New York's habitat provides a little of everything to make bird watching worthwhile. Beyond the big city, there are plenty of bird-friendly features: woods, marshes, lakes, state parks, and wildlife refuges. With a dedicated feeding station and a little effort into bird identification, you can list casual birdwatching as a hobby and interest. Take the time to get to know the diversity of feathered fellows that alight on your feeders, and you’ll feel more connected to the natural world around you.

Top Feeder Birds in New York

Lauraag / Getty Images

Lauraag / Getty Images

1. Black-capped Chickadee

The Black-capped Chickadee is a top feeder bird in New York (and it’s not even close). Bold, curious, and opportunistic, you can count on these little guys to investigate a new feeder. In the winter, they travel in small groups to forage for food, and it’s pretty cute to watch them taking turns at the feeder. They’re also sticklers for hierarchy in the flock. If one chickadee tries to eat out of turn, there’s always someone to correct him!

Rejean Berdard / Getty Images

Rejean Berdard / Getty Images

2. Downy Woodpecker

The Downy Woodpecker is the smallest woodpecker in North America. They’re not easily spooked, allowing plenty of opportunity for photos and up-close looks. They’re also great friends of the gardener because they spend their summer days foraging for insects, spiders, and other bugs — without boring holes into your trees or siding.

Irving A. Gaffney / Getty Images

Irving A. Gaffney / Getty Images

3. Dark-eyed Junco

When Dark-eyed Juncos arrive for the winter from northern Canada, they're a welcome sight to bird lovers. In addition to their handsome black plumage, they have excellent feeder manners, never lunging or sniping at other birds that come in for a snack.

Curioustiger / Getty Images

Curioustiger / Getty Images

4. Eastern Bluebird

Sightings of the Eastern Bluebird is a sure sign of spring in these parts, which may have something to do with the fact it's New York's state bird. The Eastern Bluebird prefers worms, fruit, and insects. In early spring, setting out finely chopped seeds can attract them to your feeding station and tide them over until their main food supplies kick in.

Attracting and feeding birds in New York

New York is home to an abundance of colorful songbirds, which makes bird feeding a hobby that takes almost no effort for anyone with a yard or balcony. Set up a feeder with a high-quality mix, and before long, you should see visitors popping in.

Setting up a nesting box will make cavity nesters feel at home, such as the Black-capped Chickadee, the Downy Woodpecker, and the Eastern Bluebird.

Do you live in a Big Apple borough? No problem. Apartment balconies and patios are great assets for urban bird feeding. To ward off squirrels and other creatures, try a perch-free tube feeder. Window feeders that are held in place by a window sash or suction cups also make great options.

Top feeder birds in New York

Here is a list of the top feeder birds in New York as identified by the 1,000-some citizen birders who participated in Project FeederWatch:

  1. Black-capped Chickadee
  2. Dark-eyed Junco
  3. Northern Cardinal
  4. Downy Woodpecker
  5. White-breasted Nuthatch
  6. Tufted Titmouse
  7. American Goldfinch
  8. Blue Jay
  9. Mourning Dove
  10. Red-bellied Woodpecker
  11. American Robin
  12. Red-Winged Blackbird
  13. House Finch
  14. European Starling
  15. House Sparrow
  16. Song Sparrow
  17. Hairy Woodpecker
  18. Red-breasted Nuthatch
  19. Common Grackle
  20. American Crow
  21. American Tree Sparrow
  22. Carolina Wren
  23. Common Redpoll
  24. Eastern Bluebird
  25. Northern Flicker
  26. Brown-headed Cowbird
  27. Purple Finch
  28. Eastern Phoebe
  29. Northern Mockingbird
  30. Pine Siskin
  31. Pileated Woodpecker
  32. Rock Pigeon
  33. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
  34. Brown Creeper
  35. Cedar Waxwing
  36. Eastern Towhee
  37. Evening Grosbeak
  38. Chipping Sparrow
  39. Brown Thrasher
  40. Rusty Blackbird

To see the greatest variety of birds landing on your feeder, your best bet is a premium mix that never skimps on nuts, black oil sunflower seeds, and other high-energy nuggets that birds love — such as Lyric Supreme Mix.