds spend most of their time on the ground and like to look for open areas near trees.

30. Hairy Woodpecker

male Hairy Woodpecker
Image Credit: JackBulmer, Pixabay
Body Length: 8.52–9.25 inches
Distinguishing Characteristics: Black wings with white spots, red spot on the head

The Hairy Woodpecker has a similar appearance to the Downy Woodpecker but is a little larger. This bird has black wings with white spots, the face has a white stripe above and below the eye, and there is a white spot on the head. These birds like to stay along main branches, and they may also look for food in fallen tree trunks or on the ground.

Related Read: 30 Common Backyard Birds in Tennessee (With Pictures)

In Conclusion

There are quite a few birds in Pennsylvania that are easy to find in your backyard. While the woodpeckers can get annoying, most of the others are pleasant visitors, and you can bring them around more often by putting a few bird feeders around your house. Our favorites are the Blue Jay and the Cardinal, but we like to watch the different sparrows at the feeder each morning too.

Featured Image Credit: JackBulmer, Pixabay

About the Author Robert Sparks

Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.