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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

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

Birding Trails

Coast to coast and border to border, Birding Trails offer great opportunities to find birds. On a summer trip in New England, along the Connecticut River between Vermont and New Hampshire, you can hear the vividly colored Blackburnian Warbler. Texas birding trails offer birds that can't be found... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching

Little Brown Birds

So many little brown birds look the same. They might be sparrows, or wrens, or finches, or something altogether different. And you often find them together in winter. Learning to tell these "LBBs" apart can be really frustrating for novice birdwatchers. Birds such as wrens, finches, and sparrows ... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching

Birdwatching - Where to Look

How do birdwatchers identify a particular species? Like fishermen who know how to "read the water," it helps to understand habitat. At a wetland full of cattails, for example, you're likely to find a Red-winged Blackbird, because it requires dense marsh vegetation to nest. If you take notes about... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching

Stand-still Birding

While full-speed-ahead birding can mean spotting a large number of species, there's quiet joy in stand-still birding. Pick a place-forest, field, or marsh. Find a seat that's dry, and hold your binoculars to your eyes. Be still and blend in. After perhaps twenty minutes, birds accept you as part... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching

Birdsongs near Home

Who's in the neighborhood today? It's amazing how many birds you can see – and hear – when you go for a walk. There's a towhee... and a Steller's Jay ... now, a junco ... There's the "tin trumpet" sound of this Red-breasted Nuthatch. And the Ruby-crowned Kinglet is warming up, all because it's... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching

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