All of a sudden, I’m hearing bird song wherever I go, from the single-note whistle of a varied thrush, to the drumming of woodpeckers and the elaborate symphony of a pacific wren who has laid claim to my yard.
It’s a great time of year for bird watching. Early migrants are starting to arrive and nesting season has begun. Males are in their colorful breeding plumage and are singing on territory. All this means a greater variety of birds to see, as well as more visual and auditory clues to identify them.
Are you ready for spring birding?
Brush up on your bird identification:
- www.allaboutbirds.org (Cornell Lab of Ornithology) includes a fantastic online guide, webcams, a section on bird ID skills, news and more
- Chris Dale’s wonderful bird videos show local color morphs and song dialects
Download a birding app for your phone.
- The Sibley eguide is a popular paid app.
- Audubon Bird Guide is a good free app.
- Merlin Bird ID is a free birding app for beginner and intermediate birders, from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
- When using these apps in the field, remember that playing the recording of a bird’s call, especially in breeding season, may be harmful if done near the bird in question.
If you are new to birding, you’ll also want to invest in a decent pair of binoculars. There are plenty of sites that explain what to look for. Ask experienced birders about their preferences and give their binoculars a try to see what works best for you. www.audubon.org/news/the-2014-audubon-guide-binoculars
Happy spring and happy birding to all!