15 Birds That Spend Their Winters in West Virginia

Written by Niccoy Walker
Published: December 10, 2023
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West Virginia has a diverse bird population, even in winter. While dozens of birds make their home in this eastern state year-round, others fly in from other areas for winter. Check out the 15 birds that spend their winters in West Virginia and learn about their habitats and cold-weather diets.

1. White-Breasted Nuthatch

Close-up of a White-breasted Nuthatch

White-breasted nuthatches live in deciduous forests in West Virginia.

©J. A. Mikulich/Shutterstock.com

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The white-breasted nuthatch is a common species across the state, where it lives in deciduous forests, parks, and yards. While they visit bird feeders, they only stay a short while. Seeds account for 60% of its winter diet.

2. Northern Cardinal

Pair of cardinals perching on a tree branch in the snow

Seven U.S. states have chosen the

northern cardinal

as their official state bird.

©iStock.com/Hongkun Wang

Northern cardinals are the state bird of West Virginia, where it’s found throughout the year and commonly spotted in backyards. At feeders, cardinals indulge in crushed peanuts, suet, berries, and cracked corn.

3. American Crow

American crow

American crows eat more nuts during the winter.

©iStock.com/1381721614

The American crow is a common sight in West Virginia year-round and in almost every habitat, such as woodlands, fields, and cities. These birds are less likely to visit a feeder and more likely to visit your garbage can.

4. Bald Eagle

Soon Eagle 1

Bald eagles are regularly seen near major rivers.

©Victor Ward/iStock via Getty Images

While these birds were once rarely spotted in West Virginia, they are now more common around the state’s rivers, including during the winter. Bald eagles still eat a diet rich in fish and waterfowl during the cold months.

5. Eastern Bluebird

A pair of Eastern bluebirds on their home in an early morning in Springtime.

Eastern bluebirds live in open habitats.

©Heather L. Hubbard/Shutterstock.com

The eastern bluebird is a regular visitor to West Virginia’s fields and other open areas. During the winter, you can find these birds at feeders that provide fruits, berries, suet, and mealworms.

6. Tufted Titmouse

Birds with mohawks: Tufted Titmouse

Tufted titmice are year-round birds in West Virginia.

©iStock.com/Tongtong Chen

The active tufted titmouse is a common bird year-round in eastern deciduous forests. It is also a frequent visitor to backyard feeders during the winter. This species prefers sunflowers seeds, peanuts, and suet.

7. Carolina Wren

What do wrens eat - Carolina wren

Carolina wrens live in bushy habitats, eating seeds, fruit, and sometime grubs.

©Steve Byland/Shutterstock.com

The Carolina wren is another common bird in West Virginia. However, they can be hard to find, as they live in shrubby and bushy habitats. These birds rely on berries, small fruits, and seeds during the winter.

8. Red-Bellied Woodpecker

Red-Bellied Woodpecker Perched on a Branch

As confusing as the red head may be, the red-bellied

woodpecker

does, in fact, have a red belly.

©rck_953/Shutterstock.com

This woodpecker lives throughout West Virginia all year, including most of eastern America. Red-bellied woodpeckers mainly live off seeds during the winter and they like to frequent feeders.

9. Blue Jay

Closeup side of one cute blue jay Cyanocitta cristata bird perched on tree branch during autumn spring green leaves snow rain in Virginia

Many songbirds, like this blue jay, seek shelter from the rain in trees and shrubs.

©krblokhin/iStock via Getty Images

The blue jay is the only species of jay found in West Virginia. It inhabits forest edges, wooded suburbs, and city parks. Blue jays consume nuts, seeds, grains, berries, and fruits during the winter.

10. Carolina Chickadee

Carolina chickadee perched on bare branch

The Carolina

chickadee

averages around 5 inches in length.

©iStock.com/lgunderson

Carolina chickadees are frequent visitors to West Virginia woodlands and swamps across the state. These birds eat caterpillars, seeds, and berries during the winter months. They may also visit bird boxes during cold periods to conserve heat.

11. Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Great blue herons have powder down feathers that help repel the rain.

©dangarneau/iStock via Getty Images

While great blue herons are more often seen during the summer, you can sometimes spot on in the state during winter. These large birds stay near river edges, lakes, and wetlands. For those that stay during winter, they feed on fish, amphibians, mice, and other small prey they can find.

12. Downy Woodpecker

downy woodpecker

Downy woodpeckers eat seeds and berries during winter.

©Steve Byland/Shutterstock.com

The downy woodpecker is the most common woodpecker in West Virginia, and they stay year-round across the state. Seeds and berries make up most of this bird’s winter diet and they like to frequent feeders to supplement what they find in the wild.

13. Song Sparrow

A chipping sparrow singing in a fir tree

Song sparrows live across West Virginia.

©Trevor Jones/Shutterstock.com

The song sparrow is one of the most common sparrows in West Virginia. They are widespread across the state, where they inhabit thickets, gardens, and marshes. These birds feed mainly on grass and weed seeds during winter.

14. Wood Duck

Wood duck  in spring

Wood ducks feed on aquatic vegetation in bodies of water.

©mirceax/iStock via Getty Images

The wood duck lives all year in West Virginia but is most commonly spotted during summer. You can see them in woodland ponds and river swamps, where it feeds on seeds, wetland plants, and other vegetation.

15. Dark-Eyed Junco

dark-eyed junco perched in tree during winter

Juncos are sometimes called snowbirds.

©iStock.com/Jeff Huth

Dark-eyed juncos travel south to West Virginia during winter, where they like to inhabit forest floors, along with more habited areas, like roadsides. These birds rely heavily on weed and grass seeds during winter.

A Summary of the 15 Birds That Spend Their Winters in West Virginia

NumberBirds That Spend Their Winters in West Virginia
#1White-breasted Nuthatch
#2Northern Cardinal
#3American Crow
#4Bald Eagle
#5Eastern Bluebird
#6Tufted Titmouse
#7Carolina Wren
#8Red-bellied Woodpecker
#9Blue Jay
#10Carolina Chickadee
#11Great Blue Heron
#12Downy Woodpecker
#13Song Sparrow
#14Wood Duck
#15Dark-eyed Junco

The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/suefeldberg


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About the Author

Niccoy is a professional writer for A-Z Animals, and her primary focus is on birds, travel, and interesting facts of all kinds. Niccoy has been writing and researching about travel, nature, wildlife, and business for several years and holds a business degree from Metropolitan State University in Denver. A resident of Florida, Niccoy enjoys hiking, cooking, reading, and spending time at the beach.

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