woman taking photo of birds

Most Common Backyard Birds In Maryland (Explained)

It doesn’t matter if you live in the Washington DC suburbs or in the rural Maryland countryside, watching backyard birds in Maryland will almost always be a rewarding and invigorating activity.

While watching these birds is a matter of personal preference, whether you prefer to sit on a tree and look through the bird’s eye view or to catch up with some neighbors, you can get a good deal of satisfaction from watching them.

Most Common Backyard Birds In Maryland

Northern Cardinal

Northern Cardinal
Photo by Bob Smith on Unsplash

The Northern Cardinal is a beautiful and unique bird in the lineage Cardinalidae, which includes all birds of the genus Cardinalis. It is present in eastern Canada, east of the US through central Mexico, west of the US up into northern Guatemala, west Texas, into southern Louisiana, south through Arizona to southern New Mexico, into southern Louisiana, into Guatemala, Belize, Mexico, and Costa Rica. 

  • Frequency: 16.32%
  • Color: Mostly red with a black mask on the face, short pink bill
  • Habitat:  woodlands, gardens, parks, backyards, and wetlands
  • Range: USA, Canada, Mexico
  • Size: 8.2 – 9.3″ inches
  • Weight: 33 – 65 grams
  • Diet: Fruits, berries, and insects (grasshoppers, beetles, snails, cicadas)
  • Family: Cardinalidae
  • Genus: Cardinalis

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Carolina Wren

Carolina Wren
Image by Nancy Buron from Pixabay

The Carolina Wren is an uncommon species of wren, which is only a habitual resident in the middle to northern part of North America, particularly in the far south of Labrador, Canada, and along the coastal regions of southern Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee.

While they favor wet areas which often include marshes and shallow pools, they are also able to thrive in dry, desert areas. Unlike most other birds, which must make their nests near trees, where they have nesting boxes and wait for the rains to make the nests, Carolina Wrens prefer open spaces.

  • Frequency: 24.91%
  • Color: Black cap and throat with white cheeks. Light gray wings, back, and tail.
  • Habitat: Deciduous forests, suburbs, parks, backyards
  • Range:  USA ( Texas, Florida, New Jersey, and Kansas)
  • Size: 4.5 – 5.1″ inches long
  • Weight: 9 – 12 grams
  • Diet:  Insects, berries, seeds 
  • Family: Paridae
  • Genus:  Poecile

American Crow

The American Crow is an extraordinary passing passerine bird species of the genus Corvus. It is an extremely common bird found across much of North America, being the main species in the far southern states from Texas southward to upper portions of central Mexico.

 Like most crows, the American Crow has a wide range of dietary habits, feeding on a variety of foods, including fish, algae, seeds, worms, and carrion. The most important habitat for the American Crow is in marshlands and thickets, probably they are attracted to marshes and fields in which they hunt.

  • Frequency: 39.15%
  • Color: Black
  • Habitat: Open country, farms, parks, woodlands, towns, cities
  • Range: Canada, USA, Mexico
  • Size: 16 – 21″ inches
  • Weight: 315 -620 grams
  • Diet: invertebrates, carrion, seeds, eggs fish, grains, mice, frogs, and other small animals. 
  • Family: Corvidae
  • Genus: Corvis

Blue Jay

Like most birds, the Blue Jay is an evening flyer. They love to feed in the late evening and spend much of their time foraging for food at night. Blue Jay birds love sunflower seeds, and you can easily make yourself a nice collection of these by dropping dry ones into a hopper-type bird feeder for early morning consumption.

Blue Jay prefers hopper feeders or tray feeders over hanging feeders, and they particularly like peanut, sunflower seeds, and suet. Planting sunflowers will also provide blue jays with many seeds that are high in fat. Planting oak trees in your yard will create many opportunities for unique blue jays.

  • Frequency: 37.25%
  • Color: Blue crest on the head, wings, back, and tail, and has a white face and belly
  • Habitat: Deciduous and mixed forests, mixed woodlands, backyards, parks
  • Range: Southern Canada,  Eastern and Central United States, Florida and Texas
  • Size: 8 – 12″ inches
  • Weight: 70 – 100 grams
  • Diet:  Nuts, seeds, caterpillars, grasshoppers, and beetles
  • Family: Corvidae
  • Genus: Cyanocitta

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Mourning Dove

The Mourning Dove is an important member of the pigeon lineage, Columbidae. The graceful bird is also referred to as the American mourning dove and, more recently, the rain dove, and is the most common and widespread of all North American pigeons.

The Mourning Dove is an inhabitant of eastern United States, mostly from New York and up into southern Ontario. Mourning Doves prefer a thick shrub or thickets of grassy vines, which will help to provide plenty of hiding places to seek out food for their young.

  • Frequency: 49.36%
  • Color: Light gray-brown and lighter and pinkish below. The wings have black spots.
  • Habitat: Open habitats, urban areas, farms, prairie, grassland, wooded area
  • Range:  USA, Canada, Mexico, Central America, Greater Antilles
  • Size: 12″ inches length
  • Weight: 112 – 170 grams
  • Diet:  Rapeseed, corn, millet, safflower, sunflower seeds, pokeberry, sesame, and wheat.
  • Family: Columbidae
  • Genus: Zenaida

Carolina Chickadee

Carolina Chickadee
Image by anne773 from Pixabay

The Carolina Chickadee is primarily a nocturnal hunter, using its large body and alert sense of movement to catch small birds in flight. They are typically found in thick cover during the late part of the year, where they nest during the winter and early spring.

A few records from south of the border indicate that they may be seen in northern Georgia and along the eastern seaboard of North Carolina. During the time of the breeding season, the Carolina chickadee becomes even more active, with many flights landing on roadsides near wooded areas where they wait for warmer weather to arrive.

  • Frequency: 46.98%
  • Color: Black cap and throat with white cheeks. Light gray wings, back, and tail.
  • Habitat: Deciduous forests, suburbs, parks, backyards
  • Range:  USA ( Texas, Florida, New Jersey, and Kansas)
  • Size: 4.5 – 5.1″ inches long
  • Weight: 9 – 12 grams
  • Diet:  Insects, berries, seeds 
  • Family: Paridae
  • Genus:  Poecile

American Robin

The American Robin has a large range of natural habitat across eastern North America, including the lower Mississippi River and several rivers and streams in southern Indiana, eastern Nebraska, and southward to Texas. It also winters in southern Oregon, California, and Washington. It feeds on a wide variety of berries, leaves, seeds, grasses, insects, and carrion.

The berries it prefers are blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries. Nests can be found in fields, brush, junkyards, fields, near roads and railways, parks, and backyards. The American Robin will nest near plants and trees and sometimes in houses, caves, and burrows dug by the birds. 

  • Frequency: 51.76%
  • Color: Mostly brown on the back with an orange colored breast
  • Habitat: Wooded areas, backyards, parks, fields
  • Range: USA, Canada, Mexico
  • Size: 12 – 16″ inches
  • Weight: 72 – 95 grams
  • Diet: Fruits, berries and insects (earthworms, beetles, caterpillars
  • Family: Turdidae
  • Genus: Turdus

Related Post: Interesting American Robin Fun Facts

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Red-bellied Woodpecker
Image by wileydoc from Pixabay

The Red-bellied Woodpecker belongs to the Picidae familial, the subfamily Melanerpes, which has about ten genera of bird, and five subfamily members. Because of their general affinity to wooded areas, they are frequently found in tree stands in wooded forests.

They feed on a variety of foods including termites, beetles, grasshoppers, midges, ground beetles, moths, earthworms, roaches, and spiders. The red-bellied woodpecker inhabits different types of habitats; they are most often seen in deciduous trees in parks and wooded areas.

  • Frequency: 38.73%
  • Color: Gray on body and face and underparts. Black and white pattern on wings, back, and tail.
  • Habitat: Forests, backyards
  • Range: Southern Canada,  Eastern United States, Florida 
  • Size: 9 – 10.6″ inches long
  • Weight: 56 -91 grams
  • Diet:  Insects, tree frogs, eggs of small birds, oozing sap, and small fish.
  • Family: Picidae
  • Genus: Melanerpes

Tufted Titmouse

Tufted Titmouse
Image by Mike Goad from Pixabay

The tufted titmouse usually nests in small areas sheltered from cold winds by cliffs or other vertical or horizontal shelter. A burrow or small perch of stones placed about ten or fifteen feet from the ground will serve well. Such a shelter should be well camouflaged in dense woods or overgrown brush. The nests are built in the late summer and early fall, and in houses, usually beneath dense bushes or under piles of soft materials, such as leaves, twigs, and even stumps or branches.

Sometimes the nests are built in abandoned bird feeders, which will often supply the same hiding place. The birds will also visit gardens, especially if the garden features a water feature such as a pond or a bird bath.​​​​​​​

  • Frequency: 43.42%
  • Color: Gray upper, white front, a tufted gray crest on the head
  • Habitat: Deciduous forests, river basin, backyards, swamps
  • Range:  Canada, USA, and Mexico
  • Size: 5.5 – 6.4″ inches
  • Weight: 18 – 26 grams
  • Diet:  Nuts, insects, berries, seeds small fruit, and snails
  • Family: Paridae
  • Genus: Baeolophus

Related Post: How to Attract Tufted Titmouse to my Yard

American Goldfinch

The American goldfinch, , is a beautiful little yellow-colored small North American finch. It is omnivorous, with a taste for insects and small birds, but also loves to eat carrion, and moths. If you want to attract an American goldfinch, the best way to do so is to offer them a food that will attract them, such as sunflower seeds. Sunflower seeds are popular for several reasons.

One is that many birds, even those that aren’t native to the United States, enjoy eating sunflower seeds. It is quite migratory, generally migrating up to southern Mexico and northward through the United States and Mexico to the extreme southwestern tip of Mexico. It also goes up the Mississippi and into the upper part of Texas.

  • Frequency: 39.28%
  • Color: Face, neck, and underside are yellow, black wings with white bars
  • Habitat: Deciduous forests and thickets, roadside, grasslands, backyards, meadows
  • Range:  Canada, USA and Mexico
  • Size: 4.3 – 5.5″ inches length
  • Weight: 12 -18 grams
  • Diet:  Grass, dandelions, chickweed, sunflowers and ragweed, thistle, red alder, birch, spruce seeds
  • Family: Carduelinae
  • Genus: Spinus

Related Post: American Goldfinch Interesting Facts

Downy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker
Image by i_love_animals from Pixabay

The Downy Woodpecker is extremely common species of woodpeckers, the smallest living in North America. The male Downy weighs up to 33 grams. The Downy Woodpecker has been recently classified as a migratory bird, has established its regular migration routes in Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico.

They travel south along the coastal plain and arrive in the warmer south-easters of Texas and Louisiana. In late summer they make their way towards the Gulf States and the western part of Central America, where they mate and grow to maturity.

  • Frequency: 36.88%
  • Color: Black with a white throat, belly, and back. White spots on wings
  • Habitat: Deciduous forests and thickets, roadside, grasslands, backyards, parks
  • Range:  Canada, USA, and Mexico
  • Size: 5.5 – 7.1″ inches in length
  • Weight: 20 – 33 grams
  • Diet:  Mostly insects and beetles and ants, also gall wasps, caterpillars
  • Family: Picadae
  • Genus: Dryobates

European Starling

European Starling
Photo by John Yunker on Unsplash

The European starling,  is a small medium-sized passerine bird in the Sturnidae family. European starlings are native to the United Kingdom, and it is common to see a number of them flocking together in some places.

But you will probably find the European starling is a regular visitor to parks and gardens, where it builds flocks of birds’ nests in large numbers, and is often seen hovering over bird feeders and waiting for birds to take advantage of its nesting efforts. It has also been recorded in parts of North America and South Africa, as well.

  • Frequency: 40.66%
  • Color:  Black with glossy iridescence plumage
  • Habitat: Forests, woodlands, backyards, edges, yards, and parks
  • Range: North America, Europe, Africa, India, Middle East, China
  • Size: 7 – 9″ inches long
  • Weight: 60 – 100 grams
  • Diet:  Insects (ants, beetles, invertebrates), fruits, seeds, berries
  • Family: Sturnidae
  • Genus: Sturnus

Song Sparrow

Song Sparrow
Image by u_z4q28nbq from Pixabay

The song sparrow is an ordinary medium-sized New World sparrow. In fact, among all the native sparrow species in North America it is by far one of the richest, most versatile and widespread species. It ranges across what is now the states of Maryland, Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico.

These songbirds are very social birds who nest together in large groups called flocks. In the southern half of this country you will find these birds along roads, railways, and other open areas where there is access to food and shelter. You will often see them feeding on a road-side wild bird feeder, where they provide the birds with plenty of sustenance.

  • Frequency: 36.64%
  • Color: Gray head, white cheek, a black bib, rufous neck
  • Habitat: Urban centers, farms, backyards, edges, yards, and parks
  • Range:  Europe, Mediterranean, Asia, Australasia, Africa, and the Americas
  • Size: 5.5 – 7.0″ inches
  • Weight: 25 – 40 grams
  • Diet:  Grains, seeds, and insects
  • Family: Passeridea
  • Genus: Passer

Related Post: How to Attract Sparrows to your Backyard

Red-winged Blackbird

Red-winged Blackbird
Photo by Alejandro Mallea from Pexels

Most species of the red-winged blackbird are diurnal, spending most of their time flying over open plains and meadows in search of food. They have powerful wings that enable them to fly quickly and make high flights over swamps and tall grassy areas in search of insects. They can stay aloft for several hours feeding on nearly anything.

The red-winged blackbird likes to hang around meadows and marshes where they hunt for food. Hikers and backpackers can observe these birds in open meadows and tall grassy areas. The Red-winged Blackbird can be seen throughout the year, especially during early spring and early fall when they nest in huge numbers.

  • Frequency: 33.59%​​​​​​​
  • Color: All black with red patches on shoulder and a yellow wing bar
  • Habitat: Deciduous forests, conifers, roadside, rivers, backyards, parks
  • Range: North America, Central America
  • Size: 6.7 – 7.1″ inches length
  • Weight: 41.5 – 65 grams
  • Diet:  Seeds and insects (butterflies, dragonflies, moths, frogs, worms, spider, snails, carrion, flies.)
  •  Family: Icteridae
  • Genus: Agelaius

White-throated Sparrow

White-throated Sparrow
Photo by Skyler Ewing from Pexels

The white-throated sparrow,  is a small to medium-sized passerine bird. These short and stocky birds, with their long and narrow wings, are often found in fields, meadows, along roads, and trails, and even along beaches. They are common in backyards of southern states and Canada and have recently become a favorite for birdwatchers. 

Housed in burrows or under trees, these sparrows spend most of their time waiting for the return of their young to nest. The male white-throated sparrows will depart the nest three to four times a year and will sing to attract a mate. The female will wait until the bird’s nestlings are born. Unlike other species of this family, these sparrows are not noisy eaters. 

  • Frequency: 25.87%
  • Color: Brown and gray head pattern. Black-and-white-striped head, white throat, and yellow near the eye.
  • Habitat: Deciduous forests and thickets, roadside, grasslands, backyards
  • Range:  Eastern North America, Atlantic Canada
  • Size: 5.9″ – 7.5″ inches long
  • Weight: 22 – 32 grams
  • Diet: Seeds, insects, and berries
  • Family: Passerellidae
  • Genus: Zonotrichia 

Northern Mockingbird

Northern Mockingbird
Image by GeorgeB2 from Pixabay

The Northern Mockingbird lives in large forests in the southern states of the United States. Inhabiting thick trees, such as pine, oak, maples, hollow trees, and woodpeckers, the mockingbird finds its food in the roots of these trees and nests near the openings where the birds flying out to feed. 

This species is primarily a nocturnal hunter, frequently calling during the night, but the species has also been reported to be a daytime flyer as well. The males of this species are larger than the females, which can reach up to 11″ inches in length.

  • Frequency: 24.14%
  • Color: Gray upper with white underparts. Black and white wing bars.
  • Habitat: Forested areas, parks, and gardens
  • Range:  Southeastern Canada, USA, Northern Mexico, Cayman Islands, Greater Antilles
  • Size: 8.0 – 11″ inches long
  • Weight: 40 – 58 grams
  • Diet: Berries, fruits, seeds, arthropods, earthworms, and occasionally lizards
  • Family: Mimidae
  • Genus: Mimus

White-breasted Nuthatch

White-breasted Nuthatch
Image by Jack Bulmer from Pixabay

The white-breasted nuthatch, a small singing bird, is a common visitor to bird feeders throughout much of mid-continental North America. The male of this species is larger than the female, ranging from two to three inches larger. The White-breasted Nuthatch has a long history as a common backyard bird.

It’s not hard to see this little bird enjoying a fresh catch from your garden bird feeder or hanging from a tree branch. They breed in December through March, at which time they migrate southward along the east side of the continent. During July and August, they return to their respective nests on the west side of the country.

  • Frequency: 26.83%
  • Color: Has a white face, flanks, and chest. It has a black cap on its head a bluish-gray upper and a brown belly
  • Habitat: Deciduous forests, conifers, roadside, rivers, backyards, parks
  • Range: Southern Canada, USA
  • Size: 5.9″ inches
  • Weight: 20 grams
  • Diet:  Acorn nuts, hickory nuts, ants, caterpillars, scale insects, pine weevils
  • Family: Sittidae
  • Genus: Sitta

Related Post: How to Attract Nuthatches to your Backyard

House Finch

The female House Finch is smaller than the male, ranging from five to six inches in length. They fly slowly and easily in the spring, but in summer they migrate to warmer climates and become sluggish and somewhat large birds. House Finch is among the very best garden bird species due to their varied and interesting singing and flushing songs, which are usually rather pleasing to the ears.

In addition to their chirping song, they also make soft chirping noises that are quite soothing. The bird’s natural habitat is on the ground, but due to human interference, they now prefer to roost on tree’s branches, roof tops, and fences. Occasionally, the male house finches will move to a more open area if there is an abundance of food, but they are typically happy and stable in their home range. 

  • Frequency: 24.23%
  • Color:  Reddish face and upper breast, brown streaks on back, belly, and tail.
  • Habitat: urban and suburban areas, backyards, edges, yards, and parks
  • Range: Canada, USA, Mexico
  • Size: 5 – 6″ inches
  • Weight: 16 – 27 grams
  • Diet:  Aphids, grains, seeds, berries, nettle, dandelion, sunflower
  • Family: Fringillidae
  • Genus: Haemorhous

Related Post: How to Attract House Finch to Your Yard?

Eastern Bluebird

Eastern Bluebird
Image by Jack Bulmer from Pixabay

The eastern bluebird, also called the rusty brown, or western bluebird, is a small, gray-green, flightless bird commonly found in agricultural fields, open wooded areas, and orchards throughout the eastern United States and Canada.

It is also occasionally found in the southern parts of Mexico. This small, nectar-feeding bird has a small incisor-like beak, which is used to crack open plants, but it also has four toes, which it uses to climb.

  • Frequency: 21.67%
  • Color: Has a blue head, back, and wings. reddish-brown breast
  • Habitat: Open woodlands, farmlands, and orchards.
  • Range: Southern Canada to the Gulf states, East of the Rockies and south to Arizona to Nicaragua
  • Size: 5.5 – 7.1″ inches in length
  • Weight: 20 – 33 grams
  • Diet:  insects and other invertebrates
  • Family: Turdidae
  • Genus: Sialia

Common Grackle

Common Grackle
Image by GeorgiaLens from Pixabay

The common grackle, first identified in 1758 by Carl Linnaeus, the common grackle is now widespread throughout most of North America. The common grackle is an aggressive, bottom feeder that attacks soft-bellied insects such as aphids, caddisflies, ladybugs, spiders, ground beetles, roaches, mites, caterpillars, lacewings, wax worms, and snails. 

The most well-liked habitat for these birds is along roadsides, and near water. They are also common in wet habitats such as creeks, rivers, and streams, but may also be found growing in desert regions. 

  • Frequency: 24.72%
  • Color: Black overall with a blue,  and purple iridescence. Its body plumage is a shimmering copper color.
  • Habitat: Woodlands, marshes, meadows, parks, backyards, and fields
  • Range: East of the Canadian Rockies, Canada and the United States
  • Size: 11 – 13″ inches length
  • Weight: 75 – 143 grams
  • Diet: minnows, eggs, berries, seeds, grain, insects, frogs, mice
  • Family:  Icteridae
  • Genus:  Quiscalus

House Sparrow

House Sparrow
Image by DEZALB from Pixabay

House sparrows are generally solitary birds, moving from one area of their aviary to another every time they have a breeding opportunity. They also feed on a diet of nectar and other insects; these include both mosquitoes and aphids. The nectar that these insects deposit on the underside of leaves attracts ants and other insects, which in turn provides shelter for nestlings.

When ants and other creepy crawlies are eating, the sparrows must make their way to the top of a branch where the ants and other creepy things are feeding. Once there, the youngsters will start to eat and feed on whatever insects are available, so they will need to be fed frequently if they are going to survive.

  • Frequency: 23.44%
  • Color:  Gray head marking, a reddish-brown back, and gray underparts
  • Habitat: Urban centers, suburban areas, backyards, edges, yards, and parks
  • Range: North America, Central America, South America, Africa, Australia, New Zealand
  • Size: 5.5 – 7.1″ inches in length
  • Weight: 25 – 39 grams
  • Diet:  Insects, beetles, caterpillars, aphids,, grasshoppers, crustaceans, earthworms, vertebrates
  • Family: Passeridea
  • Genus: Passer

Related Post: How to Attract Sparrows to your Backyard

Northern Flicker

Northern Flicker
Image by radesigns from Pixabay

The Northern Flicker is  native to all of North America, excepting the extreme southern parts of Central America and the Cayman Islands, which it is believed to migrate laterally across the Atlantic to the north. It was only in the early 20th century that the birds began to be recorded, allowing researchers to better identify the species and their conservation status. Today, the bird is thriving in nearly every region of its range. 

Unlike most other woodpeckers, the male northern flicker will not display the elaborate display of flicking their wings during the breeding season. During this time the male will display a  back and forth pattern, which is called a courting dance. In addition to displaying, the male will also produce a high humming sound to attract a female to his nest. Courtship and nesting take place in early spring, and after both birds have bred there will be again foraging throughout the summer and fall in the same area.

  • Frequency: 21.58%
  • Color: Light brown with black bars across back, chest, wings, belly
  • Habitat: Forests, woodlands, backyards, edges, yards, and parks
  • Range: North America, Central America, Cuba, Cayman Islands
  • Size: 10 – 14″ inches
  • Weight: 85 – 165 grams
  • Diet:  Insects (ants, beetles, invertebrates), fruits, seeds, berries
  • Family: Picadae
  • Genus: Colaptes

These backyard birds all have a frequency of less than 20%

  • Gray Catbird – 20.03% Frequency
  • Dark-eyed Junco 19.43%
  • Chipping Sparrow 18.19%
  • Fish Crow 17.20%
  • Eastern Towhee 14.81%
  • Brown-headed Cowbird 13.90%
  • Barn Swallow 12.93%
  • Common Yellowthroat 12.89%
  • Pileated Woodpecker 12.51%
  • Red-eyed Vireo 11.93%
  • Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 11.85%
  • Tree Swallow 11.50%
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler 11.01%
  • Eastern Phoebe 10.95%
  • Chimney Swift 10.65%
  • Indigo Bunting 10.29%
  • Belted Kingfisher 10.20%
  • Eastern Wood-Pewee 10.05%
  • Hairy Woodpecker 9.20%
  • House Wren 9.00%
  • Cedar Waxwing 8.92%
  • Rock Pigeon 8.39%
  • Great Crested Flycatcher 8.34%
  • Field Sparrow  8.09%
  • Killdeer 7.45%
  • Eastern Kingbird  7.43%
  • Brown Thrasher 7.15%
  • Ruby-throated Hummingbird  7.10%
  • Ruby-crowned Kinglet  7.08%
  • Wood Thrush 6.72%
  • Swamp Sparrow 6.40%
  • Northern Parula 6.27%
  • American Redstart 5.69%
  • Scarlet Tanager 5.26%
  • Ovenbird 5.08%
  • Acadian Flycatcher 5.06%