State Birds: List, Fabulous Fun Facts, FAQs
Selecting state birds came about in 1927 when the legislatures for several states – Alabama, Florida, Missouri, Oregon, Texas and Wyoming – selected their own state birds.
What’s the most popular state bird? Well, the northern cardinal has been selected by seven states. In second place in this aviary popularity contest is the western meadowlark with six states identifying it as the state’s pick.
Also, check out the beautiful photos of the birds below.
List of United States State Birds
Let’s take a look at a list of State Birds.
|Delaware||Delaware Blue Hen||1939|
|District of Columbia||Wood thrush||1938|
|New Hampshire||Purple finch||1957|
|New Jersey||Eastern goldfinch||1935|
|New Mexico||Greater roadrunner||1949|
|New York||Eastern bluebird||1970|
|North Carolina||Northern cardinal||1943|
|North Dakota||Western meadowlark||1970|
|Rhode Island||Rhode Island Red||1954|
|South Carolina||Carolina wren||1948|
|South Dakota||Ring-necked pheasant||1943|
|West Virginia||Northern cardinal||1949|
State Birds Fun Facts (Fabulous!)
Learn more about some of these state birds.
1.) A California bird in Utah?
Utah selected the California gull. So, you might be thinking that states should only select birds that feature their own state name or one of their cities, e.g., Maryland chose the Baltimore oriole, but we’d politely disagree with you.
You see, in 1848 hordes of crickets were devastating Utah crops. But, then, flocks of California gulls came in like the cavalry to save the day. They ate up most of the crickets are returned home.
2.) Not exactly the early bird on state birds, are you?
Arizona was the johnny-come-lately selecting their state bird last in 1973. They went with the cactus wren.
3.) America’s favorite “backyard bird”
The American cardinal was selected by seven states as their state bird. So, if this was a beauty pageant, the cardinal walks off with the grand prize. The bright red feathers of the male cardinal make it stand out from the crowd. it might be said that these birds must drive up the sale of black sunflower seeds each year.
4.) The ultimate cover band of the aviary set?
Texas’ selection of the mockingbird is one of our favorites. The Latin name, Mimus polyglottos, means “many-tongued mimic.” Mockingbirds memorize and recite back songs heard from other birds. It’s said they can remember 200 tunes.
5.) Rockin’ Robin!
Wisconsin school children selected the robin as their preferred state bird in a survey conducted in the 1920s. Somehow, it took the state legislature until 1949 to make it official.
6.) But, they’re cousins
Another name for the Hawaiian goose is Nene. They look a lot like their neighbors across the ocean but instead of having webbed feet, theirs are more claw-like. This enables them to walk on the lava rock beaches of Hawaii. I wonder if they call Mother Goose stories Mother Nene?
7.) The Master of Disguise
The Willow ptarmigan, Alaska’s selection for the state bird, changes the color of its feathers in warmer months to brown and to white in colder months. This enables the bird to fit in with its surroundings and avoid predators.
Willow ptarmigan video
8.) That’s Looney!
Loons, with their black and white feathers and red eyes, are a handsome bird. They can dive up to 200 feet below water and pop up again a long ways from their entry point. That’s earned them the nickname, “Great Northern Divers.”
Loons need a long runway to fly. But, once in the air, they’re quite proficient at it — flying at speeds of 70 MPH. When swimming in Minnesota and Canadian lakes, a mother loon will carry her babies on her back.
These birds are so great that Canada put their look on their coins. The coins are called “Loonies.” Many people believe these coins are lucky.
FAQs about State Birds
Here are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about state birds.
1.) Does a state have a mosquito as a state bird?
Summers in Minnesota can be a tough time for mosquito bites, so local t-shirt companies place an illustration of a mosquito on a t-shirt with the caption “Minnesota’s State Bird.” But, no, it was never officially recognized as such.
2.) What is Florida’s State Bird?
The northern mockingbird is the State Bird of Florida. While we love the mockingbird, it doesn’t exactly scream, “I’m the bird from the Sunshine State.”
Other possible selections looked over by state legislators include the flamingo, the roseate spoonbill, or the Florida scrub jay.
3.) Why do we have State Birds?
Selecting a state bird that residents could identify with was important to a series of state legislatures. When six states’ legislatures went about selecting their “state bird,” other states followed suit – although not immediately.
The first state birds were selected in 1927 and the last was selected in 1974. So, it took some 47 years, but we got there.
Mike is a bird watcher and co-founder of ListCaboodle.
You’re on our State Birds List, Fun Facts, and FAQs page.
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