The backyard bird population has been booming in recent years due to the proliferation of feeders and landscaping. It’s estimated that there are currently about 350 species of birds outcompeting each other for food and nesting space, so identifying them is vital for studying their ecological interactions.
The “Kentucky bird checklist” is a list of birds that are found in Kentucky. There are some common species and some rare ones. The list will be updated every year to include new birds.
If you’re planning a trip to Kentucky for your next birding adventure, this handy guide will help you identify the most frequent backyard birds in the state! We’ll provide you identifying techniques, amusing information, and videos of birds calling in this post!
Let’s get started without further ado!
1. Robins of America
The American Robin, the first bird in our book, is a common sight in Kentucky backyards! These songbirds, which are pretty huge in size, may be observed carrying a wonderful melody and bouncing through the yards and forests of Kentucky. They may be found all around the state and can be seen in flocks eating berries in the winter.
The American Robin isn’t the most bashful of backyard birds, and it won’t be difficult to see or photograph. Even when humans are around, these birds prefer to blow their chests up, raise their beaks high, and stand tall! Robins are recognized for their beautiful aqua blue eggs, so if you see a nest of brilliant blue eggs, you know a Robin is close!
American Robin Identification
Because American Robins may be found all throughout the United States, identifying them shouldn’t be too difficult. Here are some helpful hints for accurate identification:
- Large songbirds, American Robins are. They’re a little smaller than a Crow, but their slim bodies let them tower above other songbirds when they’re around.
- The colour of a Robin is deeper on top and brighter below. Robins are gray-black birds with reddish-orange chests and bellies, as well as darker heads (lighter on females), wings, backs, and tails. A patch of brilliant white behind their tails serves as in-flight identification. Their beaks are usually orange or yellow.
- Robins’ bodies are round, yet they stand tall and slim. When a Robin is resting on a limb, you can see their round heads and bodies, as well as their long, slender legs. A Robin will stand tall, slender, and extended while hopping around the ground.
Listen to the American Robins’ song in the video below:
2. Kentucky’s State Bird: Northern Cardinals
The Northern Cardinal, with its vivid red feathers and black mask on its face, is Kentucky’s State Bird… well, the male Northern Cardinal, that is!
In comparison to their male counterparts, female Cardinals have a duller colouring and less orangy-red feathers. Female Cardinals have comparable feather patterns and body shapes to male Cardinals, but they are lighter in color, with slight orangy-red colouring at the ends of their wings, tail, and head feathers.
Cardinals may often be seen jumping about in Kentucky backyards or bouncing from branch to branch in shrubby forested regions on the outskirts of towns. They’re often seen in pairs, low to the ground, and sometimes with their mates (watch for one red and one brown Cardinal!).
Northern Cardinal Identification
Cardinals are difficult to overlook, but there are a few features that may help you spot them quickly:
- Among Kentucky’s backyard birds, their colour is distinctive. Cardinal males are bright red all throughout, with dull black wings and rich black coloration on their cheeks. Females may be identified by the orangey-red bursts at the ends of their feathers.
- Cardinals have strong, short beaks that are orangey-red in hue. A Cardinal’s face is distinct from that of many other songbirds in that it has a short beak rather than a long, thin beak for pulling worms out of the ground.
- Cardinals are huge songbirds, albeit not as massive as Robins. They have larger chests and rounder bodies, as well as small feet and a lengthy tail.
To hear Northern Cardinals’ cries, watch the video below:
Chickadees of the Carolinas
The Carolina Chickadee is a little, spherical bird that is similar in size to a House Sparrow and slightly bigger than a house finch. They are on the lesser end of the birding range. This is a flocking species that may be seen in the company of numerous other tiny birds. They may be seen hopping about yards, parks, and among the limbs of plants and trees in shrubby, forested environments.
Carolina Chickadee Identification
If you see one of these small Kentucky birds, here’s how to tell them apart:
- The hue of a Carolina Chickadee is neutral. Their heads and faces are black, with two white stripes running down the sides of their faces and around the backs of their necks. Their chests and underbelly are a light tan hue, while their wings, backs, and tails are a light gray with gray tone variations.
- These birds are little in size and have a rounded body. This bird has a stumpy look due to its thick, short neck and huge head.
- The tails of Carolina Chickadees are longer and narrower. Their beaks are trapezoidal in shape and have a little of thickness to them.
To hear the Carolina Chickadees’ call, watch the video below:
4. Crows of America
The American Crow, known for its all-black, stiff look, is often used in horror films and novels to generate a feeling of dread. Crows, unbeknownst to some, are quite gregarious and may congregate in big groups, vocalizing and socializing. They will chase away bigger birds, such as hawks, if they feel threatened.
American Crows are also bright, and if they put their minds to anything (typically obtaining food), they’ll do it. Crows, for example, will pick at trashcans to get to the food inside, or they will observe a scarecrow to see when the “human” walks away from the corn so they can swoop in and devour it. Crows with exceptional intelligence may even discover that a scarecrow isn’t a human at all, and may prey on a farmer’s crops.
Crows may be seen in wide fields, close to backyards (albeit not as often in suburban yards), and other vast fields in crowded regions. They may also be found on the outskirts of woods and forests.
American Crow Identification
Because of their size and colour, these ominous birds are easy to recognize among Kentucky’s backyard birds. This is how you can spot them:
- The American Crows are entirely black… Their beaks, legs, and feet are all black as well. Their feathers are likewise black, with a glossy sheen that catches the light and reveals subtle deep greens and purples.
- These birds are very large, far larger than typical backyard birds. On average, crows are a little over a foot long from head to tail.
- Crows have longer and thicker beaks, as well as broader feet.
To hear the American Crows’ call, watch the video below:
5. Starling of Europe
These raucous birds aren’t shy about letting their presence be known. The European Starling is a sociable and talkative bird that is often observed in huge flocks of birds, including Blackbirds and Grackles. These birds may be seen in broad fields looking for edible bugs, or perched in high trees or on electricity wires uttering their distinctive sounds.
European Starling Identification
European Starlings are easily identified by their distinctive colors and structure… This is how you do it:
- From afar, a European Starling seems all-black, yet in the warmer months, their heads and tails sport vivid purple and green colours. A European Starling’s fresh set of feathers is rich brown with gorgeous white patches from head to tail throughout the winter.
- In comparison to other backyard birds in Kentucky, their beaks and feet are easily identifiable. The beak of a European Starling is brilliant yellow, long, slender, and pointed. Their feet are long and orangey-yellow.
- European Starlings are medium-sized birds, similar to Robins in size (or a tad smaller).
To hear the European Starlings’ call, watch the video below:
These little birds are loud and colorful, with bright colors on their bodies. American Goldfinches are a lively, agile backyard bird that may be seen dangling from birdfeeders or munching on wild seeds in weedy, open fields in Kentucky. They’re generally spotted in bunches, flying in erratic patterns and even calling as they go.
American Goldfinches Identification
If you’re looking for American Goldfinches, here are a few easy methods to spot them:
- Male American Goldfinches become gold (thus their name) or brilliant yellow in the summer. Their wings are black with white patterning, and the tops of their heads near the beak are black. During the summer, female Goldfinches are similarly yellow, albeit their coloration is duller (with a brownish tint) than their male counterparts. Female wings are equally black, however they are drab in appearance.
- These birds are little, roughly the size of a Sparrow and smaller than a Robin.
- Their beaks are drab or yellow in color, medium in thickness, and rather short.
To hear the call of American Goldfinches, watch the video below:
Carolina Wrens, No. 7
The Carolina Wren, Kentucky’s penultimate little backyard bird, is smaller than a Sparrow. Despite their tiny size, these birds are powerful, and they will defend their nests and territory by singing incessantly to alert others to their presence. They’ll even fight and swat away a bigger bird if it comes too near!
These loud little birds may be seen all around Kentucky, jumping among trees and shrubs in backyards, farmed areas, and on the outskirts of forests.
Carolina Wren Identification
Carolina Wrens may be readily distinguished by a few important qualities if you can detect them.
- Both men and women Carolina Wrens’ backs, wings, and tails are all reddish-brown in hue. Their underbellies are a light orange tint, with white colouring under their chins and necks. A single horizontal white stripe runs along the back of the skull over each eye.
- The beak of a Carolina Wren is dark gray or black in hue. It’s on the slimmer side and stretches farther out from the face.
- These birds are little, about the size of a sparrow. Their tails are small and pointed, and their wings are shorter.
To hear the Carolina Wrens’ call, watch the video below:
Blue Jays (#8)
The Blue Jay may be found all across the United States, but it is most prevalent in Kentucky. It’s also one among the state’s numerous common bird species. It is distinguished by its vivid blue coloration and distinct look. These birds may be found on the outskirts of wooded regions or near trees that drop their preferred wild nuts, such as Oak Trees.
Blue Jay Identification
The Blue Jay, as its name suggests, is easy to spot because to its blue coloring. This is how:
- A Blue Jay’s greatest distinguishing feature is its brilliant blue colour. Blue Jays have a distinctive patterning on their wings and tail. Variations of blue colours, white, and black are used in the patterning, and the feather design has a “scaly” aspect.
- Blue Jays are Kentucky’s medium-sized backyard birds, around the size of a Robin.
- Blue Jays’ faces have a mask-like design and a cone-shaped puff of feathers on top of their heads.
To hear the Blue Jays’ call, watch the video below:
How to Make Your Bird Watching More Enjoyable
If you’re new to birdwatching and aren’t sure how to get the most out of your visit, here are a few ideas to help you view more of Kentucky’s common backyard birds:
1. Hang Around Bird Feeders & Bird Baths
Find a bird feeder and keep a careful eye on it if you want to see a variety of different bird species. Bird feeders are an excellent technique to determine which birds are the most numerous in a certain location. Of course, you won’t be able to photograph the bird(s) in their native environment, but keeping an eye on a backyard bird feeder is a great method to identify them.
You may also keep a watch on a bird bath during the warmer months. Small birds will congregate around bird baths to drink and cool off.
2. Make Certain You’re in the Correct Environment
The majority of Kentucky’s backyard birds may be found in inhabited places such as gardens, yards, electricity lines, and even shop parking lots. If you’re looking for a certain species, make sure you know where they’re most likely to be found in the wild. Cardinals, for example, may be found on the fringes of wooded regions and Crows in wide fields.
3. Have Patience
If you’re upset, you won’t acquire that prized nature image. Birds are wary animals that will hop about the ground, engage with other birds, dig for insects, and nibble at wild seeds. Patience is necessary for obtaining a good look at and photographing birds.
4. Experiment with tossing seeds
If you’re having difficulties getting a good look at the birds, you may make a feeding station by scattering seeds on the ground in a calm location, backing up to a safe distance, and waiting for the birds to swarm to the food. This is a terrific approach to get a close look at the local species, but it won’t offer you a natural shot if that’s what you want.
5. Fit in with your surroundings
Camouflage is great for blending in with your environment and keeping birds from noticing your presence. The more you blend with the habitat’s trees, shrubs, and flora, the better. For the finest impact, wear browns, tans, and deep green tones.
6. Maintain a calm demeanor and avoid being too excited.
If this is your first birding expedition, you may be overjoyed (and rightfully so) when you spot the first species on your list! Birds, on the other hand, are flighty animals that will escape at the least movement or abrupt sound. When birdwatching, it’s critical to be quiet and only converse in whispers if necessary. Find a spot where you can set up a chair so you don’t get too hot while waiting for the birds.
The hills of Kentucky are home to a variety of bird species, and these backyard birds of Kentucky are just a few of them! Kentucky is home to some of the most beautiful birds in the country, from the tiny Carolina Wren to the ominous black Crow.
We hope that this guide to Kentucky’s backyard birds has aided in the development of your birding skills! Enjoy your bird viewing!
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