Birds in Massachusetts
Massachusetts hosts more than 300 different species of birds each year. From the rarely encountered Northern Goshawk to the charmingly common Black-capped Chickadee, the birds of the Commonwealth come in all shapes and sizes. Explore some of the most common ones you may encounter and get answeres to your most frequently asked questions.
Common Species in Massachusetts
The American Goldfinch’s distinctive sunshine-yellow plumage fades in winter to a palette of gray, brown, and buff.
Seen regularly in city parks, suburban lawns, and forest clearings, the American robin may be the most familiar bird in North America.
Also known as Timberdoodles, American Woodcocks can be found in the spring as they come to breed in New England.
Sometimes referred to as the "American Eagle," the Bald Eagle occurs only in North America and is found near coasts, large rivers, and lakes.
Orioles are colorful, vocal members of the blackbird family. In Massachusetts they are represented by two species—the Baltimore Oriole and the Orchard Oriole.
Birds of prey, also known as raptors, are a group of carnivorous birds, which means they feed primarily on meat.
The Massachusetts state bird, chickadees can be found in all corners of the Commonwealth wherever there are at least a few trees.
Blue Jays are clever and highly vocal birds that love to forage through open forests and tree-lined suburban streets.
Cowbirds are members of the blackbird family. This species is a nest parasite—females lay their eggs in the nests of other species.
Although once limited to the southeastern US, Carolina Wrens have spread north all the way to New England.
The chimney swift eats, drinks, collects nesting material, and possibly even copulates in flight.
A small sparrow, Chipping Sparrows make themselves heard in spring and summer with a ringing song that belies their size.
Grackle feathers shine with iridescence and their piercing voices creak and whine across suburban Massachusetts.
Crows have long suffered under the reputation of being "bad," yet these vocal black birds are among the most intelligent.
Often linked to winter, juncos can be found in the Commonwealth year-round, and often breed in our conifer forests.
Bringers of happiness in all seasons, eastern bluebirds are small members of the thrush family that inhabit fields and clearings throughout Massachusetts.
Eastern phoebes are active foragers that often choose to nest on or near human buildings.
As the name suggests, European Starlings are introduced birds from across the sea.
Once a rare sight in the northeast US, Great Blue Herons have staged a staggering comeback.
Despite its common usage, the term “seagull” is a misnomer. There is no gull species known as a seagull.
Named for the mournful sound of their owl-like cooing, mourning doves are plump-bodied brown birds with small heads and long tails.
Although owls are among the best-known birds in folklore and literature, they remain something of a mystery to most people.
There are 16 duck species that breed in Massachusetts. The mallard is the most commonly seen or encountered.
Northern cardinals bring splashes of vivid color to the grays and browns of a winter garden.
Common Pigeons have been domesticated for thousands of years, and have served as message carriers, research subjects, and more.
The most common and widespread members of the blackbird family in Massachusetts are the Red-winged Blackbirds.
These fairly large sparrows breed in the high tundra, but during winter they flock to Massachusetts weedy fields and backyard feeders.
Tufted Titmice are bold as brass, harassing intruders in their territory with their harsh scold calls.
Although soaring Turkey Vultures are now a regular sight in Massachusetts, they were rare until recent decades.
Many Massachusetts birds cling and crawl on the trunks of trees, but only the curious little nuthatches descend trees head-first.
Every spring, the northern woods are filled with the songs of White-throated Sparrows.
Once all but extinct from Massachusetts, this iconic bird can be found just about anywhere—woods, suburbs, even cities.
Upcoming Birding ProgramsSee all programs
Birdwatching Around the World: Galapagos
Friday, December 1
First Fridays Birding & Conversation
North River Wildlife Sanctuary, Marshfield
Friday, December 1
Winter Bird walk at BNC
Boston Nature Center and Wildlife Sanctuary, Mattapan
Saturday, December 2
Don't miss a beat on all the ways you can get outdoors, celebrate nature, and get involved.