Birds of Pennsylvania

Learn more about some of the birds you can see everyday in our state.

The Baltimore oriole is an ideal mascot choice for baseball—its migration to/from South America is almost perfectly aligned to the start and end of the major league baseball season.

The broad winged hawk migration is an amazing spectacle. The hundreds (or even thousands!) of birds fly in a swirling formation, resembling a cauldron or kettle being stirred.

Henry David Thoreau said that the bluebird carries the sky on its back. Eastern bluebirds often raise two or more broods of young, and the young from the early nests will help to feed later nestlings.

Other birds that lay their eggs in yellow warbler nests hoping the warblers will raise them are in for a surprise—the warblers can build a new nest on top of the unwanted eggs. One nest in Canada grew to six layers deep!

Probably most commonly recognized as Harry Potter’s beloved pet, the snowy owl is a striking bird. During the 2014 winter, Pennsylvania experienced the largest iruption of snowy owls in as many as 100 years.

Indigo buntings could teach boy scouts a thing or two about navigation. They migrate at night to Mexico and the Caribbean each winter, using the stars to navigate.

Distinguishable by its yellow beak and black feet, the great egret was hunted almost to extinction in the late 19th century due to demand for its feathers as adornment on ladies hats.

The largest woodpecker in North America drums on hollow trees to proclaim its territory. Mated pileated woodpecker pairs defend their territory by chasing, calling, striking with the wings and jabbing with their bills.

Pennsylvania’s own Ben Franklin believed the wild turkey should be the national bird of the U.S. The wild bird is a brightly colored, cunning bird of flight—very different from today's domestic turkey.

The yellow-bellied flycatcher, listed as endangered in Pennsylvania, takes advantage of its small size when hunting for food; it hides in trees and jumps out to snatch insects as they fly by.

The sandhill crane was only first spotted in Pennsylvania in the 80s. This large crane has now been found in more than 30 counties across the state and during every month of the year.