Here’s 20 AMAZING birds of Washington state you need to see…
How many different kinds of birds live in the state of Washington?
According to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, there are over 500 species of birds found in the state.
This abundance of birds is due to the diversity of habitats, including deserts, mountains, forests, wetlands, and coastal areas.
Washington State is located on the Pacific Flyway, a major migration route, and birds use it as a pit stop during their long journey from Alaska to South America.
List of Top 20 Birds Of Washington
1. Black-capped Chickadee
The Black-capped Chickadee is a tiny bird with a distinctive black cap and bib. This bird is a common resident in the forests of Washington state and is known for its curious and friendly nature.
It’s not uncommon to find this little bird perched on your hand if you offer it some seeds. The Black-capped Chickadee is a vocal bird and has a distinctive call that sounds like “chick-a-dee-dee-dee.”
2. Anna’s Hummingbird
Anna’s Hummingbird is a stunning bird with iridescent green and pink feathers. This bird is a common sight in Washington state, especially during the winter months when other hummingbird species migrate to warmer climates.
Anna’s Hummingbird is a feisty bird that can be quite territorial and aggressive towards other birds.
These birds are often found flitting around flowers and feeders, sipping nectar with their long beaks.
3. American Goldfinch
The American Goldfinch is a small, brightly colored bird with bright yellow feathers and black wings.
This bird is found throughout Washington state, especially in gardens and parks. The American Goldfinch is a social bird and is often seen in flocks during the winter months.
These birds are known for their beautiful songs and can often be heard singing from treetops and shrubs.
4. Barn Swallow
The Barn Swallow is a medium-sized bird with iridescent blue and black feathers. This bird is a common sight in Washington state, especially during the summer months.
Barn Swallows are known for their acrobatic flight patterns and can often be seen swooping and diving through the air.
These birds build their nests out of mud and can often be found nesting in barns and other structures.
5. White-crowned Sparrow
The White-crowned Sparrow is a small bird with a striking black and white striped crown. This bird is a common sight in Washington state and is often found in fields and meadows.
The White-crowned Sparrow is a social bird and can often be seen foraging in flocks during the winter months.
These birds have a beautiful song that is often described as a “pure, clear whistle.”
6. Red-Winged Blackbird
The Red-Winged Blackbird is a medium-sized bird that is easily recognizable by its distinctive red and yellow shoulder patches.
These birds are common residents of Washington state and are often found near wetlands, marshes, and other bodies of water.
The Red-Winged Blackbird has a beautiful and varied song that is often described as a “conk-la-ree!”
7. American Robin
The American Robin is a medium-sized bird with a bright orange breast and gray-brown back. This bird is a common sight in gardens, parks, and wooded areas throughout Washington state.
American Robins are known for their melodious songs, and their arrival in the spring is often seen as a sign of the changing seasons.
8. Red-breasted Nuthatch
The Red-breasted Nuthatch is a small bird with blue-gray upperparts and a distinctive rusty-red breast.
These birds are common in Washington state’s coniferous forests and are often seen hopping headfirst down tree trunks and branches.
The Red-breasted Nuthatch has a nasal call that sounds like “yank-yank,” and its unique behavior and appearance make it a fascinating bird to observe.
9. European Starling
The European Starling is a medium-sized bird with iridescent black feathers and a short tail.
These birds are not native to North America but were introduced in the late 1800s and have since become common throughout the United States.
European Starlings are often seen foraging on lawns and in agricultural fields, and their ability to mimic other bird species’ songs and calls makes them an interesting species to study.
10. Black-headed Grosbeak
The Black-headed Grosbeak is a medium-sized bird with a distinctive black head and bright orange breast.
These birds are common in Washington state’s wooded areas and are known for their beautiful songs.
The Black-headed Grosbeak’s call sounds like “chink” and is often heard during the breeding season. These birds are also attracted to feeders and are a colorful addition to any backyard bird watching setup.
11. House Finch
The House Finch is a small, brightly colored bird with a red forehead, breast, and rump. These birds are common residents of urban and suburban areas and are often found at backyard feeders.
House Finches have a pleasant, musical song and are known for their acrobatic abilities, as they can cling to the sides of feeders and hop along branches with ease.
12. House Sparrow
The House Sparrow is a small bird with a brown and gray back and black streaks on its wings.
These birds are not native to North America but were introduced in the mid-1800s and have since become common in urban and suburban areas throughout the United States.
House Sparrows are often found in large flocks and are known for their distinctive chirping calls.
13. Yellow-rumped Warbler
The Yellow-rumped Warbler is a small bird with a blue-gray back, yellow rump, and bright yellow patches on its sides.
These birds are common residents of Washington state’s coniferous forests and are often seen flitting from branch to branch, searching for insects.
Yellow-rumped Warblers have a trilling song and are a delight to observe during the breeding season.
14. Cedar Waxwing
The Cedar Waxwing is a medium-sized bird with a sleek, silky appearance and a distinctive black mask on its face.
These birds are common in Washington state’s woodlands, orchards, and other areas with fruit-bearing trees.
Cedar Waxwings are known for their unique high-pitched, hissing calls and their preference for fruit, which they swallow whole.
15. Song Sparrow
The Song Sparrow is a small bird with brown and gray upperparts and a streaked breast.
These birds are common residents of Washington state’s marshes, meadows, and shrubby areas. Song Sparrows are known for their melodious, musical songs, which are highly variable and can differ from bird to bird.
16. Brown-headed Cowbird
The Brown-headed Cowbird is a small, stocky bird with a black body and a distinctive brown head.
These birds are known for their parasitic behavior, as they lay their eggs in the nests of other bird species, allowing them to raise their young. Brown-headed Cowbirds are common residents of open fields, pastures, and forest edges.
17. Downy Woodpecker
The Downy Woodpecker is a small bird with black and white plumage and a distinctive red patch on its head.
These birds are common residents of Washington state’s forests and woodlands and can often be found clinging to tree trunks and branches in search of insects.
Downy Woodpeckers have a sharp, distinctive drumming sound, which they use to communicate with other birds.
18. Spotted Towhee
The Spotted Towhee is a medium-sized bird with black and white plumage and a distinctive red eye.
These birds are common residents of Washington state’s shrubby areas and can often be seen scratching the ground in search of insects and seeds. Spotted Towhees have a distinctive, musical call that sounds like “drink your tea.”
19. Northern Flicker
The Northern Flicker is a medium-sized bird with brown and black plumage and a distinctive red patch on the back of its head.
These birds are common residents of Washington state’s forests and woodlands and can often be seen on the ground, searching for insects. Northern Flickers have a loud, distinctive call that sounds like “wicka-wicka-wicka.”
20. Dark-eyed Junco
The Dark-eyed Junco is a small bird with gray and white plumage and a distinctive black hood.
These birds are common residents of Washington state’s forests and woodlands and can often be found scratching the ground in search of seeds.
Dark-eyed Juncos have a trilling song that is often heard during the breeding season.
Birds Facts for Washington
Let’s dive into some interesting bird facts specific to Washington. Did you know that the state bird of Washington is the American Goldfinch?
These small, yellow birds can be found in fields, gardens, and forests across the state.
Another interesting fact is that Washington is home to the largest population of Bald Eagles in the continental United States, with an estimated 800 breeding pairs.
Common birds in countryside Washington
Washington State’s countryside is home to a variety of bird species. Here are some of the most common birds found in the countryside.
California Quail (Callipepla californica)
The California Quail is a plump, round bird found in open shrublands and woodlands. They have a distinctive black plume on their heads and a scalloped appearance to their feathers.
Northern Pygmy-Owl (Glaucidium gnoma)
The Northern Pygmy-Owl is a small, diurnal owl found in the forests of Washington State. They are only about 6 inches tall and have a distinctive head shape, with bright yellow eyes and a black beak
FAQs About Birds Of Washington State
Washington state is home to a wide variety of bird species, and many people have questions about these fascinating creatures.
In this section, we will answer some of the most frequently asked questions about birds of Washington state.
What is the most common bird in Washington state?
The most common bird in Washington state is the American Robin. These birds are known for their bright orange breast and are commonly found in backyards, parks, and forests throughout the state. They are also known for their beautiful song, which can be heard throughout the year.
What kind of birds does Washington State have?
Washington state is home to a wide variety of bird species, including songbirds, raptors, waterfowl, and shorebirds.
Some of the most commonly seen bird species in Washington state include the American Goldfinch, Anna’s Hummingbird, Black-capped Chickadee, and Cedar Waxwing.
What is the national bird of Washington?
The national bird of the United States is the Bald Eagle, which is also the state bird of Washington.
These majestic birds can often be seen soaring over lakes and rivers throughout the state and are a symbol of freedom and strength.
What is the GREY and brown bird in Washington state?
The grey and brown bird commonly seen in Washington state is likely the House Sparrow.
These birds are not native to North America but were introduced from Europe in the 1850s. They are now common throughout the United States, including in Washington state.
What is a blue gray bird?
A blue-gray bird commonly seen in Washington state is likely the Steller’s Jay. These birds have blue-gray feathers on their heads, wings, and tail, with black feathers on their bodies.
They are common residents of Washington state’s forests and woodlands.
What is the dark blue bird in Washington state?
The dark blue bird commonly seen in Washington state is likely the Mountain Bluebird.
These birds have bright blue feathers on their heads, wings, and tail, with a pale chest and belly. They are common residents of Washington state’s open fields and mountain meadows.
What are the Birds of Washington State?
With so many different species I’m not going to list them all, as it would take a very long time. However, here are a couple of species of birds that you can find in Washington State.
The Snowy Egret has the scientific name Egretta Thula. This small white heron can be found in Saddle Creek. They like to wade in shallow water and to spear fish with their bill.
The Bobolink has the scientific name Dolichonyx Oryzivorus. This impressive songbird likes to forage for seeds in grassy pastures and overgrown fields.
The White-Crowned Sparrow is native to North America and has the scientific name Zonothrichia Ieucophrys. They’re a large species of sparrow but they have a small bill.
More Birds Found in Washington State…
The Tufted Puffin can be spotted along the coastline and on Protection Island. They have the scientific name Fratercula Cirrhata.
They’re a larger size than most other species of puffin. Their distinctive facial markings make it easy to tell them apart from other puffins, as they have a bold white face mask.
The American Robin is a migratory songbird with a noticeable orange-red breast. Its scientific name is Turdus Migratorius.
They’re commonly found in gardens and parks across the majority of North America. They forage for food and enjoy berries, insects and juicy earthworms.
Where Can These Birds be Found?
With meadows, mountain areas, a long-spreading coastline, and gardens and parks full of lush greenery, then it’s no surprise that Washington State is full of plenty of feathered-friends.
Due to the chillier winter months, many birds are migratory.
If you visit in the warmer months you’ll see even more birds about.
Although there are many migratory birds that call Washington State their home for around half the year, there are also plenty of birds that brave the cold and stay here all year round.
Some of the Birds of the Pacific Northwest
There are so many fascinating birds living in Washington State, including some of the rare and wonderful species that aren’t as well-known as other species of birds.
Below, I delve into the bird world and tell you more about some of the quirky and unique birds that you can find here.
This blue-gray bird is a member of the water-fowl species.
It also goes by the name “beach goose,” and has the scientific name Anser Canagicus.
Although their numbers are slowly increasing, climate change, oil pollution and hunting are believed to be behind their initial decline.
Unlike the majority of birds, they don’t migrate to warmer climates. Instead, they leave Washington State in the summer and travel hundreds of miles to chilly Alaska…brrr!
These loyal birds mate for life. They build their nests in holes in the ground then use materials such as leaves and feathers to make them cosy.
In fact, there are two color morphs of this species of goose.
One has white plumage, white the other has brown-gray plumage. Their color is down to a single gene.
Their scientific name is Anser Caerulescens. These sociable birds are usually found in large flocks.
These lovable birds mate for life…aw! Also, their chicks can eat and even swim on their own within one day of being born!
Greater White-Fronted Goose
This species of goose has the scientific name Anser Albifrons.
The adults can be easily spotted by the salt-and-pepper markings on their breast.
They have white feathers bordering around their bill and bright orange legs. When migrating they fly in a “V” shape.
They forage in groups and are commonly found in lakes and fields. The wetter the area the better, as they love waddling through marsh areas and swimming in lakes and ponds.
This North American bird has the scientific name Branta Hutchinsii, they have a black neck and head with white “chinstrap” colorings.
The female is slightly smaller in size and her voice sounds different to the males.
When foraging for food they fully submerge their heads and necks in the water so that they can reach the aquatic plants.
This is the heaviest species of bird in North America and has a wingspan that can exceed 10 feet.
They can be spotted by their solid black bills and large size.
They have the scientific name Cygnus Buccinator, the male swan is called a “cob” and a female swan is called a “pen.”
In 1933 they nearly became extinct as their numbers dwindled to under 70.
With reintroduction by wildlife agencies and the help of the Trumpeter Swan Society their number has increased to the thousands.
They’re a member of the Anatidae family, which includes, ducks, geese and swans.
They’re one of the smallest members of the dabbling duck group.
Their scientific name is Spatula Discors, and they prefer calm shorelines to open, choppy waters.
Both the males and females of this species have beautiful blue wing coverts…snazzy!
They like to take cover in heavy growth, as they can escape prey there. They forage for food on mud flats or in shallow water and they feed on plants and small aquatic animals.
This member of the dabbling duck group is a medium-sized duck, and has the scientific name Mareca Penelope.
They like to inhabit lakes and marshes, and they nest on the ground, close to water and under cover.
When it’s breeding season, the male has gray flanks and back, and a vivid-white patch on their upper wings.
When they’re not in breeding season, they have the same light brown plumage as the female does.
This large sea duck also goes by the name the American Scoter, and they have the scientific name Melanitta Americana.
They can be distinguished by their bulky shape and large bill.
The male of the species doesn’t have any white colorings on them.
They’re expert divers and they feed off crustaceans, molluscs, fish eggs and caddisflies.
They fly in tightly-packed flocks and take-off and land together. They build their nest on the ground, close to the ocean or lakes.
These large, long-bodied ducks have the scientific name Mergus Merganser.
Unlike the males, the females have a shaggy brown crest on the back of their heads (which resembles a funky hairstyle!)
The males have white bodies and iridescent green heads.
In the winter months they like to ensemble in large flocks around lakes.
They nest close to water in tree cavities found in forest areas.
Don’t be fooled by their pop star name, as the Virginia Rail is actually a species of small waterbird.
They have the scientific name Rallus Limicola, and they like to hide in dense vegetation.
However, they do have a loud grunting sound, so if you walk past a bush and hear weird sounds then it may well be one of these birds.
Their compressed body, long toes and flexible vertebrae make them well-adapted for moving through tricky areas.
This bird is also known as the Grey Plover and has the scientific name Pluvialis squatarola
They forage for food on beaches and enjoy tasty molluscs, crustaceans and insects.
They’re believed to flock when rain is imminent, so if you see a group of them together then it’s advisable to get your brolly.
They can be found across many parts of the world and have an (almost) worldwide migratory coastline distribution.
Birds have adapted to thrive in their surroundings just as humans have. Humans living in the city have very different daily plans for those who live in more rural areas.
It stands to reason that city-dwelling birds have learned to be resourceful when it comes to finding food.
These birds have learned how to adapt to their surroundings so that they flourish in the city that they call home.
People’s Effect on their Behavior and Adaptations
Gulls that pass through the city can often be seen raiding trash cans, while gulls that live in more vast surroundings will catch fish.
Many birds take advantage of the skyline buildings and incorporate them into their nests.
The Peregrine Falcon used to primarily nest on top of cliffs. With so many high story buildings about, they can now be found nesting on top of them.
With over 500 birds calling Washington State their home it would be normal to presume that they all thrived here.
However, 189 of these species are threatened by factors including climate change. The change in clean air, water and land have led to many birds becoming endangered.
The Osprey has the scientific name Pandion Haliaetus, and it’s a fish eating raptor.
They have a striking appearance and their dense, oily feathers prevent them from getting waterlogged.
Chemical pollutants caused issues to their production. Although, their numbers are on the rise, they’re still scarce in some areas.
The Ruffed Goose has the scientific name Bonasa Umbellus, it’s a non-migratory bird that likes to habitat forest areas.
See Also: State Bird Of California
Final Thoughts About Birds Of Washington State
Washington state is a birdwatcher’s paradise, with a diverse array of bird species found throughout its varied ecosystems.
From the majestic Bald Eagle to the tiny Anna’s Hummingbird, each bird species has its unique characteristics and behaviors that make them fascinating to observe and study.
Whether you’re a seasoned birdwatcher or just starting, exploring the birds of Washington state can be a rewarding and educational experience.
By learning more about the birds that call Washington home, you can gain a deeper appreciation for the natural world and the incredible diversity of life found within it.
So grab a pair of binoculars and hit the trails – you never know what feathered friends you might encounter along the way!