Kentucky Birds

Regardless of what the period, there are actually always intriguing birds to find at The Nature Conservancy’s Kentucky nature preserves. Birds relocate with Kentucky all year long.

Some improvement environments within condition perimeters; others drop in throughout springtime as well as loss as portion of lengthy experiences between reproducing reasons and warmer environments.

Over 350 types of birds have actually been recorded in Kentucky. Of these, about 150 species multiply in the condition, with the rest being winter citizens or transients that simply go through the condition during transfer

Listed here are a few faves you could view at one of our Kentucky nature preserves or even state Wildlife Management Areas locations where our team are working with partners to defend as well as deal with habitations for bird guests.

Highlight Birds in Kentucky

1. Snow goose

kentucky birds

Some of the more spectacular bird-watching attractions to find in Kentucky is actually a whirling hurricane of Snow Geese. If you want to witness this awesome sight, you need to visit the much western areas of the condition, where the Mississippi Flyway functions as a channel for multitudes of waterfowl.

There are actually 3 areas in Kentucky that lot large flocks of geese, including snowfalls. Sloughs Wildlife Management Area in Henderson County, Ballard Wildlife Management Area in Ballard County, and also the Long Point Unit of Reelfoot National Wildlife Refuge in Fulton County.

Amounts of geese are generally higher at the latter pair of areas. Midwinter is the best opportunity to see snow geese wintering in Kentucky, however massive groups can easily appear whenever coming from latter November to mid-March.

For more details, you can watch the video below.

If you decide to plan a trip to observe geese in winter season, monitor the BIRDKY listserve in advance to see where flocks are being actually observed very most reliably.

One good facet of our groups of snow geese is actually that there is a generous blend of both white and blue “morphs.” This combination incorporates one more dimension to the surging flocks of birds.

A time with a little snow cover as well as a sky-blue sky may yield some of one of the most satisfying photos you’ll ever witness if you may view the flocks in the appropriate lighting.

2. United States white colored pelican

kentucky birds

United States white pelicans were actually an uncommon transient via Kentucky in historic opportunities, it is actually simply in the previous 20 years that we have begun to find consistency to their situation as well as a fantastic rise in their numbers. Today the birds are actually most reputable coming from Lake Barkley, westward, but a few roam eastwards every year.

Nowadays, groups of pelicans drifting along slackly over the huge waters of Lake Barkley as well as Kentucky Lake are a common attraction, particularly in March and also April as well as once again from late October to mid-December.

United States white pelicans are actually the most extensive birds to take place in Kentucky, with a wingspan of 8 feet and also an ordinary body weight of much more than 15 extra pounds! Pelicans commonly make use of thermals– climbing cavalcades of cozy sky– to acquire wonderful elevations where to relocate or even shift from one supplying location to an additional.

Given that 2002, a number of number of American white colored pelicans have used the tailwaters of Barkley Dam for nourishing per day from overdue March to mid-April, managing remarkable viewpoints of these magnificent waterbirds.

Various other spots that typically throw some pelicans feature Ballard Wildlife Management Area (Mitchell Lake), and isolated sandbars as well as river sloughs from Carlisle, Hickman, and Fulton regions.

3. Sandhill crane

kentucky birds

Among the actual birding cares for paid for main Kentucky homeowners each springtime as well as fall is the death of migrant groups of sandhill cranes.

These birds are actually relocating in between reproducing premises in main Canada and also the north Great Lakes states and wintering grounds in the southeastern United States, specifically central Florida. Interestingly, cranes are actually creatures of habit, and their seasonal hallway with Kentucky takes very most birds on a road between Lexington and London on the eastern as well as Owensboro and Bowling Green on the west.

Smaller amount of birds cross the condition further east as well as west, but the huge majority follow this relatively narrow passage.

A few of the locations where cranes are actually very most routinely observed consist of Jefferson County, farmland west of Elizabethtown, Barren River Lake as well as Green River Lake, and also the Transient Lakes in southerly Warren County.

Although cranes have actually been actually observed in on a monthly basis other than July, peak varieties develop from mid-February by means of mid-March and also once more from mid-November to overdue December. There are right now even a few that show up to overwinter in available farmland of southern Kentucky Birds.

Many people blunder flocks of cranes for geese, but sandhill cranes can be effortlessly determined in a number of means. In addition to possessing long necks that protrude well in front of their body systems as well as segments, cranes also possess long legs that hang responsible for all of them in flight.

The gutteral, rolling calls of cranes are rather unlike the honks or barks of geese. Finally, unlike geese, groups of cranes take advantage of crosswinds or thermals to help them gain elevation, so they commonly stop to circle, obtaining height for numerous minutes. Kentucky Birds

When they have actually achieved their favored elevation to migrate on, they change in to “Vs” and also proceed on north or even south, slowly dropping elevation till they decide to separate as well as cycle once more to start the cycle over.

4. Singular sandpiper

kentucky birds

Kentucky throws a substantial selection of seasonal shorebirds, although you should generally bring in an exclusive initiative to see many of them. As several as 12 to 15 species might be actually found in a solitary time through properly covering hotspots for all of them, however among the best wide-spread is actually the solitary.

This is actually due to the fact that the solitary will definitely drop in on pretty much any kind of small- to medium-sized body of water that has a bit of muddy, grassy, or sandy coastline on it.

These include tiny flows, ranch fish ponds, and also swimming pools current coming from excessive rainfalls. It likewise happens nearly as typically on these habitats in far eastern Kentucky as in the western side section.

As shorebirds go, the singular is a medium-sized one. It possesses a reasonably brief, slim expense and legs that are usually olive tinted.

The upperparts are darker, charcoal along with light-toned markings, and also the unique rear pattern is actually black in the center along with bands of lighting and also dark colour on the sides.

Many smaller sized varieties are actually specifically complicated to tell apart and are actually together known as “squeaks.” Species that are actually a lot bigger than the singular are actually not that several, but develop seasonally and feature the better yellowlegs. Kentucky Birds

Always keep a watchful eye on open shorelines and flats for any one of these varieties. Most take place coming from mid-April to mid-May and again coming from very early August to mid-October.

The best focus will certainly take place along the scopes of receding floodwaters in western Kentucky field in spring. In autumn, the receding coastlines and flats of the larger storage tanks and rivers give the most effective environment. Kentucky Birds

5. Least tern

kentucky birds

Kentucky hosts only one varieties of government imperiled bird, the least tern. These little waterbirds are actually located on the bigger waterways as well as lakes, as well as along the lesser Ohio River around Paducah, as well as along the whole extent of the Mississippi River that limits western Kentucky.

These smallest of terns are actually mainly white colored, with pearly gray backs, dark limits with a white colored temple, as well as yellow costs.

Least terns are very most usual along our nation’s coastlines, yet a population nests on waterway bars of the inside of the United States. These birds exist in our area from mid-May to very early September.

Nests are actually merely shallow clinical depressions in the sands of open sandbars on the river, although less suitable sites like soft sand aspects in flooded farming ranges are actually at some time selected. Pair of or three eggs are actually usually stocked overdue May or even June, and the young fledge through early August.

Least terns are actually fairly difficult to discover in Kentucky, yet their graceful appearance as well as one of a kind make them worthy of seeing.

A number of the very best spots to locate these birds include sandbars below Smithland Dam (seen from the bank at the community of Smithland); on Mitchell Lake at Ballard Wildlife Management Area; along the Mississippi River almost the Laketon social boat ramp (Carlisle County); at Westvaco Wildlife Management Area (Hickman County), as well as near or downstream coming from the community of Hickman (Fulton County). Kentucky Birds

6. Rufous hummingbird

kentucky birds

For several years, Kentucky might merely be actually mentioned to multitude one types of hummingbird, the ruby-throated. Since the mid-1980s, another species has actually become fairly frequent in tiny numbers in the course of the loss, with a few lingering right into winter season.

This is actually the rufous hummingbird of the western United States as well as Canada. A couple of move in to the southeastern United States in loss as opposed to heading right into Mexico for the winter months.

Birds have actually showed up all across the western side two-thirds of Kentucky, but their circulation might be due additional to the variety of farmers present than to every other aspect.

Rufous hummingbirds possess a strong wash of aficionado colour on their sides and also bright rufous in the spreading tail.

A few birds are men, which are actually instantly noticeable due to their bright rufous upperparts. The majority of rufous hummingbirds show up in late September as well as October, pretty much the time the last of our ruby-throateds are actually leaving.

Many individuals that do show up concerning that time seem to remain in to winter season as well as feeding all of them can easily come to be a problem. Rufous hummingbirds are VERY robust, however, as well as many appear to quickly handle temperature levels right into the singular digits if you may maintain their sweets water free of ice.

This becomes the key, having said that, as well as treatment should be needed to supply a resource of heat for the feeder (many people utilize flood lamps or heat energy lights that are actually set up near the feeder as well as pointed directly at it).

Besides rufous hummingbirds, several various other types of western side as well as tropical hummers have actually shown up in the eastern United States.

The majority of take place in autumn as well as winter months, so if you view a hummingbird anytime after mid-October, call your regional bird club leaders to allow all of them recognize you might possess an one of a kind!

Also Read : Washington Birds

7. Typical raven

kentucky birds

Perhaps Kentucky’s rarest resident bird– as well as our most extensive corvid– is the typical raven. At the moment of European settlement, ravens most likely occurred in your area across the whole condition, however as humans ended up being more popular, ravens retreated in to the best remote portions of the southeastern hills.

When the raven was unidentified in Kentucky, there were actually many decades. Starting in the late 1960s, a few ravens came back to the rugged mountains of asian Kentucky, as well as the populace has little by little increased in subsequential years.

Nowadays, you possess an affordable odds of seeing popular ravens at a number of spots in southeastern Kentucky featuring very most anywhere along Pine Mountain from Pine Mountain State Resort Park to Blanton Forest State Nature Preserve, Kingdom Come State Park, Bad Branch State Nature Preserve, and Breaks Interstate Park. A few birds are actually likewise regularly noted at Black Mountain and Cumberland Gap National Historical Park.

The croaking, prating phone calls of ravens are nearly as intriguing to run into as the image of these all-black birds sliding over the hills.

Birds are actually possibly hardest to discover during the reproducing period, when they keep near their nests (March via May) and simplest to come across throughout loss as well as winter when the forage as well as wander more extensively. Kentucky Birds

8. Prothonotary Warbler

kentucky birds

Amongst Kentucky’s nesting warblers, among the best wonderful as well as obvious is the prothonotary. It is rarely observed in the asian portion of the state, however it makes up for its sparsity in the east through its great quantity in the west.

The varieties exists along the larger waterways and tanks of central Kentucky, yet it becomes an increasing number of usual as you move west. Due to the time you arrive at the Land Between the Lakes area, it is a common summer season resident of any wetland habitat kind, coming from stream corridors to storage tank shores and river sloughs.

Prothonotaries are actually certainly not just visible as a result of their gaudy tuft, however also their loud sweet, sweet, pleasant, sweet track, which rings by means of bottomland habitats coming from the moment they get here in mid-April up until they complete the nesting cycle in mid-July.

They nest in dental caries, commonly very low to the ground or even water, so they frequently take home containers if they are actually placed near water. Kentucky Birds

9. Kentucky Warbler

kentucky birds

The state’s namesake songbird is actually certainly not as quick and easy to locate as the prothonotary, but it is almost as typical and also is actually even more largely circulated across the state from eastern to west.

Kentucky warblers live in woodland habitations, and they are actually most typical in moister woods situations where there is actually a fairly thick hedge coating.

A part of the taxonomic name of the Kentucky warbler is formosus, which in Latin indicates “wonderful,” which it is actually. Brilliant yellow underparts accept olive green upperparts and also a vibrant black-and-yellow skin design is rather unique. Nevertheless, to acquire a take a look at a Kentucky warbler acceptable to appreciate that beauty is an additional issue.

Even with its own general abundance, there may be no other multiplying warbler in Kentucky that is heard therefore typically yet observed so rarely! Perseverance is commonly the key, and if you can easily recognize its loud, calling turtle-turtle-turtle-turtle track in the lumbers, a slow-moving method will commonly give pleasant appeals.

Kentucky warblers are present in Kentucky coming from about the 3rd week in April halfway of September. Good areas to search for them feature Mammoth Cave National Park as well as Bernheim Forest (Bullitt and also Nelson areas). Kentucky Birds

Also Read : Fiery Throated Hummingbird

10. Baltimore Oriole

kentucky birds

One of Kentucky’s brightest bird attractions has to be actually the male Baltimore oriole. Slightly much smaller than a robin, this oriole’s bright orange-and-black style makes it a joy to see. And also numerous locals of north-central Kentucky, where the species is actually very most rich as a nesting bird, also realize its own joyful tune.

Baltimore orioles prefer available, park-like environments along with huge deciduous plants interspersed along with available regions. For this reason, they are fairly frequently experienced in suburbs.

Baltimore orioles invest the winter months in the tropics, as well as they return to Kentucky during the course of mid-April. It is very regionally dispersed all over much of southerly and also eastern Kentucky, occurring in those areas mostly along streams.

The Baltimore oriole’s home has to do with as distinct as its very own appearance, being actually a finely woven putting up container of lawn that is actually frequently attached conspicuously to a lengthy outer division of a big shade tree.

The very best spots to look for Baltimore orioles are parks in north-central Kentucky Birds, specifically if there is actually a pond or stream not far away. Listen for their slurred music tracks in high trees, where they seek out near the recommendations of the divisions. You might even bring in an oriole to your lawn through giving orange halves spiked on tree divisions.

Midwinter is actually the finest opportunity to see snowfall geese wintering in Kentucky Birds, yet big flocks may show up any kind of opportunity coming from last November to mid-March.

American white pelicans are the largest birds to happen in Kentucky Birds, along with a wingspan of 8 feet and also a typical body weight of even more than 15 pounds! Kentucky Birds hosts only one varieties of federally imperiled bird, the minimum tern.

These little waterbirds are actually located on the bigger lakes and streams, and along the lower Ohio River around Paducah, and also along the whole stretch of the Mississippi River that bounds western side Kentucky. As well as many citizens of north-central Kentucky, where the species is actually very most bountiful as a nesting bird, also realize its happy tune. Kentucky Birds

Kentucky Birds Species According To Season

kentucky birds


In summer season, birds are actually nourishing youthful hatchlings. Soon the youngsters learn to flight and eventually leave the home. As days increase shorter and summer begins to subside, birds are no longer as vocal as they had resided in spring and also early summer months.

Neotropical evacuees ready to make the long quest south for winter. In spite of shorter days, there is actually still a great deal to hear and find before cooler weather shows up. Kentucky Birds

1. Kentucky Summer Birds

Kentucky Summer Birds

  1. Dark Red Throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris) Don’t be actually deceived due to the tiny size.of these jewel-colored birds.
  2. Yellow Billed Cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus) This bird prefers to stay hidden however can’t hide coming from its own unique call.
  3. Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula) Fond of fruit product and also nectar along with insects, Baltimore Orioles are actually effortlessly enticed to backyard feeders.
  4. Green Heron (Butorides virescens) These smaller sized herons could be discovered looking for fish anywhere there is actually a water, likely a pond.
  5. Terrific Crested Flycatcher (Butorides virescens) These smaller sized herons can be located searching for fish anywhere there is actually a water, likely a pool.
  6. Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea) This bird embodies some of the best common shifting Kentucky Birds during the course of the summer season.
  7. North Bobwhite Quail (Colinus virginianus) If you neighbor a grassland, you are going to likely listen to, as well as maybe even see, this bird. This species is in decrease, likely as a result of reduction of habitation.
  8. Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) After cultivating season ends in early summer months, colorful hardwood ducks nest and also elevate their younger in fish ponds, ponds and flows near forests throughout Kentucky Birds.

Also Read : Mexican Birds


When falling fallen leaves permit birdwatchers to catch a glance of some species that will or else be hidden in the trees, fall is an opportunity.

1st come songbirds like vireos as well as warblers, complied with by thrushes, grosbeaks and also sparrows. As winter months approaches, the woodpeckers, geese, war hawks, ducks and crazies get here.

kentucky birds

  1. Yellow Rumped Warbler: This wintertime songbird may be found in dizzying amounts up in the trees.
  2. Winter months Wren: This small bird with an energetic track gos to southerly conditions in the course of winter.
  3. Anchorite Thrush: This site visitor lives on insects found on Kentucky rainforest floors.
  4. Ruby Crowned Kinglet: You make sure ahead all over this small bird during the course of a trek by means of some of our nature preserves.
  5. Reddish Breasted Nuthatch: This little active bird will likely be spotted on the trunk of a plant trying to find bugs.
  6. White Crowned Sparrow: You may locate this wintertime visitor foraging on the ground, beneath the bird farmer.
  7. Ring Billed Gull: Likely observed near water, these gulls really bring in Kentucky a winter season property.
  8. Wilson’s Snipe: This is actually a shorebird that makes a winter house in Kentucky marshes.
  9. Yellow Bellied Sapsucker: Listen prior to you look for this participant of the woodpecker family!
  10. Sandhill Crane: Most typically identified in central as well as western side Kentucky, these stylish birds thrill when viewed in large numbers soaring all over the heavens.
  11. Typical Loon: This bird is actually frequently found on Kentucky’s much larger ponds and rivers, which serve as suitable wintering reasons.
  12. Pointy Shinned Hawk: The smallest war hawk in North America is actually much easier to locate along with leaves off of the plants.


In winter, birdwatchers possess a possibility to behold woodpeckers, geese, ducks, loons, hawks and various other types that come to be much more noticeable after trees lose their fallen leaves.

kentucky birds

  1. Eastern Phoebe: While some migrate, lots of Eastern Phoebes stay in Kentucky in the course of winter, shifting from a diet regimen of insects to seeds and also berries.
  2. Sandhill Cranes: You might find or even hear Sandhill cranes, especially in central or even western Kentucky, they pilot overhead during the course of winter movement.
  3. Lapland Longspur: Look past the woods in the course of winter to find appealing ground birds that have a skill for blending in among open fields.
  4. Brownish Creeper: Common to Kentucky during the course of wintertime, the Brown Creeper weasels into tree skin along with its long expense to locate a meal.
  5. Eastern Bluebird: Partial to a mix of open meadows and also dispersed trees, this woods “side” species is appreciated for its own appeal, delicate disposition, family commitment as well as delightful telephone call.
  6. Fox Sparrow: With comparable tinting to a fox, this bird can be seen in Kentucky throughout the winter season.
  7. Canvasback: Canvasbacks observe the freeze pipe during winter season, going just as much south as they must. Most winters they hang around anywhere there is open water in Kentucky.
  8. Northern Harrier: With a skin that just about resembles an owl, this hawk is actually regularly on the go– often looking only above the ground over open land and also farming locations.
  9. United States Woodcock: Although ground-dwelling woodcocks reside in Kentucky year-round, they are typically only observed throughout February as well as March.
  10. Great Horned Owl: As early as January, Great-horned owls have created building sets, start nesting and also are pretty vocal, creating a wintertime encounter with them much more rewarding.
  11. Red Winged Blackbird: This blackbird remains during wintertime as well as may be discovered in flocks of 1000s.


In spring, Kentucky’s forests, savannas, flows and meadows nurture a collection of birds, especially stunning populaces of warblers.

  1. Bay Breasted Warbler: This songbird likes the cover of Kentucky’s woodlands.
  2. United States Redstart: This dynamic warbler in the Halloween-themed colors jumps among tree divisions seeking bugs.
  3. Blackburnian Warbler: The Blackburnian Warbler is actually spectacular in its fantastic orange-and-black breeding tuft.
  4. Kentucky Warbler: The Kentucky Warbler chooses to be heard, however certainly not found, generally concealing as well as nesting within a rainforest’s covert.
  5. Plain Warbler: Contrary to its own title, grassy field warblers are more usual to scrubby ranges and forests throughout the south-central as well as far eastern United States.
  6. Dark Red Throated Hummingbird: These jewel-colored birds, asian North America’s sole breeding hummingbird, can intercross the Gulf of Mexico in an unattached trip.
  7. Baltimore Oriole: Fond of fruit product and honey as well as bugs, Baltimore Orioles are actually conveniently drawn to backyard farmers.
  8. Indigo Bunting: During spring season, these brilliantly tinted birds may be listened to vocal from dawn to twilight atop the highest branch visible or even seeking for seeds and bugs in low plants.
  9. Timber Thrush: Though still various, this bird’s quickly decreasing varieties might result from home parasitism at the edges of fragmenting habitation and also to the result of acid rain on its own prey.
  10. Reddish Eyed Vireo: A solitary guy red-eyed vireo is known to vocalize more than 20,000 songs each day, resulting in the distinctive audio of an Eastern rainforest in springtime and summer season.
  11. Rose Breasted Grosbeak: Common along forest edges and also on bird feeders, this bird’s tune resembles an American Robin along with a little added “screech”.

Hopefully this article is useful.

Sometimes, when people ask what I do to make a living, I can't think of a better word than "writer". I am a student, web maker, writer, bird lover ... and many more.

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