State Birds: An Introduction

Yellowhammer sitting on a twig tree

Introduction

State birds are the official birds of individual U.S. states. The first state bird was designated in 1927 when Colorado adopted the lark bunting as its official bird. There are now 50 state birds, one for each state (plus the District of Columbia).

Table of Contents

Why do states have official birds?

There is no one answer to this question, as each state has its own reasons for adopting a state bird. Some states choose their official bird as a symbol of their natural landscape or ecology. Other states choose a specific bird as a representation of their cultural heritage or history. And still, others pick a state bird simply because they like that particular species!

What are some of the most common state birds?

The American goldfinch, the Baltimore oriole, and the northern cardinal are some of the most common state birds in the country. These species can be found in many different parts of the U.S., so they make perfect symbols for individual states.

A Western Meadowlark perched in a tree near Hamer, Idaho.

How do we go about choosing a state bird?

Each state has its own process for designating a state bird. Typically, a bill is introduced in the state legislature proposing a specific species as the new official bird. If the bill passes, the governor then signs it into law.

What are some interesting facts about state birds?

Here are just a few fun facts about some of our nation’s official birds:

The California quail can walk backward and forward equally well.

Blue jay can remember up to 500 different songs!

The scarlet tanager can identify more than 100 types of trees by their leaves alone!

State birds are an important part of our country’s culture and history. Whether you’re a birdwatcher or just curious about the natural world, learning more about these official state symbols can be a fun and educational experience!

Red grouse, Lagopus lagopus scoticus, male, winter, Scotland

State birds are the official birds of individual U.S. states

There are now 50 state birds, one for each state (plus the District of Columbia). State birds are an important part of our country’s culture and history.

There are now 50 state birds, one for each state (plus the District of Columbia)

State birds are an important part of our country’s culture and history.

Designating a state bird is a symbolic way for a state to show its appreciation for nature and wildlife. State birds can be found in all sorts of habitats, from the desert to the forest to the beach. They represent the diversity of life in our country and are a reminder of the beauty that can be found in our natural world.

State birds also play a role in our cultural heritage. For example, the northern cardinal is the official bird of Virginia, where it is known as the “Virginia nightingale.” The Baltimore oriole is the state bird of Maryland, and its name comes from the city of Baltimore. These birds hold a special place in the hearts of people in these states and designate them as official state birds is a way to celebrate their importance.

State birds are also a source of pride for many people. Many Americans take great joy in spotting their state’s official bird. In fact, birdwatching is one of the most popular hobbies in the United States!

Winter and Swallow
Cactus Wren Perched on Cholla Cactus - Scottsdale Arizona

Why do states have official birds?

There are many reasons why states have official birds. The most common reason is that state birds can be found in all sorts of habitats, from the desert to the forest to the beach. State birds represent the diversity of life in our country and are a reminder of the beauty that can be found in our natural world.

What are some of the most common state birds?

There are many common state birds in the United States. The northern cardinal is the most popular state bird, with 44 states designating it as their official bird. The American bald eagle is a close second, with 43 states designating it as their official bird. Other common state birds include the mourning dove (37 states), the blue jay (36 states), and the goldfinch (33 states).

Northern Mockingbird perched on Sumac.
California Quail hiding in a tree. Beautiful, unusual bird. Out of focus foliage in background.

How do we go about choosing a state bird?

The process for selecting a state bird varies from state to state, but typically involves a public vote or legislature-led decision. State legislators and governors may also designate an official bird via executive order. State birds are usually chosen based on their physical appearance, historical significance, and popularity among state citizens.

What are some interesting facts about state birds?

State birds come in all shapes and sizes, from the tiny American goldfinch to the majestic bald eagle. Some state birds are known for their distinctive calls, like the lark bunting of Colorado or the northern mockingbird of Texas. State birds also vary in their migratory habits, with some birds migrating every year while others remain year-round residents.

Red male cardinal perched alone in a tree during late January

State birds are an important part of our country’s culture and history.

State birds are symbols of pride for many Americans, and they help us appreciate the natural beauty of our country. State birds can also serve as a reminder of our cultural heritage, causing us in connecting us to the past and celebrating the unique characteristics of each state. State birds are a reminder that we can all come together to celebrate nature’s beauty and recognize its importance in our lives.

By selecting an official bird for each state, we honor the wonder and diversity of wildlife in our country. State birds are a reminder of the importance of conservation and our responsibility to protect our natural world. State birds are special symbols that reflect the values and identity of each state, and remind us all to appreciate and respect nature.

State birds have played an important role in our culture for over 90 years, when Colorado became the first state to designate a state bird. State birds are more than just symbols—they’re part of our national identity. Celebrating the beauty, diversity and significance of state birds is one way to honor the history and culture of our country, while recognizing the important role that wildlife plays in our lives. State birds are an important part of who we are—and who we can be. State birds remind us to appreciate the wonders of nature and protect it for generations to come. State birds celebrate our shared connection with nature, and that’s something worth celebrating! We hope you will join us in honoring the importance of state birds and protecting their habitats.

Conclusion

State birds are more than just symbols—they’re part of our national identity. State birds celebrate our shared connection with nature, and that’s something worth celebrating! We hope you will join us in honoring the importance of state birds and protecting their habitats.

More To Explore