Piping Plovers Living the Life

For many shorebirds, nesting season is highly stressful and often unsuccessful – often due to human interaction.  But in one spot in NJ, there is a protected beach area where Piping Plovers can raise their brood relatively undisturbed – due to human intervention.  Because here, a protected spot was built especially to protect the nesting habitat […]

In the News: Epic Cuckoo Migration Discovered

Can’t fly because of the pandemic? It hasn’t seemed to stop migrating birds, pretty much anywhere. In fact, a Mongolian cuckoo by the name of Onon who was tagged with a GPS last summer, completed a 10,000 mile journey from South Africa to Mongolia in 2 weeks. Given it was believed that cuckoos in Asia migrated to south […]

Get in Touch With Nature Around the World

  We may not be able to travel right now, but Birdlife International is making it possible to be whisked away to the far ends of the globe with updates on birds from all seven continents from Helmeted Hornbills to Sage Grouse to Grey-breasted Parakeets.  Learn more about making a healthy planet a human right and […]

Why Are Birds So Quiet Now?

For months now, early every morning the songs and calls would Molting Northern Cardinal Photo Credit: Deborah Rivel start – sometimes before dawn – and the raucous, beautiful and energetic bird sounds from birds like Carolina Wrens and this Northern Cardinal continued filling the soundscape until sundown.  Then one day….suddenly the yard was oddly quiet.  While some juvenile birds were still […]

Sparrows Going Viral

White-throated Sparrow Photo Credit: Deborah Rivel White-throated Sparrows are familiar to many of us.  Seen at some point during the year in most parts of North America, they are well-known for their easily identifiable calls. The sound of “Oh, sweet Canada, Canada, Canada” wafting in the breeze is a sure sign that you are in the […]

BirdNote: Bobolinks and Grasslands

Male Bobolinks are first to arrive on their breeding grounds in the grasslands. Why are there fewer Bobolinks than in decades past? Probably because the landscape of North America has changed so much. Bobolinks originally nested on native prairies of the Midwest and southern Canada. Much of the land where they nested has come under intense cultivation. Grassland conservation […]

What We’re Watching and Reading Now

Don’t miss the chance to hear two acclaimed authors  – David Sibley and Jennifer Ackerman – speak about birds in a very personal way.  Both authors have new books and they explore, in complementary fashion, different aspects of birds and bird behavior that are absolutely fascinating. David Sibley is the well-known author and artist for the Sibley […]

New Nestcams and Updates!

California Condor Chick – courtesy Ventana Wildlilfe Society This has been a busy month — some birds we have been following have fledged, others are still in the nest about to burst out on their own.  NEW this month is a great view of a California Condor nest in Big Sur, which is home to an active and fluffy chick […]

City Birds You May Not Know Are Around You

Common Yellow-throat Illustration by David Sibley When cities are quiet, we can easily hear the birds around us.  This illuminating article from the New York Times helps us learn about 13 birds we live in close proximity with but may never have seen.  With stunning images by David Sibley and informational sonograms of bird calls from Donald Kroodsma, this article […]

Helping Birds: I Found a Baby Bird on the Ground!

Every year as hatching and fledging season gears up, we find baby birds in spots they don’t seem to belong, i.e. out of their nest. And they seem to look either helpless or lost – what can we do? Rescued House Finch Nestling Photo Credit:  Deborah Rivel The answer to this question is based on […]

BirdNote: Spider Silk is Duct Tape For Nests

The spider’s web is an intricate piece of precision engineering. Made from large proteins, it’s sticky, stretchy, and tough. So it’s no surprise that many small birds – including this Anna’s Hummingbird – make a point of collecting strands of spider silk to use in nest construction. Spider silk not only acts as a glue, holding […]

More and More Nestcams !

Great Horned Owl and owlets – courtesy Owl Research Institute Bird around the globe from home with nestcams! In North America, you can see nests we have been following and some new ones with owls, eagles, peregrines and ospreys. Visit New Zealandwhere you can continue to follow the now very large Northern Royal Albatross chick.  Then zip over to Bermuda, to […]

BirdNote: Leaping With Sandhill Cranes

Every year, Sandhill Cranes renew their lifelong partnership bond with an elegant and graceful dance.  Both partners engage and it starts the beginning of their annual migration north, mating ritual and rearing of their chicks. Listen to this piece from BirdNote to hear and learn more about these beautiful birds.   Sandhill Cranes Mating Dance; Photo Credit: Dan Kaiser

Lots of Nestcams!

Fluffy Bermuda Petrel chick, courtesy Cornell Lab It’s the season for nestcams!  What can you see now? Travel the globe to see eagles, owls, hummingbirds, peregrines!  Plus get updates on albatross and petrel nests (including this Bermuda Petrel pictured here) we have been following. All just waiting for you to click their cam link!   […]

Project Snowstorm and Our Favorite Snowy Owls

For most birds in the US, going south for the winter typically means at least crossing the Mason-Dixon Snowy Owl Photo Credit: Stan Tekeila Line.  But for Snowy Owls, as long as there is enough food, a winterly southern migration often sees them staying mostly north of the US/Canadian border with forays into the northern US and New England.  […]

Nestcam: Northern Royal Albatross in New Zealand

Year round, its nesting season somewhere!  Right now our focus is on Northern Royal Albatross Cornell/NZ Dept. of Conservation Nestcam birds “down under”, and  we have the privilege to see the intimate but brief land-life of the largest seabird in the world — a Northern Royal Albatross pair in Taiaroa Head, New Zealand — with a most spectacular view via […]

Helping Birds: What To Do After a Fire

Helping Birds:  What To Do After a Fire Kookaburra After Fire Photo Credit: Adam Stevenson/Reuters The dramatic images in the news of rampant bushfires in Australia are heartbreaking.  Firefighters from Australia and around the world are working overtime to quench the flames in an attempt to save peoples homes and lives, and caringly rescue injured wildlife […]

How Birds Survive the Winter

  Hairy Woodpecker Photo Credit: Stan Tekeila It’s cold and windy outside, a heated birdbath offers relief to dehydrated birds, and the ever-growing brush pile I started a few years ago is getting a lot of use by birds darting inside to huddle and find respite. I am delighted that the little native plant meadow I planted four years […]

3 Billion Birds Gone – What Can I Do To Help?

If you are asking this question after reading about the study showing 3 billions birds are gone since 1970,  you White-throated Sparrow Photo Credit: Deborah Rivel are not alone as the enormity of the numbers of birds lost is difficult to comprehend.  Some of the hardest hit birds are ones we see most often  – White-throated Sparrows, Red-winged […]

Don’t Forget the Water!

Photo Credit: Deborah Rivel Fresh water for birds is important year round, and as the summer heats up, water is a priority. When temperatures soar, birds need fresh water to avoid dehydration, keep cool and bathe to keep their feathers in good shape.  Fortunately, there are many different ways you can provide fresh water whether you have a […]

Uh Oh, I Found a Baby Bird – What Do I Do?

Northern Cardinal Fledgling Photo Credit: Deborah Rivel Nesting season’s most asked question is: “I found a baby bird on the ground – what do I do? ” Well, that’s not entirely scientific, but the question gets asked a lot right now! We expect to see baby birds in the nest being fed and cared for, but what […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Berry-Important Bushes for Backyard Birds

Gray Catbird Photo Credit: Deborah Rivel It’s time to plan your spring gardening.  Whether you are just starting a native plant garden or already have native plants in your yard, we have some ideas that can make your garden a bird magnet year round by providing food and shelter regardless of the season.  Diversity is critical to providing the […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

In the News: Pesticide That Makes Birds Lose Their Way on Migration

  Indigo Bunting Photo Credit: Deborah Rivel Its important to be gardening with organic fertilizers and pesticides, and to keep chemicals out of your bird-friendly backyard. If you find this difficult to do, be aware that some pesticides contain neonicotinoids – a type of neuro active synthetic insecticide chemically similar to nicotine – which affects much […]

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 […]

A Safe Backyard For Nesting Birds

A Safe Backyard for Nesting Birds     Northern Cardinal Fledgeling Photo Credit: Deborah Rivel Nesting season is upon us, and we are thinking about our backyard and gardens from the birds perspective.  Here are few things the birds you are attracting right now will appreciate your doing for them!   1 – With baby […]

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, […]

Complete Your Winter Backyard With a Roost Box

Complete Your Winter Backyard With a Roost Box    Chickadee checking out a roost box Nest boxes and roost boxes are important components of a well-maintained bird-friendly backyard. In winter, birds really need shelter from cold, winds and predators. Leaving nest boxes up may help, but during really cold times, birds can best maintain their body […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]