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birdwatching

Birders and their Special Places

Some birders specialize in a particular species. Others are drawn to a special place. Michael Hobbs took note when a Lazuli Bunting (like this one) turned up at Marymoor Park, an unusual sighting for Western Washington. Connie Sidles knows when to expect the American Pipit at the Union Bay... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching

Buffleheads in Winter

Buffleheads have returned for the winter, down from the boreal forests of the north where they breed. These birds are monogamous and often return to the same wintering area. Buffleheads breed on small lakes and ponds in the boreal forest. In winter, the Bufflehead is most often found in coastal... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching, reflection

A Big Year

We're heading into a new year. A fresh chance to have what birders call a "Big Year," the ultra marathon of competitive birding. During a Big Year, a few obsessive birders race to see as many species as they can in a specified area. But you could decide to have a Not-So-Big Year, and just count... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching

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

A Year's Worth of Birds

Phoebe Snetsinger saw more than 8,400 species of birds in her lifetime! You don't have to keep a list to enjoy birds, but the variety you see in your own yard might surprise you. Start a list now, and keep track of a year's worth of birds. If you're lucky, perhaps you'll see a Snowy Owl, like... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching

Watching Birds' Behavior

To distinguish one bird from a similar one, watch how the bird moves. Does it flick its wings? Bob up and down? Flip its tail? The White-breasted Nuthatch (right) works its way down the trunk of a tree, while the Brown Creeper works its way up. A field guide usually mentions these behaviors, and... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching

Unlikely Places to Go Birding

Birding is often best in the least likely places. At sewage treatment plants, watch for ducks and gulls - and raptors keeping watch over them all. Another place might be your local landfill or dump. The Brownsville, Texas dump was, for years, the only place in the US you could find this... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching

Mistaken Identity

This Band-tailed Pigeon may sound like an owl, but it's a case of mistaken identity. The song of the American Robin could be confused with that of the Black-headed Grosbeak. And then, there's the Black-capped Chickadee. At certain times of year, the male sings "Fee-bee, fee-bee," even though it's... read more »

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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

Paul Bannick - Owls and Woodpeckers

Photographer and naturalist Paul Bannick, whose photos appear frequently on this website, has spent a lot of time observing woodpeckers and owls, including this Great Horned Owl. Paul notes: "Woodpeckers are called 'keystone' species...a species which alters its habitat to the benefit of other... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching, photography

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