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Forty Common Birds

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Forty Common Birds for Beginners

Here are suggested lists of forty common species for the east coast, mid west and west coast.  You'll have to adjust them for your locale. Most are commonly seen, but some are also chosen to illustrate different families or easy to recognize calls. You'll have to tweak them for the season or specific habit in which you'll run the class.
If you don't have a local checklist to start from, check This website will make lists of common species for a given zipcode. Just enter your zipcode and email address and ask for a local list.

East Coast Beginner Birds

Double Crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Mute Swan
Canada Goose
Turkey Vulture
Bald Eagle
Sharp-Shinned Hawk
Red-Tailed Hawk
American Kestrel
Peregrine Falcon
Wild Turkey
Laughing Gull
Herring Gull
Common Tern
Rock Dove
Mourning Dove
Great Horned Owl
Eastern Screech Owl
Downy Woodpecker
Red-Bellied Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Tree Swallow
Blue Jay
American Crow
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
Eastern Bluebird
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
Red-Eyed Vireo
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Northern Mockingbird
Northern Cardinal
White-Throated sparrow
Song Sparrow
Dark-Eyed Junco
Red-Winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
House Finch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow
European Starling

Mid West Beginner Birds

Here is a list for the Mid-west based on one developed by Warren Jones for llinois:

  • Canada Goose
  • Red-tailed Hawk
  • American Kestrel
  • Great Horned Owl (evening, early morning)
  • Barred Owl (evening, early morning)
  • Mourning Dove
  • Belted Kingfisher
  • Red-headed Woodpecker
  • Northern (Yellow-shafted) Flicker
  • Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • Downy Woodpecker
  • Common Crow
  • Blue Jay
  • Black-capped Chickadee
  • Tufted Titmouse
  • White-breasted Nuthatch
  • Brown Creeper
  • Robin
  • Cedar Waxwing
  • Brown-headed Cowbird
  • Red-winged Blackbird
  • Common Grackle
  • Eastern Meadowlark
  • Starling
  • House (English) Sparrow
  • [Eurasian Tree Sparrow is possible.]
  • Cardinal
  • House Finch
  • American Goldfinch
  • Song Sparrow
  • Wood Duck
  • Great Blue Heron
  • Green Heron
  • Killdeer
  • Turkey Vulture
  • Yellow-billed Cuckoo
  • Common Nighthawk
  • Eastern Kingbird
  • Eastern Phoebe
  • Eastern Pewee
  • Purple Martin
  • Barn Swallow
  • Chimney Swift
  • House Wren
  • Brown Thrasher
  • Catbird
  • Eastern Bluebird
  • American Redstart
  • Yellow Warbler
  • Common Yellowthroat
  • Northern (Baltimore) Oriole
  • Indigo Bunting
  • Rose-Breasted Grosbeak
  • Chipping Sparrow


West Coast Beginner Birds
Here's a list for the mid Pacific Coast, developed by Jay Withgott
Pacific Loon
Western Grebe
Brown Pelican
Double-crested Cormorant
Brandt's Cormorant
Surf Scoter
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
California Quail
American Coot
Black-necked Stilt
American Avocet
Marbled Godwit
Western Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper
Heermann's Gull
California Gull
Western Gull
Glaucous-winged Gull
Forster's Tern
Rock Dove
Mourning Dove
Anna's Hummingbird
Black Phoebe
Western Kingbird
Western Scrub-Jay
American Crow
Common Raven
Cliff Swallow
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Pygmy Nuthatch
Bewick's Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
American Robin
European Starling
Yellow Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Townsend's Warbler
Wilson's Warbler
Western Tanager
California Towhee
Song Sparrow

White-crowned Sparrow

Dark-eyed Junco
Brewer's Blackbird
House Finch
Lesser Goldfinch
House Sparrow

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