IN THE NEWS: Piping Plovers Nesting in Parking Lot Mobilize a Town

Piping Plover chick Photo Credit: Deborah Rivel   Tiny and aggressive, Piping Plovers migrate from Central America and the Bahamas to the US and Canada to breed each year.  But pressure from human disturbances and development on or near their nesting areas, has pushed some of these birds to nest in unlikely and unsafe areas. […]

Birdcams!

Osprey nest in Savannah  nestcam/Cornell   More Chicks to watch!    Our favorite nestcam this month shows three seriously cute and relentlessly active Osprey chicks in the nest we have been following in Savannah.   Barred Owls in Indiana have two beautiful little owlets in their nestbox.   Our super fluffy Bermuda Cahow chick on Nonsuch Island is really getting big! […]

Migration Maps in Real Time

BirdCast Live Migration Map/ Cornell Lab of Ornithology We can’t tear ourselves away from these amazing real time migration radar maps from Cornell’s BirdCast showing where birds are migrating at night, the intensities of the migration and what direction.  If you want to track where most of the nocturnal migration is taking place, or want to have a reasonable chance […]

Best Spots To See Warbler Migration

Canada Warbler Photo Credit: Deborah Rivel When warblers make their way north from Central America in spring, they follow time-honored migratory pathways. Their timing and location depends on a variety of factors including weather, geography and food supply. But arrive they will each spring. And if you want to set yourself up for the best views of […]

Birdcams!

Bermuda Cahow chick -nestcam/Cornell   Chicks are hatching!    Our favorite nestcam this month is the ridiculously adorable Bermuda Cahow chick on Nonsuch Island.  He’s so fluffy and tiny that every movement and especially wing flapping becomes an experience!  And don’t miss the parental visits to feed and preen him and fluff his nesting materials. Unbearably cute! Fraser Point Bald Eagles  – all […]

Birding Israel: Peak Migration

Pied Kingfisher, Eilat, Israel Photo Credit: Deborah Rivel If you find it difficult to tear yourself away from spring migrationwhere you live, you are not alone. But experiencing migration in another part of the world can be an amazing experience. If you are serious about birding, Israel is one of those places that should not be missed. […]

How To Buy the Right Binoculars

One of the most often asked questions by birdwatchers getting their first pair of binoculars, or veterans who want to upgrade is “which binos should I buy?” This is a subjective and highly personal decision, but there are ways to narrow down the choices. To get you started, here are some things to consider and some reviews: 1 – Price – you […]

The North is Looking Good to Anna’s Hummingbirds

Tiny Anna’s hummingbirds are living farther and farther north during winter.  How do they manage this? First, available food from hummingbird feeders gives them the energy they need to help stave off the cold. And…there is a tried and true behavior that hummingbirds through the Americas resort to when it gets chilly – torpor. Find out more from our friends at BirdNote. Anna’s […]

Birdcams!

Fraser Point Bald Eagle nestcam/explore.org There is a lot to see right now — owls setting up to nest, baby hummingbirds being fed, beautiful birds at the feeder in Panama and more…  Enjoy them all! Fraser Point Bald Eagles  in Santa Cruz have 2 eggs – hatch watch starts March 16. Rufous-tailed Hummingbird cam in California with a chick and another egg!  (see […]

Make the ID:  White-winged Crossbill vs Pine Grosbeak

These two red finches both share a similar attraction to seeds. White-winged Crossbill Photo Credit: Stan Tekeila They also overlap in range, preferring the far north and into Canada, and sometimes telling the difference between them can be challenging. Here are a few tips to make the right ID between these winter favorites — White-winged Crossbills and Pine Grosbeaks: Pine Grosbeak Photo […]

Jays Just Doin’ Their Thing

California Scrub Jay Photo Credit: Deborah Rivel That mischievous Scrub or Blue Jay in your yard or neighborhood is not just a very attractive trouble-maker, but he or she is also an ecosystem engineer. Jays of all sorts around the world love to hide or “cache” seedsaround their territory  – a behavior known as “scatter-hoarding.” The idea is that when […]

In the News: Brexit Refugee in Beijing

A wayward Robin (not the North American thrush kind, but the tinyEuropean kind found widely throughout the UK), showed up at the Beijing Zoo recently. Dubbed a Brexit refugee by some, he has become another avian celebrity – not unlike the Mandarin Duck (a China native) who arrived in New York City’s Central Park. Popular with photographers, the […]

Make the ID: Common Goldeneye vs Bufflehead

Make the ID:  These two beautiful ducks can be found in the same areas, and at a distance, or in poor light on their own,  can be confusing.  Common Goldeneye Photo Credit:  Stan Tekeila Both Buffleheads and Common Goldeneyes have iridescent green on their heads and shocks of white.  And while Common Goldeneyes do indeed have golden […]

Dapper Ducks Are Courting!

Waterfowl are busy pairing off and mating, which means ducks are at their most beautiful this time of year. If you haven’t had the chance to see ducks courting, it is definitely worth your while as some of them look stunning and have some pretty interesting behaviors. Look out for small intimate interactions like allopreening  – where one bird preens his/her mate and […]

Where to Find Ducks Now

Waterfowl are mating in winter and they can be found in huge flocks — sometimes numbering in the tens of thousands! Seeing great rafts of ducks and geese can be a good antidote for the often extreme temperatures and conditions you need to endure to do it. But seeing hundreds or thousands of birds at one time is possible to […]

#1 New Years Birding Resolution

courtesy Freepix Take someone birding! If you have just one resolution for 2019, make it this one! Introducing the natural world to someone through birds can be a life changing experience for them and may alter they way they think about not just birds, but conservation and nature in general.  Who says one person can’t make a difference?   If […]

IN THE NEWS: Wisdom the Albatross Lays Another Egg!

  Wisdom and her mate/Photo Credit: USFWS Wisdom, a Laysan Albatross, banded as an adult over 60 yearsago in 1956, is known to be at least 68 years old, making her the oldest known living bird. But what is even more remarkable is that Wisdom is still successfully laying eggs and hatching chicks – and at a rate that […]

Good News Stories About Birds in 2018

  Black-tailed Godwit/Photo Credit: BirdLife Sweden For our year end issue we wanted to highlight some bird conservation success stories.  Sometimes the challenges to birds and conservation can loom large. It’s not always good news. But there are numerous successes and new positive findings about birds which give us hope that the work we do on behalf of […]

Keeping Snowy Owls Safe

Snowy Owls – those spectacularly beautiful all white owls – are being seen again this winter in the US. Project Snowstorm is once Snowy Owl/ Photo Credit: Stan Tekeila more tracking dozens of owlsthis year across the US to obtain more data and information on the behavior, movements and lifestyles of these mysterious and beautiful birds.  The Project Snowstorm site has lots of info […]

Get a Headstart on Spring By Learning Bird Calls Now

Gray Catbird/Photo Credit: Deborah Rivel Up your birding ID game this spring by starting now to learn to ID birds by their songs. Often birds are only heard, and by recognizing their calls you can easily add more birds to your list. Not all birds have calls that are instantly recognizable – like the unmistakable call […]

Make a Difference – Sign Up For the Christmas Bird Count!

Have a blast birdwatching and make a contribution to science by joining a Christmas Bird Count in your area.  Photo Credit: Camilla Cerea/Audubon This marks the 119th year since Audubon co-opted the annual bird shoot and make it into a much bird-friendlier bird count! This year you can join over 70,000 people in the US, Canada, Latin America, […]

How Many Birds Are on Fall Migration?

How Many Birds Are on Fall Migration? Do you ever wonder how many birds are on the move during fall Tree Swallows Migrating Photo Credit: Deborah Rivel migration?  We did and found Cornell Lab of Ornithology answered this question in their first report on numbers of birds migrating over the US from data gleaned from radar […]

Planning Your Birding Adventure

Birds are everywhere!  And that makes seeing them something you can do pretty much anywhere you are at the time. Purple Sunbird, Abu Dhabi Photo Credit: Deborah Rivel Every family vacation, business trip or outing can be an opportunity to see and learn more about birds.  Globally there are currently over 11,000 species of birds recognized and tracked […]

Best Spots to Photograph Migrating Hawks

Peregrine Falcon Photo Credit: Deborah Rivel Most of the best hawk watching sites in North America are fairly well known – Cape May NJ, Hawk Ridge in Duluth, Hawk Mountain PA and River of Raptors in Veracruz, for example. But if you are a photographer wanting excellent shots of migrating hawks, you may be disappointed […]

The Year of the Bird in September – Solutions to Birds and Glass

Photo Credit: Sarah Sharpe/FLAP Fatal Light Awareness Project We all know the sound of the thud on our window. Then the sinking feeling as we rush to see if the bird is down and needs help or is dead.  FLAP (Fatal Light Awareness Project) has some good advice about what to do to help the bird […]

Nestcams!

Songbirds are mostly finished nesting, Guillemot Chick Screenshot: explore.org and their chicks are gaining strength to make their first migration south.  But there are still some adorable nestlings and juvenile birds waiting to make their first flight. Don’t miss these seabirds and Osprey before they leave the nest! Puffin burrow with a fluffy puffling and a Guillemot chick in […]

The Year of the Bird in July – Take A Kid Into Nature

Photo Credit:Meghan Kearney, USFWS This month in the Year of the Bird, we encourage you to get your kids or kids you know out into nature.  If you love birds, teaching a child how to bird can create both an understanding of and interest in nature which can translate into a lifelong passion for him […]

Why Do Birds Stand on One Leg?

Why Do Birds Stand on One Leg? Shorebirds Sleeping on One Leg Photo Credit: Deborah Rivel Have you ever seen birds standing on one leg – maybe even hopping on just one? Are they injured? Whether they are sleeping or standing in water, birds sometimes just prefer to remain upright on one leg.  Ever wonder why […]

The Year of the Bird in June – Take Action and Use Less Plastic

The Year of the Bird in June – Take Action and Use Less Plastic!   Dead Albatross chick with stomach full of plastic Photo Credit: Chris Jordan Time was when discussions surrounding plastic and birds often revolved around taking bags (often plastic) to the beach and gathering up the myriad detritus of birthday balloons, plastic […]

Migration Explained

Migration Explained Twice each year, more than 5000 species of birds migrate.  Peregrine Falcon Photo Credit: Deborah Rivel   This represents about half the world’s species of birds (not including subspecies).  Migration is something billions of birds undertake worldwide, and their journey takes them through and over all types of habitats, altitudes and terrains including some inhospitable […]

Year of the Bird — In April, Birds Need Your Help

The Year of the Bird in April – Birds Need Your Help 2018 is the Year of the Bird, and in April, birds really need your help!  The Year of the Bird celebrates the 100th anniversary of signing into law the Migratory Bird Treaty Act which has protected billions of birds on migration – from Peregrine Falcons to Magnolia Warblers, […]

Project Snowstorm – Snowy Owls in Motion

Project Snowstorm – Snowy Owls in Motion   Snowy Owl Photo Credit: Stan Tekeila Snowy Owls are true denizens of the far north, and are only occasionally found south of the Canadian border — even in winter. These beautiful pure white owls are widely admired for their beauty, but not well understood. Project Snowstorm is changing […]

Beach Nesting Birds Need Your Help!

Beach Nesting Birds Need Your Help!   It’s summer and the beach is the place to be! Did you know that the same beaches we love to visit are also Least Tern Chick Photo Credit: Deborah Rivel used by shorebirds that nest right on the sand? Plovers, Terns, Oystercatchers, Skimmers and Killdeer are among the many shorebirds who […]

Birding by Radar

  Birding by Radar Migrating songbirds typically fly at night and often in flocks. This mass gives them something in common with the Photo Credit: National Center for Atmospheric Research weather….many of their movements can be tracked by radar. Being able to read weather radar images can often give birders a heads up on how […]

Cool Migration Mapping

Cool Migration Mapping Ever wonder what paths birds take on migration and where they spend their time during the rest of the year?  Cornell Lab of Ornithology has come up with a fascinating courtesy of Cornell Lab of Ornithology interactive map of a number of species of birds, showing their migratory flight paths and where […]

What Do Birds Do in a Storm?

  What do Birds Do in a Storm? Ever wonder what birds do and where do they go in a Golden-crowned Kinglet Photo Credit: Deborah Rivel snow or rainstorm? Or is there is anything you can do to make getting through these storms safer for them? Well, our readers have asked these questions, and we have some answers […]

Where to Watch Winter Waterfowl

Where to Watch Winter Waterfowl   Photo credit: Marvin deJong Winter is the best time to see waterfowl in their peak plumage and often in super large numbers. There are waterfowl hotspots around the country, and we have selected a few from various parts of the US so you can plan your own winter waterfowl outing. […]

Owling By Sound

Owl ID: Owling By Sound Owls are primarily nocturnal creatures, so your best chance of seeing them is going to be at night when they are most active.  You may get quiet flyovers as they check you out, which are especially exciting when there is a bright moonlit sky, and you may sometimes find them […]

ID Tips: Downy vs Hairy Woodpeckers

ID TIPS:  Downy vs Hairy Woodpeckers While it’s easy to identify a Pileated Woodpecker (think Woody Woodpecker) or a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, two smaller and very common woodpeckers provide a challenge to even more experienced birders. So… how to tell the Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers apart? The little Downy Woodpecker (pictured here) is around 6.5 inches […]

Cowbird Mysteries

Cowbird Mysteries   Brown-headed cowbirds are brood parasites – a term which is pretty much as terrible as it sounds. Basically, these cowbirds mate, and then never build a nest. The females quietly figure out which birds are building nests and then deposit eggs in the nests of these unsuspecting birds. Some birds can figure it […]

ID Tips – Loons vs Mergansers

ID Tips – Loons vs Mergansers  Common Loons and Red-breasted Mergansers Common Loon and chick are beautiful waterfowl which many associate with the Northern Woods, as they typically breed on these fresh-water lakes. Both birds are found in similar territories year round.  During breeding season they have more  distinctive markings. But sometimes the Red-breasted Merganser […]

Warbler ID Tips

Warbler ID Tips – Magnolia vs Yellow-Rumped  It’s spring migration! As warblers are passing through where you are, or the overwintering species are now in their Magnolia Warbler breeding plumage, some of these birds can be a little challenging to ID. Iconic Yellow Warblers are easy to recognize with their overall yellow body and red […]

Sandhill vs Whooping Crane ID

Easy ID – Sandhill vs Whooping Crane Every March, Sandhill Cranes descend on Nebraska’s Platte River which is a favored feeding area during migration for tens to hundreds of thousands of cranes. The other species of crane in North America is the Whooping Crane.  But, unlike Sandhill Cranes, Whooping Cranes are endangered.  So, if you assumed the cranes […]

Eagle ID Tips

Eagle ID Tips Making the ID between a Bald Eagle and a Golden Eagle is simple, right?  After all, don’t Bald Eagles have a white Adult Golden Eagle head?  And don’t Golden Eagles only live in the western US? Well, yes and no.  If you use just these two parameters in your ID, you will likely […]

Crow or Raven? How to Make the ID

Common Raven In winter, corvids, which include crows and ravens, are easy to spot and are fairly common. At a distance, both look very similar, and their all-black plumage makes identification tricky. With these tips and some practice, you’ll be able to separate crows and ravens with ease. If in doubt, remember that it’s easier […]

What’s Cool About Raptors

What’s Cool About Raptors Birds of prey, or “raptors” are a group of birds including hawks, eagles, vultures, falcons, and owls. They share two key characteristics: all have hooked beaks for tearing flesh, and sharp talons for grasping prey. These birds are an important part of maintaining a healthy ecosystem by feeding on insects, rodents, […]

Why Do Birds Flock in Fall?

Why Do Birds Flock in Fall?  At the end of the summer, you may start to see large flocks of birds.  Swallows, blackbirds, cowbirds, sparrows amass — sometimes in large flocks that seem to come out of nowhere and then just as mysteriously, disappear.  But why is this?  And why don’t we see it at […]

Wading Bird ID 101

Wading Bird ID 101 This summer if you are near fresh or salt water, you will likely see wading birds. Many of the larger waders  are easy to identify if you just know the basics.  If you are new to finding and identifying these long-legged herons, egrets and cranes, here are a few tips to […]

Making That First Migration

Making That First Migration  Young birds are leaving the nest, and many of them are getting ready for their first trip south. Migration is a hard and risky business for any bird, but the first marathon voyage for many species of birds takes place shortly after they have fledged. How do they do it? Songbirds […]

Where To See Migration

migra Where to See Migration  Want to go to a birding hotspot to see spring  migrants? Looking for a place to see a lot of species during migration?  You might not need to go too far from home to see high volume migration. Take a look at a few of our recommendations: The Gulf of Mexico is […]

Owling 101

Late autumn and winter are great times to look for owls.   Owls are nocturnal so the best time of day to start looking for them is right around sunset when they start getting active. Unless you already know where an owl roosts during the day, they are seriously difficult to find in daylight when they […]

Tricky Fall Migration

Fall Birding sure is a lot different than spring. One challenge is that fall migration takes place after breeding Molting Male Goldfinch season, so many migrants are in their “basic”, or non-breeding plumage. Males that were bright and colorful in the spring and summer are now either becoming or are already dull and brown. For […]

Shorebirds Made Easy

  This month, many shorebirds are nesting in the high northern latitudes. A few species, such as Killdeer and Piping Plovers, nest in the Continental United States, but most are in northern Canada and Alaska, nesting on the tundra. Shorebirds are amazing, but many birders ignore this Sanderling dynamic group of birds because they are […]

Fallout

Fallout! Migration is a tough time for birds. Some studies have shown that it is the hardest part of the yearly life cycle for migrants, causing the most mortality. Neotropical migrating birds winter in Central and South America, then migrate to North America for the breeding season. Migration continues throughout the spring season, but if you […]

Do Owls Migrate?

Great gray owl Most owls don’t migrate like songbirds.  But during some winters, owls are forced south of their range, looking for food.  When they go en masse to more southerly places, this is called an “irruption”.  It’s not really migration as it isn’t an annual event. But for owls, who tend to not move […]

Summer Migration

Hey wait a minute!  Doesn’t migration take place in spring and fall?  Well, yes…and no.  Migration actually takes place year round as there are birds on the move to and from their breeding grounds at all times of year.  Just like all birds don’t nest at the same time, not all birds migrate at the […]

Bird Superhighways

Think only humans use highways? Not so! Animals also have paths on land, in the ocean and in the air that they follow year after year. Not unlike our daily commutes, during migration birds use known routes. In  North America, for example, there are 4 main migratory superhighways generally followed by birds: Atlantic, Mississippi, Central […]

Waves of Warblers Migrating

Spring Warbler migration is primarily April and May. These small, beautiful, often yellow, birds are insectivores – Orange-crowned warbler they eat insects — so don’t check your bird feeders for them. To see warblers you should bring along binoculars. You also need to go where the food is and be there when they are feeding.  […]

HOW DO OWLS HUNT

Owls are visual hunters who take advantage of the different perceptions at night to confuse their prey. While some owls eat insects and birds, the most popular item on the menu is rodents. And to trick the rodents, owls rely on a time tested recipe for success.   The first ingredient in the owl’s hunting […]

PRINCIPLES OF BIRDING ETHICS

  PRINCIPLES OF BIRDING ETHICS courtesy of the ABA Everyone who enjoys birds and birding must always respect wildlife, its environment, and the rights of others. In any conflict of interest between birds and birders, the welfare of the birds and their environment comes first. Code of Birding Ethics 1. Promote the welfare of birds […]