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Birds for Every Level

collect of birds including cardinal, heron and nuthatch

Have fun learning to identify this collection of birds, gaining experience as you work your way through the lists.

Try learning to spot them by sight, sound, or both!


Just getting started? You probably know many more birds than you give yourself credit for so now is the time to begin your ‘life list.’ Below is a compilation of a dozen birds that are widely recognizable and often easy to observe. Many of them can be seen from the comfort of your home.

While adding to your list, be sure to take time to observe behavior, variations in plumage (males from females to start with), songs and calls, flight patterns, and habitat selection. Keep your guide handy to confer with as you make your observations. Adding these skills will not only enhance you birding experience but increase your confidence in your ability to distinguish the different species.

  1. Blue Jay
  2. Northern Cardinal
  3. Canada Goose
  4. Red-winged Blackbird
  5. Black-capped Chickadee
  6. American Robin
  7. Wild Turkey
  8. White-breasted Nuthatch
  9. American Goldfinch
  10. Phoebe
  11. Ruby-throated Hummingbird
  12. American Crow

Download Your Birding Check List


If the first bird set is ‘under you wing’ you may be ready to add another dozen. If you haven’t encountered every bird from the first list, don’t hesitate to look for the next twelve. You can still move on. Sometimes the birds’ schedules do not coincide with yours. Some of these may require you to travel beyond your yard or neighborhood, but will be worth the effort.

  1. Red-tailed hawk
  2. Pileated woodpecker
  3. Song Sparrow
  4. Red-eyed Vireo
  5. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
  6. Broad-winged Hawk
  7. White-throated Sparrow
  8. Red-breasted Nuthatch
  9. Downy Woodpecker
  10. Eastern Bluebird
  11. Common Raven
  12. Mourning Dove

Download Your Birding Check List


Now that you have developed some comfort with your birding equipment and skills, it is time to add a third dozen to your list. These next twelve are as easy to identify as the first 24 as long as you trust your newfound birding skills.

  1. Great Blue Heron
  2. Chestnut-sided Warbler
  3. American Redstart
  4. Common Loon
  5. Yellow Warbler
  6. Common Yellowthroat
  7. American Kestrel
  8. Tufted Titmouse
  9. Cedar Waxwing
  10. Eastern Mallard
  11. Barred Owl
  12. Veery

Download Your Birding Check List


The fourth and final group of birds is a list of 14 to give you a nice rounded 50 birds for your life list. With a list this large you can no longer be considered a beginner. You now have the skills to add to your personal bird library and converse with the most seasoned birders.

Your interest in birds may take you to neighboring towns or distant lands in search of new species for your list. You will meet all sorts of interesting people with an interest in bird and habitat conservation. Congratulations, enjoy, and good luck!

  1. Turkey Vulture
  2. Bald Eagle
  3. Common Merganser
  4. Cooper’s Hawk
  5. Hermit Thrush (Vermont State Bird!)
  6. Scarlet Tanager
  7. Bobolink
  8. Ovenbird
  9. Ruffed Grouse
  10. Great-horned Owl
  11. Black-throated Green Warbler
  12. Indigo Bunting
  13. Wood Thrush
  14. Eastern Wood Pewee

Download Your Birding Check List

See also:

  • Champlain Valley WMA Checklist - Download this list of birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles you might see while exploring the WMAs in the Champlain Valley.