Many different types of birds may be found in Delaware. Some of the species are migratory and only spend the summer or winter in Delaware, while others live here all year. In this essay, we’ll look at the 24 most frequent backyard birds in Delaware and learn something about each species.
Then I’ll show you how to draw them to your property, give you a crash course in the 10 diverse types of bird feeders that may be used, and even suggest a few birdwatching hotspots in Delaware.
How many different species of wild birds are in Delaware?
It’s difficult to say exactly how many different bird species exist in North America, the United States, or even Delaware. Nonetheless, according to the internet encyclopedia Delaware has at least 420 species of birds. According to one source, North America has 2,059 species; according to another, it has just 914. These numbers don’t give us a precise number of species, but they do provide a broad idea.
We’re simply going to examine a few of the animals that most residents in Delaware, especially in backyards, are familiar with for the purposes of this article.
24 COMMON BACKYARD BIRDS IN DELAWARE
We’ll take a look at 24 different species of backyard birds in Delaware, including some migrants. While these aren’t necessarily all of Delaware’s species, they are some of the birds that are most likely to visit backyards. Let’s get started!
1. NORTHERN CARDINAL
Scientific name: Cardinalis cardinalis
Length: 8.3-9.1 in
Weight: 1.5-1.7 oz
Wingspan: 9.8-12.2 in
The most well-known and frequent backyard birds in North America are Northern Cardinals. Females have duller colors and are more tawny brown with some reddish coloring, while males have brilliant red feathers and a black mask. The crests, which resemble mohawks atop their heads and reddish orange beaks, differentiate both sexes from one another.
All year, Delaware has Southern cardinals.
Most seed feeders will be visited by the Cardinals, who will provide them with mixed seed blends and black sunflower seeds.
2. TUFTED TITMOUSE
Scientific name: Baeolophus bicolor
Length: 5.5-6.3 in
Weight: 0.6-0.9 oz
Wingspan: 7.9-10.2 in
In their range, these little birds are quite frequent around feeders and in yards. They have a tiny mohawk, much like cardinals, that helps you identify them from other species. Titmice have a black patch just above their beaks and are silver-gray on top and lighter on bottom. On their side beneath the wing, they may sometimes be seen with an orange patch.
Throughout the year, Delaware is home to the tufted titmouse.
Most seed feeders will be visited by titmice, who will offer them a variety of seed mixes and black sunflower seeds.
3. CAROLINA CHICKADEE
Scientific name: Poecile carolinensis
Length: 3.9-4.7 in
Weight: 0.3-0.4 oz
Wingspan: 5.9-7.9 in
Because of their “black cap” and black bib, chickadees are small little birds that are easy to identify. Their underbodies are puffy and light, and their cheeks are solid white with gray wings and backs.
Carolina chickadees are common backyard birds in Delaware, and should not be confused with their close cousins, Black-capped Chickadees, who live farther north. They’re often seen darting back and forth from a feeder to cover and repeat for more, frequenting bird feeders. When I open a new feeder in my yard, Chickadees are usually among the first birds I see. Their size makes them appear courageous and inquisitive.
Throughout the year, Carolina chickadees may be seen in Delaware, although in the panhandle, they may be uncommon.
4. BLUE JAY
Scientific name: Cyanocitta cristata
Length: 9.8-11.8 in
Weight: 2.5-3.5 oz
Wingspan: 13.4-16.9 in
In North America and the United States, another very well-known bird species is the snowy owl. The blue jay is the one in question. They have a mostly blue head with a big blue crest and white feathers on the bottom. In addition, their necks are ringed with a black necklace-like collar. White, blue, and black stripes run down their wings. The coloration of both females and males is the same.
Another year-round resident of the state of Delaware is the Blue Jays. In backyards and feeders, they’re widespread.
Platform feeders, peanut feeders, and feeders with huge perches are popular with Blue Jays. Black sunflower seeds, mixed seeds, and peanuts are all options.
5. RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD
Scientific name: Agelaius phoeniceus
Length: 6.7-9.1 in
Weight: 1.1-2.7 oz
Wingspan: 12.2-15.8 in
Male red-winged blackbirds are among the most common birds in North America, with their crimson and yellow “shoulders” standing out against their dark bodies. Females, on the other hand, are brown with light streaks and look quite different from males. Males of this species may have up to 15 different females that they are mating with, making them a polygynous species. Unfortunately, they may appear in large flocks and devour seed at a rapid pace at feeders.
All year, Delaware is home to red-winged blackbirds.
Most types of feeders are visited by Red-winged Blackbirds, who will eat seed and suet.
6. WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH
Scientific name: Sitta carolinensis
Length: 5.1-5.5 in
Weight: 0.6-1.1 oz
Wingspan: 7.9-10.6 in
In most backyards within their range, White-breasted Nuthatches are a common feeder bird. They crack open the seed from the shell using their razor-sharp beaks, which they stuff beneath tree bark. In addition, these birds have the potential to walk on trees more efficiently than other species.
White-breasted nuthatches have a white head with a black stripe on top, as well as white on their sides and bellies. They have a chisel-like beak that is longer than most other feeder birds, and their wings are primarily gray and black.
Throughout Delaware, white-breasted nuthatches may be found all year.
7. AMERICAN ROBIN
Scientific name: Turdus migratorius
Length: 7.9-11.0 in
Weight: 2.7-3.0 oz
Wingspan: 12.2-15.8 in
Robins are most often seen hopping around the grass, looking for worms and other invertebrates to eat, and they are very common in backyards. During the winter, they often go into the woods, then in the spring, they seem to migrate out of state by returning to more open areas. They normally do not eat seeds, although they may consume them from time to time. They’re easy to recognize because of their bright orange spherical bellies, yellow beaks, and bigger proportions.
In the state of Delaware, robins may be found all year.
Attract American Robins to seed feeders with meal worms, native fruit-bearing plants, or a bird bath since they are not often seen.
8. MOURNING DOVE
Scientific name: Zenaida macroura
Length: 9.1-13.4 in
Weight: 3.0-6.0 oz
Wingspan: 17.7 in
Doves are a common sight in backyards and may often be seen perched on telephone poles or in clusters in trees, similar to a robin. They’re often seen walking around on the ground beneath hanging bird feeders, but I occasionally see them on my tray feeder. Mourning doves have pink legs and are mostly gray with black markings on top. Males and females have the same appearance.
Throughout Delaware, Mourning Doves may be seen all year.
Dove feeders are common, but the birds search the earth for fallen seeds. Place some seeds on the ground or try a ground feeder with a mixed seed blend.
9. EUROPEAN STARLING
Scientific name: Sturnus vulgaris
Length: 7.9-9.1 in
Weight: 2.1-3.4 oz
Wingspan: 12.2-15.8 in
In the 1890s, 100 starlings were set free in New York, and they have since overrun the United States. They beat other birds’ nests, slaughter their young, and sneak into feeders to get all the food you put out for other birds. They have yellow beaks and feet and are mostly dark with white specks on their backs and wings. In the right light, starlings may also be a purple and green iridescent color that is quite lovely.
Every year of the year, starlings may be found in every state except Delaware.
Almost anything can be eaten by European Starlings. We recommend that you don’t try to attract them, since they are an invasive species and will anyway appear.
10. AMERICAN GOLDFINCH
Scientific name: Spinus tristis
Length: 4.3-5.1 in
Weight: 0.4-0.7 oz
Wingspan: 7.5-8.7 in
When the bright yellow feathers of goldfinches are in the spring and summer, they are among my favorite birds to watch at feeders. They have yellow wings with black-tipped wings during this time period. Males wear a black hat on top of their heads as well. They’ll lose their bright colors in the winter, and their color will shift to a more brown or olive hue. In the winter, when they look so different, many people mistake them for a different species. Their black wings with white bars, as well as their finch-like beaks, are always visible whenever they’re in the air.
Throughout the year, Delaware’s goldfinches can be found.
Thistle (nyjer) feeders are preferred by goldfinches. Sunflower chips are another option, but attracting them with a thistle feeder is your best bet.
11. HOUSE FINCH
Scientific name: Haemorhous mexicanus
Length: 5.1-5.5 in
Weight: 0.6-0.9 oz
Wingspan: 7.9-9.8 in
In Delaware, the House Finch is yet another prevalent backyard bird. They are not as despised as House Sparrows, and they do not cause the havoc that the sparrows do, despite being invasive in the east. They may emerge in big flocks and swarm your feeders if you attract them, which is quite simple to do. Brown with extensive white streaking, both sexes are brown. The head, chest, and back of males are splashed crimson.
Anytime of year, House Finches may be found all throughout Delaware.
Black sunflower or mixed seed are favorites of house finches, who will devour them. House Finches, like other finches, will visit thistle feeders.
12. HOUSE SPARROW
Scientific name: Passer domesticus
Length: 5.9-6.7 in
Weight: 0.9-1.1 oz
Wingspan: 7.5-9.8 in
House sparrows are the only other kind of wild bird in the United States, and they are often considered pests. Apart from starlings, which you may capture and kill humanely. They, too, were imported in the 1800s and have since spread across the United States like wildfire as an invasive species. Their wings and buffy chest are streaked with black and brown, and they are primarily brown in color. With a black mask and chest, males are frequently distinguished. In general, they are hostile toward other birds, especially at nests and birdhouses.
House sparrows, like the european starling, are invasive and endanger native species. Most types of seed will be consumed.
13. NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD
Scientific name: Mimus polyglottos
Length: 8.3-10.2 in
Weight: 1.6-2.0 oz
Wingspan: 12.2-13.8 in
The ability of mockingbirds to imitate the songs of other birds earned them their name. A male mockingbird may amass up to 200 distinct songs during its lifetime, according to estimates. The tail feathers of these medium-sized backyard birds are rather long, and they are mostly gray and white in color. They’re frequently observed resting in tall bushes, and they’re known for harassing outside birds.
The state of Delaware is home to northern mockingbirds all year long.
In the backyards of Northern Mockingbirds, bird feeders are common, but they don’t visit very often. Using some of the other suggestions below, such as fruit-bearing bushes or a bird bath, you can entice them to your yard.
14. COMMON GRACKLE
Scientific name: Quiscalus quiscula
Length: 11.0-13.4 in
Weight: 2.6-5.0 oz
Wingspan: 14.2-18.1 in
Grackles are also quite attractive in the right light with their iridescent feathers, despite being classified as a bully bird like the starling. They’re generally black in hue, however blue, green, brown, and purple hues may be seen in bright light. Grackles will join other types of blackbirds in roosts and form massive flocks numbering in the millions of birds. Their solid color, long slender body, and yellow ringed eye distinguish them easily.
Grackles may be found year-round in Delaware.
Grackles are often considered pests because they are foragers and will eat just about anything.
15. SONG SPARROW
Scientific name: Melospiza melodia
Length: 4.7-6.7 in
Weight: 0.4-1.9 oz
Wingspan: 7.1-9.4 in
Song Sparrows are very common throughout most of North America and their plumage can vary from region to region. In the east, these sparrows are mostly brown on the back and wings, with heavy brown streaks on their chest and a white belly. The streaks on their chest often converge in a noticeable brown spot, which can help with identification. The male of the species uses his song to attract females as well as to defend his territory.
Song Sparrows may be found all year in Delaware, but they move around a lot.
Song Sparrows will eat mixed seeds and sunflower seeds from bird feeders on occasion.
Scientific name: Melanerpes carolinus
Length: 9.4 in
Weight: 2.0-3.2 oz
Wingspan: 13.0-16.5 in
In the eastern United States, these medium-sized woodpeckers can be found at feeders and backyards. The bright red stripe down the back of their heads may be the first thing you notice, despite the fact that they are described as “red-bellied.” They have a basic white breast, but there is a pinkish-red patch in the middle of their “belly.” This is usually not visible. With the white and black barring on their wings, they are very easy to identify.
In Delaware, red-bellied woodpeckers can be found all year.
While they will occasionally eat at seed feeders, especially if you provide combinations including peanuts, attract Red-bellied woodpeckers with a suet feeder.
17. DOWNY WOODPECKER
Scientific name: Picoides pubescens
Length: 5.5-6.7 in
Weight: 0.7-1.0 oz
Wingspan: 9.8-11.8 in
Backyard birds, such as the downy, are quite common at bird feeders. They’re one of the first birds I notice at a new bird feeder, and they’re the tiniest woodpeckers in North America. Their totally white underbodies, black wings with white dots, black and white striped heads, and red spot on the back of their heads (male has no red in females) make them easy to identify. Downy’s are smaller with shorter beaks, but they closely resemble the hairy woodpecker.
Throughout the whole state of Delaware, downy woodpeckers can be found year-round.
At most types of bird feeders, the Downy Woodpecker is very common. Mixed seed, black sunflower seed, and suet should be offered.
18. CAROLINA WREN
Scientific name: Thryothorus ludovicianus
Length: 4.7-5.5 in
Weight: 0.6-0.8 oz
Wingspan: 11.4 in
The top of these little birds is usually reddish-brown, while the bottom is light orangish. These birds have a somewhat lengthy, somewhat curved beak and a prominent white “eyebrow.” While they prefer to conceal in bushes, their loud “teakettle-teakettle” cry is guaranteed to ring a bell with you.
Throughout the year, you may see Carolina wrens in Delaware.
Backyard Carolina Wrens are fairly frequent visitors to suet feeders.
19. EASTERN TOWHEE
Scientific name: Pipilo erythrophthalmus
Length: 6.8-8.2 in
Weight: 1.1-1.8 oz
Wingspan: 7.9-11.0 in
A delightful backyard bird, the Eastern Towhee is always a delight to observe. The head and back of both sexes are dark, with white wing patches, orange flanks, and a white belly. Males, on the other hand, have a dark color that is black, while females have a brown color. Throughout the spring and summer, they sing a lovely song with a warm tone in the woods. Towhees scour the leaf litter and vegetation for insects, seeds, and berries, while master foragers look on. Leaving some brushy edges and leaf litter along your yard line will give you a better chance of attracting towhees to your yard.
Delaware is home to the Eastern Towhee, who spends the year there.
In my experience, Eastern Towhees don’t eat from bird feeders very often, although I’ve seen them hopping around the ground beneath my feeders on a regular basis. In this sense, bird feeders may attract towhees.
20. DARK-EYED JUNCO
Scientific name: Junco hyemalis
Length: 5.5-6.3 in
Weight: 0.6-1.1 oz
Wingspan: 7.1-9.8 in
Because they spend their summers up in Canada, juncos are often referred to as winter birds in the United States. They come in a variety of colors across the country. In the eastern part of the United States, It’s a common sight to see the slate-colored variety. The head, chest, back, wings, and tail are all dark gray.
They have a white belly that extends all the way down the tail. Females can range in color from gray to buffy brown. The pale pink beak and roundish body shape of junco are two good features to look for when identifying them. They can often be found hopping around on the ground in forests and wooded regions.
Only during the winter months may you find Dark-eyed Juncos in Delaware.
Juncos will occasionally feed at feeders, but they favor eating seed from the ground beneath your feeders, which other birds have dropped. Mixed seeds are something they appreciate.
21. WHITE-THROATED SPARROW
Scientific name: Zonotrichia albicollis
Length: 6.3-7.1 in
Weight: 0.8-1.1 oz
Wingspan: 7.9-9.1 in
The White-throated Sparrow is found throughout most of the United States. Throughout the winter, they migrate to Canada to breed before returning during the summer. Their bold facial pattern of black and white stripe with yellow spots between the eyes makes them easier to identify among sparrows, as does their white throat patch. Females prefer to nest in secluded areas of thicket and vegetation, on or just above the ground.
During the winter months, white-throated sparrows may be found across Delaware.
Feeders are visited by white-throated sparrows, who enjoy collecting fallen seed. Sunflower, millet, and assorted seed blends are available.
22. NORTHERN FLICKER
Scientific name: Colaptes auratus
Length: 11.0-12.2 in
Weight: 3.9-5.6 oz
Wingspan: 16.5-20.1 in
In backyards throughout the United States, but not particularly common at feeders, these medium to big sized woodpeckers may be found. They’re among my favorite birds in North America, in my opinion. Unlike other woodpeckers, Flickers prefer to find insects on the ground rather than in trees, and they feed primarily on them. Black spots on their bellies, a solid black bib, a red patch on the back of their necks, and barred black and gray wings are all characteristics that distinguish them. Males have a black beard and mustaches. The Delaware variant has brilliant yellow feathers on the underside of its wings and tail, and it is known as the “yellow-shafted” variety.
All throughout the year, Delaware’s Northern Flickers may be seen.
While other woodpecker species spend more time visiting feeders, Northern Flickers will visit suet feeders as well. You may observe them digging for insects in your leaf piles if you have some in the yard.
23. GRAY CATBIRD
Scientific name: Dumetella carolinensis
Length: 8.3-9.4 in
Weight: 0.8-2.0 oz
Wingspan: 8.7-11.8 in
Catbirds are tiny birds with a black head and a long tail that have dark slate gray skin all over. A rusty red patch may be seen just below their tails, but it is frequently overlooked. Catbirds are fruit-loving birds, so provide them with nearby fruit-bearing trees and shrubs. Their cries sound like that of a meowing cat, hence the term “catbird.”
Gray catbirds are only seen during the summer in most states, although Delaware has a reputation for having them all year.
If you offer some sweets, berries, and other sweet items, you may be able to attract catbirds; however, they prefer to forage on the ground or in bushes for food.
24. AMERICAN CROW
Scientific name: Corvus brachyrhynchos
Length: 15.8-20.9 in
Weight: 11.2-21.9 oz
Wingspan: 33.5-39.4 in
The black color of American Crows is deep and the birds are big. Like their cousin the raven, they are also well-known for their problem-solving ability. In huge numbers, crows will roost higher in the tree tops, allowing them to see everything below from a birds-eye perspective. The roost will yell out if an owl or hawk arrives, alerting everyone that danger is present.
Every year, throughout the year, Crows may be seen all over Delaware.
Crows are big enough to resist bird feeders, so they visit them rarely.
HOW TO ATTRACT BIRDS TO YOUR YARD
Do you want to attract some of these birds to your yard? Starting with the most basic, take a look at these five simple tips.
1. PUT OUT BIRD FEEDERS
Placing out a bird feeder or two is the finest and simplest way to entice birds to your yard. A basic tube feeder, hopper feeder, platform feeder, or window feeder are all good starting options. For more ideas, see the sections below.
2. ADD A WATER SOURCE
This Amazon product is fantastic, but you can use anything from a terra cotta flower pot saucer to a pedestal birdbath. Birds need water not just to wash in, but also to drink, which will increase the chances of attracting them by adding a water feature to your yard. Also, since moving water attracts the birds to visit the water even more, consider adding a solar fountain.
3. OFFER BIRDHOUSES
If placed in the proper location at the proper time of year, several types of birds will readily take up residence in birdhouses. Among the most popular birds for birdhouses are Eastern Bluebirds. A mating pair of bluebirds were inspecting my birdhouse in my yard the same day I put it up, and they came to inspect me.
4. PROVIDE SHELTER
Birds need trees, plants, and shrubs that they can dart back and forth between when they sense danger. Predators are the primary threat for this species. Attempt to add some landscaping elements that will allow birds to view your yard as safe if your yard is in a new subdivision with no mature trees.
5. ADD NATIVE PLANTS
Having native plants that produce nuts, berries, and seeds will help your efforts to attract more birds for many birds that eat them. Moreover, since most songbirds feed insects to their hatchlings, native plants help caterpillars and other insects that support many birds and encourage nesting. Try to keep non-native and invasive plants at bay, thus allowing native flora to thrive in their environment.
10 DIFFERENT TYPES OF BIRD FEEDERS
In the yards of many households, there are ten of the most popular bird feeders.
- Hopper feeders are called that because they have a hopper in the center, which holds the bird seed. Bird perches may be found on both sides of the cage, allowing them to feed. Some hopper feeders are shaped like a house and have a canopy top to retain the seed dry. For this kind of feeder, use black sunflower seeds or a combination of birdseed. This is one of my favorite hopper feeders, and it’s squirrel-proof.
- Platform feeders are open on top and may be hung from a tree, hook, or pole-mounted; they are also known as tray feeders. They’re simple to install and ideal for feeding a wide range of birds. Every animal in your yard that can reach them will eat from them, however they are totally open. For this kind of feeder, use black sunflower seeds or a combination of birdseed. In my yard right now, I’m utilizing this platform feeder.
- Tube feeders are simple transparent tube-shaped bird feeders that come in a variety of sizes. They may hold a few cups of seed up to 5 pounds in weight. They’re fantastic since they allow you to seed easily when it’s necessary, while also keeping your seed fresh and dry. Tube feeders are used by a variety of birds. Tube feeders can be used to feed black sunflower seeds and mixed seeds. This squirrel proof tube feeder is made by Squirrel Buster, and it’s among the best on the market.
- Suet cake feeders are for one type of bird food, suet cakes. They are a very basic design, consisting mainly of a metal wire cage with a tail-prop for bigger birds. Suet feeders are usually patronized by woodpeckers in the winter when birds are seeking for high-fat foods. I recommend the use of a suet feeder with a lengthy tail prop to attract bigger woodpeckers, such as Pileated and Northern Flickers.
- Little bird feeders known as window feeders are often mounted on a glass window using suction cups. They’re similar to tray feeders in that you pour seed into them by opening the top and dumping it into the tray. These feeders are ideal for people who don’t have large gardens and are popular with a variety of different bird species. For this type of feeder, use black sunflower seeds or a combination of birdseed. This is, without a doubt, the most well-liked window feeder on Amazon and maybe in general.
- Thistle feeders, also known as Nyjer feeders, are specialized bird feeders that are especially suited for thistle seed. Birds in the finch family, which includes the American Goldfinch and House Finch, are among the most common birds that thistle feeders attract. Thistle feeders are often circular in shape and feature little apertures along the circumference of the circle, allowing birds to pick thistle. Droll Yankees has a great thistle feeder.
- Ground feeders are essentially tray feeders that sit on the ground surface. Birds such as Mourning Doves and Juncos, as well as squirrels, raccoons, and other ground creatures, will adore them. For this sort of feeder, use black sunflower seeds or a combination of birdseed. This recycled plastic ground feeder may be interesting to you..
- Another kind of specialized feeder for one species of birds, orioles, is oriole feeders. Little plastic or glass dishes designed for holding jelly, which orioles adore, are frequently included with the feeder. They also allow you to feed orioles other foods that they enjoy, such as orange halves. With four jelly trays, this is a simple oriole feeder for orange halves.
- Hummingbird feeders, often known as hummingbird feeders, are created to extract sugar water from the nectar of hummingbirds. I often see Downy Woodpeckers at mine who also enjoy that sweet nectar, even though they are meant for hummingbirds. If you want to make hummingbird nectar without boiling the water, read this article. There’s no need to spend a lot of money on a hummingbird feeder since they’re so simple and cost-effective.
- Peanut feeders are tube-shaped and usually made of metal wire mesh material, similar to thistle feeders. To allow for whole unshelled or shelled peanuts to pass through the holes, the holes in the wire mesh are only somewhat further apart. These feeders should be filled with peanuts and attract birds like Blue Jays. Squirrel Buster is your best option if you want to keep squirrels out of your peanut feeder. This basic one will suffice in most situations.
BIRD WATCHING IN DELAWARE
If you want to go birding in Delaware, there is plenty of opportunity for you to do so. If you want to get more involved with the Delaware Audubon Society, there are meetups, workshops, field trips, and birding tours available.
Take a look at this list I’ve put together of some popular birding spots in Delaware if you’re a Delaware resident and want to add some new species to your life list.
DELAWARE BIRDING LOCATIONS
- Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge
- Ted Harvey Wildlife Management Area
- Milford Neck Wildlife Area
- Cape Henlopen State Park
- Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge
- Assawoman Wildlife Area