Common Urban Birds

Chestnut-backed Chickadee / Mick Thompson / Eastside Audubon Society

There are many different species of birds found in Washington. We wanted to show a sample of the birds that would be appropriate to this area by pairing the list down to common urban birds seen in the Puget Sound Trough. By pairing down the list we created a user friendly beginners bird list for all ages to enjoy while finding birds. 

Beginner’s Master Bird List

Anyone can start identifying bird with this list. The most common birds that are better known to the Seattle area are on this list so when you go for a neighborhood walk you can check off your birds as you go. The bird sightings you encounter are now at your fingertips.

Birds and their Habitats

These are the habitats that are in Western Washington that our birds flourish in. You can click on the common bird listed under the habitat to see more information regarding that bird.

Conifer Forest

A Conifer is a tree that produces its seeds in cones. Conifer leaves conserve water with the thick, waxy layer that covers their leaves, also known as needles. The dominate conifers are Douglas-fir, cedar, pine, and hemlock.

Chestnut-backed Chickadee and Red-breasted Nuthatch

Deciduous Forest

During the fall deciduous trees change color and then lose their leaves. In the spring and summer they flower and grow. Alder, maple, and cottonwood are the common ones in this area.

Black-capped Chickadees and Bullock’s oriole

Mixed Forest

Conifers and deciduous trees often grow together in forest stands. A forest is considered mixed when each tree type makes up at least 30% of the canopy.

Pileated Woodpeckers and the Brown Creeper

Riparian Forest

Areas with at least 25% canopy coverage within the area of a stream. Trees that are common in this zone are cottonwood, willow, and alder.

Black-headed Grosbeaks and Tree Swallows


Herbaceous plants, woody shrubs, and trees growing in standing water or saturated soils are considered wetland areas. If an area in a wetland is more than 20 acres and without vegetation it is considered a lake and called lacustrine.

Wood ducks and Common Yellowthroat


Grassland in the urban environment consists of overgrown grass, fields, or meadows that may have highly invasive plants that are used by birds for foraging, nesting, and dwelling.

Savannah Sparrow and the American Goldfinch

High Quality Urban Habitat

High quality is represented best by people doing native wildlife gardening in their backyards. So very small areas (patches) of native shrubs and trees, that is not quite big enough to be called forest.

Downy Woodpecker and Wilson’s Warblers

Low Quality Urban Habitat

Low quality would simply be large expanses of turf or grass with no landscaping.

The European Starling and the House Sparrow