American Robin (Turdus migratorius)
You can readily identify these medium-sized birds by their rusty orange bellies and gray-brown backs (seen in the photo above). Females show the same coloring yet are a bit paler. You find them mostly on lawns in search of the early worm. In winter they forage and roost in flocks of hundreds. With a population of 320 million, one can easily spot these birds across the U.S.
Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)
With the adult male’s bright red feathers, black face, and red-orange beak, it’s hard not to recognize this bird. Females have similar face and beak colors but come in a reddish-brown mix. Found mostly east of the Rockies, their population estimates are at 120 million. Preferring landscapes with shrubs for hiding in, they frequent feeders, especially loving sunflower seeds.
American Crow (Corvus brachyryanchos)
This all-black bird appears in ecosystems across the U.S. from beaches to woodlands, but not the Desert Southwest. If traveling west of the Rockies, you might confuse them with the Common Raven which is larger and more of a glider than a flapper. At a population of 31 million, twice that of the Common Raven, American Crows gather in communal roosting flocks that may number in the thousands.
Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata)
You cannot mistake this for any other bird with its distinctive bright blue, black, and white feathers, pale breast, and sporting a blue head crest. At a scant 13 million, we find these birds mostly east of the Rockies along the forest edge usually in groups or pairs. However, going west of the Rocky Mountains you will find the Stellar Jay frequenting campgrounds and parks.
Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)
Who has not seen a group of these perched on an overhead utility wire? This slender bird of overall grayish-brown with black spots on its backside turns up across the U.S. They forage mainly on the ground and under feeders. Easily startled, you can hear the slight whistle of the wings on take off.
The latest population estimate of the Sparrow is 1.6 billion worldwide. Wherever and whenever you go, you will see a sparrow of some sort. As examples, we see the American Tree Sparrow up north to the Chipping Sparrow in the south, then from the Brewer’s Sparrow in the west over to the Field Sparrow of the east. Most likely it will be a House Sparrow (Passer domesticus), introduced to the U.S. in the 1800s from Europe. With a most prominent population of 82 million, we commonly find these at feeders in small flocks.
The United States hosts 1107 different species of birds. Although spotting and identifying the most common is fun, nothing compares to the thrill of sighting those uncommon ones, such as a Barred Owl, Pileated Woodpecker, Bald Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, or Ruby-throated Hummingbird. RV traveling lets us enjoy spotting those birds that we may never have seen before back home.
(For the curious, the most common bird worldwide is the domestic chicken (Gallus domesticus) coming in at around 24 billion.)