Georgia is home to many different species of wild birds. In this article we’ll take a look at some of the more recognizable and well-known Georgia birds, especially those that can be found close to home. Some of these species live in Georgia all year long, others are migratory and are only part-time residents. So let’s take a look at 25 backyard birds in Georgia and learn a little about each species.
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 in Georgia.
How many different species of wild birds are in Georgia?
It’s difficult to get an exact number on how many bird species are found in North America, the United States, or even in the state of Georgia. However, according to the Georgia Ornithological Society, as of 2019 there were 425 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 Georgia.
25 backyard birds in Georgia
Below we’ll look at 25 species of backyard birds in Georgia, 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 Georgia backyard birds, many of which you can see at your bird feeders. Let’s get to it!
1. Northern Cardinal
Scientific name: Cardinalis cardinalis
Length: 8.3-9.1 in
Weight: 1.5-1.7 oz
Wingspan: 9.8-12.2 in
Northern Cardinals are among the most recognizable and common backyard birds in North America. Males have bright red feathers and a black mask, females have duller colors and are more pale brown with some reddish coloring. Both males and females are easily recognized by their “mohawks” and reddish orange beaks.
Northern Cardinals are found throughout the entire state of Georgia all year long, since cardinals do not migrate.
Cardinals will visit most seed feeders, offer them mixed seed blends and black sunflower seeds.
2. Tufted Titmouse
Scientific name: Baeolophus bicolor
Length: 5.5-6.3 in
Weight: 0.6-0.9 oz
Wingspan: 7.9-10.2 in
These little birds are very common at feeders and in backyards within their range. Like Cardinals, they have a small crest (mohawk) that helps you tell them apart from other birds. Titmice are silver-gray on top and lighter on bottom, with a black patch just above their beaks.
The Tufted Titmouse is found throughout Georgia year-round.
Titmice will visit most seed feeders, offer them mixed seed blends and black sunflower seeds.
3. Carolina Chickadee
Scientific name: Poecile carolinensis
Length: 3.9-4.7 in
Weight: 0.3-0.4 oz
Wingspan: 5.9-7.9 in
Chickadees are tiny little birds that are very easy to recognize because of their “black cap” and black bib. Their cheeks are solid white, their wings and backs are gray, and their underbodies are puffy and light.
Carolina Chickadees, not to be confused with their near identical cousins Black-capped Chickadees which live further north, common backyard birds in Georgia. They frequent 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. They are often thought of a bold and curious for their size.
Chickadees will visit most seed feeders, offer them mixed seed blends and black sunflower seeds.
4. Blue Jay
Scientific name: Cyanocitta cristata
Length: 9.8-11.8 in
Weight: 2.5-3.5 oz
Wingspan: 13.4-16.9 in
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 white feathers their chest and belly. Their wings and tail have black stripes. They also have a black ring around their necks that looks like a necklace. They have several loud, metallic sounding calls, and will often be among the first to alert all the birds in the area of a predator such as a hawk.
Blue Jays are another year-round resident to the entire state of Georgia. They are very common in backyards and at feeders.
Blue Jays like platform feeders, peanut feeders, and feeders with large perches. Offer them black sunflower seeds, mixed seeds, and peanuts.
5. Eastern Bluebird
Scientific name: Sialia sialis
Length: 6.3-8.3 in
Weight: 1.0-1.1 oz
Wingspan: 9.8-12.6 in
True to their name, bluebirds are royal blue on top with rusty reddish-orange chests and white bellies. They are just about the most sought after tenants of birdhouses in the U.S. making the bluebird house industry pretty booming. They are very common in backyards, though not so much at feeders. Put up a birdhouse and try your luck in attracting a mating pair, I was able to with this birdhouse on Amazon.
Eastern Bluebirds can be found throughout Georgia all year.
Bluebirds don’t typically eat seeds, but can be enticed to visit feeders with mealworms on a tray feeder or in a dish.
6. Brown Thrasher
Scientific name: Toxostoma rufum
Length: 9.1-11.8 in
Weight: 2.1-3.1 oz
Wingspan: 11.4-12.6 in
The brown thrasher is a warm brown with a heavily streaked breast and belly. They have a sturdy black beak and a yellow eye. I assume they are called thrashers because of the way they will thrash through fallen leaves looking for bugs, don’t quote me on that though. Brown Thrashers are accomplished songbirds and are believed to have over 1100 different songs, including those of other bird species.
Brown Thrashers can be found in Georgia any time of year.
Brown Thrashers don’t usually visit bird feeders but may pick up seeds on the ground. They mainly dig through leaves and sticks looking for bugs to find their food.
7. American Robin
Scientific name: Turdus migratorius
Length: 7.9-11.0 in
Weight: 2.7-3.0 oz
Wingspan: 12.2-15.8 in
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.
Georgia is one of the states furthest south where robins can still be found year round.
American Robins do not often visit bird feeders, so attract them with meal worms, native fruit-bearing plants, or a bird bath.
8. Mourning Dove
Scientific name: Zenaida macroura
Length: 9.1-13.4 in
Weight: 3.0-6.0 oz
Wingspan: 17.7 in
About the size of a robin, 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 and a pale peachy color below.
Mourning Doves are found all year throughout the whole state of Georgia.
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.
9. European Starling
Scientific name: Sturnus vulgaris
Length: 7.9-9.1 in
Weight: 2.1-3.4 oz
Wingspan: 12.2-15.8 in
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, Georgia 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.
10. American Goldfinch
Scientific name: Spinus tristis
Length: 4.3-5.1 in
Weight: 0.4-0.7 oz
Wingspan: 7.5-8.7 in
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. In the winter they will molt and lose these flashy colors and have more dull brownish or olive colors. You can always recognize them any time of year by the black on their wings, and their finch-like beaks.
Goldfinches can be found year-round in the northern half of Georgia, but south of Macon they tend to only be seen during the winter months.
Goldfinches prefer thistle feeders, they may also eat sunflower chips but a thistle feeder is your best chance to attract them.
11. Carolina Wren
Scientific name: Thryothorus ludovicianus
Length: 4.7-5.5 in
Weight: 0.6-0.8 oz
Wingspan: 11.4 in
These little birds are mostly reddish-brown on top and a lighter orangish color on bottom. Their longish, slightly curved beak and bold white “eyebrow” are good identifiers. They like to hide in brush and may be hard to spot, however their loud “teakettle-teakettle” song is likely one you would recognize.
Carolina Wrens are found throughout Georgia and all of the southeastern United States all year long.
Carolina Wrens are quite common in backyards and are often seen visiting suet feeders, like the picture above of one we saw in our yard.
12. Brown-headed Nuthatch
Scientific name: Sitta pusilla
Length: 3.9-4.3 in
Weight: 0.3 oz
Wingspan: 6.3-7.1 in
These small nuthatches have a black, chisel shaped beak, blue-gray back, light chest and a brown cap that goes from beak to nape. They have a relatively small range, only being found in the pine forests of the U.S. southeast. They spend most of the time hopping up and down tree trunks looking for insects and pine seeds. These nuthatches make a squeaking noise that many people think sounds like a rubber duckie.
Brown-headed nuthatches are found in the pine forests of Georgia year round.
While these are mainly forest birds, you may be able to attract them to your yard with a suet feeder.
13. 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 yet another very common backyard bird in Georgia. Though they are invasive to the eastern U.S., they are not universally hated like other invasive birds such as House Sparrows or European Starlings. If you attract them, which is fairly easy to do, they may show up in large flocks and mob your feeders. Males are mostly streaked brown in color with some red on the head and chest, females are all brown.
House Finches are common all year throughout Georgia, although they become more scarce along the southern boarder.
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.
14. Pine Warbler
Scientific name: Setophaga pinus
Length: 5.1-5.5 in
Weight: 0.3-0.5 oz
Wingspan: 7.5-9.1 in
Pine Warblers have yellow bodies and gray wings with two white wingbars on each wing. Males will sometimes appear brighter, while females and immatures can have a more olive or brown hue. Their name comes from their habitat, as they spend most of their time high up in pine trees searching for insects, which is the main part of their diet. However pine warblers are one of the few warblers that will eat seeds and occasionally visit bird feeders.
Pine Warblers migrate along the east coast, but stay in Georgia all year round.
Pine warblers may visit seed feeders offering sunflower, peanuts and millet, and may also visit suet feeders.
15. 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 most of Georgia year round, but only during the non-breeding winter season in the very southern tip of the state.
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.
16. Red-bellied Woodpecker
Scientific name: Melanerpes carolinus
Length: 9.4 in
Weight: 2.0-3.2 oz
Wingspan: 13.0-16.5 in
These medium-sized woodpeckers are fairly common at feeders and in backyards in general. Though they are described as “red-bellied” you may first notice the bright red streak along the back of their heads. They have a plain white break with an area of pinkish red lower down in their “belly” area which is often not visible. Their wings are what really makes them easy to identify though, with the white and black barring.
Red-bellied Woodpeckers live in the entire state of Georgia all year long.
Attract Red-bellied Woodpeckers with a suet feeder, though they will also sometimes eat at seed feeders, especially if peanuts are offered.
17. Downy Woodpecker
Scientific name: Picoides pubescens
Length: 5.5-6.7 in
Weight: 0.7-1.0 oz
Wingspan: 9.8-11.8 in
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 Georgia.
Downy Woodpeckers are very common at most types of bird feeders. Offer them mixed seed, black sunflower seed, and suet.
18. 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. Overall they appear mostly black in color and will roost with other types of blackbirds, sometimes in massive flocks numbering in the millions of birds. They are easy to identify by their solid coloring and yellow ringed eye.
Grackles are found throughout the state of Georgia ll year.
Grackles are foragers and will eat just about anything, they are often thought of as pests.
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. They get their name from the fact that they stuff nuts and seeds under tree bark, then use their sharp beaks to hatch them back out. I’ve noticed that they also have the ability to walk vertically on trees better than many other types of birds. They 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 Georgia.
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.
20. Northern Mockingbird
Scientific name: Mimus polyglottos
Length: 8.3-10.2 in
Weight: 1.6-2.0 oz
Wingspan: 12.2-13.8 in
Mockingbirds get their name from their ability to mimic the songs of other species of birds. It’s estimated that a male mockingbird can learn up to 200 different songs in its lifetime. These medium sized backyard birds are mostly gray and white in color and can also be recognized by their rather long tail feathers. They are often seen living in tall bushes and can often be quite aggressive of intruding birds.
Northern Mockingbirds are found throughout the state of Georgia year-round.
Northern Mockingbirds are very common in backyards, but don’t really visit bird feeders. Entice them to your yard with some of the other tips below such as fruit bearing bushes or a bird bath.
21. White-throated Sparrow
Scientific name: Zonotrichia albicollis
Length: 6.3-7.1 in
Weight: 0.8-1.1 oz
Wingspan: 7.9-9.1 in
White-throated sparrows are common across much of the U.S. during the winter, and then migrate to Canada in the summer to breed. Their white throat patch makes them easier to identify among sparrows, along with their bold facial pattern of black and white stripe with yellow spots between the eyes. The females often nest on or just above the ground in hidden areas of dense brush and vegetation.
White-throated sparrows are common throughout Georgia, but only during the winter months.
White-throated sparrows readily visit feeders and like to pick up fallen seed below feeders. Offer sunflower, millet and mixed seed blends.
22. Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Scientific name: Archilochus colubris
Length: 2.8-3.5 in
Weight: 0.1-0.2 oz
Wingspan: 3.1-4.3 in
Though only common in the eastern half of the United States, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are the most abundant species of hummingbirds in the country. They are also the only breeding species of hummingbird found in the Eastern U.S. They get their name because males have a bright ruby-red throat. Ruby-throated Hummers are emerald-green on their backs, wings, and heads with white under-parts. Females lack the red throat feathers.
There are a few of wandering species of Hummingbirds in Georgia, but Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are generally the main hummingbirds found in Georgia. They are found throughout the state from Spring to Fall.
Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are very common in backyards if you put out nectar feeders, in most cases this should be done in April or May.
You may like: Facts, Myths, and FAQ about hummingbirds
23. Eastern Towhee
Scientific name: Pipilo erythrophthalmus
Length: 6.8-8.2 in
Weight: 1.1-1.8 oz
Wingspan: 7.9-11.0 in
The Eastern Towhee is a lovely species of backyard bird that is always a treat to see. Both sexes have a dark head and back with white wing spots, orange sides and a white belly. However the dark color on males is black while on females it is brown. They have a beautiful song that is a familiar sound in the woods during spring and summer. Master foragers, towhees search through leaf litter and vegetation for insects, seeds and berries.
Eastern Towhees live throughout Georgia all year.
Eastern Towhees do not eat directly from bird feeders very often in my experience, but I regularly see them hopping around the ground beneath my feeders. So bird feeders may attract towhees in that sense.
24. Indigo Bunting
Scientific name: Passerina cyanea
Length: 4.7-5.1 in
Weight: 0.4-0.6 oz
Wingspan: 7.5-8.7 in
These beautiful buntings migrate at night, traveling up from their wintering grounds in Mexico and southern Georgia. While females are mostly brown with just hints of blue, males are bright blue all over with some black on their wings. This coloring comes from the way their feathers reflect light rather than blue pigment. Look for them in summer singing along the edges of fields and woods.
Indigo Buntings can be found throughout Georgia during the spring and summer.
While not as common at feeders, they will sometimes visit especially if you offer mixed seed and nyjer.
25. Northern Flicker
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. Flickers feed mainly on insects and are slightly less common at feeders as the other woodpecker species on this list, but if you know where to look you will still spot them in your backyard. Identify them by their black spots on their bellies, solid black bib, red patch on the back of their necks, and barred black and gray wings.
Northern Flickers are commonly seen all year in backyards throughout Georgia.
Northern Flickers occasionally visit a suet feeder, but more often than not they find their own food. They will however visit a bird bath if you have one out.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 Georgia
Georgia is a wonderful state for birding if you want to go take your hobby outside of your own backyard. The Georgia Audubon Society has meetups, workshops, field trips, and birding tours, should you want to get a little more involved.
If you are a Georgia resident 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 Georgia.
Georgia birding locations
Learn more about what each of these locations has to offer (and local birding events) from birdwatchersdigest.org
- Burrell’s Ford
- Kennesaw Mountain
- Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge
- Phinizy Swamp Nature Park
- Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge
- Jekyll Island