Indiana is a bird watcher’s paradise, with a wide variety of species that can be found in our backyards. From colorful songbirds to majestic raptors, the skies over the Hoosier State are filled with a diverse array of avian life. In this blog post, we will introduce you to several common backyard birds that can be found in Indiana, giving you a glimpse into the rich and fascinating world of Indiana’s birds.
Whether you’re an experienced birder or just starting out, this post is sure to provide you with plenty of inspiration to explore the feathered inhabitants there. So grab your binoculars, and let’s take a closer look at some of the amazing birds that call Indiana home!
1. Eastern Bluebird
Scientific name: Sialia sialis
Length: 16-22 centimeters (6-8 inches)
Weight: 27-32 grams
Wingspan: 25-32 centimeters (9-12 inches)
Lifespan: 6-10 years
Belonging to the family of Thrushes, the Eastern Bluebirds are a bluebird species commonly found in the orchards, woodlots, and farmlands of North America. These birds are permanent residents east of the Rocky Mountains and are declared the state bird of two U.S. states: New York and Missouri.
The adults of this species display sexual dimorphism in their plumage. The males have a vibrant blue head, back, wings, and tail, with a reddish-orange shade spreading on their chest.
On the other hand, their female counterparts have a bluish-grey head, wings, and tail; their chest also displays a paler shade of orange. Both sexes possess white rumps, black eyes, bills, legs, and feet.
Eastern bluebirds are primarily insectivores, with the rest of their diet being made up of fruits and berries. Planting native trees and shrubs in your garden will just add to its appeal for these birds.
In Indiana, Eastern Bluebirds are year-round residents and can be spotted around gardens, parks, open fields, forest edges, and other open habitats. You can expect to see them on your backyard feeder throughout the year as well.
2. Song Sparrow
Scientific name: Melospiza melodia
Length: 11-18 centimeters (4-7 inches)
Body mass: 22-53 grams
Wingspan: 18-25 centimeters (7-10 inches)
Lifespan: 7-11 years
A member of the New World Sparrow family, the Song Sparrows, might not be remarkable for their plumage but are certainly well-recognized for the males’ melodious songs. For that alone, it’s a delight to have them in your yard, especially in the summer and spring months.
The head and upper parts of these sparrows are mainly brown, with bold white lines running across their heads and dark wing streaks.
Their undersides are white but contain brown streaks around their throat and chest; the lower belly and rump are comparatively unmarked. There is no visible difference in the plumage of the adult sexes; you can tell them apart only by the males’ songs.
A common summer attraction on most backyard feeders, Song Sparrows are equally drawn to mealworms and mixed birdseed. Some of their favorite foods include rice, buckwheat, sunflower seeds, wild blackberries, and cherries.
While the population of Song Sparrows is known to migrate from different parts of the United States, in Indiana, they’re year-round residents.
However, because they primarily inhabit wet forests, they’re only seen out and about in the breeding months, when they need to gather more food and nesting materials for their fledglings.
3. European Starling
Scientific name: Sturnus vulgaris
Length: 19-23 centimeters (7-9 inches)
Body mass: 58-101 grams
Wingspan: 31-44 centimeters (12-17 inches)
Lifespan: 2-3 years
A common resident throughout Great Britain, where they’re simply called Starling, the European Starlings are endemic to Europe and inhabit North America as an introduced species.
Despite that, they have a widespread population throughout the United States today. Their north-eastern population in the country migrates south in winter, while the southern and western populations are residents.
European Starlings have a plain black plumage that displays a glossy green or purple iridescence in sunlight. The most remarkable feature of their plumage is the white spots scattered throughout their body.
Males can be distinguished from females by the density of white spots on their underparts; the females have a higher density. Both sexes possess black bills that turn yellow during breeding months.
Their diet is split into equal parts of insects like earthworms, caterpillars, and spiders and fruits like cherries, mulberries, and sumac. To attract them to your backyard feeder, you can use peanuts, peanut butter, cracked corn, suet, and sunflower seeds.
The European Starlings were first spotted in Indiana during the 1920s, and have since established a widespread population throughout the state. A permanent resident here, these starlings are often spotted in orchards, farms, and open fields.
4. Common Grackle
Scientific name: Quiscalus quiscula
Length: 28-34 centimeters (inches)
Body mass: 74-145 grams
Wingspan: 36-46 centimeters (14-18 inches)
Lifespan: 17-22 years
Widely infamous for their aggressive, bully-like personality, the Common Grackles are large icterids with shiny black plumage. These North American blackbirds heavily populate areas east of the Rocky Mountains.
Although Common Grackles are not as strongly dimorphic as the other members of their genus, the differences between the sexes are still significantly visible. Both sexes have mainly black plumage, including their bills and legs, and yellow irises.
The males’ plumage displays an iridescence of purple or blue in the sunlight, while the females appear dull brown. The females’ tails are also shorter and don’t keel in flight.
While Common Grackles have an immense fondness for all grains, they’re quite the generalist and will eat about anything, from suet to seeds to peanuts. This is why keeping them away from your feeder is trickier than attracting them.
In Indiana, Common Grackles are widespread in the spring and summer months. A majority of their population migrates south during winter, with only a few small flocks remaining behind.
Much like the European Starlings, you’re most likely to spot these grackles around golf courses, orchards, lawns, and open fields.
5. Dark-eyed Junco
Scientific name: Junco hyemalis
Length: 13-17 centimeters (5-6 inches)
Body mass: 18-30 grams
Wingspan: 19-25 centimeters (7-9 inches)
Lifespan: 3-11 years
Belonging to the New World Sparrow family, the Dark-eyed Juncos are one of the greyer sparrows that inhabit the temperate regions of North America. These birds are known for having a wide range of subspecies (about fifteen) and are migratory in nature.
While their geographical location plays a crucial role in their appearance, the nominate species have a grey head, chest, and upper body, including their wings and tail. Their belly and rump are white and unmarked, while the mantle is rufous brown.
Both sexes appear identical except for their wing markings, which are less conspicuous in the females. Both sexes have dark eyes with a black shade surrounding them, pale pinkish bills, legs, and feet.
Although these juncos are not as common a sight at backyard feeders as the other sparrows, the secret to luring them in lies with mixed bird seed, which they like the best. Platform feeders work fine for them, but they’d much rather feed directly from the ground.
Dark-eyed Juncos are a winter resident species in Indiana and migrate northward before May. These ground foragers are spotted near woodland and forest edges and are rare visitors in suburban yards.
6. Northern Flicker
Scientific name: Colaptes auratus
Length: 28-36 centimeters (11-14 inches)
Body mass: 84-167 grams
Wingspan: 42-54 centimeters (17-21 inches)
Lifespan: 7-9 years
Declared the state bird of Alabama, the Northern Flickers are an American medium-sized woodpecker species that are known by many colloquial names, such as Gaffer Woodpecker, Harry-wicket, and Gawker Bird. In Alabama, they’re called Yellowhammer.
Common throughout most of North America, they’re also one of the select few woodpeckers that are migratory in nature. Throughout the U.S., these woodpeckers primarily inhabit mountain forests.
Northern Flickers have buff-colored plumage, with a slightly darker back and wings, with black wing edges and tail. You’ll find their wings covered heavily with black streaks, while black spots are scattered throughout the underparts. On their throat lies a bold black, crescent-shaped patch.
Their face is buff, with a narrow greyish patch extending from their bills all the way to their nape and a red patch towards the back.
The adult sexes can be distinguished from their face; males have two bars extending from each side of their bills, which can either be black or red, depending on the subspecies. In their female counterparts, these bars are absent.
To draw these flickers to your backyard, you can try two things: install a suet feeder in your backyard and leave leaf litter unattended; they love to pick out ants from litter and feed on them.
Northern Flickers are year-round residents in Indiana, where they dwell near the forest edges and eat ants directly from the ground. However, on your backyard feeders, they might not be as common as other woodpeckers.
7. American Tree Sparrow
Scientific name: Spizelloides arborea
Length: 14 centimeters (5.5 inches)
Body mass: 13-28 grams
Wingspan: 24 centimeters (9.4 inches)
Lifespan: 3-5 years
Also referred to as Winter Sparrow, the American Tree Sparrows are small songbirds that breed in the far northern tundra of North America and venture south during winter months.
In appearance, these sparrows closely resemble the Chipping Sparrows (Spizella passerina) and have a grey head and underparts, growing paler towards the rump. A rusty brown cap adorns their head, and two brown lines run behind their eyes. Their back, wings, and tail are dark brown, with black markings scattered all over.
Both sexes of this species appear identical to each other, displaying little-to-no dimorphism. Their diet consists of fruits, seeds, and insects like beetles and ants. Both mealworms and nyjer seeds have been proven to be equally effective in attracting these sparrows.
American Tree Sparrows arrive in Indiana during fall, sometime around October. Although they prefer to nest in rocky areas, you can see them out and about near open fields, farmlands, and lawns. You can easily spot them in backyard feeders as well.
8. Tufted Titmouse
Scientific name: Baeolophus bicolor
Length: 14-16 centimeters (5-6 inches)
Body mass: 17-28 grams
Wingspan: 20-26 centimeters (7-10 inches)
Lifespan: 1-2 years
The Tufted Titmice are members of the Chickadee and Tit family that are endemic to the deciduous and mixed forests of the eastern United States. These small, crested birds are colored primarily in grey and white.
Their face is white, with a grey crown, crest, and nape. Their eyes and bills are both black, with a narrow black streak extending above their bills.
Their undersides are all white, from their chin to their rump, except for rufous flanks. The upper parts, including the wings and tail, are all grey in contrast. Although the plumage of both sexes is identical, they show dimorphism in size, with the males being the larger sex.
Tufted Titmice are a common backyard visiting species and can be lured in using both suet and a variety of seeds like sunflower, nyjer, and safflower.
Tufted Titmice are year-round residents in Indiana, commonly seen in woodlands, parks, and suburban areas. A frequent sight at backyard feeders, they’re also known to scare off smaller birds.
9. Mourning Dove
Scientific name: Zenaida Macroura
Length: 31 centimeters (12.2 inches)
Body mass: 112-170 grams
Wingspan: 37-45 centimeters (14-17 inches)
Lifespan: 1.5-2 years
Also referred to as Rain Dove, the Mourning Doves are one of the most widespread members of the Columbidae in North America. A common sight throughout the U.S., these slender-bodied birds have adapted to humans well and are more common in urban and suburban areas.
Mourning Doves are easily recognizable by their pale tan-colored body with a rosy wash. A rounded head, a long, tapering tail, and two slim black crescent marks below their cheeks are some of their identification marks.
Both sexes of this species resemble each other closely, with some subtle differences. The females are slightly smaller in size than the males, appear browner overall, and lack their faint, bluish-grey crown.
Mourning Doves are generally eager backyard visitors, which is why attracting them would be a piece of cake for you. They’re prolific ground feeders and feel comfortable walking around in open spaces. If that sounds doable for you, all you need to do is scatter some millet seeds around your yard and wait.
While the Mourning Doves are migratory in most areas, in Indiana, they’re permanent residents. Their population in the state is larger between March and September than in winter.
They choose evergreen forests and dense shrublands for nesting but are spotted walking around the urban and suburban areas foraging for food. They’re equally common at backyard feeders.
10. Red-winged Blackbird
Scientific name: Agelaius phoeniceus
Length: 22-24 centimeters (8-9 inches) in males; 17-18 centimeters (6-7 inches) in females
Body mass: 64-82 grams
Wingspan: 32-40 centimeters (12-16 inches)
Lifespan: 2-5 years
Belonging to the New World Blackbird family, the Red-winged Blackbirds are a migratory icterid species found abundantly throughout North and Central America. These blackbirds favor wetland habitats for nest-building but can be spotted around open fields and grasslands as well.
Red-winged Blackbirds display a strong dimorphism in the plumage coloration of the sexes. The males possess an all-black plumage except for the red shoulder patches that they’re named after. Smaller yellow bars are present right below their red bars but are rarely visible at rest.
Their female counterparts, on the other hand, have heavily streaked bodies colored brown and white, like that of a sparrow. Their bills, feet, and legs are also a paler shade of grey than the males.
To lure the Redwings into your yard, all you need is a feeder filled with any grain or seed; they’re not picky eaters and love all of these equally. Scattering their food on the ground directly works well for them as well.
Despite being a year-round resident in Indiana, the sightings of Red-winged Blackbirds are more common and widespread during summer months than in winter. These blackbirds build their nests in dense forests or wetland habitats and are a common sight around marshes and swamps.
11. American Robin
Scientific name: Turdus migratorius
Length: 23-28 centimeters (9-11 inches)
Body mass: 59-91 grams
Wingspan: 31-41 centimeters (12-16 inches)
Lifespan: 2-14 years
The state bird of three U.S. states – Wisconsin, Michigan, and Connecticut – the American Robins are a thrush species with a widespread throughout the country as well as in all of North America.
These migratory thrushes commonly inhabit woodlands and parks with trees and are known to have seven recognized subspecies.
The appearance of the Robins is striking and unforgettable. These plump birds have a black head and upperbody, including wings and tail, with a reddish-orange chest that lends them their name. Their bills, legs, and feet are all orange as well.
Although the females of this species closely resemble their male counterparts, they are overall browner, with their chests slightly duller and bills being dark-tipped.
If you have earthworms in your backyard or lawns, you might already have spotted a Robin feasting on one some or the other time. Placing fruits in your feeders is another effective method of attracting them.
While American Robins reside in Indiana all year long, they’re commonly seen out and about during breeding months, with nests built in backyards and parks. You can spot them around lawns, grassy fields, and urban and suburban areas.
12. Eastern Towhee
Scientific name: Pipilo erythropthalmus
Length: 17-23 centimeters (6-9 inches)
Weight: 32-53 grams
Wingspan: 20-30 centimeters (7-11 inches)
Lifespan: 9-12 years
A New World Sparrow species, Eastern Towhees have been named after the sound of their signature call. These migratory sparrows inhabit the eastern regions of North America during summer months and migrate southward to the southern U.S.
Eastern Towhees are both large and striking in comparison to other sparrows. They have a black head and face that extends to a V-shaped mark on their chest; their mantle, wings, and tail are all black as well. While there is some white marking on their wings and tail, the rest of their underparts are completely white, with rufous flanks on the sides.
Their bills are dark greyish, their irises are red, and their legs and feet are pale reddish. While both sexes look somewhat similar, the black parts of the males are brown in their female counterparts.
While the towhees are not common backyard visitors, if you’re trying to attract them, going with fresh fruits is your best bet. You can also scatter seeds around your yard to welcome these ground feeders.
A year-round resident in Indiana, Eastern Towhees are known to a breeding visitors in the northern parts of the state and migrate to southern Indiana during winter months. Those that inhabit the southern regions are permanent residents.
While these towhees might not be a common sight at backyard feeders, they’re frequently spotted around shrubby areas, leaf litter, and undergrowth, where they glean insects from the ground.
13. American Goldfinch
Scientific name: Spinus tritis
Length: 11-14 centimeters (4-5 inches)
Body mass: 11-20 grams
Wingspan: 19-22 centimeters (7-8 inches)
Lifespan: 6-11 years
The only cardueline finch species to undergo a complete molt two times a year, the American Goldfinches are a favorite at the backyard feeders. These migratory songbirds primarily inhabit open country habitats like fields, meadows, and floodplains across North America.
The Goldfinches are strongly sexually dimorphic, with the breeding males appearing much more vibrant than the non-breeding ones.
They have a bright lemon-yellow overall plumage with a jet-black cap above their bills; only their rump is white and can be seen in flight. Their wing edges and tail are black as black.
Out of their breeding season, their plumage turns dull olive-yellow, but the tail remains black. On the other hand, the females are capless and possess a dull brown plumage all year long, which appears slightly brighter during breeding months.
If you’re looking to attract these beautiful finches to your backyard feeder, thistle seeds can do the trick. Once they start visiting frequently, you could switch to sunflower and mixed birdseed as well.
A permanent resident throughout Indiana, Goldfinches are a common sight around weedy fields, grasslands, and roadsides. They’re also a welcome guest at the backyard feeders in the suburbs.
14. Common Yellowthroat
Scientific name: Geothlypis trichas
Length: 11-13 centimeters (4-5 inches)
Weight: 6-9 grams
Wingspan: 15-19 centimeters (5-7 inches)
Lifespan: 10-11 years
Also referred to as Yellow Bandit, the Common Yellowthroats are a small warbler species that breed throughout most of North America. This migratory species primarily dwell in areas with dense vegetation and are strongly sexually dimorphic.
The main visible difference between the sexes is on their face. Males possess an olive-green head and a jet-black eye mask, with a fainting white line running as a border between the two. On the other hand, the females have a plain olive-green face up to their chin.
The chin, throat, and upper chest of both sexes is colored lemon-yellow but grow fainter on their belly rump. Their upper parts are olive-green, just like their heads. The eyes and bills are dark, with bone-colored legs and feet.
Common Yellowthroats aren’t recognized among popular backyard visitors because they don’t generally venture that close to human settlements. However, you can try putting a plate full of dried insects on your yard’s ground for them and hope they take notice.
A strongly migratory species, Common Yellowthroats are not permanent residents in Indiana but are only found here during their breeding months. They arrive sometime around April and stay till October, when they begin their southward migration.
These warblers nest close to the ground around grasslands, bushy fields, and forest edges. They’re known to visit backyard feeders as well.
15. Downy Woodpecker
Scientific name: Dryobates pubescens
Length: 14-18 centimeters (5-7 inches)
Body mass: 20-33 grams
Wingspan: 25-31 centimeters (9-12 inches)
Lifespan: 1-2 years
A miniature version of the Hairy Woodpeckers (Leuconotopicus villosus) in appearance, the Downy Woodpeckers are the smallest of all woodpeckers found in North America. They inhabit the heavily forested areas where they carve out nests in tree cavities and are only partially migratory.
The plumage of Downy Woodpeckers is covered in black and white, with their face, underparts, and undertail coverts covered in white and the upper body covered in black. Several black lines run along their face, with white spots on their wings and a white patch on their mantle.
The sexes of this species display minimal dimorphism in their plumage, with only one visible difference: a red patch present on the nape of males, which is absent in the females.
While these woodpeckers inhabit forests, they’re not shy or wary of humans and are commonly spotted flying around woodlots, parks, and yards. You’ll commonly find them on backyard feeders as well; just put out suet, acorns, or berries for them on your feeder.
Like most woodpecker species, the Downy is non-migratory and remain in Indiana all year long. They primarily nest in deciduous forests but are often spotted flying around woodlots and parks. They’re also comfortable visiting backyards with a few trees or a suet feeder.
16. Gray Catbird
Scientific name: Dumetella carolinensis
Length: 20-24 centimeters (8-9 inches)
Weight: 35-40 grams
Wingspan: 22-30 centimeters (8-11 inches)
Lifespan: 2.5-4 years
Named after their cat-like mewing calls, the Gray Catbirds are members of the Mimid family found in North and Central America. Because their plumage coloration is similar to that of the Mockingbirds, these mimids are also referred to as Slate-colored Mockingbird in some areas.
As their binominal indicates, these birds primarily inhabit small thickets. Their overall plumage is colored lead gray, with a darker, cap-like patch atop their head.
The only differently-colored part of their body is their rump, which is rufous and visible only in flight or a rare high perch. The adult sexes of this species are identical in appearance, displaying no dimorphism in size or plumage.
Gray Catbirds are sweet lovers, so you have the highest chances of luring them in with fruits. If there are fruit-bearing trees or shrubs in your backyard, that might just work as a bonus!
Gray Catbirds are not found in Indiana all year round but only come here during the summer months to breed. You’re most likely to spot them around hedgerows, forest edges, small trees, and dense shrubs.
17. White-breasted Nuthatch
Scientific name: Sitta carolinensis
Length: 15.5 centimeters (6 inches)
Weight: 18-30 grams
Wingspan: 20-27 centimeters (7-10 inches)
Lifespan: 2-10 years
An inhabitant of the low-altitude forests and woodlands of North America, the White-breasted Nuthatches are a smallish nuthatch species. They were once thought to be conspecific with their close relatives, White-cheeked Nuthatches (Sitta leucopsis), and bear a strong resemblance with them.
White-breasted Nuthatches have mainly grey and white plumage. Their upper parts, including the back, wings, and tail, are all grey, while the face and underbody are white.
The males possess a black crown atop their head, extending into a broad band around their hindneck. The females have a grey crown and a narrower hindneck band, which is the only significant dimorphism in their plumage. Both sexes possess a faint rufous patch on their rump.
While seeds and nuts are a favorite of these birds, they’re also attracted to hawthorns, sunflower seeds, and corn crops. If you have a suet feeder in your yard, that’s equally likely to attract these nuthatches.
White-breasted Nuthatches are a non-migratory species that are found in Indiana all year long. Dwelling in the forest edges and woodlands, these birds are frequently out and about and can be seen around parks and backyards with trees. Backyard feeders are one of their favorite hangout spots.
18. Carolina Wren
Scientific name: Thryothorus ludovicianus
Length: 12.5-14 centimeters (4-5 inches)
Weight: 18-23 grams
Wingspan: 29 centimeters (11 inches)
Lifespan: 6-8 years
Endemic to the eastern and south-eastern regions of the United States, the Carolina Wrens are an American wren species that inhabit the dense covers in forests. The state bird of South Carolina, these small songbirds have seven recognized species and are non-migratory in nature.
Although the adult sexes of this species are identical in plumage, they display dimorphism in size, with the males being larger in size and possessing a longer wing chord. They possess a rich-brown crown, wings, and tail, with white cheeks and chin and a pale, chestnut-colored underbody.
Two white lines run over their eyes, appearing almost like their eyebrows. Upon a closer look, you’ll spot small white spots scattered around their secondary feathers and tail. Their eyes are dark, with greyish bills, and bone-colored legs and feet.
Because Carolina Wrens are highly inconspicuous, inviting them to your backyard feeder can be difficult. But if you want to lure them in, installing suet feeders is your best bet.
A year-round resident in Indiana, Carolina Wrens are one of the most common backyard visitors in the state. Although their range appears to be somewhat restricted to the woodlands and other wooded habitats, they will sometimes visit backyards in search of food. This is more common during winter than in summer.
19. Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Scientific name: Archilochus colubris
Length: 7-9 centimeters (2-3 inches)
Weight: 2-6 grams
Wingspan: 8-11 centimeters (3-4 inches)
Lifespan: 3-5 years
The most common hummer species present east of the Mississippi River, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are a migratory hummingbird species of North America. These birds inhabit the forest edges, orchards, and gardens within their range and are sexually dimorphic.
The males are the smaller sex and possess an iridescent ruby-red gorget on their throat, which is absent in their female counterparts. Their tail shape also differs; males have a forked tail, while females have a notched one.
Both sexes possess a dark, metallic green crown and upper parts, with white underparts and fading green flanks. Their slender, pointed bills are dark, and so are their eyes and legs.
Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are well-adapted to human settlements and are known to visit backyards frequently. To lure them into yours, you need to install a nectar feeder for them. If your yard has colorful flowering plants, it will only make it more charming to the hummers.
Did you know that Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are the only hummer species that breed in Indiana? Although not permanent residents in the state, these hummers stay here from spring to fall and are commonly spotted around gardens with abundant flowering plants. You can also find them on your backyard feeders.
20. Carolina Chickadee
Scientific name: Poecile carolinensis
Length: 11.5-13 centimeters (4-5 inches)
Weight: 9-12 grams
Lifespan: 9-11 years
Closely resembling the Black-capped Chickadees (Poecile atricapillus) in appearance, the Carolina Chickadees are small tits that replace the latter in the low-altitude areas of their range. The two can also be differentiated by using their songs.
The adults of this species are sexually monomorphic and appear identical to each other.
They have a black cap and bib, while their cheeks are white. Their upper parts are grey, with darker wing edges, while the undersides are white. Their flanks have a fading rufous shade, which is broader than that of the Black-capped Chickadees.
A common visitor of suburban backyards, Carolina Chickadees can easily be lured into your yard by offering them black sunflower seeds. Mixed birdseed is equally popular among them.
Carolina Chickadees are year-round residents of Indiana but are more commonly spotted around urban and suburban areas during winter than in summer. They dwell around forested areas and parks and commonly visit the feeders around their vicinity.
21. Purple Finch
Scientific name: Haemorhous purpureus
Length: 12-16 centimeters (4-6 inches)
Weight: 19-31 grams
Wingspan: 22-27 centimeters (8-10 inches)
Lifespan: 3-7 years
Belonging to the American Rosefinch genus, the Purple Finches are a North American finch species that dwell in coniferous and mixed forests. These migratory birds are known to breed in the northeastern regions of the U.S. and travel to the southern parts during winter.
Like most finches, Purple Finches have a small and slender body with a short, forked tail. Their back is predominantly brown and covered in dark streaks, while the underparts are all white.
The adult sexes of this species differ in plumage, with a raspberry-red shade spread on the males’ heads, underparts, and to some extent, their backs. The females, which are bereft of red, have a deeply streaked underbody, unlike the plain, unmarked one of males. Both sexes have dark eyes and conical, bone-colored bills.
Purple Finches are extremely fond of berries. So, if you have a berry vine in your yard, luring them in will be a piece of cake. If you want to attract them to your feeder, fill it with seeds of black oil sunflower.
The Purple Finches are only seen in Indiana during winter when they travel south of their breeding ground in search for a warmer climate and abundant food. They primarily roost in coniferous forests but are also spotted in fields, shrublands, and backyards.
22. Indigo Bunting
Scientific name: Passerina cyanea
Length: 11.5-15 centimeters (4-5 inches)
Weight: 11-21 grams
Wingspan: 18-23 centimeters (7-9 inches)
Lifespan: 8-10 years
Closely related to the Lazuli Buntings (Passerina amoena), the Indigo Buntings are a migratory songbird species that breed in North America and migrates to northern South America.
The adults of this species display a strong dimorphism in their plumage, with only the breeding males possessing the indigo plumage that they’re named after. The darkest shade is seen on their face, with black wing and tail edges.
Outside of the breeding season, the males grow brown edges to their otherwise blue plumage. Their female counterparts, on the other hand, are completely brown, with paler undersides and darker upper parts.
Both sexes have dark eyes, legs, and feet, with their upper mandible being greyish and the lower one bone-colored. Attracting these small-billed birds with seeds like nyjer and thistle is highly recommended. Alternatively, live mealworms are also a great choice.
While Indigo Buntings are not found in Indiana all year round, you’ll spot large flocks of these songbirds throughout the state in the summer and spring months. They build their nests in areas with dense foliage, such as thickets and farmlands, and are a common visitor to backyard feeders.
23. Red-bellied Woodpecker
Scientific name: Melanerpes carolinus
Length: 22-26 centimeters (9-10 inches)
Weight: 56-91 grams
Wingspan: 36-48 centimeters (15-18 inches)
Lifespan: 12-13 years
Named after the faint red shade of their lower belly, the Red-bellied Woodpeckers are a woodpecker species that breed in the eastern regions of the United States. These woodpeckers inhabit a wide variety of habitats and are mostly non-migratory.
Red-bellied Woodpeckers have a grey face and underparts, with their wings strongly barred in black and white. The sexes are distinguished by their heads: males have a reddish-orange crown beginning right above their bills and extending all the way to the back of their head.
On the other hand, the females have a grey forehead, with a small red patch above their bills and a red patch towards the back. Both sexes have dark eyes, bills, legs, and feet.
Like most woodpeckers, the Red-bellied Woodpeckers are also most drawn to backyard suet feeders. But occasionally, they’ve also been spotted feeding from mixed birdseed, especially the ones that contain peanuts.
Red-bellied Woodpeckers are residents of Indiana, nesting all year long in the state’s forests and woodlands. Catching a glimpse of them is most likely in backyards with suet feeders.
24. House Finch
Scientific name: Haemorhous mexicanus
Length: 12.5-15 centimeters (5-6 inches)
Body mass: 16-27 grams
Wingspan: 20-25 centimeters (8-10 inches)
Lifespan: 9-11 years
A true finch species, the House Finches are another North American finch species endemic to the western United States. Although they’ve been introduced in most of the eastern U.S., people find them more tolerable than the similar-looking but unrelated House Sparrows (Passer domesticus).
Much like the Purple Finches, the males of this species also bear a red touch on their faces and underparts that is absent in the females and sets the sexes apart. However, the range of red in their plumage is much shorter than the former, with no traces of it on their back; their shade is also comparatively lighter than Purple Finches.
Beyond this distinction, both sexes possess the same buff-brown plumage with heavy white streaks all over. Their conical bills are buff-colored, with dark eyes surrounded by white eye rings.
House Finches are one of the most frequent backyard visitors and can be drawn in using seeds of black sunflower; you can use mixed birdseed for them as well. Just go for a thistle feeder, which is most popular among these finches.
A non-migratory species, the House Finches are permanent residents in Indiana and are more commonly spotted around human settlements during winters than in summers.
You can easily come across them in urban and suburban areas, especially around parks, buildings, and backyards.
25. Blue Jay
Scientific name: Cyanocitta cristata
Length: 22-30 centimeters (9-12 inches)
Body mass: 70-100 grams
Wingspan: 34-43 centimeters (13-17 inches)
Lifespan: 7 years
Endemic to eastern North America, the Blue Jays are a beautiful jay species that have an abundant population throughout the United States. They have four recognized subspecies scattered within the country and inhabit the loosely-packed forests of pine and spruce fir.
Much like other corvids, the adult Blue Jays are monomorphic in their plumage but show dimorphism in size, with the males being the larger sex. They have a white face and underbody, with a lavender blue mantle, brighter wings, and tail. You’ll spot black markings on their face, throat, wings, and tail.
Blue Jays have a highly flexible diet and can eat almost any seed or nut, including mixed birdseed. Just install for them a platform feeder large enough to perch on, and they’ll be happy in your yard.
Blue Jays are permanent residents in Indiana and have a widespread population throughout the state. These corvids roost in woodland edges and are seen flying around the suburbs in pairs or small flocks, a common attraction at most backyard feeders.
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