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 […]