The Cornell Lab Bird Academy Discussion Groups Joy of Birdwatching Activities: Different Seasons, Different Birds

    • Camille
      Participant
      Chirps: 9
      Activity 2: Merlin's Likely Birds Year-round Birds Seen: Mallard, Tufted Titmouse, American Robin Not seen: Cedar Waxing, Eastern Bluebird   Part-of-the-Year Birds Seen: Scarlet Tanager, Wood Thrush Not seen: Warbling Vireo; Blue Grosbeak; Indigo Bunting
    • Mark
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      Activity 2 Three bird species that live in my area all year round are pileated woodpeckers, blue jays, and black-capped chickadees. I have seen all three throughout the year at my backyard feeders. Three species that live in my area for part of the year are Baltimore orioles, scarlet tanagers, and yellow warblers. I have never seen these species in my area. I will be on the lookout for them during the fall when they migrate through my area. Activity 3 Male American goldfinches are bright yellow with black foreheads and wings in the summer. At that time its tail is also black. It has a pale bill. In the winter, the same male American goldfinch species are notably different. They  are dull yellow-olive; darker above, with black wings and conspicuous wing bars. Their bills are dark. Activity 4 Birds I expect to see now: mourning doves, turkey vultures, ruby-throated hummingbirds, downy woodpeckers, American crows, blue jays, Eastern wood-pewees, American robins, black-capped chickadees, and song sparrows. Birds I expect to see in six months: double-crested cormorants, ring-billed gulls, American coots, mourning doves, bald eagles, various woodpeckers, blue jays, crows, American robins, black-capped chickadees, white-breasted nuthatches, dark-eyed juncos. and European starlings.
    • Mark
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      Activity 1
      • Northern Cardinal with Blackburnian Warbler - I noticed that the Northern Cardinal remains in the same location all year round and does not seem to migrate. The Blackburnian Warbler, however, does migrate pretty far from northern Canada during the breeding seasons to northern South America during the non-breeding season. I noticed that this bird migrates through Northern Ohio in the fall and spring so I hope to spot one in the fall.
      • Scarlet Tanager with Western Tanager - I noticed that the scarlet tanager follows the same migratory path in the spring and fall. They travel from South America to the Eastern United States and back again. The Western Tanager, on the other hand, travels from Mexico to the western part of the United States. It shocks me these two different types of tanagers take migratory paths that do not overlap
      • Ruby-throated Hummingbird with Rufous Hummingbird - Ruby-throated hummingbirds travel from Mexico to the Eastern United States during their yearly migrations. They are abundant in my area of Northern Ohio in the summertime. The Rufous hummingbirds winter location is the same as the ruby-throated hummingbird. However, it breeds in a totally different place: the western part of the United States. The chances of my seeing one in NE Ohio are slim to none
      • Sandhill Crane with Yellow-bellied Flycatcher - Sandhill cranes travel quite a long distance when migrating. They fly from Mexico and the US south all the way up to the northern Canadian Arctic and Alaska. The yellow-bellied flycatcher, in contrast, flies from southern Mexico to southern Canada, a shorter distance.
    • Ruth
      Participant
      Chirps: 17
      Activity 1 - eBird tool was useful in the comparison of the Cardinal vs Blackburnian Warbler. I was able to compare the Scarlet Tanager vs the Western Tanager their breeding (Pre and Post).  I noticed Scarlet Tanager traveled to the eastern side of Canada and the US and the Western Tanager traveled on the Western to Central Canada and USA.  The Hummingbirds had a similar pattern. Activity#2 I do not have a mobile phone but a cell phone and unable to look up on Merlin's app.  The most likely birds here are robins, sparrows and swallows. Activity #3 The Macauley Library was excellent.  Two significant birds listed were American Gold finches and Loons with similar breeding times in the summer.  In the winter, I noticed that the colors were dull, in the winter, for both types of birds. Activity #4 My favorite place locally is the Consumnes River Preserve left from a man named Galt from Canada.  It is a fun park and monitored by the Federal Government with a Ranger.  There are 250 species of birds.  Egrets come to this area and I saw a stork (no picture) which is rare and found down south at UCSB.  I recently found out there are cranes south of here about 8 to 10 miles from Consumnes River but have not been to the site. Also, UCD in Davis, CA has a wetland as well.  I have not been able to locate but found the web page.  I have not reached out to other groups but needed to review a course, such as this first, to regain information Ruth
    • Sandy
      Participant
      Chirps: 14
      Actity 4 -My favourite birding spot is actually a short stretch of road that winds itself through the small township of Keene, Ontario.  Along this road, the village has placed nesting nesting platforms.  When I drive out to Keene, I like to look for the nesting platforms.  This past week, when I was out there, I found Ospreys around the platforms working on building their  nest.  Most nests had one of the pair, sitting in the platform while the other one was collecting building materials or hunting.  What a wonderful outing! and watching them closely in flight, eating and working hard always make my day. It saddens me as well now, when I think of going out there 6 months from now only to discover the platforms emptyas  the Osprey have raised their families and have started--or probaby already left to their winter grounds.
    • Sandy
      Participant
      Chirps: 14
      Activity 3 - Comparing the appearance of a male American Goldfinch as well as a Common Loon in the summer and then in the winter.  The male American Goldfinch is mainly a bright yellow - like a canrary-- in the summer, but he sports s black cap, black and white patches on his wings along with some black trim on the outside of his wings.  His beak is bright orange. In the winter the plumage changes to a dull brown.  The cap on his head is now brown and a little lighter towards the back. There is still black and white on the wings and it's beak is brown. The Common Loon has a solid black head and red eyes.  There is a vertical-striped band of black and white stripes and a band of green on the neck.The back  is black and white and the breast is white.  In the winter the feathers change to grey and white.  The head is partially gray with black striping.  The band of green and striping are no longer visible  on the neck.  The breast is white and the back is a brown-black colour and the white striping is not as disttinctivre.
    • Sandy
      Participant
      Chirps: 14
      Activity 2 -- 2nd Attempt. According to Merlin, there are many birds likely to be in my area of Ontario, Canada--many of which, I have never had the pleasure of seeing! Three birds that are year-long residents and birds that frequent my feeders are: White Breasted , Red  Breasted Nuthatch and the Hairy Woodpecker. Three birds that are in the area now, that made my sightings special this week of April, were Osprey. Tree Swallow and Sandhill Crane--a lifer for me!! 20230417_115015 Osprey on nesting platform.  I checked out 6 platforms and all of them were either occupied or in the throes of nest building. It was so exciting. tree swallow Tree Swallow - Such pretty birds and watching them in flight--so graceful and fast. 2023-04-10 Sand Hill Crane  -  Miller Creek-3(2)   Sandhill Crane - a first sighting for me.  My grandaughter thought it was an Ostrich.  Landed in a wet farmer's field.  So cool to see.
    • Amber
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      Activity 2: The birds that I see for year-round are red-bellied woodpeckers, mallards, and black-capped chickadees. In 6 months (October), I imagine there will be many migratory birds--different warblers, waterfowl (like grebes), and kinglets.
    • Marjorie
      Participant
      Chirps: 31
      Activity 4: I have had feeders for several years but I am still new to birding as a hobby and mostly watch from my back yard or a wetland area a short drive away. I hope to get out and find a new birding location this spring / summer and if I do I will definitely visit again 6 months later to notice the difference. For now the main difference that I notice is the spring return of the hummingbirds, bluebirds and robins since these birds were not in my area all winter.
    • Marjorie
      Participant
      Chirps: 31
      Activity 3:  I love the way the goldfinches change color – especially the male goldfinch who gets so bold in the summer with his bright yellow color. He is dull and kind of drab in winter and I don’t usually notice him (if he is even here) but as spring comes he gradually starts getting brighter and brighter. It is a wonderful site that I look forward to each year. I love to see the bright finches feasting on sunflowers planted in a field not too far away.
    • Marjorie
      Participant
      Chirps: 31
      Activity 2:  Three birds that are year round residents in my area are: Mourning Dove (I live their cooing song), Downy Woodpecker (I was able to photograph one today nibbling on suet balls - see attached picture) and American Goldfinch (Harder to notice in winter due to dull color but so pretty in spring and summer). WP Three that live in my area for part of the year are: Purple Martin, Eastern Bluebird (My husband installed 4 bluebird nesting boxes – I hope they choose my yard to nest in this year), and Red-Winged Blackbirds (fun to see on fence posts or telephone wires as I take my walks on our country road)
    • Marjorie
      Participant
      Chirps: 31
      Activity 1: To be honest, I had a little trouble navigating the animated trend maps.  I was finally able to view the Ruby throated Hummingbird but could not pull up the Rufous Hummingbird for a comparison. Until looking at  the list and pictures on the ebird link  I did not realize there were quite that many different kinds of hummingbirds in our world.  What amazing creatures! Hummingbirds begin to return to my areas in Southern Ohio in mid-April and stay until mid-September.   I hung my feeders out today and made my first batch of food for the season.  I enjoy watching them all spring and summer.  I will revisit the trend map to view more species soon.
    • Bill
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      Activity 2: For the year round residents in Western Washington, I chose the Red-breasted Nuthatch (so cute), the Anna's Hummingbird and the Downy Woodpecker which all visit my yard almost every day all year. For part-year visitors, I picked the Violet-green Swallow (just returned here in early April), the Golden-crowned sparrow (which will leave soon), and the Varied Thrush (beautiful all winter but gone mid-summer). Activity 3: The American Goldfinches are rather amazing for the plumage change. We have them year round here in Puget Sound, but only a couple grayish hardy souls through the winter. The bright yellow birds disappear in November for the most part, then come back by the dozens in later March but they are only starting to molt so they are a mottled mess of grayish brown and bright yellow. Now in mid-April they are all >90% yellow. Amazing. I had no idea that the Common Loons changed so much - cool.
    • Bill
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      Activity 1: It is fascinating to see how different the Northern Cardinal and Blackburnian Warbler are in migration. Two birds that I am not familiar with out west, and to see the Cardinal stay resident all year long while the Warbler mostly only passes through the United States during migration. Hard to believe that they travel so far from northern South America all the way to Canada and back! Between the two Tanagers, I was interested that the difference is not just west vs east in the United States, but that the Scarlet Tanager goes almost completely into South America whereas the Western Tanager stops in Central America. Both a long way! I knew that the Anna's Hummingbirds stay put all year in our area - interesting that a few migrate into Mexico though - but the Rufous and Ruby-throated ones stay in the same general area in Mexico/Central America but then go in completely different directions for breeding. We just got our first Rufous hummers back a couple weeks ago in late March!
    • Carol
      Participant
      Chirps: 13
      Activity 1:  I was very surprised to find out that Rufous Hummingbirds and Western Tanagers can been seen in the eastern half of the United States.  It is exhausting to think that tiny hummingbirds are able to migrate such great distances and to even know which direction they need to go.  Another question I have is, how to the birds that remain all through the year, know that they don't have to migrate?
    • Carol
      Participant
      Chirps: 13
      Activity 2:  For year- round residents I picked Northern Cardinal, Eastern Bluebird, and Tufted Titmouse. For part year residents I selected White-throated Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco and Yellow-rumped Warbler.  All of these birds are visitors to my yard. It will soon be time for my selected part year visitors to leave for the summer to be replaced by Wood Thrushes, Scarlet Tanagers and Summer Tanagers. Activity 3:  Summer male American Goldfinches are a sunny yellow with black cap and wings.  During winter they become a drab brown color.  A Common Loon is beautiful in the summer, sporting black and white checkered feathers, and a solid black head.  All this turns to drab gray above with white below in the winter. Activity 4:  I like to visit various parks and greenways in my area.  Birds I would expect to see now include Robins, Blue Jays, Northern Mockingbirds, Downy Woodpeckers, Carolina Wrens, Carolina Chickadees, White-throated sparrows, American and Fish Crows.   In the summer I may see Scarlet Tanagers, Summer Tanagers, Wood Thrushes, Red-throated Hummingbirds, Great Crested Flycatchers and various swallows.
    • Bruce
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      Activity 4: I've been visiting the fresh-water Ventura Ponds in Southern California regularly for five years now and I definitely see patterns.  Right now (late winter/early spring) is the best when a whole array of waterfowl show up including Northern Shovelers, Gadwall, Lesser Scaup (below), Cinnamon Teal (below), Ruddy Ducks are in abundance.  By Summer, they will be gone leaving only Mallards and Coots.  In the nearby harbor, Western Grebe and Buffleheads show up in November and are gone by April.Lesser ScaupCinnamon
    • Jo
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      Three birds that I see year round in Nebraska at my feeders are the Northern Cardinals, house sparrows and Bluejays.  Three that I see only part of the year are robins, finches and hummingbirds.  They leave for warmer weather as winter approaches.
    • Tess
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      Activity 2: Using Merlin’s “Likely Birds” feature, I have chosen three species that are year-round residents in Chicago: common goldeneye, black-capped chickadee, and downy woodpecker. Each of these species I see regularly, probably every day. Additionally, I have chosen three species that only live in my area for part of the year: barn swallow, ruby-throated hummingbird, and yellow warbler. These species come in spring and leave in the fall.
    • Kurt
      Participant
      Chirps: 29
      Activity 3: Birds that undergo a plumage change over the year will sometimes see a sharp change in their colors as the seasons pass. For example, a Goldfinch, which in May and the Summer breeding period will have a distinct bright yellow color, will gradually transition to a more drab, dull almost brown during the winter months. The color change may have to do with the shift from mating to winter survival. Blue Jays, on the other hand, while they do molt, retain their colors even as new feathers come in.
    • Julie
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      Three birds that I see year round at my feeders are the Eurasian  Tree Sparrow, Mourning Doves, and Goldfinches. I am new to birding and I recently learned that the Eurasian Tree Sparrow is only found in the St. Louis region in North America. A dozen Sparrows were released in the area in the 1870's and have stayed in this region. Three birds that are just here for the winter are the Dark-eyed Junco, the American Tree Sparrow and the Red-breasted Nuthatch.
    • Activity 2: I live on Hilton Head Island. I love all the shorebirds, waterbirds, raptors, and songbirds that live here. Three that I see year-round are Anhingas (aka snakebird), Wood Storks, and White Ibis. I have different locations across the island that I can see these birds anytime of the year that I would like. The Anhingas and Wood Storks are usually spotted somewhere near a water source (fresh or salt) and the White Ibis are literally everywhere in every type of environment. I see the Ibis on the marshy side of the beach and I see them in my backyard. Three that are temporary residents are Mississippi Kites, Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, and Eastern Phoebes. Mississippi Kites took up residence over the summer as two adults raised 2 juveniles high in the canopy of the pine trees in our backyard. From sun up to sundown they were squawking for food. They were very cool to watch as they grew. Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers are winter migrants and are not hard to find in the local parks. Eastern Phoebes are also easy to spot in the park or even the backyard perched on a tree branch or the top of the feeder.
    • Gwen
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      As a backyard birder in Michigan it always makes me happy to see Northern Cardinals, BC Chickadees, Goldfinches and White-Breasted Nuthatches year round at my feeders. In the next six months I expect Red-Winged Blackbirds, Robins, and Baltimore Orioles. currently i've been seeing a lot of Dark-eyed juncos, a seasonal bird here in Michigan. and i expect to soon see a lot more Buffleheads, Canvasbacks, and Mallards, as they enjoy the ice on the river I live on.
    • Joan
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      As for Backyard birding, I love the Spotted Towhees, Robins, BC Chickadees, year round feeder visitors. Anna's Hummingbirds nest in my bushes (yearround) while Rufous is a migrator. As for Ocean shorebirds , This summer we saw Tufted Puffins, Brown Pelicans, OysterCatchers, Murres, Pigeon Guillmonts at the beaches ( ocean and rocky crevices) of WA and Or. (migration)
    • Joan
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      I love birding at Union Bay Nature Preserve (Seattle WA) each season and love migration ex:,Wigeons, Wood Ducks, Gadwalls of fall make way for the Swans and Northern Shovelers of winter. Year round Great Blue Heron and Bald Eagles, ate joined by today's Green Heron.