Each state and territory of the United States has a state bird chosen by its legislature. The first state birds were chosen in 1927 and the last state to chose its bird was Arizona in 1973. These favored birds were special to the heart of each state, and for different reasons.
Maryland, for example, chose the Baltimore Oriole—a species that only summers in the region—because its brilliant gold and black colorings match the coat-of-arms of Lord Baltimore, founder of Maryland, from which it also received its name.
The state of Utah chose the Sea Gull, which seems strange since it’s not a coastal state. The story goes that it was Sea Gulls who saved the farmers’ crops during a massive cricket infestation in 1848. Utah author Orson F. Whitney says that in the midst of the devastation of the crickets, "When it seemed that nothing could stay the devastation, great flocks of gulls appeared, filling the air with their white wings and plaintive cries, and settled down upon the half-ruined fields. All day long they gorged themselves, and when full, disgorged and feasted again, the white gulls upon the black crickets, list hosts of heaven and hell contending, until the pests were vanquished and the people were saved." I guess Utah never forgot!
Not every state bird is unique; the bright red Cardinal represents seven states: Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, and West Virginia. The Western Meadowlark was chosen by six states spread from Kansas to Oregon, and the Mockingbird by five southern states. Two states chose a chicken as their state bird—the Blue Hen Chicken in Delaware, and the Rhode Island Red in…you guessed it, Rhode Island!
In addition to the state birds, four states have wild game birds too. Massachusetts and South Carolina have anointed the prehistoric-looking Wild Turkey, and Georgia and Tennessee selected the sweet and onomatopoeic Bob White Quail. One state, Mississippi, also has a state waterfowl, the bold and bright Wood Duck.
Overboard Art makes pieces with nine of these birds including the Cardinal, Eastern Bluebird, Mountain Bluebird, Carolina Wren, Black-capped Chickadee, Northern Flicker, American Robin, and Baltimore Oriole—and the Wood Duck!Find your state bird below: