The latest edition of our birding guide is all about birds of Southwest Ohio. If you’re from the Buckeye State, the feature is for you!

You don’t need to be an ornithologist to appreciate the beauty of the avian world. The musical dawn chorus of songbirds welcoming the early morning is one of nature’s special treats. Southwest Ohio is one of the world’s hubs for birds of varying shapes and sizes. So if you happen to be visiting, or are lucky enough to be a resident, here’s a list of chirping chaps you can spy!

The Birds Of Southwest Ohio – The Countdown

1. Northern Cardinal

No list of Ohio birds is complete without this little fireball. The Northern Cardinal is a bright red bird that enjoys the position of being the state bird of Ohio and six other U.S states. The name is clearly earned because its crimson feathers remind one of the iconic red robes worn by the cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church.

It is a regular guest at home bird feeders and is a birdwatching favorite for its melodious song and attractive appearance. Plus, they don’t molt, so the flaming feathers are especially striking against the backdrop of a snowy Ohio.

These birds don’t migrate and, being quite social, even join flocks made up of a motley of other species. However, don’t let their friendliness fool you into thinking they are wimps. These little fellas are very jealous protectors of their home, which means they’re not be messed with regarding their turf. 

2. Mourning Dove

This lithe fellow is rather distinct from other birds of Ohio. Named for its forlorn cooing call, it is sadly very popular as hunting game. One can assume that deforestation helped in the ballooning of their population. These birdies love to party out in the open. You’re likely to find them on telephone wires rather than hide in the deep.

birds of ohio

As gluttonous little ground foragers, they feed on seeds, up to 20% of their body weight. But the interesting bit is that they gobble up these huge portions without swallowing. After storing thousands of seeds into an esophageal pocket called the crop, they fly off to a safe spot to digest it in peace.

Their beaks are too soft to break most seeds, so they are bound to swallow sand and grit to crack them. Though their bills are soft, their nature is pretty rugged. They can survive on hard desert water without becoming dehydrated, slurping it up as if with a straw. Another thing that sets Mourning Doves apart from many other bird species is that they don’t tuck their heads in their wings, as is the avian sleeping norm.

Instead, the head simply rests close to the torso, between the shoulders. A heartwarming mourning dove fact is that they are true romantics and mate for life. This is what won them a spot as the emblem of romantic love. They also feature in the famous Christmas carol in which they go by the name of ‘turtle doves.’

One aspect that helps with the identification of this Ohio bird is the unmistakable whistling sound as the wind rushes through their wings when they soar up or land.

3. American Robin

American Robins, with their cheery trill and plump red bellies, are a happy herald of spring. Their eggs are a beautiful shade of cyan which is why we have “robin egg blue” as a color tone.

They mainly munch on insects and fruit, so seed-filled backyard feeders hold little attraction for them. However, they love foraging for fruit and worms in lawns and backyards. That’s why residents need to keep an eye on what sort of pesticides they are using. Many robins have been known to become victims due to chemical poisoning and harsh pesticides.

Their flocks often include a ragtag bunch of fruit-eaters such as mockingbirds and waxwings. That’s because they are all hunting for the same food. Being very adaptable means that they are happily in no danger of extinction for the time being. A robin roost can comprise up to a quarter-million birds at a time.

4. Blue Jays

Blue Jays get their name from the bright blue sheen in their feathers – making the male and female indistinguishable. They are among the chattiest birds of Southwest Ohio. They can chirp or Twitter or switch to noisy squawking. Blue Jays can also mimic the birdcalls of their predators, which is very useful as a protective measure.

These birdies are in no hurry to get anywhere and fly at a sweet pace of up to twenty-five miles per hour. What they lack in speed, they make up for in smarts. Blue Jays can be clever little pygmies that act as an alarm for other fellow prey of hawks. When they see a hawk, they imitate its call to warn off other potential victims in the vicinity.

They are also observed to have excellent recall. Like squirrels, they have a soft spot for nuts and acorns and love to store them away in tree crevices or other hideouts for later snacking. Their sharp memories help them find these storehouses afterward. Researches on captive blue jays showed that they are pretty adaptable to new circumstances and can use sticks or whatever else is at hand to pull food that is beyond their range outside their cage.

Blue Jays have a more family-oriented system than many other birds. A pair usually mates for life. And the parents team up to build the nest. When the female is incubating the brood, the male is responsible for fetching food for her.

Once the hatched chicks are around three weeks old, the whole family moves out together. They don’t seem to have any hard-and-fast rule to migration that humans can detect. Some blue jays may choose to migrate, but others will not. Even those that don’t feel the need to migrate on a yearly basis.


Birds of Southwest Ohio come in a great variety which is no surprise as the bird species of Ohio have been officially numbered to a whopping 442 species. This also makes it a colossal hotbed for twitchers from all over.

A vigilant birdwatcher will not be wanting for a large assortment of fascinating fliers, most of whom come hopping into the local lawns and backyards in search of grub and seeds. Also, readers who hail from states other than Ohio continue to watch out for our upcoming series of articles – featuring birds from states other than the Buckeye one. 

Learn more about Birds That Like Oranges – Fruits For Backyard Birds

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