Most birders, myself included, hope to find a rarity or two on every birding outing. This does not happen, of course, because rarities are, by definition, rare, but that doesn’t stop us from hoping.  That is why we scope though flocks of gulls, shorebirds, and ducks, why we carefully check each little brown job, and why distant pigeons in flight can make us put up our binoculars, just in case. Mostly, we don’t find rarities.  Mostly, we find common birds.

And there is nothing wrong with common birds. They are the birds that we see all the time, the background against which we hope to spot something good, the chaff from which we hope to separate the wheat.  They are the haystack hiding the needle and while needles are nice sometimes it’s alright to just appreciate the hay. Not only that, but the hay, er, common birds, will often let you get good picture of them. In that spirit I present some of the common birds I have seen of late, birds that I expect to see on almost every outing in my area, birds that a birder can depend on.


Northern Mockingbird at Fort Tilden, Queens, New York

Mallards at Big Egg Marsh, Queens, New York

Song Sparrow at Fort Tilden, Queens, New York

Ring-billed Gull at Mill Pond Park, Nassau County, New York

House Sparrow at Fort Tilden, Queens, New York

Canada Goose at Mill Pond Park, Nassau County, New York

European Starling at Fort Tilden, Queens, New York

Written by Corey
Corey is a New Yorker who lived most of his life in upstate New York but has lived in Queens since 2008. He's only been birding since 2005 but has garnered a respectable life list by birding whenever he wasn't working as a union representative or spending time with his family. He lives in Forest Hills with Daisy and Desmond Shearwater. His bird photographs have appeared on the Today Show, in Birding, Living Bird Magazine, Bird Watcher's Digest, and many other fine publications. He is also the author of the American Birding Association Field Guide to the Birds of New York.