25 Backyard Birds In Tennesse (Pictures & Facts)

Several distinct species of wild birds may be found in Tennessee. 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 only spend part of the year in Tennessee, while others reside there permanently. We’ll learn a little about each species in this article by looking at 25 backyard birds in Tennessee.

After that, I’ll demonstrate how to entice them to your property, give you a crash course in the 10 distinct kinds of bird feeders available for doing so, and perhaps even provide you with some Tennessee birdwatching favorites.

How many different species of wild birds are in Tennessee?

It’s tough to say exactly how many species of birds exist in North America, the United States, or even Tennessee. Nonetheless, the state of Tennessee is home to at least 423 different species of birds, according to Wikipedia. According to one source, North America has 2,059 species; according to another, only 914. So I don’t know how much faith I put in these numbers, but they do give us an idea of the number of species.

We’re only going to examine a few of the most prevalent (particularly in your yard) species discovered in Tennessee for the purposes of this article.


In Tennessee, there are 25 different species of backyard birds, some of which are permanent residents and others that aren’t. These are some of the more notable and recognizable Tennessee backyard birds, though they aren’t all the species in the state or even close to it. Let us take a look right now, without any further delay!


Scientific nameCardinalis cardinalis

Length: 8.3-9.1 in

Weight: 1.5-1.7 oz

Wingspan: 9.8-12.2 in

The Northern Cardinals are one of the most well-known and widely seen yard birds in North America. Females have duller colors and are more pale tawny brown with some reddish coloring, while males have bright red feathers and a black mask. The “mohawks,

Year-round, Northern Cardinals can be found all across the state.

Most seed feeders will be visited by the Cardinals, who will offer them a variety of seed blends and black sunflower seeds.


Scientific nameBaeolophus 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 very common at feeders and in backyards. They have a tiny crest, much like Cardinals, that helps you identify them from other birds (the “mohawk”). Titmice are silvery gray on top with a black patch over their beaks, and both sexes have a lighter bottom side.

Throughout the year, the Tufted Titmouse may be found throughout Tennessee.

Most seed feeders will attract titmice, who will gladly accept mixed seed blends and black sunflower seeds.


Scientific namePoecile carolinensis

Length: 3.9-4.7 in

Weight: 0.3-0.4 oz

Wingspan: 5.9-7.9 in

The “black cap” and black bib of chickadees make them stand out like a sore thumb. They have solid white cheeks, blackish gray wings and backs, and underbodies that are puffy and whitish.

The Carolina Chickadees, unlike their Black-Capped Chickadee relatives to the north, can be found across Tennessee. They’re often seen around bird feeders, dashing back and forth to cover their needs on a regular basis. Chickadees are typically among the first birds I notice when I first visit a new feeder in my yard.

Most seed feeders will be visited by chickadees, who will offer them mixed seed blends and black sunflower seeds.


Scientific nameCyanocitta 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 cardinal. The Blue Jay is the bird’s name. They have a big blue crest with white feathers on top and blue feathers on the bottom of their heads. Their necks are likewise ringed with a black necklace-like accessory. White, blue, and black barred wings cover them. They may be rather loud, with metallic chirps on occasion. They can also imitate hawks’ cries very well.

Another year-round resident of Tennessee is the Blue Jays. In backyards and feeders, they’re common.

Platform feeders, peanut feeders, and feeders with large perches are favorite toys for Blue Jays. Black sunflower seeds, mixed seeds, and peanuts can all be offered.


Scientific name: Sialia sialis

Length: 6.3-8.3 in

Weight: 1.0-1.1 oz

Wingspan: 9.8-12.6 in

Bluebirds have rusty-red orange bellies and are blue on top. They live up to their name. They’re among the most desired tenants of birdhouses in the United States. The bluebird house industry is booming, which is good for business. They’re common in backyards, but not as common as feeders. I was able to attract a mating pair with this birdhouse, which I put up on Amazon.

In Tennessee, the Eastern Bluebird is a year-round resident. In the spring months, you’re most likely to see bluebird activity, and if you’re constructing a birdhouse, remember that it must be completed in February or March.

On a tray feeder or in a dish, bluebirds may be persuaded to visit with mealworms or suet nuggets. They don’t usually consume seeds.


Scientific nameSitta 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 common feeder birds. They’re called “nut-and-seed stuffing birds” because they stuff nuts and seeds beneath tree bark and hatching them back out with theirsharp beaks. They appear to be better climbers than many other species of birds, and I’ve noticed they can climb vertically on trees. They have a white stripe on either side of their heads, as well as on their bellies, and they have a thick black stripe over them. Gray and black are the colors of their wings.

Year-round, in Tennessee, White-breasted Nuthatches may be found.

Most seed feeders are visited by nuthatches, who provide black sunflower seeds, peanuts, or suet as gifts. Grabbing a seed and immediately flying away to consume or store it in a nearby tree is something they usually like to do.


Scientific nameTurdus migratorius

Length: 7.9-11.0 in

Weight: 2.7-3.0 oz

Wingspan: 12.2-15.8 in

Robins are most typically seen hopping about the grass, hunting for worms and other invertebrates. They are very common in backyards. They do not normally eat seeds, but will visit bird feeders on occasion. They are easily identified by their bright red bellies and yellow beaks.

While they are less present in your yard during the winter, Robins live all year in Tennessee.

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 small birds that may be seen in gardens and sit perched on power lines or in clusters in trees, much like a robin. They like to hang out underneath feeders and pick up the seeds that fall to the ground, so I often see them on my tray feeder. The majority of mourning doves have gray feathers with black markings on top and a pale peach below. The eye ring is light blueish-gray, and the legs are pink.

Throughout the year, Tennessee is home to Mourning Doves.

Seed feeders are popular with doves, but they prefer to scour the ground for fallen seeds. Sprinkle some seeds on the ground or try 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, 100 starlings were released in New York and have since overrun the nation. They prey on feeders, pillaging the nests of other birds and murdering their young. They’ll even overrun you if you try to put out more food. Their beaks and feet are yellow, and they are mostly completely dark with white splotches on their backs and wings. Despite the fact that Starlings appear black, they are iridescent and have gorgeous purple and green plumage when viewed under the correct conditions.

Although starlings are found year-round in every state except Tennessee, they are not well-liked.

Almost anything, but particularly suet, attracts European Starlings. We recommend that you do not try to attract them since they are an invasive species and will find their way in any case.


Scientific nameSpinus tristis

Length: 4.3-5.1 in

Weight: 0.4-0.7 oz

Wingspan: 7.5-8.7 in

When the bright yellow feathers are in the spring and summer, goldfinches are among my favorite birds to see at feeders. Breeding males turn golden, or “gold,” with black-tipped wings and a black hat on their heads during this time period. The females and juveniles lack the black head and are not as bright yellow. They’ll lose their bright colors in the winter and get more drab brownish or olive hues, as seen below. The black on their wings and beaks, as well as the finch-like shape of their beaks, make them easy to identify at any time of year.

In Tennessee, you may catch goldfinches at any time of year.

Sunflower chips may be eaten by goldfinches, but a thistle feeder is your best chance to attract them.


Scientific nameHaemorhous mexicanus

Length: 5.1-5.5 in

Weight: 0.6-0.9 oz

Wingspan: 7.9-9.8 in

In Tennessee, the House Finch is a frequent backyard bird. They are not as despised as House Sparrows and do not cause the problems that the sparrows do, despite being invasive to the eastern United States. They may congregate in huge flocks and your feeders if you attract them, which is very simple to do. Females are totally brown, but males are mostly streaked with brown and have red on the head and chest.

Throughout Tennessee, House Finches can be found year-round.

House Finches eat thistle seeds just like other finches. They’re more common than Goldfinches at seed feeders, so give them some black sunflower seeds to attract 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 legal and humanely executed starlings, you can trap them. They, like starlings, were brought to the United States. They first appeared in New York in the 1800s, and they have since exploded around the United States. Their wings and buffy chest are streaked with black and brown, and they are mostly brown in color. In general, they are hostile to other birds, particularly around nests. Other birds nesting in birdhouses are said to be evicted by them.

Throughout Tennessee, especially in places where people congregate, House Sparrows may be found. House Sparrows are most likely to be found hanging out around commercial areas, building nests inside storefront signs.

House Sparrows, like the European Starling, are invasive and endanger indigenous species. Almost anything will satisfy them.


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 are among the most common birds in North America, with their crimson and yellow “shoulders” standing out. They may either make them stand out or keep them hidden by fluffing them up. Females, on the other hand, are brown and white streaked and look quite different than males. Male polygons will have up to 15 different females that they are mating with, therefore they are known as a polygynous species.

Throughout the year, Tennessee is home to red-winged blackbirds.

Most types of feeders are visited by red-winged blackbirds, who will eat both seed and suet. Large crowds of them might be seen.


Scientific nameThryothorus ludovicianus

Length: 4.7-5.5 in

Weight: 0.6-0.8 oz

Wingspan: 11.4 in

Little, stocky birds called Carolina Wrens With a lighter buffy chest and a conspicuous white stripe that runs down their entire head above the eye, they have chestnut brown wings and back. They’ll frequently be seen with their tail cocked upwards. They blend in well and are difficult to see in shrubs and thickets where they forage for food. They sing often and loudly for their size, even if they are small.

Throughout the year, Carolina Wrens may be found all over Tennessee.

The Carolina Wrens prefer suet and will visit suet feeders, so they’ll seldom come to your seed supply.


Scientific nameMelospiza melodia

Length: 4.7-6.7 in

Weight: 0.4-1.9 oz

Wingspan: 7.1-9.4 in

The backs and wings of these sparrows are brown, while the breast is white with heavy brown streaks. The plumage of song Sparrows varies somewhat depending on where they are found in North America. The male of this species sings both to attract females and to defend his area.

Song Sparrows may only be seen in the western part of Tennessee during the autumn and winter months, since they are abundant all year round in the eastern half.

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


Scientific nameMelanerpes carolinus

Length: 9.4 in

Weight: 2.0-3.2 oz

Wingspan: 13.0-16.5 in

At feeders and in backyards in general, these medium-sized woodpeckers are quite common. You may notice the bright red stripe along the back of their heads, despite the fact that they are called as “red-bellied.” Their breast is white, and their belly region is pink, which is normally not visible. The white and black patterning on their wings makes them simple to differentiate from one another.

Throughout the year, Tennessee is home to Red-bellied Woodpeckers.

While they will occasionally eat at seed feeders if you provide sunflowers and peanuts, attract Red-bellied Woodpeckers with a suet feeder.


Scientific namePicoides pubescens

Length: 5.5-6.7 in

Weight: 0.7-1.0 oz

Wingspan: 9.8-11.8 in

The common backyard birds, the Downy, love visiting bird feeders. They’re one of the first birds I see at a new bird feeder because they’re the smallest woodpeckers in North America. Their white underbodies, black wings with white dots, black and white striped heads, and red spot on the back of their heads (males have no red) make them instantly distinguishable. They are fairly comparable in appearance to the Hairy woodpecker, although they are somewhat smaller.

The whole state of Tennessee is home to the Downy Woodpeckers, who can be found all year.

With most types of bird feeders, Downy Woodpeckers are very frequent. Mixed seed, black sunflower seed, and suet should be offered to them.

In most bird feeder types, the Downy Woodpecker is very common. Mixed seed, black sunflower seed, and suet should be offered to them.


Scientific nameQuiscalus 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 bully birds like the starling is. They will roost alongside other forms of blackbirds, sometimes in vast flocks numbering in the billions of birds, and they seem to be largely black in color. Their solid coloring and yellow ringed eye distinguish them easily.

In Tennessee, Grackles can be found all year.

Grackles are often seen as pests because they are foragers that will eat practically anything.


Scientific nameLeuconotopicus villosus

Length: 7.1-10.2 in

Weight: 1.4-3.4 oz

Wingspan: 13.0-16.1 in

Apart from their larger size and a few other key features, Hairy Woodpeckers and Downy Woodpeckers are difficult to tell apart. They have almost identical patterns and are usually discovered in the same regions of the nation as one other. The Hairy Woodpecker, on the other hand, does not visit a bird feeder as often as Downy’s do, according to my research.

Throughout the year, Tennessee’s hairy woodpeckers can be found all over.

Hairy Woodpeckers will eat suet, though they are not as prevalent as Downy Woodpeckers.


Scientific nameJunco hyemalis

Length: 5.5-6.3 in

Weight: 0.6-1.1 oz

Wingspan: 7.1-9.8 in

Because they spend their summers in Canada, people in the United States often think of juncos as winter birds. They have a light pink beak and dark gray heads with a lighter grayish white on the bottom half. Females and juveniles may have a tendency to be more buffy brown in color. These can be found hopping around on the ground most often in forests and wooded regions.

Dark-eyed Juncos only visit Tennessee during the late fall and winter months.

Juncos will visit feeders on occasion, but prefer to eat seeds on the ground. Under bird feeders, you’ll frequently see them collecting the scattered seeds.


Scientific nameIcterus galbula

Length: 6.7-7.5 in

Weight: 1.1-1.4 oz

Wingspan: 9.1-11.8 in

Tennessee’s state bird is the Northern Mockingbird. They have a general gray coloration on the back and lighter on the chest, and they are a medium-sized bird. While they aren’t particularly apparent unless the bird’s wings are spread or it is flying, they feature a strong white stripe on each wing and the exterior margins of their tail. They’re well recognized for their tunes, which they perform by “mocking” or imitating the songs of other birds. They typically play a number of bird tunes in a lengthy sequence.

During the year, Northern Mockingbirds may be found throughout Tennessee.

Bird feeders are not frequented by mockingbirds. Fruiting trees and shrubs in the yard can help attract them. They often hop around on the lawn, perched on tall shrubs and poles, or they’ll be hopping up and down.


Scientific nameArchilochus colubris

Length: 2.8-3.5 in

Weight: 0.1-0.2 oz

Wingspan: 3.1-4.3 in

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are the most numerous kind of hummingbird in the United States, though they are merely prevalent in the east. Hummingbirds in the Eastern United States are also the only breeding species. Males have a vivid scarlet throat, hence their name. Ruby-throated Hummers have white under-parts and are emerald-green on their backs, wings, and heads. The red throat feathers are missing from females.

Beginning in mid-April and lasting until late summer, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds arrive in Tennessee.

If you put out nectar feeders, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are very common in your backyard.


Scientific nameToxostoma rufum

Length: 9.1-11.8 in

Weight: 2.1-3.1 oz

Wingspan: 11.4-12.6 in

A heavily streaked breast and belly distinguish the brown thrasher. Their beak is black and their eye is yellow. I suppose they’re known as thrashers since they’ll thrash through fallen leaves in search of insects, although I’m not sure. The Brown Thrashers are excellent songbirds with over 1100 different songs, many of which are those of other bird species.

Any time of year, you may see Brown Thrashers in Tennessee.

Birds feeders aren’t usually visited by Brown Thrashers, who instead pick up seeds on the ground. These guys primarily look for food by digging up leaves and sticks.


Scientific name: Dumetella carolinensis

Length: 8.3-9.4 in

Weight: 0.8-2.0 oz

Wingspan: 8.7-11.8 in

Catbirds have blackish gray wings and long tails, and most of them are dark slate gray with a blackish gray cap on top of their heads. Native fruit-bearing trees and shrubs attract these birds, which are mostly fruit eaters. Their cries, which sound like those of a meowing cat, earned them the moniker catbird.

During the breeding season (spring-summer), Gray Catbirds may be found throughout Tennessee and much of the United States.

While catbirds like to forage on the ground or in bushes for food, you may be able to attract them if you offer some fruits, berries, and other sweet items.


Scientific nameColaptes auratus

Length: 11.0-12.2 in

Weight: 3.9-5.6 oz

Wingspan: 16.5-20.1 in

In the United States, these medium to big woodpeckers can be found in backyards and feeders, although they are not particularly frequent. They’re also one of the most gorgeous birds in North America, in my opinion.

Flickers prefer insects and are less frequent at feeders than the other woodpecker species on this list, although you may still see them in your yard if you know where to look. Their solid black bib, red patch on the back of their necks, and barred black and gray wings will help you identify them by their black spots on their bellies. Yellow-shafted birds with bright yellow feathers on the underside of their wings may be found in Tennessee.

Throughout Tennessee, Northern Flickers can be found year-round.

A suet feeder will be visited by Northern Flickers, although they typically find their own supper. They spend a lot of time hunting for insects on the ground, unlike other woodpeckers. If you have a bird bath, they’ll stop by to see it.


Thinking of bringing some of these birds to your yard? Take a look at these five basic principles, the first of which is the most obvious.


Placing out a bird feeder or two is the greatest and simplest technique to attract birds to your yard. A basic tube feeder, hopper feeder, platform feeder, or window feeder are all ideal beginner feeds. For each, there are some ideas below.


This Amazon countertop pedestal birdbath is ideal, however a terra cotta flower pot saucer, like this one, will suffice as well. Birds need water to both bathe in and drink, so adding a decorative water feature to your yard will significantly increase your likelihood of attracting them. Since moving water will attract the birds to visit the pond even more, you may also want to add a solar fountain.


If placed in the right location and at the correct time of year, several bird species will readily take up residence in birdhouses. Among the most popular birds sought after for birdhouses are Eastern Bluebirds. The same day I put up the birdhouse, a mating pair of bluebirds paid it a visit.


Make sure there are trees, plants, and shrubs in your yard that the birds can use to hide and flee when they perceive danger. Predators are their primary threat, so this is their primary defense. Do your best to add landscaping elements that will allow birds to view your yard as safe if your yard is in a new development with no mature trees.


Having native plants that produce nuts, berries, and seeds will just help your efforts to attract more birds for many birds that eat them. Since non-native plants may be harmful to native birds that are not familiar with them, try to avoid them.


In the yards of most people, there are ten of the most popular bird feeders.

  1. The hopper feeder, which has a hopper in the center that holds bird seed, gets its name from this feature. On the sides, there are perches where birds may rest and eat. To preserve the seed dry, many hopper feeders are shaped like a house and have a roof. 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 as well!
  2. Platform feeders are open on top and may be hung from a tree or hook, or pole-mounted. They are sometimes called tray feeders. They’re simple to set up and ideal for feeding a variety 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 blend of birdseed. In my yard right now, I’m using a platform feeder.
  3. Tube feeders are simply clear plastic tube-shaped bird feeders that you can buy. They can hold a few cups of seed or 5 pounds or more and come in a variety of sizes. Because they preserve your seed fresh and dry while at the same time making it simple to refill when necessary, they are great. Tube feeders are used by a variety of birds. Tube feeders can be used to feed black sunflower seeds and mixed seeds. This tube feeder is great and of course squirrel proof, making it one of the best on the market.
  4. Suet cakes are one kind of birdseed, and suet feeders are for them. They’re a very basic idea, typically consisting of just a metal wire cage with a tail-prop for bigger birds. Suet feeders are a favorite among woodpeckers in the winter, when birds are seeking for high-fat substances. To attract larger woodpeckers, like the Pileated and Northern Flicker, I recommend getting a suet feeder with a long tail prop.
  5. Small bird feeders that attaches to a glass window via suction cups are known as window feeders. They’re open on top and you pour the seed into the tray area to refill them, similar to tray feeders. These feeders are popular with a wide range of birds and are ideal for those who don’t have large yards. They’re simple to set up and maintain. For this sort 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 the whole of Amazon.
  6. Thistle feeders, sometimes 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 main types of birds that thistle feeders attract. Thistle feeders have little holes along the sides of the tube, allowing birds to pick thistle out through the feeder. They are commonly in a tube shape. Droll Yankees has a nice thistle feeder.
  7. Tray feeders that sit on the ground level are known as ground feeders. Mourning Doves and Juncos, as well as squirrels, raccoons, and other ground creatures will love them. For this style of feeder, use black sunflower seeds or a mixture of birdseed. This recycled plastic ground feeder is a popular item.
  8. Another sort of specialized feeder for one kind of bird, the oriole, is the oriole feeder. Little plastic or glass dishes designed for holding jelly, which orioles adore, are often used in the feeder. It is usually orange in color. Another treat that orioles like is orange halves, which you can place onto the feeder. With four jelly trays, this oriole feeder will hold orange halves.
  9. Hummingbird feeders, sometimes known as hummingbird feeders, are designed to extract sugar water from nectar for hummingbirds. I often see Downy Woodpeckers at mine, even though they are meant for hummingbirds, and they love that sweet nectar as much as I do. Read this page to find out how to make hummingbird nectar without boiling the water. There’s no need to spend a lot of money on a hummingbird feeder since they are simple and inexpensive, as shown in the one I’ve personally used.
  10. Peanut feeders are tube-shaped and often 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 a little farther apart. These should be filled with peanuts and attract birds such as Blue Jays. Squirrel Buster’s feeder is the best option for keeping squirrels out of your peanut feeder. This basic one will suffice.


If you want to go birding outside of your own backyard, Tennessee is a fantastic state to visit. If you want to get more engaged, the Tennessee Ornithological Society has branches across the state and hosts meetups, seminars, field excursions, and birding tours on a regular basis.

Take a look at this list of popular birding sites in Tennessee if you’re a Tennessee resident who’d like to add some new species to your life list.


  • Reelfoot National Wildlife Refuge
  • Radnor Lake State Natural Area
  • Williamsport Lakes
  • Pickett State Rustic Park
  • Standifer Gap Marsh
  • Sharp’s Ridge Memorial Park
  • Great Smoky Mountain National Park

TN Audubon’s Important Bird Areas and Birding Hotspots are also worth a look.

Leave a Comment