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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 »

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 »

Topics & Themes:  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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

Topics & Themes:  birdwatching, photography