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birdwatching

How Birds' Names Change

Have you ever heard of a marsh hawk or a sparrow hawk? These long-familiar bird names have passed into history. The study of birds, like any science, remains a work in progress. New findings about birds' DNA or other attributes bring changes in classification of species, often resulting in new... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching, ornithology, science

Bird of the Year, From Lyanda Haupt

Many birders play a New Year's game called "Bird of the Year." The first bird you see on January 1st becomes your theme bird for that year—one to bless your perspective, your imagination, your spirit. Author Lyanda Haupt was at first disappointed with her "bird of the year," a European Starling.... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching, reflection

Interview with Burt Guttman

Do you know someone who's ready to start birdwatching, but is uncertain how to go about it? Burt Guttman, Professor Emeritus of The Evergreen State College, has written a book that can help. In Finding Your Wings, A Workbook for Beginning Bird Watchers, Burt explains: Find a good place. Get a... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching

Gull Identification I

Relatively few gull species are common nesters in the Lower 48. But in October, both the variety and number of gulls increase dramatically. Gulls that nested in Alaska or Canada fly south to spend winter in more temperate climates. Western Gulls are present in the West all year, mostly near the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching

Jynx!

A birder may have a target bird so elusive that the bird becomes a kind of "jinx bird." But there was a real bird by that name! The bird once called the "jynx" is known today as the Eurasian Wryneck. When a wryneck is threatened, it twists its head like a snake and hisses. This behavior led to... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching, ornithology

Winter Brings Falcons

A Merlin — like this one — hunts boldly from a high perch. A Peregrine Falcon dives on a hapless pigeon, with an air speed approaching 200 miles per hour. The Gyrfalcon can fly down even the fastest waterfowl in a direct sprint. A Prairie Falcon blends in with its background. And the smallest... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching

Annual Great Backyard Bird Count

The annual Great Backyard Bird Count, February 16-19, 2018, is sponsored by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Birdwatchers across the country count birds and then report the numbers on-line. Although it may seem that crows are everywhere, the Northern Cardinal is reported on the most lists nearly... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching, citizen science, science

Kids in Nature

Unless kids are introduced purposefully to nature, they may understand the plight of the Amazon rain forest, but never dampen their feet in a local stream. They may never know the names and songs of the birds they see or understand the wonder of migration. Nature camps for children can invigorate... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching, human interaction

Christmas Bird Count - Join In!

During late December, birders go out counting every bird that hops, swims, flies, or soars into view, as they have for more than 100 years. Audubon chapters across the United States and elsewhere sponsor the Christmas Bird Count, or CBC. Learn about the history of the Christmas Bird Count. Join... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching, citizen science

Birdwatching 103

One of the easiest ways to keep a finger on the pulse of the seasons is to keep an eye on the birds. When do the Dark-eyed Juncos (like this one) return from the mountains, ready to pick up at the birdfeeder where they left off last year? When do migratory Canada Geese fly over on an autumn... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching

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