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

After the release of the scientific report last month, spearheaded by White-throated Sparrow Photo Credit:  Deborah Rivel Cornell Lab of Ornithology, showing the loss of 3 billion birds in North America in less than 50 years, we were deluged with requests asking what can a normal person do to help?  The decline of birds is so precipitous that […]

Birding Ecuador and Jocotoco

Chestnut-breasted Coronet Photo Credit: Deborah Rivel Top components of a winter birding getaway are often a warmer climate and seeing new and endemic birds. I have made a number of trips to Ecuador, but I have made a number of trips to Ecuador, but one of the most interesting was when I visited several of […]

Fall Garden Cleanup….Or Not?

Song Sparrow in native plant meadow Photo Credit: Deborah Rivel Putting your garden to bed for the winter can mean clipping, raking and maybe throwing things out. But if you want to maintain your property for birds and wildlife, think first before you do any of these things, as birds and wildlife depend on what […]

Fall Warbler Identification

Yellow-rumped Warbler Photo Credit:Deborah Rivel What is THAT bird?  This is the annual cry of frustration from many a birder during fall migration, when spring’s flashiest male birds are sporting more muted attire. These birds have had a very busy spring and summer finding a mate, defending their territory and raising chicks – all of which requires […]

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 […]

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. […]

The Climate and Bird Friendly Garden Makeover

Our gardens and backyards have more impact than we realize. Monarch Butterflies on Native Plants Photo Credit: Deborah Rivel We expect them to provide beauty for us, and native plant gardens offer mini-habitats for birds, bees and other wildlife.  Well planned gardens and backyards can make a difference in the populations of butterflies, nesting and […]

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. […]

Make Your Backyard a Hummingbird Haven

Rufous-TailedHummingbird Photo Credit: Deborah Rivel All species of hummingbirds are found in the New World, making this a truly American bird.  While most hummingbirds are found in Central and South America, some species of these tiny gems searching for food and shelter grace many a North American garden.  If you are in an area where hummingbirds […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Is Your Backyard Ready For Winter Birds?

Black-capped Chickadees/ Photo Credit: Stan Tekeila As temperatures drop, it’s time to winterize your backyard to make it a popular and safe place for birds. Birds need to stay warm and have adequate food and shelter during cold or stormy weather.  What does your backyard provide?  Here are some of the things you can provide for birds to […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]