Birds have drawn our attention to the skies since the dawn of time. They’ve demonstrated that humans are not the captives of gravity and that flight is both conceivable and boundless. Birds pollinate plants, disperse seeds, scavenge corpses, and recycle nutrients back into the ground. Today, we will look at some of the unique birds of North Carolina.
Birds refresh our souls by highlighting the change of the seasons, encouraging us to produce art and poetry, inspiring us to fly, and reminding us that we are not only on this planet but also a part of it.
Mammals such as black bears, coyotes, and raccoons house in North Carolina’s diverse locations, as do reptiles and amphibians. The state is home to over 300 tree species, notably long-leaf pine, short-leaf pine, and the American chestnut tree.
In addition, approximately 3,000 different varieties of blooming plants, including the state flower. The blossoming dogwood adds a splash of color to the landscape.
Birds of North Carolina
North Carolina hosts 470 different types of bird species like ospreys and cardinals, the state bird. Today, we will discuss some of the species of the birds of North Carolina, where you can go bird watching to spot them, and which birds you can discover in your backyard.
The Piedmont Plateau, the Appalachian Mountains, and the Atlantic Coastal Plain of North Carolina are home to a wide range of birds.
The North Carolina Triangle region, also called The Triangle, is home to many year-round songbirds, including the Northern cardinal, Carolina chickadees, Tufted titmouse, Brown-headed nuthatch, and Goldfinch. Let’s look at some of the famous birds of North Carolina:
1) The White-Throated Sparrow
In early October, the white-throated sparrow flies in North Carolina and remains until early May. This species has two plumage variants in both males and females. They have white throats and white belly, grey chests, white head streaks from forehead to crown, and a yellow front eyebrow, sometimes duller in females.
White-throated sparrows forage on the ground in groups, scraping through leaves for seeds, fruits, and insects. As a result, these birds of North Carolina prefer lush urban places with brushy borders or hedgerows, as well as active bird feeders.
2) Carolina Chickadees
The Carolina chickadees feel at home in urban areas, where they are found using nesting boxes, birdbaths and, bird feeders. The Carolina forages in mixed flocks with nuthatches, woodpeckers, warblers, and other Southeast woodland species in fall and winter.
The Carolina chickadee has a smaller head and shorter tail than the Black-capped Chickadee. The bigger wing coverts are more evenly grey and display less white, giving the top regions a more unadorned appearance. The nape of the neck is usually brownish, and the bib is generally small. There is also a clear distinction between the bib and the belly; however, this feature may be lost in highly worn birds, particularly during summer.
The Carolina Chickadee’s cinnamon-buff color under the wings is less developed; however, fresh adults in the northeastern portion of its range display more robust cinnamon and can be mistaken with Black-capped. It has less white on the outer tail feathers, which might seem entirely grey at times
3) Tufted Titmouse
The Tufted Titmouse is a little grey bird that spends the entire year on trees. They build their nests in naturally occurring holes in trees or holes made by woodpeckers. The Tufted Titmouse is rarely seen above 2,000 feet in height. They consume insects along with nuts, berries, and seeds, and they are frequent visitors to bird feeders.
The Tufted Titmouse is frequently the first to visit the feeders after the seeds are placed. They follow people from the workplace to the feeder, bouncing from branch to branch and singing loudly. These birds of North Carolina are well aware that humans are their treat supplier!
4) House Finch
House Finches are a recent addition from western North America into eastern North America, and they have received a warm welcome due to males’ cheerful red heads and breasts, as well as the bird’s long, twittering song, which can now be heard in most of the continent’s neighborhoods.
If you’ve not seen one, chances are you’ll see one at the next bird feeder you come across. It is recommended that you stock your backyard feeders with tiny, black oil sunflower seed. House Finches may attract groups of 50 or more birds if they locate your feeders.
The male House Finch gets its bright red color from pigments in its diet during molt hence the more pigment in the food, the redder the male. Females prefer to mate with the reddest male they can find, possibly increasing their chances of getting a suitable partner to help feed the nestlings.
House Finches feed their nestlings only plant foods, which is unusual in the bird world. Many adult birds that are vegetarians nevertheless eat animal items to provide protein to their developing young.
5) Northern Cardinal
Northern Cardinals are commonly found in densely forested environments, such as forest borders, overgrown pastures, backyards, and regrowing woodlands. Cardinals build their nests in thick foliage and seek out prominent, relatively high perches for singing.
These birds of North Carolina mostly eat seeds and fruit, augmenting their diet with insects and feeding the same to their nestlings. Dogwood, wild grape, buckwheat, blackberry, sumac, and maize are examples of common fruits and seeds. Cardinals consume a variety of birdseed, including black oil sunflower seeds. They also consume beetles, crickets, spiders, butterflies, and moths, among other things.
A week or two before the female begins nesting, she begins to visit potential nest locations, with the male accompanying her. As they inspect each place, the couple calls back and forth and holds nesting material in their beak. Nests are typically squeezed into a fork of tiny branches in a sapling or vine tangle 1-15 feet tall and hidden in dense foliage.
Dogwood, honeysuckle, blackberry brambles, elms, sugar maples, and box elders are among the plants and shrubs used. As long as you inhabit within their range, almost any bird feeder you put out should attract Northern Cardinals, although sunflower seeds seem to be their favorite.
6) Ruby-Throated Hummingbird
The green and red Ruby-throated Hummingbird is the only breeding hummingbird in eastern North America. These small, precision-flying birds from North Carolina are drawn by Feeders and flower gardens, and some people transform their yards into clouds of hummingbirds each summer.
Ruby-throated Hummingbirds typically build their nests on branches of a deciduous or coniferous tree; nevertheless, these birds are habituated to human presence and have been observed nesting on coils of chain, wire, and extension cables.
The male Ruby-throated Hummingbird usually has a short life. Pairs are together for a short period between a few days to a few weeks – to engage in wooing and mating. Then he’s on his own, and he may start migrating by early August.
7) Dark-Eyed Juncos
During the winter, flocks of Dark-eyed Juncos may be found along forest borders and residential yards across the American continent, feeding on the ground and making ticking noises as they fly up into the bushes. East of the plains, Juncos are entirely grey and white, but in the West, they occur in various color patterns, with reddish-brown on the back, flanks, or both; some of them have initially been considered separate species.
These birds of North Carolina forage mainly on the ground while hopping and running and visit bird feeders but prefers to graze on the ground beneath the feeding tray. In the summer, these birds have distinct ranges, but numerous species may coexist in the same flock in regions of the West in the winter.
The majority of the food consumed by the young is from insects. They primarily consume seeds and insects such as caterpillars, grasshoppers, and spiders, which make up over half of an adult’s summertime diet. They eat a lot of wild plants and grass seeds, along with berries.
To protect their nest, the male sings from a high perch. During the breeding season, both couple members may bounce around on the ground with their wings drooped, and their tails extended wide to show off their white outer tail feathers; the male may sing softly.
Nesting sites are nearly usually on the ground, carefully hidden behind overhanging grass, exposed roots, or in a shallow hole in the dirt, rarely more than 10” above ground.
8) Red-Winged Blackbirds
Red-winged Blackbirds during the nesting season can be located in cattail marshes and other wetlands or simply by observing telephone lines while driving through the countryside. The Red-winged Blackbird is one of the most frequent birds to see when stagnant water and greenery.
Mixed-species of Red-winged blackbird flocks can be encountered in the winter, although they should not be confused with sparrows since the streaky, brown females might occasionally resemble them.
The male blackbird actively defends their territories during the breeding season, devoting more than a fourth of the daytime hours on territorial defense. Glossy-black males have scarlet-and-yellow shoulder patches that they can puff up or cover, depending on their confidence level. Females have a muted, streaky dark brown coloration. The melodious songs of these birds of North Carolina welcome the return of spring.
9) Red-Bellied Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpeckers are pale, medium-sized birds of North Carolina found in eastern woods. Their sparkling crimson heads and beautifully barred backs make them a memorable sight. Red-bellied Woodpeckers liven up bird feeders with their vivid colors and lively antics.
These birds of North Carolina are drawn to feeders containing suet and, on occasion, sunflower seeds, among other things. They’ve even been observed sipping nectar from bird feeders. In the fall and winter, dead trees help birds to forage freely since they graze on berry bushes such as hawthorn and mountain ash.
This species may be found all year in eastern forests, especially at moderate heights and along main branches and tree trunks. During the spring and summer, the Red-bellied Woodpecker is quite vocal and calls often.
Nest holes are valuable territory for birds that nest in cavities. The Red-bellied Woodpecker has been known to take over the nests of other species, including the considerably smaller and endangered Red-cockaded Woodpecker. However, they are more often than not prey to the aggressive European Starling. Starlings can infest up to 50% of all Red-bellied Woodpecker nests in some places.
10) Brown-Headed Cowbird
The Brown-headed Cowbird is a plump blackbird with an unusual method of rearing its young. Females abandon nest-building in favor of focusing all of their efforts on egg-laying, which can amount to more than three dozen eggs every summer. They deposit their eggs in the nests of other birds and leave their young with foster parents. These migratory birds might be found in fields and on lawns.
The male’s gurgling song and the female’s chatter call are distinct and can be heard often. Social connections of these are difficult to decipher; however, male and female Brown-headed Cowbirds are not monogamous. They have several partners in a single season, according to genetic research. Brown-headed Cowbirds may congregate in large roosts with many blackbird species over the winter.
Bird Watching Hotspots in North Carolina
1) Chimney Rock Park
Chimney Rock Park is a bird-watching paradise, from the riverbanks to the highest cliffs. Many summer-breeding birds visit the deciduous forests on the north and east-facing slopes, including scarlet tanagers and 15 different warblers and vireos. The cerulean and Swainson’s warblers are the rarest.
During Summer, you will spot species like the Common Raven, Peregrine Falcon, Hooded Warblers, and Scarlet Tanager.
During the winter season, the Ruby-crowned and Golden-Crowned Kinglets and White-throated Sparrows are easily spotted, and year-round, Red-bellied, Downy, Hairy, and Pileated Woodpeckers such can be found.
The park is one of the most incredible places in the southern Appalachians to watch some of the rarest birds.
2) South Mountains State Park
South Mountains State Park has approximately 40 miles of trail and is North Carolina’s largest state park and an excellent place for watching the birds of North Carolina. The Hemlock Nature Trail follows the river, where you may see Louisiana Waterthrush and Blue-headed Vireos.
It is advised to try one of the less-traveled paths, such as the Fox or Ben Knob Trails, to see Ruffed Grouse, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, and Common Raven.
This trail’s primary environments include conifer, mixed conifer, and mixed hardwoods. Broad-winged Hawk and Rose-breasted Grosbeak may be spotted in the summer. Pine Siskin is seen during Winter, and the Common Raven can be seen year-round. The best time to go bird watching in this park is from early spring to late fall, especially during migration.
3) The Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Located between North Carolina and Tennessee, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park features hardwood forests with geologic formations, scattered ponds, and swamps.
Nesting birds in the park include the dark-eyed junco, red-breasted nuthatch, Blackburnian, black-throated blue, and Canada warblers. Red crossbills are occasionally seen. They boast the most diverse plant and animal life of any region of this size in a temperate environment- Over 200 bird species visit here, and 110 of the breed.
Most Common Backyard Birds
It is simple to attract birds to your backyard, feed the birds, and grow shrubs and flowers, and you should notice a few lovely species dancing in your yard. But you’re probably already aware of it. In this section, we will examine some of the birds of North Carolina that are most likely to visit your backyard, as well as what they look like, what they eat, and which season you may spot them, so let’s get started:
1) Carolina Wren
During the winter, Carolina wrens frequent suet-filled feeders. During the frigid northern winters, they seek refuge in nest boxes made of dried grasses, especially those with slots rather than holes.
During mating season, these wrens may nest in boxes, but they’re just as likely to nest under a hanging fern or an empty flowerpot in a quiet corner of an overgrown backyard. Consider building a nest box to entice a mating couple.
2) Downy Woodpeckers
The Downy Woodpeckers are small birds about the same size as house sparrows and are a common sight at garden feeders and in parks. This black-and-white woodpecker, an adventurous gatherer, is at home on tiny branches or balancing on sycamore seeds and suet feeders.
They enjoy millet, peanuts, black oil sunflower seeds, and chunky peanut butter. Downy woodpeckers will occasionally drink from oriole and hummingbird feeders.
3) Mourning Doves
With its short tail and tiny head, the mourning dove is abundant across the continent. Mourning Doves sit on telephone lines and feed on the ground for seeds.
It is recommended that seeds, particularly millet, be scattered on the ground or on platform feeders. Plant thick bushes or evergreen trees in your yard to attract mourning doves and offer nesting locations.
1) American Crow
American Crows are shared over the continent. These huge, clever, all-black birds may be found in trees, fields, and roadsides, as well as in settings ranging from expansive woodlands and vacant beaches to city centers.
They don’t visit feeders regularly, but you may entice them to your backyard with a combination of trees, open space, and food. Peanuts placed out in the open are a good attractant. Crows are also drawn to compost, rubbish, or pet food, which birds eat.
2) Eastern Bluebird
Eastern Bluebirds are commonly observed resting on telephone lines or perched on top of a nesting box, singing in a short, wavering voice. The back and head are a magnificent royal blue, while the breast is a warm red-brown. Blue tinges in the wings and tail lend an attractive appearance to the grayer females.
The Eastern Bluebird rarely visits feeders unless they are filled with mealworms. The Eastern Bluebird is an excellent candidate for nest boxes, which may be utilized to attract breeding couples.
3) Eastern Towhee
Eastern Towhees, with their striking black, warm, red, and brown feathers, are birds of the foliage, where their foraging creates considerably more noise than their stature would suggest.
These beautiful birds of North Carolina are more likely to visit – and maybe reside in – yards with bushy, shrubby, or overgrown borders. This species frequently visits bird feeders. Towhees may wander to consume spilled seed if the feeders are near a grassy edge.
Fall and Winter Birds
1) American Goldfinch
Goldfinches are pretty common in much of North America. They’re most common when there are thistle plants and near-feeders. Planting native thistles and other composite plants are advised to attract goldfinches to your yard.
Any bird feeder, including hopper and hanging feeders, attracts these brilliant yellow with a speck of blackbirds of North Carolina. Sunflower seeds and Nyjer are their favorite foods. These tiny birds may also happily feed on the ground, taking fallen seeds.
2) Yellow-Rumped Warbler
Yellow-Rumped Warblers are among the most adaptable foragers of all warblers. Pulling at bugs, washed-up seaweed, skimming insects off the surface of rivers, and snatching them off mounds of feces have all been observed.
These birds of North Carolina spend the winter across most of the central and southern United States, and they will occasionally visit backyards if food is provided. To attract them, put out sunflower seeds, raisins, suet, and peanut butter.
3) Song Sparrows
Song Sparrows are among the most prominent of all sparrows. Males sing when perched around eye level on open trees. Song After short bursts of their unique, tail-pumping flight, Sparrows can be spotted traveling over marsh borders and low vegetation.
Among the foods these birds of North Carolina prefer are black oil sunflower seeds, hulled sunflower seeds, peanut hearts, and milo. Platform and ground bird feeders entice them.
We hope we were able to help with your curiosity about the chirpy friends that visit your backyard throughout the year. You could discover that you want to seek more than simply backyard birds. Everywhere you look, there are birds. These birds of North Carolina are one-of-a-kind and stunning.
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