Bird Guide

Great Blue Heron

Blue Jay Cyanocitta cristata 11-12½" (28-31cm)

A showy, noisy, blue bird with a crest; larger than a Robin. Bold white spots in wings and tail; whitish or dull gray underparts; black necklace.

Voice: A harsh slurring jeeah or jay; a musical queedle, queedle; also many other notes. Mimics the calls of Red-shouldered and Red-tailed Hawks.

Carolina WrenThryothorus ludovicianus 5¾" (14 cm)

A large wren, size of a small sparrow. Warm reddish brown above, buff below. Has a conspicuous white eyebrow stripe.

Voice: A clear 3-syllabled chant. Variable; tea-kettle, tea-kettle, tea-kettle, tea, or chirpity, chirpity, chirpity, chirp. Sometimes 2-syllabled.

Black-Capped ChickadeeParus atricapillus 4¾-5¾" (12-14 cm)

Nearly identical to the Carolina Chickadee this small tame acrobat is distinctively patterned with a combination of black cap and bib, white cheeks. sides buffy. Unlike the smaller Carolina Chickadee, the Black-Capped Chickadee possesses a conspicuous white area in the wing created by the white feather edges.

Voice: A clearly enunciated chic-a-dee-dee-dee, or dee-dee-dee. Song, a clear whistle, fee-bee-ee or fee-bee, first note higher.

"Slate-Colored" Junco Junco hyemalis 5½-6¾" (14-17 cm)

This slate-gray, hooded, sparrow-shaped bird is characterized by white outer tail feathers that flash conspicuously as it flys away. The bill and belly are whitish. Males may have blackish hoods; females and immatures are duller. Juvenal bird in summer is finely streaked on the breast, hence its white outer tail feathers might even suggest a Vesper Sparrow.

Voice: Song, a loose trill, suggestive of Chipping Sparrow's song, but more musical; note, a light smack; tickering notes.

Downy WoodpeckerPicoides pubescens 6½" (16 cm)

Note the white back and the small bill. Otherwise this industrious bird is like a small edition of the Hairy Woodpecker. The Hairy Woodpecker is larger with a large bill.

Voice: A rapid whinny of notes, decending in pitch. Note, a flat pick, not as sharp as Hairy's peek!

Eastern BluebirdSialia sialis 7" (18 cm)

A bit larger than a sparrow; a blue bird with a rusty red breast; appears round-shouldered when perched. Female duller than male; young bird is speckle-breasted, grayish, devoid of red, but always with some telltale blue in wings and tail.

Voice: Note, a musical chur-wi or tru-ly. Song, 3 or 4 soft gurgling notes.

Common Flicker Colaptes auratus 12-14" (30-35 cm)

Note the conspicuous white rump, visible when the bird flies. This and the brown back mark it as a Flicker. The flight is deeply undulating. Overhead, it flashes golden yellow under the wings and tail if "Yellow-Shafted," red if "Red-Shafted." Close up, it displays a black patch across the chest and a red crescent on the nape. The male has a black mustache. Flickers often hop awkwardly on the ground, feeding on ants.

Voice: Song, a loud wick wick wick wick wick, etc. Notes, a loud klee-yer, and a squeaky flick-a, flick-a, etc.

American GoldfinchCarduelis tristis 5" (13 cm)

A small finch with deeply undulating flight. Male, summer: Yellow, with black wings, tail, and forehead patch. Female, summer: Dull yellow-olive, darker above, with blackish wings and conspicuous wing bars; distinguished from other small olive-yellow birds by its short conical bill. Winter, both sexes: Much like summer female, but grayer.

Voice: Song, sustained, clear, light, canarylike. In flight, each dip often puncuated by ti-dee' di-di-di or per-chik-o-ree.

Common GrackleQuiscalus quiscula 11-13½" (28-34 cm)

A large iridescent blackbird larger than a Robin with a long wedge-shaped or keel-shaped tail. Flight more level than that of other blackbirds. Male with iridescent purple on head, deep bronze or dull purple on back. The "Bronze" Grackle (New England and west of Appalachians) and "Purple" Grackle (seaboard south of New England) were formerly regarded as separate species.

Voice: Note, chuck or chack. "Song," a split rasping note.

House Finch Carpodacus mexicanus 5-5¾" (13-14 cm)

Often mistaken for the Purple Finch, with which it may associate at the feeding tray. It is smaller; male brighter red. Note the dark stripes on the sides and belly. The striped brown female is distinguished from the female Purple Finch by its smaller bill and bland face pattern (no heavy mustache or dark cheek patch).

Voice: Song, bright, but loose and disjointed; frequently ends in a harsh nasal wheer or che-urr. Notes, finchlike; some suggest House Sparrow's, but more musical.

Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis 7½-9" (19-23 cm)

Male: An all-red bird with a pointed crest, and a black patch at the base of its heavy triangular red bill. Female: Buff-brown, with some red on the wings and tail. The crest, dark face, and heavy red bill are distinctive. Immature: Similar to the female, but with a blackish bill.

Voice: Song, clear slurred whistles, lowering in pitch. Several variations: what-cheer cheer cheer, etc.; whoit whoit whoit or birdy birdy birdy, etc. Note, a short thin chip.

Northern MockingbirdMimus polyglottos 9-11" (23-28 cm)

Gray; slimmer, longer-tailed than Robin with large white patches on the sings and tail, conspicuous in flight.

Voice: Song, a varied, prolonged succession of notes and phrases, each repeated a half dozen times or more before changing. Often heard a night. Many Mockingbirds are excellent mimics of other species. Note, a loud tchack; also chair.

Pileated WoodpeckerDryocopus pileatus 16-19½" (40-49 cm)

A spectacular black crow-sized woodpecker with a flaming-red crest. The female has a blackish forehead, lacks the red on the moustache. The great size, sweeping wingbeats, and flashing white underwing areas identify the Pileated in flight. The diggings, large oval or oblong holes, indicate its presence.

Voice: Call resembles that of Flicker, but louder, irregular: kik-kik-kikkik-kik-kik, etc. Also a more ringing, hurried call that may rise or fall slightly in pitch.

Purple FinchCarpodacus purpureus 5½-6" (14-15 cm)

Like a sparrow dipped in raspberry juice. Female and immature: Heavily striped, brown, sparrowlike. Note the broad dark jaw stripe, dark ear patch, Broad light stripe behind eye, and largish bill.

Voice: Song, a fast lively warble; note, a dull metallic tick.

Red-Bellied WoodpeckerMelanerpes carolinus 9-10½" (23-26 cm)

A zebra-backed woodpecker with a red cap, white rump. Red covers crown and nape in male, only nape in female. Juvenal is also zebra-backed but has a brown head, devoid of red.

Voice: Note, kwirr, churr, or chaw; also chiv, chiv. Also a muffled Flicker-like series.

Red-Breasted NuthatchSitta canadensis 4½" (11 cm)

A small nuthatch with a broad black line through the eye and a white line above it. The underparts are washed with rusty.

Voice: Call higher, more nasal than that of White-breast; ank or enk, sounding like a baby nuthatch or a tiny tin horn.

Tufted TitmouseParus bicolor 6" (15 cm)

A small, gray, mouse-colored bird with a tufted crest. Its flanks are rusty.

Voice: A clear whistled chant: peter, peter, peter, or here, here, here, here. Notes similar to those of chickadees, but more drawling, nasal, wheezy, and complaining.