24 Backyard Birds In Idaho (Pictures & Facts)

Many distinct types of wild birds may be found in Idaho. We’ll take a look at some of the state’s most well-known and well-known birds in this article. Several of these species are migratory and spend the majority of their time in Idaho, while others are full-time residents. In this subject, we’ll investigate 24 backyard birds in Idaho and learn more about each one.

I’ll then demonstrate how to entice them to your yard, teach you a crash course in the 10 distinct kinds of bird feeders you may employ to do so, and even recommend a couple of Idaho bird-watching hotspots after that.

How many different species of wild birds are in Idaho?

It’s tough to say how many bird species live in North America, the United States, or even Idaho without a precise number. According to Wikipedia, the state of Idaho has at least 432 different species on its official list of birds. According to one source, North America has 2,059 species; according to another, 914. So I’m not sure how reliable these numbers are, but they do give us a broad idea of the number of species.

We’re going to look at some of Idaho’s most well-known (particularly in your yard) species for the purpose of this article.


In Idaho, we’ll look at 24 species of backyard birds, some of which are permanent residents and others that aren’t. These are just a few of Idaho’s more prominent and well-known backyard birds, not to mention that they aren’t all of the state’s species. Without further ado, let us look at it now.


Scientific nameAgelaius phoeniceus

Length: 6.7-9.1 in

Weight: 1.1-2.7 oz

Wingspan: 12.2-15.8 in

Male Red-winged Blackbirds stand out among the most numerous birds in North America because of their bright red and yellow “shoulders,” which contrast against their black bodies. Nevertheless, females of this species are mostly brown with light streaks and look quite different. Males may have up to 15 different females they are mating with, making them a polygynous species. Unfortunately, they may appear in flocks at feeders and devour seed quickly.

Throughout the year, Idaho is home to Red-winged Blackbirds.

Most types of feeders are visited by red-winged blackbirds, who will eat both seed and suet.


Scientific nameSpinus pinus

Length: 4.3-5.5 in

Weight: 0.4-0.6 oz

Wingspan: 7.1-8.7 in

The Pine Siskins, a little finch species with pointed beaks, are tiny members of the family. They have a brown and white streaked appearance, which makes them seem a lot like female house finches. The wing and sides of the Pine Siskin’s tail will always be yellow (of varying brightness). They are considered nomads, with conifer seeds serving as their primary food source throughout the winter after excellent seed crops. The reason for this is that some winters, you may see a lot of them, and other winters, you may not.

Pine Siskins may be seen all year in Idaho, however they are more frequent during the winter in the southwest.

Nyjer (thistle) feeders attract Pine Siskins, who may also consume millet or hulled sunflower.


Scientific namePoecile atricapillus

Length: 4.7-5.9 in

Weight: 0.3-0.5 oz

Wingspan: 6.3-8.3 in

The “black cap” and black bib of chickadees, which are tiny little birds with rounded bodies, make them extremely easy to identify. Their underbodies are fluffy and light, and their cheeks are solid white. Their wings and backs are blackish gray.

They’re very frequent at bird feeders, where they dart back and forth from one to the other to cover and uncover more food. Chickadees, for their size, are frequently one of the first birds I notice approaching a fresh feeder in my yard.

Throughout Idaho, black-capped chickadees may be found year-round.

Most seed feeders will attract chickadees, who will provide them with a variety of seed blends and black sunflower seeds.


Scientific nameHirundo rustica

Length: 5.9-7.5 in

Weight: 0.6-0.7 oz

Wingspan: 11.4-12.6 in

The open-field birds, barn swallows. The back of these gorgeous birds is a dark blue, with orange around the eyes and neck. Their breasts and bellies range in color from a light tawny to a vivid orange. Their long, deeply forked tail is one of their trademarks. They fly across water, fields, farms, and meadows catching insects in the air with their highly agile bodies. Cup-shaped nests, which are commonly seen in the eaves of barns, gazebos, covered pavilions, and beneath bridges, are made out of a combination of mud and grass.

The U.S. is where barn swallows go. During the spring and summer, you can find them throughout Idaho, especially in rough terrain.

Barn Swallows avoid bird feeders because they eat flying insects. If you have a barn, outbuilding, or gazebo, you might attempt to attract them by setting up a nestbox.


Scientific nameSitta canadensis

Length: 4.3 in

Weight: 0.3-0.5 oz

Wingspan: 7.1-7.9 in

The back of these little nuthatches is dark gray, the chest and belly are rusty (ranging from brightly colored to pale), and the face is boldly black and white striped. These birds are mostly seen hopping around on tree trunks and limbs, hunting insects beneath the bark, and they are quick and active. They’ll utilize backyard nest boxes and nest in tree cavities.

In Idaho, red-breasted Nuthatches may be found all year, but during the winter when food (conifer seeds) is scarce, their numbers often “follow the food” and migrate to other states.

Feeders are widely visited by Red-breasted Nuthatches. Sunflower seeds, peanuts, or suet are all great ideas.


Scientific name: Zonotrichia leucophrys

Length: 5.9-6.3 in

Weight: 0.9-1.0 oz

Wingspan: 8.3-9.4 in

During the summer, white-crowned sparrows live in Canada and Alaska, then return to the United States during winter. White-crowned sparrows have a robust black and white striped head, with the remainder of their face, chest, and belly being a basic buffy brown-gray color. In fields, along road and trail edges, and in places like this, they forage. Sparrows may be found at bird feeders, but they are more likely to collect spilled seed on the ground.

In Idaho, these sparrows have a seasonal distribution that varies. They only survive in the spring and summer in some regions of the north and along Montana’s border. They can be found year-round or only during the winter (southern areas) in other parts of the city.

White-crowned sparrows are frequent visitors to feeding stations and will grab fallen seed there. Sunflower, millet, and mixed seed blends are available.


Scientific nameTurdus migratorius

Length: 7.9-11.0 in

Weight: 2.7-3.0 oz

Wingspan: 12.2-15.8 in

Robins are mostly seen hopping around the grass, looking for worms and other invertebrates to eat, and are very common in backyards. They do not typically eat seeds, although they will visit bird feeders on occasion. They’re easy to spot because of their vivid red skin and yellow beaks.

Although you may see them less frequently in your yard during the winter, robins live all year in Idaho.

Mealworms, native fruit-bearing plants, leaf-litter for foraging, or a bird bath are all good ways to attract American Robins to bird feeders.


Scientific nameZenaida macroura

Length: 9.1-13.4 in

Weight: 3.0-6.0 oz

Wingspan: 17.7 in

Doves are tiny birds that may be seen perched on telephone wires or in clusters in trees throughout the backyards. They like to hang out beneath feeders and pick up the seeds that fall to the ground, hence I often see them on my tray feeder. Mourning Doves have a pale peachy color below and are mostly gray with black spots on top. Their eye ring is blueish-gray, and their legs are pink.

Throughout Idaho, Mourning Doves may be found year-round.

Doves often visit seed feeders, but they search the ground for fallen seeds instead of eating them. Sprinkle some seeds on the ground or use a ground feeder with a mixed seed blend.


Scientific nameSturnus vulgaris

Length: 7.9-9.1 in

Weight: 2.1-3.4 oz

Wingspan: 12.2-15.8 in

In the 1890s, a hundred starlings were released in New York, and they have since overrun the United States. They will overtake feeders, destroying other birds’ nests, murdering their offspring, and destroying other birds’ nests. They have yellow beaks and feet and are mostly all dark with white specks on their backs and wings. Although Starlings seem to be black, they are iridescent and have beautiful purple and green plumage in the right light.

Starlings, unfortunately, can be found all year round in every state except Idaho.

European Starlings will consume anything and everything, with suet being a particular favorite. We recommend that you do not try to attract them since they are an invasive species and will appear anyway.


Scientific nameSpinus tristis

Length: 4.3-5.1 in

Weight: 0.4-0.7 oz

Wingspan: 7.5-8.7 in

In the spring and summer, seeing goldfinches at feeders is one of my favorite activities, particularly when they have their gorgeous yellow feathers. Breeding males during this time become predominantly golden, or “gold,” with black-tipped wings and a black hat on top of their heads. The females and juveniles lack the black head and are not as bright yellow. They will molt in the winter, losing their bright colors and becoming more drab brownish or olive in color. The black on their wings and finch-like beaks will always identify them.

All year, but notably in the summer, goldfinches may be found in Idaho.

Thistle feeders are preferred by goldfinches, but sunflower chips are a good alternative if you don’t have a thistle feeder.


Scientific nameHaemorhous mexicanus

Length: 5.1-5.5 in

Weight: 0.6-0.9 oz

Wingspan: 7.9-9.8 in

In Idaho, the House Finch is another ubiquitous backyard bird. They are originally from the western part of the nation, however they are now widespread across the United States. They may appear in huge flocks and mob your feeders if you attract them, which is fairly simple to do. Males are mostly brown in color, with a little red on the head and chest. Females are completely brown in color.

In Idaho, house finches are fairly common, but in the eastern part of the state and along the Montana boarder, they may be scarce.

House Finches are fond of thistle feeders, as are other finches. They’re more common than Goldfinches at seed feeders, so offer them some black sunflower seeds to entice them.


Scientific namePasser domesticus

Length: 5.9-6.7 in

Weight: 0.9-1.1 oz

Wingspan: 7.5-9.8 in

Houses Sparrows are the only other wild bird species in the United States, and they are often considered pests. In addition to the legal Starlings that you may capture and kill humanely. They were imported to the United States, just like starlings. They have spread like wildfire across our country since their introduction in the 1800s in New York. Their wings and buffy chest are streaked with black and brown, respectively. They are mostly brown in color. House sparrows, especially around nests, are aggressive towards other birds. Other birds nesting in birdhouses are known to be evicted by them.

House Sparrows are invasive and endanger native species, much as European Starlings. Almost anything is edible for them.


Scientific nameEuphagus cyanocephalus

Length: 8.3-9.8 in male, 7.9-8.7 in female

Weight: 2.1-3.0 oz male, 1.8-2.4 oz female

Wingspan: 14.6 in

Western US common birds They are often seen perched up in trees or on utility lines, looking for food. Males are extremely dark and resemble black in daylight, yet they have iridescent blue, purple, and green in bright light. The beak is black, and the eye-ring is yellow. Females have a black eye and are brown all over. These blackbirds are social and will build colonies of 100 or more to raise their young. They will often be found in tiny groups.

Throughout Idaho, brewers blackbirds may be seen year-round.

Blackbird feeders will attract brewers blackbirds, but they have difficulty accessing tiny perches due to their size. A platform feeder or seed scattered on the ground would be their preference. Seed mixes with sunflower, cracked corn, and millet are most likely to be fine.


Scientific nameStreptopelia decaocto

Length: 11.4-11.8 in

Weight: 4.9-6.3 oz

Wingspan: 13.8 in

The Eurasian collared dove, as its name suggests, is found in Europe and Asia. Some of them flew to Florida in the 1970s after escaping from a Bahamas pet store. These escaped birds, as well as others released on Guadeloupe in the south Caribbean, are believed to have started the colonization of the United States. They can now be found across the United States. Mexico and the United States are also represented. They have a chunkier body and a longer tail than a mourning dove, but are otherwise similar. They have a plain back with a black stripe across the back of their neck, unlike mourning doves, who have black markings on their backs.

Idaho is home to the Eurasian collared dove all year.

Eurasian collared doves prefer to eat seeds and grain from platform feeders or strewn throughout the grass in backyards. Millet is one of their favorite foods.


Scientific nameMelospiza melodia

Length: 4.7-6.7 in

Weight: 0.4-1.9 oz

Wingspan: 7.1-9.4 in

Brown on the back and wings, with thick brown streaks on a white breast, these sparrows are mostly brown. The plumage of song Sparrows varies slightly from region to region and they are ubiquitous across much of North America. In addition to attracting females, the male of the species uses his song to defend his territory.

Throughout Idaho, year-round Song Sparrows may be found.

Song Sparrows will eat mixed seeds and sunflower seeds from bird feeders on occasion.


Scientific namePica hudsonia

Length: 17.7-23.6 in

Weight: 5.1-7.4 oz

Wingspan: 22.1-24.0 in

The shape of a jay, but the size of a crow, the beautiful black-billed magpie has. Metallic blue on their wings and a long tail, black head, chest, and back. Bright white shoulder and sides. Fruit, grain, insects, small mammals, carrion, and eggs make up their varied diet. They are also seen peeking through the hair of large animals like moose and deer for ticks, hanging out on their backs. These boldly colored birds may be observed perched on trees or fenceposts, and they aren’t bashful. They can be quite noisy, especially in groups.

Every year, black-billed magpies may be seen in Idaho.

Black-billed magpies may visit backyards despite their preference for open rangeland. On a platform feeder, with suet, or by leaving out fruit like orange halves, try to attract them with sunflower seeds and peanuts.


Scientific nameSetophaga petechia

Length: 4.7-5.1 in

Weight: 0.3-0.4 oz

Wingspan: 6.3-7.9 in

The yellow warbler is completely yellow in color. Their backs may be more of a darker, olive yellow, while their chest and head are brighter. On the chest of males, there is a little reddish-brown streaking. Thickets and small trees near wetlands or streams are their preferred habitat.

Throughout the spring and summer, Yellow Warblers may be found across Idaho.

Insect-eating yellow warblers aren’t interested in bird feeders. Planting tiny trees that caterpillars can feed on might help you attract them.


Scientific nameBombycilla cedrorum

Length: 5.5-6.7 in

Weight: 1.1 oz

Wingspan: 8.7-11.8 in

The distinctive coloring of Cedar Waxwings makes them easy to see. The head and chest are tawny brown, the belly is yellow, the wings are dark gray, and the tail is yellow tipped. A large fluffy brown crest and a dramatic black eye mask rimmed in white adorn their face. Little, red, waxy nubs at the ends of their wings gave the waxwing its name.

They’re sometimes difficult to perceive and no one knows what they’re for. They may help you find a mate. Cedar waxwings are one of the few North American birds that can subsist solely on fruit for several months. Insects and other foods are added to their diet, but unlike other birds, they can eat a significantly higher percentage of fruit.

Seed feeders are not safe for Cedar Waxwings to eat. Native trees and shrubs that produce small fruits and berries may entice them to your yard.


Scientific nameCorvus brachyrhynchos

Length: 15.8-20.9 in

Weight: 11.2-21.9 oz

Wingspan: 33.5-39.4 in

Crows are black in color and have a massive build. They’re also recognized for their intelligence, comparable to that of their cousin the raven. In huge numbers, crows will roost higher up in the tree canopy, giving them a birds-eye view of everything below. The roost will yell out and alert everyone nearby if an owl or hawk arrives.

Throughout the year, crows may be found in all of Idaho.

Crows are too big to visit bird feeders, so they are omnivorous and seldom do.


Scientific nameJunco hyemalis

Length: 5.5-6.3 in

Weight: 0.6-1.1 oz

Wingspan: 7.1-9.8 in

Since they spend their summers up in Canada, juncos are commonly regarded as winter birds in the United States. They all have a pale pink beak and are spherical little birds, however their feather colors differ throughout the United States. Both the “Oregon” and the “Pink-sided” varieties are available in Idaho. The Oregon pink-sided has a pale buffy breast, while the pink-sided has pink sides, as one would expect. Females are similar to males, but their color is less vibrant. Juncos, which may frequently be seen hopping around on the ground, are most frequent in wooded regions and forests.

All year, Idaho is home to the dark-eyed Juncos. The Oregon pattern is more prevalent and can be seen across most of the state’s northern half. The state’s southeastern corner will have a higher concentration of pink-sided variants.

Juncos prefer to feed on the ground and will visit feeders on occasion. Birds are commonly seen collecting the spilled seeds beneath bird feeders.


Scientific nameSpizella passerina

Length: 4.7-5.9 in

Weight: 0.4-0.6 oz

Wingspan: 8.3 in

Chipping sparrows have their most crisp feathers in the summer, with a buffy gray breast, brown and tan streaked wings, rusty red cap, and a black line through the eye with white above. In winter their markings may appear less defined and their coloring more buffy-brown. They are common sparrows that like to feed on open ground.

Only in the spring and summer are Chipping Sparrows seen across Idaho.

Chipping Sparrows are frequent visitors of birdfeeders and will often remain on the ground gathering spilled food. Sunflower and mixed seed, especially scattered on the ground, attract them.


Scientific namePiranga Iudoviciana

Length: 6.3-7.5 in

Weight: 0.8-1.3 oz

A male western tanager is unmistakable. Their brilliant yellow chest and back contrast with the black wings, which have a vibrant orange face. Females have gray wings and do not have an orange face, and they are usually duller in color than males. In the woods, especially among conifer trees, they are frequent. They devour mostly arthropods that they pluck from leaves high in the trees’ crowns.

During the spring and summer breeding season, western tanagers may be found across Idaho.

Dried fruit or fresh oranges may help you attract southern tanagers to seed feeders. They may be attracted to your yard by a bird bath or other water feature.


Scientific nameMolothrus ater

Length: 7.5 – 8.7 in

Weight: 1.5 – 1.8 oz

Wingspan: 12.6 – 15.0 in

Because of the color of the males, brown-headed cowbirds are frequently classified as blackbirds (and may mob your feeders). The body of a male is iridescent black, and his head is dark brown. Females have a lighter brown coloration all over.

Cowbirds, on the other hand, are “nest parasites,” placing their eggs in the nests of other species. The species’ population decreases as a result of this. To make room for their own, they occasionally steal one egg among the others and eject other eggs from the nest. Several birds believe the chick is their own, and the imposter egg is not recognized.

Only during the spring and summer months do cowbirds live in Idaho.

Brown-headed cowbirds are known to visit feeding stations in large numbers. Mixed seed is embraced by them, and they’ll eat it all.


Scientific nameColaptes 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, these medium to big-sized woodpeckers are rather widespread, although not ubiquitous. They are, in my opinion, some of North America’s most gorgeous birds. Flickers prefer to eat insects rather than fruit, and unlike other woodpeckers, they frequently search for them on the ground. The black markings on their bellies, solid black bib, barred black and gray wings, and brown face on a gray head help you identify them. Females do not have a red mustache on their males. You may find bright red feathers on the underside of their wings and tail in Idaho, which is known as the “red-shafted” variety.

Throughout Idaho, Northern Flickers may be found year-round.

While other woodpecker species may visit feeders more often, Northern Flickers will still come to suet feeders. Leaf piles may be seen digging around for insects if they are in your yard.


Want to attract some of these birds to your yard? Start with the most basic of these 5 tips and work your way up.


Placing out a bird feeder or two is the finest and simplest technique to entice birds to your yard. A basic tube feeder, hopper feeder, platform feeder, or window feeder are some of the options I’d recommend. For each, there are some recommendations below.


You may utilize a terra cotta flower pot saucer, such as this one, instead of a pedestal birdbath like the one on Amazon. Birds need water not just to wash in, but also to drink, so adding a water feature to your yard is an excellent way of encouraging birds. Because moving water will attract the birds to visit the pond even more, consider adding a solar fountain.


If placed in the appropriate location at the proper time of year, several species of birds will readily take up residence in birdhouses. Among the most popular birds sought after by bird enthusiasts are Eastern Bluebirds. A mating pair of bluebirds was inspecting my birdhouse the same day I put it in, and I had it in my back yard.


Make certain that the birds can dart back and forth between your yard’s trees, bushes, and shrubs when they sense danger. Predators are kept at bay by this. Try to add some landscaping elements that will let birds view your yard as safe if your yard is in a new development with no mature trees.


Having native plants that provide nuts, berries, and seeds will help you attract more birds for many birds that eat them. Since non-native plants may be harmful to untrained native birds, try to keep them away.


The most popular bird feeders in people’s gardens are listed below.

  1. The name “hopper feeder” comes from the fact that it contains a hopper, which holds the bird seed, in the center. Birds may land on and feed from the perches on the sides. Many hopper feeders are covered on top to keep the seed dry and resemble a house. For this kind of feeder, use black sunflower seeds or a mix of birdseed. This is one of my favorite hopper feeders, and it’s squirrel-proof!
  2. Platform feeders are open on top and may be hung from a tree or hook, or pole-mounted. They are sometimes known as tray feeders. They’re simple to set up and work well for feeding most kinds of birds. Every animal in your yard that can reach them will eat from them, despite the fact that they are completely open. For this kind of feeder, use black sunflower seeds or a combination of birdseed. In my backyard, I’m utilizing this platform feeder.
  3. Tube feeders are simply clear tube-shaped bird feeders that are used to feed birds. They may hold from a few cups of seed to 5 pounds or more, depending on their size. They’re nice since they allow you to easily refill your seed while keeping it fresh and dry. Tube feeders are used by several kinds 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 one of their best.
  4. Suet feeders are used to feed one kind of bird food, suet cakes. They’re a very basic design, typically consisting of just a metal wire cage with a tail-prop for bigger birds. Suet feeders are often visited by woodpeckers throughout the winter since they provide high-fat foods to birds. To attract larger woodpeckers, such as the Pileated and Northern Flicker, I suggest getting a suet feeder with a long tail.
  5. Small bird feeders called window feeders are suction-cup-mounted devices that may be mounted on a glass window. They’re open on top and you pour seed into the tray compartment to replenish them, similar to tray feeders. These feeders are ideal for people with small yards and attract a variety of different species of birds. They are simple to set up and maintain. For this kind of feeder, use black sunflower seeds or a combination of birdseed. This is perhaps the most popular bird feeder on Amazon, and it’s also by far the most popular window feeder.
  6. Thistle feeders, often known as Nyjer feeders, are specialized bird feeders designed to hold thistle seed. Birds in the finch family, including the American Goldfinch and House Finch, are among the main species of birds that thistle feeders attract. Thistle feeders have tiny holes along the sides of the tube that enable the birds to remove the thistle. They are often shaped like a tube. Droll Yankees has a fantastic thistle feeder.
  7. Ground feeders are similar to tray feeders in that they sit on the ground. Birds such as Mourning Doves and Juncos, as well as squirrels, raccoons, and any other kind of ground animal will love them. For this type of feeder, use black sunflower seeds or a combination of birdseed. This recycled plastic ground feeder is a great option for you.
  8. Another kind of specialty feeder for one species of bird, orioles, is the oriole feeder. Little plastic or glass dishes designed for holding jelly, which orioles adore, are often used to feed the feeder itself. You may also place orange wedges on the feeder, which orioles adore. Here’s an oriole feeder that holds orange halves in four jelly trays.
  9. Hummingbird feeders, also known as nectar feeders, are suited specifically for hummingbirds and are used to extract sugar water. I frequently see Downy Woodpeckers at mine, despite the fact that they are designed for hummingbirds. Learn how to make hummingbird nectar without boiling the water by reading this article. There’s no need to spend a lot of money on a hummingbird feeder since they’re basic and cost-effective.
  10. Peanut feeders are tube-shaped and typically made of metal wire mesh material. They’re similar to thistle feeders in appearance. To enable whole unshelled or shelled peanuts to go through the holes, the holes in the wire mesh are spaced much farther apart. These feeders should be filled with peanuts and attract birds like Blue Jays. Squirrel Buster’s feeder is the best option if you want to keep squirrels out of your peanut feeder. The simple one will suffice in any case.


If you want to expand your interest outside of your own backyard, Idaho is a fantastic state for birding. If you’re keen to get more engaged with the Audubon Society, there are groups around the state that host meetups, seminars, field excursions, and birding excursions.

Take a look at this list of popular birding sites in Idaho if you’re an Idaho citizen who’d want to add some new species to your life list.


  • Blacks Creek Bird Reserve
  • Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge
  • Mud Lake Wildlife Management Area
  • Market Lake Wildlife Management Area
  • Camas National Wildlife Refuge
  • Mann Lake

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