Do you know your state’s official bird? The designating of state birds began in 1927 as a way to recognize and appreciate a state’s wildlife. Most have selected a songbird species as their official avian symbol.
Here’s a list of a few familiar feathered friends that get to enjoy an extra bit of notoriety:
- Alabama - Yellowhammer (aka Northern Flicker): Chosen in 1927, it is the only woodpecker to be named a state bird.
- Arizona - Cactus Wren: The largest wren in the U.S., the Cactus Wren makes its home in Southwestern deserts and will occasionally visit backyard feeders offering sunflower seeds.
- Arkansas - Northern Mockingbird: Ironically this “northern” bird is a southern favorite where it is also the state bird of Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee & Texas. It is named for its ability to mimic sounds - not only of other birds, but insects, cats, dogs, and even pianos and sirens!
- Colorado - Lark Bunting: Part of the sparrow family, this songbird was named state bird in 1931 because of its impressive courtship dances and beautiful songs.
- Connecticut, Michigan, Wisconsin - American Robin: Widely regarded as the first sign of spring, many don’t realize this red-breasted bird doesn’t fly south for the winter. However, as the ground freezes, they do leave our lawns and head for the woods to forage for shriveled fruits. While they might travel short distances in search of more abundant food supplies, they don't wing it to a winter home in the tropics.
- Georgia - Brown Thrasher: Though it was named state bird in 1935, it wasn’t made official by state legislature until 1970. Brown Thrashers in the northern part of the state sing different notes and phrases than those found in the south.
- Idaho- Mountain Bluebird: This beautiful bird is plentiful in the mountains of Idaho and is also the state bird of Nevada.
- Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia - Northern Cardinal: The most popular choice, the Northern Cardinal is celebrated as the official bird of seven states. Arguably the most recognizable bird in the U.S., the stark contrast of a male’s bright red feathers in freshly fallen snow is a favorite of many birders.
- Iowa - Eastern Goldfinch (aka American Goldfinch): This bright yellow bird is also the state bird of New Jersey as well as Washington, where it is known as the “Willow Goldfinch”.
- Kansas- Western Meadowlark: A songbird that thrives in the open country, the Western Meadowlark is honored not just in Kansas, but also Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oregon, and Wyoming, making it the second most popular state bird after the Northern Cardinal.
- Maine & Massachusetts - Black-capped Chickadee: Found in the Northern two-thirds of the U.S., the Black-capped Chickadee is one of the only birds that stays year-round in New England despite the sometimes harsh winter conditions.
- Maryland - Baltimore Oriole: Named the official state bird in 1947, the Baltimore Oriole has coloring's similar to the Maryland state flag.
- Missouri - Eastern Bluebird: Populations thrive in Missouri where the Eastern Bluebird is known as a symbol of happiness. It is also the state bird of New York where it surprisingly, can often be found in major urban parks.
- New Hampshire - Purple Finch: The only state to honor this “raspberry-dipped” finch.
- South Carolina - Carolina Wren: Found throughout the state, the Carolina Wren is also featured on the state quarter.
- Vermont - Hermit Thrush: Though the Hermit Thrush migrates south in the winter, it can be found in all 14 counties of the state throughout the summer.
Filling your feeders with a high-quality seed mix offers a great way to deepen your appreciation for the wildlife in your part of the world. Lyric Fine Tunes Mix is a 100% edible nut and kernel mix designed to attract the widest variety of birds — bluebirds, finches, chickadees, woodpeckers and more.