The Cornell Lab Bird Academy Discussion Groups Joy of Birdwatching Activities: Exploring Bird Habitats

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      Bird Academy
      Share your experience participating in this lesson's activities. Comment on as many or as few activities as you'd like.
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    • Nancy
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      I went on a bird walk sponsored by the Audubon Society at the Great Plains Nature Center last Saturday.  The trails at the Nature Center led us through woods, fields, and pond/creek habitats.  Beside the pond we saw an eastern phoebe in a tree, which our guide told us would build its nest under the bridges.  We also saw a mallard duck hen and her ducklings, great blue herons, and a great egret.  Flying over the fields we saw a bald eagle, a red-tailed hawk, and red-winged blackbirds.  In the more wooded areas near the fields we saw a red-eyed vireo, an indigo bunting, a flock of cedar waxwings, a cardinal, a Baltimore oriole, and a blue jay. Our guide also heard a yellow-breasted chat and a flycatcher, but I did not see them.
    • Krystal
      Participant
      Chirps: 11
      Activity 1: While some of the birds I saw at the Celery Fields in Sarasota (a mix of marshlands, ponds, and fields edged by trees) were the same as the ones I see in my backyard (mockingbirds, cardinals, woodpeckers, warblers), there were others not as common. In addition to being closer to the Gulf and having more water, it's also about 50 miles south of where I live so there are multiple differences in this habitat from my backyard. Many, many more wading birds and ducks in and near the water (even saw a least bittern which was exciting!) and lots of grackles and purple martins.
    • Susan
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      Activity 2 - Compared the 2 Arizona Hotspots - Roger Road and Mt. Lemmon.  Roger Road had more waterfowl and birds attracted to wetlands while Mt. Lemmon was home to birds whose habitat is woodlands.
    • Crystal
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      Activity 1: Two different areas I have birded at are a trail along a creek in a neighborhood and a large open space park. The habitats are very different since the first is a trail along a creek that has water and also has lots of houses nearby. Here, I often see species like Mallards, Hooded Mergansers, Great Blue Egrets, Great Egrets and occasionally a Belted Kingfisher. In addition to birds like White-crowned Sparrows, Song Sparrows, Mourning Doves, House Finches and Goldfinches.  The other location is a larger park that is a much more dyer habitat and has more open space. Here I see less species related to water. At this location I often see Acorn Woodpeckers, Northern Flickers, nuthatches, kestrels and sometime even quail. Activity 2: For activity 2 I picked the two birding spots in Arizona. The first location of Roger Road seems like a popular spot as checklists were submitted many times recently. Looking at some of the recent sighting shows many different types of ducks and shorebirds. This would lead me to conclude that this location has a large area of water and a shoreline or shallow area where the sandpipers and egrets are. The second area of Mt. Lemmon seems much dryer with possible no water because there is no ducks or water bird species present. Seeing multiple types of woodpeckers, nuthatches, and jays would make me guess this is a more woodland type setting with trees. Also with wrens, sparrows and warblers I would guess there are lots of dense plants/shrubs for these birds to hide in/ look for food.
    • Kristian
      Participant
      Chirps: 9
      Activity 1: The first habitat is a parking lot by a golf course with open grass area and a few batches of trees as well as the edge of a tree filled hill. Saw some Wrens and blue jays. The second habitat was a park swamp area that didn't have as many birds, but I did see a Great Blue Heron. Activity 2: I explored the species of Roger Road and Mt. Lemmon. Roger Road is definitely aquatic with waterfowl. Mt Lemmon seems more open and has more woodpeckers and songbirds.
    • Frederick
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      Activity 1, two habitats near me and what I observe: The pond always attracts waterfowl, I captured these sequences of a hooded merganser in the company of a family of wood ducklings https://youtu.be/PlchtFyRJ78?si=bNtNN-Ze2dJkTGYs   My property, adjacent to the pond also attracts a variety of non-aquatic birds. See them in this video.
    • Anita
      Participant
      Chirps: 19
      Activity 1:  I visited an area that has a mix of two habitats; it is both a marsh and a mixed wood forest.  In the forest I saw red-tailed hawks, crow, black-capped chickadee, and dark eyed juncos.  In the marsh there weren't many birds this visit, but over the summer there is a Great Blue Heron rookery which is really spectacular, and there are vireos and red-winged blackbirds you can hear singing if you're out on the water in a canoe or kayak.
    • Penelope
      Participant
      Chirps: 38
      Activity 1: Habitats: Marsh-field-scrub, Mixed Coniferous forest. Marsh-field-scrub: Here is an easy spot to discover Wilson's Snipe, Indigo Bunting, and Broad-winged Hawk. The Wilson's Snip enjoys marshy scrub with long grass due to the presence of cover, and the abundance of food because of the wet. Mixed Coniferous Forest: Here is one of the best habitats the discover Pine Warbler, Black-capped Chickadee, Ovenbird, and varying species of Warblers. The Black-capped Chickadee prefers such a habitat because of the nuts in the cones of the trees, one of their main sources of food.
    • Gregory
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      Activity 1: The nearby park has a lagoon with a patchy, relatively young forest on one side and a small meadow on the other. The forest is frequented by warblers, vireos, American robins, Baltimore orioles, and gray catbirds; woodpeckers and hummingbirds can sometimes also be seen. The meadow is a better place to find red-winged blackbirds, European starlings, and occasionally Cooper's hawks. Of course, the lagoon itself has plenty of ducks and geese, as well as herons, egrets, gulls, terns, and double-crested cormorants. Activity 2: Down House hosts many kinds of doves, gulls, and songbirds, along with some raptors, pheasants, and woodpeckers. In contrast, Sevenoaks hosts many kinds of ducks, geese, and wading birds, as well as some swallows. There is reasonable overlap between the species lists, and both seem to host several kinds of corvids. From this, I imagine that Down House has a lot of open spaces with some wooded groves, while Sevenoaks has some extensive aquatic habitats, perhaps a small wetland bordered by trees.
    • chris
      Participant
      Chirps: 9
      my favourate place to go birding is a mixed forest with a relatively dense shrub life and a nearby slough.  We get too see many different types of birds here due to the wildlife trees standing in the forest supplying food for the woodpeckers and many other birds whome like to eat insects.  There is a nearby eagle nest that gets used yearly and I even got the opportunity to see a juvenile spend time with its parents sqeeing over and over for attention or maybe food (I didnt have my binoculars with me when that happened :crying emoji:) the second spot I had in mind is a nearby hotspot on the other side of a mountain I live near.  The expected birds there are quite different from here as they have a freshwater lake and a relatively old forest as well however there are a large amount of tourists in the area during the summer as there are resorts along the lake side.  This causes many types of generalist birds to congregate and feed on the garbage that is left from these people coming through.
    • Peggy
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      My favorite place to see birds is in the Atchafalaya Basin not far from Houma, LA. I started going there 10 years ago in April to see the eagles. Before then, I had no idea there was such a large population of eagles in the area. Going in the end of April-beginning of May is a good time to see eaglets. I have seen many other birds there including herons, egrets, ibisis, spoonbills, roseate spoonbills, cormorants and more. Different species appear at different times of year but if you’re interested in eagles the best time to go is late April to early May. We travel with a nice Cajun guy and he knows exactly where to find the birds. Of course, you will also see alligators during the tour.
    • Ruth
      Participant
      Chirps: 17
      Activity 1 -  The two locations close to me are the Consumnes River Preserve which is California's largest remaining Valley Oak reparian forest and one of the few protected wetland habitat area in the state.   The second location is Lodi Lake in Lodi CA. The first Preserve is beautiful and has a forest, aquatic, scrub-shrub and open habitats.  In the forest, I have seen hummingbirds fanning their wings sipping flower juices and woodpeckers pounding against trees.  The pound of thre or four on different trees made such wonderful sounds like tree drums.  In the aquatic area, the Egrets dance together and search for food, swamp sparrows flit and land on lovely willows.  Scrub-shrub habitat raptors swoop in for a snake or a rat while turkeys, wrens and sparrows skitter about get their bugs.  In the open habitat there were sparrows and larks were playing chase for fun (that is what it looked like). The Lake has a small forest, aquatic and open picnic area.  On the 3rd of July, I saw a graceful egret fly away from the lake.  The Canada Geese were enjoying a bundle of roots along the lake edge.  Sweet swallows were eating bugs.  Many of the animals started hiding because a big BBQ. Activity 2  -   Mt. Lemmon appears to have a forest and open regions on the Hot spot map.  The most recent birds were the American Robin, Blue Jays, Woodpecker (White Breasted), White winged dove, and a Great Horned Owl.  Seven Oaks WR & SSSI in Kent County seems to have an aquatic habitat according to the Hot spot map.  The check list had Northern Lapwing, Egyptian Goose and Long Tailed Tit with pictures.  The last visit by birders were in April. Ruth Bates
    • Marjorie
      Participant
      Chirps: 27
      Activity 2: When reviewing the Roger Road and Mt. Lemmon ebird hotspots I noticed that Roger Road attracts Northern Shoveler, various ducks including Mallard and Ruddy and herons such as the Great Blue Heron and Black Crowned Night Heron. This indicates a wetland habitat. Mt. Lemon is more mountainous and therefore the home to hawks and owls who can soar higher and nest far above other species such as those visiting Roger Road. Both habitats attract far more species than I expected to find in one area.
    • Marjorie
      Participant
      Chirps: 27
      location were a local wetlands area and a tree lined country road near open fields. At the wetlands this week I was able to spot a wading bird. I used the bird identify questions and am pretty sure it was a female blue heron.  She was not as tall as expected but using binoculars I thought perhaps she was sitting on a nest.  I took a couple of picture but they are from a distance.   I will post them below.   I read that some herons nest in trees and some in the marshy area if they feel it is safe.  This heron was the only bird I saw that evening. In the past we have seen ducks and geese in these wetlands but not this time. On my country walk one afternoon this week I spotted red-winged black birds in the field, northern cardinals in the trees and many of Purple Martins at a Martin house our Amish neighbors installed. These are two of the different habitats in my local area.   heron 1heron2
    • Carol
      Participant
      Chirps: 13
      Activity 1:  My first birding spot is a nearby dam and the river that flows from it.  I have seen osprey, cormorants, Canada geese, great Blue Herons, and even Bald Eagles.  The edges of the river are forested which have many of the songbirds common to the area.  My second birding spot is a nearby park that has a small pond where I have seen Canada geese and Great blue Herons but no Ospreys, cormorants or Bald Eagles.  Some edges of the park are forested and have the same songbirds as the dam area.  The park also has a large field area where I have seen Killdeer which I have never seen in the dam area. Activity 2:  I looked at the bird list of Roger Road and Mt. Lemmon.  Roger Road has a lot of birds you would find near water such as ducks, cormorants and egrets.  I'm guessing that there is a large pond or lake there.  Mt. Lemmon must have trees there since a lot of the listed birds, such as woodpeckers and warblers live in tree habitats.
    • Jennifer
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      Activity #1: My first birding spot is a second growth young mixed deciduous forest in Eastern Ontario. I see lots of woodpeckers. We have downy woodpeckers, hairy woodpeckers, red bellied woodpeckers, norther flickers and pileated woodpeckers. My second birding spot is a wet land surrounded by old growth mixed forest with lots of birds that I'm not familiar with yet. I do hear lots of Canada Geese and red-winged blackbirds there.
    • Tess
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      Activity 2: For this prompt, I explored the species found at two different eBird hotspots in Arizona: Roger Road and Mt. Lemmon. Based on the waterfowl and birds found at Roger Road, I would say that this habitat is aquatic - perhaps a marsh or lake. Based on the raptors and songbirds found at Mt. Lemmon I would guess that the habitat is more forested.
    • Carol
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      I live in a rural and heavily wooded area in northern New Hampshire, In the warmer months, we see a lot of woodpeckers, hummingbirds, wrens, cardinals, crows, ravens, etc. Right now, in January, it is hard to find birds. I have heard blue jays, though. A second area would be by Moore Dam near me - I would expect to see ducks and herons.  
    • Kurt
      Participant
      Chirps: 29
      In my yard, which is a suburban area west of Phoenix (Sonoran Desert). In my yard I have witnessed a variety of common birds including hummingbirds, who feed from my agave flower in the spring and summer, gambles quail, who nest in my rosemary bush, and all manner of pigeons or doves, primarily rock pigeons and mourning doves. Going into the city of Phoenix, the variety is less noticeable, though on occasion some pigeons and cardinals have been located, along with the more uncommon roadrunner sighting. It's estimated that 1 acre of land in the Sonoran desert is lost every hour due to construction within Phoenix's city sprawl. The Phoenix metro area is growing rapidly, and as a result the wildlife is being affected too.
    • Carol
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      I live in south texas near Houston. There are many hotspots with rivers, lakes and piney woods. Then with a short drive you can be at the Gulf of Mexico and watch all the shorebirds.
    • Tim
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      #1. Participated in an annual bird count at an animal sanctuary in Maryland.  Around and on the pond were dozens of Canada geese and mallards, with some wigeons, shovelers, and blue-winged teals.  We spotted a few bald eagles and vultures over the open fields.  The woods featured woodpeckers (downy, red-bellied, and red-headed) and nuthatches on the trees, sparrows and wrens in the understory, and even some ruby-crowned kinglets flitting around, among other species.
    • Joan
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      Puger Sound bird watching in fall and witer bring 2 species of Cormorants, Horned and Pied Bill Grebes, Murres, Pigeon Guillemots, Harlequins, Buffleheads, Surf Scoters, Hooded Mergansers. Salish Sea sughtings, OysterCatchers, Pelicans, Puffins, and many species of gulls
    • Joan
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      Nature Preserves along Lake Washington (Juanita Bay Kirkland WA) and (Union Bay Nature Preserve  Seattle, WA) American Coots, Wood Ducks, Mandarin Duck, Gadwalls, Grebes, American Wigeons, Northern Shovelers, Double Rested Cormorants, Wilsons Snipes (in reeds), Killdeer (mudflats)   , great Blue Herons, Green Herons, American Eagles, Red-winged Blackbirds (reeds/ cattails), Owls (wooded areas), Green Winged Teal, Scoups, and sandpipers. 
    • Marcel
      Participant
      Chirps: 9
      Activity 1 When I went to The river I seen many Double-crested Cormorants and quite a few Ring-bill Gulls also some Common Merganser. At the forest spot there were mostly Black cap Chickadee also seen White-crown sparrow and a few American Goldfinch