Backyard Birds In Colorado (28 Species with Pictures)

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Colorado is home to a wide variety of birds. In this article we’ll take a look at some of the most recognizable and well-known birds in Colorado, especially those that can be found in your own backyard. Some of these species live in Colorado all year, others migrate in and out with the seasons. So let’s take a look at 28 backyard birds in Colorado and learn a little about each species.

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After that I’ll show you how to attract them to your yard, give you a crash course in the 10 different types of bird feeders you can use to do so, and even mention a few birdwatching hotspots and birding organizations in Colorado. 

How many different species of wild birds are in Colorado?

It’s difficult to get an exact number on how many bird species are found in North America or the United States, let alone in a single state.  However, according to Wikipedia, there are at least 514 species included on the official state list.

One source claims there are 2,059 species in North America, another older source says there are just 914. So I’m not sure how much I trust these numbers, but they do give us a rough idea of the number of species.

For the purposes of this article we are just going to look at some of our favorite backyard species found in Colorado. 

28 backyard birds in Colorado

Below we’ll look at 28 species of backyard birds in Colorado, some are year-round residents and some aren’t. These obviously aren’t all the species in the state, or even close to it, but they are some of the more notable and recognizable Colorado backyard birds, many of which you can see at your bird feeders. Let’s get to it!

1. House Finch

Male and Female House Finch

Scientific name: Haemorhous mexicanus
Length: 5.1-5.5 in
Weight: 0.6-0.9 oz
Wingspan: 7.9-9.8 in

The House Finch is a common backyard bird across both the eastern and western parts of the country. If you attract them, which is fairly easy to do, they usually show up in groups at your feeders. Males are mostly streaked brown in color with some red on the head and chest, females are all brown.

House Finches are year round residents throughout Colorado.

Like other finches, house finches often visit thistle feeders. They are seen at seed feeders more than Goldfinches, so try some black sunflower seeds to attract them as well. 


2. Mourning Dove

Scientific name: Zenaida macroura
Length: 9.1-13.4 in
Weight: 3.0-6.0 oz
Wingspan: 17.7 in

It's never too late to start feeding hummingbirds. Here's a quick list of things you'll need to get you started!

  1. Hummingbird feeder poles
  2. 12oz hummingbird feeders
  3. Ant moats (optional)
  4. Make your hummingbird nectar at home
Fill your feeders with the nectar, and put them out! Hummingbirds can start showing up anywhere between late February and early May, depending on where you live.

About the size of a pigeon, doves are very common in backyards and will often sit perched on telephone wires or in groups in trees. I sometimes see them on my tray feeder, but more often than not they are seen walking around on the ground. Mourning doves are mostly gray with black spots on top, a pale peachy color below, and pink legs.

Mourning doves are found all year throughout the whole state of Colorado.

Doves will often visit seed feeders, but prefer scouring the ground for seeds that have fallen. Try a ground feeder with a mixed seed blend, or simply scatter some seeds on the ground.


3. European Starling

Image: pixabay.com

Scientific name: Sturnus vulgaris
Length: 7.9-9.1 in
Weight: 2.1-3.4 oz
Wingspan: 12.2-15.8 in

100 starlings were set loose in New York in the 1890s and they have since taken over the country. They destroy other birds’ nests, kill their young, and will overtake feeders not allowing other birds to get any of the food that you put out. They are mostly all dark with white specks on their backs and wings, and have yellow beaks and feet. Starlings can also be a purple and green iridescent color and in the right light can actually be quite pretty.

Unfortunately this invasive species is found in every one of the lower 48 states year-round, Colorado included. 

European Starlings will eat almost anything. They are an invasive species so we suggest you do not attempt to attract them, they’ll show up anyway.


4. Black-capped Chickadee

Image: birdfeederhub.com

Scientific name: Poecile atricapillus
Length: 4.7-5.9 in
Weight: 0.3-0.5 oz
Wingspan: 6.3-8.3 in

Black-capped chickadees are tiny little birds with rounded bodies that are very easy to recognize because of their “black cap” and black bib. Their cheeks are solid white, their wings and backs are blackish gray, and their underbodies are fluffy and light. Not to be confused with the mountain chickadee, which we will talk about further down this list.  

They are very common at bird feeders and are often seen darting back and forth from a feeder to cover and back again for more. Chickadees are always among the first birds I see visiting a new feeder in my yard, and they can be quite bold for their size! 

Black-capped chickadees can be found year round throughout Colorado.

Chickadees will visit most seed feeders, offer them mixed seed blends and black sunflower seeds.


5. 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

White-breasted nuthatches are very common feeder birds found in most backyards within their range. Nuthatches get their name from the fact that they stuff nuts and seeds under tree bark, then use their sharp beaks to hatch the seed from the shell. These birds also have the ability to walk vertically on trees better than many other types of birds. White-breasted nuthatches have a thick black stripe on top of their heads, with white on either side and on their bellies. Their wings are mostly gray and black.  

White-breasted nuthatches are found year-round throughout Colorado.

Nuthatches will visit most seed feeders, offer them mixed seed blends, black sunflower seeds, peanuts, or suet. They usually like to grab and run, taking a seed and immediately flying off to eat it or cache it in a nearby tree.


6. Black-billed Magpie

Image: Tom Koerner/ USFWS Mountain-Prairie

Scientific name: Pica hudsonia
Length: 17.7-23.6 in
Weight: 5.1-7.4 oz
Wingspan: 22.1-24.0 in

The beautiful black-billed magpie has the shape of a jay but the size of a crow. Black head, chest and back, bright white shoulder and sides, metallic blue along their wings and their long tail. They have a varied diet of fruit, grain, insects, small mammals, carrion and eggs. They are even seen hanging out on the backs of large mammals like moose or deer, picking through their hair looking for ticks. These flashy birds aren’t shy and are often seen perched in trees or on fenceposts. They can be quite loud, especially in groups. 

Black-billed magpies can be found throughout Colorado year round.

While they prefer open rangeland, black-billed magpies may visit backyards. Try to attract them with sunflower seeds and peanuts on a platform feeder, with suet, or by leaving out fruit such as orange halves. 


7. House Sparrow

Scientific name: Passer domesticus
Length: 5.9-6.7 in
Weight: 0.9-1.1 oz
Wingspan: 7.5-9.8 in

Generally look at as pests, houses sparrows are the only other species of wild birds in the U.S. besides starlings that you can legally trap and humanely kill. Like starlings, they were introduced in New York in the 1800s and have since spread across our country like wildfire. They are mostly brown in color, with some black and brown streaking on their wings and buffy chest. They are overall aggressive towards other birds, especially around nests. 

House Sparrows are found throughout Colorado all year.

Like the European starling, house sparrows are invasive and pose a threat to native species. They will eat almost anything.


8. American Goldfinch

Scientific name: Spinus tristis
Length: 4.3-5.1 in
Weight: 0.4-0.7 oz
Wingspan: 7.5-8.7 in

Goldfinches are among my favorite birds to see at feeders, especially when they have their bright yellow feathers in the spring and summer. During this period they are mostly yellow, or “gold”, with black-tipped wings and males have a black cap on top of their heads. During winter they will molt and their bright yellow fades out to a more dull brownish or olive tone. You can always recognize them any time of year by the black on their wings, and their finch-like beaks. 

Goldfinches are mostly seen in the winter in Colorado, although they often stick around all year in areas along the northern and eastern border. 

Goldfinches prefer thistle feeders, they may also eat sunflower chips but a thistle feeder is your best chance to attract them


9. Blue Jay

Scientific name: Cyanocitta cristata
Length: 9.8-11.8 in
Weight: 2.5-3.5 oz
Wingspan: 13.4-16.9 in

Another very well-known bird species in North America and the U.S. is the blue jay. They have a large blue crest on top of their heads with mostly blue feathers along their back and wings. They have a black ring around their neck, and beneath that their breast and belly are white. Their wings and tail have black stripes and barring. Females and males share the same coloration. Blue jays have several loud, metallic sounding calls, and will often be among the first to alert all the birds in the area to a nearby predator such as a hawk.

These jays are a year-round resident to the eastern portion of Colorado, but are less common west of Denver.

Blue Jays like platform feeders, peanut feeders, and feeders with large perches. Offer them black sunflower seeds, mixed seeds, and peanuts.


10. Steller’s Jay

Scientific name: Cyanocitta stelleri
Length: 11.8-13.4 in
Weight: 3.5-4.9 oz
Wingspan: 17.3 in

Steller’s jay is quite a striking bird! They are large birds, brownish-black on the top half and bright blue on the bottom half. These jay’s also sport a large crest that they can flick and display to dramatic effect during courtship or in aggression. Their main habitat is evergreen forests, but they are also known to frequent campgrounds, parks and backyards in their range. 

Steller’s jays can be found year-round mainly in the western half of Colorado.

To attract the Steller’s Jay to bird feeders, put out peanuts, large seeds and nuts.


11. 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

Among the most abundant birds in all of North America, male red-winged blackbirds are unmistakable because of their red and yellow “shoulders” that stand out amongst their black bodies. The females of this species however, look quite different and are mostly brown with light streaks. They are known as a polygynous species, meaning males will have up to 15 different females that they are mating with. Unfortunately they sometimes show up at feeders in flocks and gobble up seed quickly.  

Red-winged blackbirds can be found throughout Colorado all year. 

Red-winged blackbirds visit most types of feeders and will eat seed as well as suet. 

 


12. Hairy Woodpecker

Image: insitedesigns | pixabay.com

Scientific name: Leuconotopicus villosus
Length: 7.1-10.2 in
Weight: 1.4-3.4 oz
Wingspan: 13.0-16.1 in

There’s not much to differentiate Hairy Woodpeckers from Downy Woodpeckers, aside from the Hairy’s larger size, longer beak, and a few other key features. They both have very similar markings and are almost always found in the same places of the country as each other. I have found though that the hairy woodpecker tends to visit feeders less frequently than Downy’s.

Hairy woodpeckers are found throughout the state of Colorado all year.

While not as common as Downy Woodpeckers, Hairy Woodpeckers will visit suet and seed feeders.


13. White-crowned Sparrow

Image: _Veit_ / flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

Scientific name: Zonotrichia leucophrys
Length: 5.9-6.3 in
Weight: 0.9-1.0 oz
Wingspan: 8.3-9.4 in

White-crowned sparrows spend the summer far north in Canada and Alaska, then migrate back down across the United States during the winter. One of the easier sparrows to identify, white-crowned sparrows have a bold black and white striped head while the rest of their face, chest and belly remain a plain buffy brown-gray. They like to forage in fields, and along the edges of roads and trails. These sparrows will come to bird feeders, but are most likely to stay on the ground and pick up spilt seed. 

These sparrows can be found all year in the western half of the state, but may only be present during the winter months in the eastern half.

White-crowned sparrows readily visit feeders and like to pick up fallen seed below feeders. Offer sunflower, millet and mixed seed blends.


14. American Robin

Scientific name: Turdus migratorius
Length: 7.9-11.0 in
Weight: 2.7-3.0 oz
Wingspan: 12.2-15.8 in

Highly common in backyards, robins are mostly seen hopping around the grass looking for worms and other invertebrates to eat. While they will occasionally visit bird feeders, they do not typically eat seeds. Their bright red, round bellies, and yellow beaks make them easy to identify. In many areas they retreat to the wood during winter and don’t frequent yards again until spring. This gives the illusion that they are migrating out of the state, but in most cases they stick around through the winter. 

Robins can be found throughout Colorado all year.

American Robins do not often visit bird feeders, so attract them with meal worms, native fruit-bearing plants, or a bird bath.


15. Red-breasted Nuthatch

Scientific name: Sitta canadensis
Length: 4.3 in
Weight: 0.3-0.5 oz
Wingspan: 7.1-7.9 in

These little nuthatches have a dark gray back, rusty (ranges from boldly colored to pale) chest and belly, and a boldly black and white striped face. They are quick and active birds most commonly found hopping around on tree trunks and branches looking for insects beneath the bark. They nest in tree cavities, and will even use backyard nest boxes. Their population often “follows the food” and may head south during winters when food (conifer seeds) is less abundant.

Red-breasted nuthatches are found year-round the Rockies, but are usually only winter visitors to the eastern part of the state.

Red-breasted Nuthatches will readily visit feeders. Offer sunflower seeds, peanuts or suet.


16. Downy Woodpecker

Scientific name: Picoides pubescens
Length: 5.5-6.7 in
Weight: 0.7-1.0 oz
Wingspan: 9.8-11.8 in

Downy’s are very common backyard birds that love to visit bird feeders. They are the smallest woodpeckers in North America and are always one of the first species I see at a new bird feeder. They are easily identifiable by their all white underbodies, black wings with white spots, black and white striped heads, and the red spot on the back of their heads (in males, females have no red). Though they do closely resemble the Hairy Woodpecker, Downy’s are smaller. 

Downy Woodpeckers are found all year throughout Colorado.

Downy Woodpeckers are very common at most types of bird feeders. Offer them mixed seed, black sunflower seed, and suet. 


17. Bushtit

Bushtits | image by Mike’s Birds via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific name: Psaltriparus minimus
Length: 2.8-3.1 in
Weight: 0.1-0.2 oz

Bushtits are plump, round looking little birds. They have pale gray bodies with either a light buffy brown head or gray head with a tan cheek. Males have fully black eyes while females have a white-ringed eye. Their plain coloring and small size can make them hard to spot, but they are common. Look for them moving from branch to branch in shrubs and thickets. They are typically found in a flock, and their constant hunt for insects mean they don’t sit still for long.

Bushtits can be found year-round in the south and west of Colorado, but less so in the north and east.

Bushtits prefer insects so don’t usually visit feeders. Planting native shrubs and trees that support the insects they are looking for can help attract them to your yard.


18. Spotted Towhee

Image: flickr/Yellowstone National Park

Scientific name: Pipilo maculatus
Length: 6.7-8.3 in
Weight: 1.2-1.7 oz
Wingspan: 11.0 in

The Spotted Towhee is a lovely species of backyard bird that is always a treat to see. Both sexes have a dark head, back, wings and tail with white wing spots, rusty sides and a white belly. However the dark color on males is black while on females it is brown. Master foragers, towhees search through leaf litter and vegetation for insects, seeds and berries. It can be fun to watch them, they do a doubled footed backwards hop motion to scratch at the ground and move aside brush. If you want a better chance of attracting towhees to your yard, leave some brushy edges and leaf litter along your yard line. 

Spotted Towhees can be found throughout Colorado, but the timing may vary. For much of the state they may only be winter birds, but there are pockets in the northern half of the state where they appear in summer, and pockets in the southern half of the state where they appear all year.

Spotted Towhees do not eat directly from bird feeders very often, but they will look for seed on the ground beneath feeders. Scatter mixed seed on the ground, or keep some brushy vegetation in the yard that may attract them.


19. Eurasian Collard-Dove 

Scientific name: Streptopelia decaocto
Length: 11.4-11.8 in
Weight: 4.9-6.3 oz
Wingspan: 13.8 in

As you might suspect from its name, the Eurasian collared dove is native to parts of Europe and Asia. During the 1970’s, some of them escaped from a pet shop in the Bahamas and flew to Florida. It is thought that these escaped birds, and some set loose in the south Caribbean on Guadeloupe, began the colonization of the U.S. Today they can be found across much of the U.S. and Mexico. They are similar to a mourning dove, but with a chunkier body and longer tail. They lack the black spots on their back that a mourning dove has, and instead have a plain back with a black stripe across the back of their neck. 

The Eurasian collared dove can be found in Colorado year round. 

Eurasian collared doves will come to backyards to eat seeds and grain, usually from platform feeders or scattered on the ground. They especially enjoy millet.


20. Northern Flicker

Two Northern Flicker Varieties

Scientific name: Colaptes auratus
Length: 11.0-12.2 in
Weight: 3.9-5.6 oz
Wingspan: 16.5-20.1 in

These medium to large sized woodpeckers are quite common in backyards throughout the United States, though not extremely common at feeders. In my opinion they are also among some of the most colorful birds in North America. Flickers feed mainly on insects and unlike other woodpeckers, often like to find them on the ground rather than trees. Identify them by the black spots on their bellies, solid black bib, barred black and gray wings, and light brown and gray head. Males will have a “mustache” while females do not. 

There are two color varieties in the U.S., the “yellow-shafted” and the “red-shafted” and Colorado has both! The main difference is the color underneath the wings and tail, and the color of the mustache on the males. You may even seen something that looks like a combination of both, as they sometimes interbreed and form a hybrid.

Northern Flickers are common throughout Colorado all year.

Northern Flickers may not visit feeders as often as other woodpecker species, but they will still come to suet feeders. If you have some leaf piles in the yard, you may see them digging around for bugs.


21. Pine Siskin

Pine Siskin | image by Shenandoah National Park via Flickr

Scientific name: Spinus pinus
Length: 4.3-5.5 in
Weight: 0.4-0.6 oz
Wingspan: 7.1-8.7 in

Pine siskins are tiny members of the finch family with sharply pointed beaks. They are brown and white streaked all over, and in fact can look a lot like female house finches. However the pine siskin will always have yellow (of varying brightness) along their wings and sides of their tails. They are considered nomadic and can move erratically each winter following good seed crops, with their favorite food source being conifer seeds. This is why some winters you may see a lot of them, while others you may not see them at all.  

Pine siskins can be found in the Rockies all year, however tend to only be seen in the eastern part of the state during the winter months.

Pine Siskins will readily visit nyjer (thistle) feeders, and may also eat millet or hulled sunflower.


22. Western Meadowlark

Western Meadowlark | image by Larry Lamsa via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Sturnella neglecta
Length: 6.3-10.2 in
Weight: 3.1-4.1 oz
Wingspan: 16.1 in

A breeding adult western meadowlark has heavily streaked wings and back, bright yellow on the chest, throat and face, a bold white eyebrow and a black bib. Immature and non-breeding birds have a much paler yellow and usually lack the black chest patch. They are known for their beautiful “flutelike” song, often sung from perches on fence posts. Typically found in a flock, they feed on insects and seeds in grasslands, meadows and pastures. 

Western meadowlarks can be found in Colorado all year. 

If you live near open habitat they may visit your yard for seed. They are more likely to use a platform feeder or feed from the ground. Use hulled sunflower and cracked corn.


23. 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

There are multiple sub-species of the dark-eyed junco across the U.S. that have different color variations. In Colorado the common ones are gray-headed, Oregon and pink-sided. Other less common species in the state are red-backed, slate-colored, Cassiar and white-winged.  A good bird ID book should help you to distinguish them. Two good things to look for when recognizing dark-eyed junco’s in general that are found on all varieties are their pale pink beak and roundish body shape. They are also usually darker on the head and back, and lighter on the belly.  

Dark-eyed Juncos will typically only be seen in the eastern half of Colorado in the winter, whereas in the western half some may stick around all year.

Juncos will readily visit yards, but typically prefer to eat seed from the ground underneath your feeders that other other birds are dropping. They like mixed seeds.


24. Mountain Chickadee

Mountain Chickadee | image by Yellowstone National Park via Flickr

Scientific name: Poecile gambeli
Length: 4.3-5.5 in
Weight: 0.4 oz

Chickadees are tiny little birds with rounded bodies that are very easy to recognize because of their “black cap” and black throat. Their cheeks are solid white, their wings and backs are gray, and their underbodies are fluffy and light. In Colorado you can also see black-capped chickadees, but it is easy to tell them apart because only the mountain chickadee has the white stripe above the eye. Their preferred habitat is evergreen forests in mountainous areas.    

Mountain chickadees can be found year round in the Rockies.

Chickadees will visit most seed feeders, offer them mixed seed blends and black sunflower seeds. They will also often eat suet in the winter.


25. Woodhouse’s Scrub Jay

Woodhouse’s Scrub Jay | image by Ron Knight via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Aphelocoma woodhouseii
Length: 11.0-11.8 in
Weight: 2.5-3.5 oz

These large birds are bigger than a robin, with a long and lean shape. They are blue on the head, wings and tail with a gray back. They have shaggy white feathers at the throat, and a light gray chest and belly. Woodhouse’s scrub jays mainly live in pinon-juniper and oak-pinyon forests. These scrub jays are fairly comfortable around people and will visit golf courses, parks and suburbs.  

The woodhouse’s scrub jay is found throughout western and central Colorado, but less commonly in the eastern part of the state. 

Woodhouse’s scrub jay will visit backyard feeders for sunflower seeds, peanuts and other nuts. They may visit more frequently in the winter, because their diet shifts to include more insects in the summer.


26. 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 remain in the central and western parts of Colorado all year, but tend to only be seen during winter in the eastern portion of the state.

Song sparrows will sometimes visit bird feeders and snack on mixed seeds and sunflower seeds.


27. Common Grackle

Scientific name: Quiscalus quiscula
Length: 11.0-13.4 in
Weight: 2.6-5.0 oz
Wingspan: 14.2-18.1 in

Though they fall into the bully bird category like the starling does, grackles are also quite pretty in the right light with their iridescent feathers. They often appear black in color, but in the right light you can see hues of blue, green, brown and purple. Grackles sometimes will roost with other types of blackbirds, and appear in massive flocks numbering in the millions of birds. They are easy to identify by their solid coloring, long narrow body and tail, and yellow ringed eye.

Grackles are found throughout Colorado during the spring and summer.

Grackles are foragers and will eat just about anything, they are often thought of as pests.


28. Chipping Sparrow

Scientific name: Spizella 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. 

Chipping Sparrows are found throughout the western half of Colorado in the spring and summer, but may only be seen in the eastern half of the state during the spring and fall migration.

Chipping Sparrows are common at backyard feeders, and often like to remain on the ground picking up what has spilled. Attract them with sunflower and mixed seed, especially scattered on the ground.


 

How to attract birds to your yard

Interested in attracting some of these birds to your backyard? Take a look at these 5 simple tips, starting with the most obvious.

1. Put out bird feeders

The best and most obvious way to attract birds to your yard is to put out a bird feeder or two. I suggest starting with a simple tube feeder, hopper feeder, platform feeder, or a window feeder. See below for suggestions for each. 

2. Add a water source

A pedestal birdbath like this one on Amazon is great, but you can also use something as simple as a terra cotta flower pot saucer, like this one. Birds need water not only to bathe in but also to drink and adding a water feature to your yard will only increase your chances of attracting birds. Also consider adding a solar fountain since moving water will entice the birds to visit the water even more. 

3. Offer birdhouses

Many species of birds will readily take up residence in birdhouses if put out in the right spot at the right time of year. Eastern Bluebirds are among the most common sought after birds to attract to birdhouses. I have this birdhouse in my backyard and a mating pair of bluebirds were checking it out the same day I installed it.  

4. Provide shelter

Make sure that your yard has trees, bushes, and shrubs that the birds can dart back and forth to when they sense danger. This is their main defense from predators. If your yard is perhaps in a new subdivision with no mature trees then do your best to add some landscaping features that will allow birds to look at your yard as safe.

5. Add native plants

For many birds that eat nuts, berries, and seeds, having native plants that produce these things will only aide your efforts to attract more birds. Not only that, but native plants foster caterpillars and other insects that feed many birds and support nesting birds since most songbirds feed insects to their hatchlings. Try to avoid invasive and non-native plants that can out-compete the native plants that foster a healthy ecosystem. 


10 different types of bird feeders

Here are 10 of the most common bird feeders people set up in their yards. 

  1. Hopper feeder – Hopper feeders get their name because they have a compartment in the middle, the hopper, that holds the bird seed. There are perches on the sides for birds to land on and eat from. Many hopper feeders are in the shape of a house and are covered on top to keep the seed dry. Use black sunflower seeds or mixed birdseed for this type of feeder. Here’s one of my favorite hopper feeders, it’s squirrel-proof too. 
  2. Platform feeder – Sometimes called tray feeders, platform feeders are open on top and can usually be hung from a tree or hook, or pole-mounted. They are great for feeding most types of birds and are easy to get set up. Though since they are completely open, every animal in your yard that can reach them will eat from them. Use black sunflower seeds or mixed birdseed for this type of feeder. I’m using this platform feeder in my backyard right now. 
  3. Tube feeder – Tube feeders are nothing more than clear plastic tube-shaped bird feeders. They can range in size from holding a few cups of seed to holding 5 lbs or more. They are great because they keep your seed fresh and dry while also allowing you to easily seed when it needs to be refilled. Many types of birds will use a tube feeder. You can use black sunflower seeds and mixed seeds in tube feeders. Squirrel Buster makes some of the best tube feeders on the market, this one is great and is of course squirrel proof. 
  4. Suet feeder – Suet feeders are for one type of bird food, suet cakes. They are a very simple concept, usually made of nothing more than a metal wire cage, sometimes with a tail-prop coming down for larger birds. Suet feeders are popular in the winter time when birds are looking for high-fat foods and are frequently visited by woodpeckers. I suggest getting a suet feeder with a long tail prop so you can attract larger woodpeckers, like the Pileated and Northern Flicker. 
  5. Window feeder – Window feeders are small bird feeders that typically mount right onto a glass window by means of suction cups. They are similar to tray feeders in that they are open on top and you just pour the seed into the tray area to refill them. These feeders are popular with many different types of birds, are super easy to get started with, and great for people who don’t have big yards. Use black sunflower seeds or mixed birdseed for this type of feeder. This is by far the most popular window feeder on Amazon, and maybe the most popular bird feeder on Amazon overall. 
  6. Thistle feeder – Thistle feeders, aka Nyjer feeders, are specialized bird feeders made especially for thistle seed. The main types of birds that thistle feeders attract are birds in the finch family, which includes the American Goldfinch and House Finch whom are both on this list. Thistle feeders are often in a tube shape and have tiny holes all along the sides of the tube allowing the birds to pick out the thistle. Here’s a good thistle feeder from Droll Yankees. 
  7. Ground feeder – Ground feeders are more or less tray feeders that sit on ground level. They will be very popular with birds like Mourning Doves and Juncos as well as squirrels, raccoons, and any other type of ground animal. Use black sunflower seeds or mixed birdseed for this type of feeder. You might like this ground feeder made from recycled plastic. 
  8. Oriole feeder – Oriole feeders are another type of specialty feeder for pretty much one type of bird, orioles. The feeder itself is often orange in color and usually has little plastic or glass dishes made for holding jelly, which orioles love. They also allow you to stick orange halves onto the feeder, another food that orioles relish. Here’s a simple oriole feeder with 4 jelly trays that holds for orange halves. 
  9. Hummingbird feeder – Nectar feeders, aka hummingbird feeders, are designed specifically for hummingbirds to extract sugar water. Even though they are designed for hummingbirds, I frequently see Downy Woodpeckers at mine who also loves that sweet nectar. See this article to learn how to make hummingbird nectar without boiling the water. Hummingbird feeders are simple and inexpensive so there’s no need to spend much on one, here’s one that I’ve personally used and had success with. 
  10. Peanut feeder – Similar to thistle feeders, peanut feeders are tube-shaped and usually composed of a metal wire mesh material. Only the holes in the wire mesh are much further apart to allow for either whole unshelled or shelled peanuts to pass through the holes. These feeders attract birds like Blue Jays and as the name suggests, should be filled with peanuts. If you want to keep squirrels out of your peanut feeder, then this one by Squirrel Buster is your best bet. Otherwise this simple one will do the trick. 

Bird watching in Colorado

Colorado has plenty of options if you want to take the hobby outside of your own backyard. The Audubon Society has several local chapters throughout Colorado that have meetups, workshops, field trips, and birding tours. There is also a ton of information on how to get involved with the Colorado Field Ornithologists

If you are a Colorado resident (or visitor) and would like to add some new species to your life list, then take a look at this list I’ve compiled some popular birding locations in Colorado.

Colorado birding locations

Learn more about what each of these locations has to offer from birdwatchersdigest.org

Find even more hotspots with Audubon Colorado Important Bird Areas.

About Melanie

Melanie has been a birding hobbyist for years and loves feeding and photographing birds of all types.