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What's Your State Bird?

Is it common or rare?
© Terence Faircloth View Large

All states have an official bird, usually one that's associated with its particular region. Many state birds are quite common, although Hawaii's chosen bird, the Nene, a type of goose, is endangered. The bird chosen by the most states — seven — is the Northern Cardinal, followed by the Western Meadowlark, picked by six. Connecticut, Michigan, and Wisconsin chose the American Robin. The California Gull saved the Mormons' first harvest in Utah and is commemorated by this monument in Salt Lake City.

Full Transcript

What’s Your State Bird?

Written by Ellen Blackstone

This is BirdNote!

[Call of Ring-necked Pheasant]

This may sound strange, but a bird native to China is the official bird of South Dakota. It’s the Ring-necked Pheasant.

Most state birds are native, though — and common, except for Hawaii’s Nene (pronounced NAY-nay), a type of goose that’s endangered. [Nene call]

Some have special stories. In 1848, insects were devastating crops in Utah. A flock of California Gulls descended and devoured the pests, saving the Mormons’ first harvest. [California Gull calling in the background] A monument in Salt Lake City commemorates this avian intervention.

The “Blue Hen Chicken” is the state bird of Delaware. [Clucking of Gallus gallus behind narration] A captain in one of the first battalions from Delaware in the Revolutionary War raised Blue Hen Chickens for sport. Those soldiers — and those chickens — were famous for their fierce fighting.  The company became known as "Blue Hen's Chickens,” still a source of state pride.

The Rhode Island Red’s place as state bird is a bit more mundane. The “Red,” a hardy and productive chicken, was nominated by the poultry industry.

The Northern Cardinal reigns in seven states — the most! [Northern Cardinal song].

The Western Meadowlark was picked by six [Western Meadowlark song].

And the noisy Northern Mockingbird by five. [Northern Mockingbird through end]

Find yours and learn more about all the birds at


Bird audio provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Ring-necked Pheasant and Nene recorded by G.F. Budney.  California Gull recorded by R.C. Stein.  Chicken recorded by W.W.H. Gunn. Northern Cardinal recorded by G.A. Keller. Western Meadowlark recorded by W.R. Fish. Northern Mockingbird recorded by W.L. Hershberger.
BirdNote’s theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
Producer: John Kessler
© 2016 Tune In to     April 2014/2016 March 2019     Narrator:  Mary McCann

ID# 032607statebirdKPLU  statebird-01b

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