West Virginia, dubbed the Mountaineer State, has a rough topography punctuated by the stream and river valleys. West Virginia is home to more than 170 breeding bird species. Numerous birds are seasonal residents of the state. Certain birds spend their winters exclusively in West Virginia, while others migrate here just in the spring and summer.
Birds of West Virginia comprise species that have been documented in the United States of America’s state of West Virginia and acknowledged by the Brooks Bird Club’s West Virginia Bird Records Committee (BBC). The published list contains 354 species as of July 2021. 65 are considered rare, five have been imported to North America, and two have become extinct.
Additional 14 species are classed as speculative, and all of them are categorized as uncommon, with the exception of the extinct ivory-billed woodpecker. In 1949, West Virginia declared the northern cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) to be the state bird.
West Virginia birds of prey
Birds of prey are predatory birds that hunt for food. Birds of prey are classified into two types: diurnal (active during the day) and nocturnal (active at night).
West Virginia is home to some of the most amazing vegetation and fauna on the planet. Due to the fact that many places remain in their original state or are used for farming, many creatures that would have been displaced by rapid development have remained in their native habitats.
Birds of prey, such as hawks, eagles, vultures, and falcons, continue to have a strong presence in West Virginia.
These diurnal birds of prey are also called raptors, which translates as “to seize and carry away.” The majority of nocturnal birds of prey are owls.
Eagles in West Virginia
These magnificent birds represent a variety of concepts, like liberty, courage, honesty, inspiration, victory, and pride. In comparison to other raptors, West Virginia has a dearth of eagle species.
Eagles build their nests in West Virginia from December through February. While bald eagles have been breeding in northern portions of the state since 1981, naturalists did not find a nesting pair on the New River until spring 2010. Since then, surveyors have documented scores of these birds nesting along southern West Virginia’s waterways.
Additional information about these birds can be found in the section below.
Owls in West Virginia
With tourism as its primary sector, it’s unsurprising that people travel to West Virginia from all around North America. Numerous bird species also appreciate West Virginia’s stunning mountain landscape and lush greenery.
Typical or “genuine” owls are nocturnal solitary birds of prey ranging in size from small to large. They feature huge forward-facing eyes and ears, a hawk-like beak, and a prominent feathered circle called a face disk around each eye. In West Virginia, the largest owls are Great Horned Owls, while the smallest owls are Northern Saw-whet Owls.
Additional owls are included in the section below.
Common backyard birds of West Virginia
West Virginia, renowned for its majestic mountains and rolling hills, is home to a variety of indigenous bird species. West Virginia is home to around 366 different kinds of birds at various periods of the year. Birds in West Virginia range from the more commonly observed Northern Cardinal to the less frequently seen Willow Flycatcher.
The following is a list of West Virginia backyard birds, complete with photographs and bird identifier information. Whether you’re seeking brown birds or more colorful birds, the list below is certain to have them.
Woodpeckers in West Virginia
Woodpeckers are small to medium-sized birds with chisel-like beaks, short legs, stiff tails, and long tongues that are employed for insect capture. Certain species have feet with two forward-facing toes and two backward-facing toes, whereas others have only three toes. Numerous woodpeckers have a propensity of tapping their beaks noisily on tree trunks.
The Pileated Woodpecker is the largest woodpecker in West Virginia, while the Downy Woodpecker is the smallest. Summer is the best time to see Northern Flickers and Red-headed Woodpeckers in West Virginia. Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Downy Woodpeckers, Northern Flickers, and Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers are frequent winter woodpeckers in West Virginia.
Additional birds can be found in the section below.
Best Birdwatching Spots in West Virginia
Birdwatching is simple and accessible, requiring little particular equipment or skill. Birds can be seen and heard practically anywhere in West Virginia, from your home to deep in the woods. The following are some fundamentals to bear in mind when you search for birds.
- Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge.
- Dolly Sods Wilderness
- Smoke Hole Recreation Area
- Blackwater Falls State Park
- Cranberry Glades Botanical Area
Other West Virginia birds
We’ve produced a list of some of the most attractive other birds found in West Virginia, complete with photographs and identification. Additionally, we added information on the frequency with which the birds are observed, as well as the time of year during which they are observed.
If you have encountered a bird in West Virginia that is not yet on our list or that you cannot identify yourself, we’ll be happy to identify it for you. Simply take a picture of it and upload your picture, a quick description and the U.S. state where it was found here on our bird identification page.