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

    • clara
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      ACTIVIDAD 1 Los lugares que visite fueron: LAGUNA DE ACHOCALLA, que se encuentra en las cercanías de la ciudad de La Paz, Bolivia En este ecosistema pude observar una cantidad importante de especies acuáticas como patos que nadan a lo largo del lago buscando comida a cada instante, garzas que se posan en algunos lugares de la laguna para poder pescar y alimentarse, chocas que se meten entre los matorrales para cuidar a sus crías, sobrevolando el lugar se puede observar vencejos que van comiendo a los pequeños insectos que se encuentran en el lugar. BOSQUECILLO DE AUQUISAMAÑA, que se un área protegida que se encuentra en la ciudad de La Paz. Bolivia En este ecosistema que pude observar aves como los gorriones que se perchan en los arbustos para comer las semillas, loros que se alimentan de las flores y frutos de las plantas que hay en el lugar, también observé picaflores que se alimentan de las flores nativas del lugar, palomas manchada es otra especie que se posa en los arboles mas altos del lugar, así también en los cerros de alrededor sobrevuelan las águilas y halconcillos. ACTIVIDAD 2 La diferencia que encontré entre estos dos lugares en Arizona: Roger Road y Mt. Lemmon, es que en el primer lugar hay aves acuáticas, debido a la presencia de cuerpos de agua en el lugar.
    • Kathleen
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      HABITATS Activity 1: Think of two different habitats near you where you might go birding. Maybe it’s a park and a more urban area, or a field and the edge of a pond. Visit each one and see if you notice different birds in each habitat. Tell us what you find in the discussion.   Mercer Slough Nature Park Trails-4:00 PM Birds Seen:   Stellers Jay, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Black-headed Grosbeak (immature) Habitat:  Forested, with small ponds and creeks-Slough Results:  Leafy trees got in the way.  Sun angle was bad.  We identified Stellers Jay and Chickadee by their calls.  We had to look up the Grosbeak in the book, which had no immature.  After coming home we looked in another book and made a sure identification.  All of these birds were in the leafy tops of the trees.   Sweyolocken Boat Launch-4:45 PM Birds Seen:  Bald Eagle, Common Crows Habitat:  Open water and Boat Marina—Lake Washington Results:  Easy to identify these two birds!  The eagle was clearly fishing as he was patrolling the waters off the boat docks.  The crows were checking out the garbage spots for any food.  We looked for cormorants, any ducks-didn’t see any!  Decided to try Newcastle Beach Park.   Newcastle Beach Park-10:30-11:30 AM Birds Seen:  Robins, Bald Eagle (adult and juvenile), Fox Sparrow, Chestnut-backed Chickadee Habitat:  Open water and Forested Shoreline-Lake Washington Results:  Had seen ducks and cormorants here before, and were optimistic.  We tried the shore first, and spotted the adult Bald Eagle, with the immature in hot pursuit (for food) over the water.  There was evidence of geese everywhere, but no geese in sight.  Not cormorants, ducks either-not one!  Then we went to the forested shoreline-we saw a sparrow, chickadee, and robins in the brush, but experienced lots more mosquitoes than birds! Conclusion:  Come any other season than summer-before leaves are out.  Birds also will not have migrated and will have more diversity.
    • Shelley
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      I live in Anchorage, AK and am currently watching a bald eagle nest, common raven nest and red throated grebe nest.   I am close to a small lake.    I have red chested nuthatches and downy woodpeckers that frequent my feeders.   In the winter, I see more black capped chickadees. I'm still learning and hoping to learn more.
    • Marcia
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      Activity #1: We often go walking in the nearby woods, which is a small forest in the middle of a big town near Toronto. Lately we've seen a lot of woodpeckers -- Red-bellied, Downy and Pileated. We also go to a large conservation area near us, which is mostly open meadows and fields, with some trees and a small lake. We often see Red-tailed Hawks and Song Sparrows there, and last time we saw an Orchard Oriole and an Osprey.   Activity #2: Sevenoaks has a lot more species of water birds than Down House, so I assume there are more lakes and ponds.
    • Jody
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      Activity 1:  First habitat is my backyard in Greenwood Village, CO (suburban).  I have feeders with sunflower seed, three water features, one pinon tree, cotoneaster bushes and lawn.  Since April I have been blessed with Broad-tail hummingbirds, black-capped chickadees, spotted towhees, house finch, goldfinch, blue jays, mourning doves, white-breasted nuthatch, magpies, grackles, song sparrows, house wrens, northern flickers, red-wing blackbirds, american robin Second habitat is in the mountains of Silverthorne, CO (on a golf course).  Pine and aspen trees and some native plants like sage, rabbit brush, sedges in a small meadow.  I have seen steller jays, broad-tail hummers, american crows, juncos, mountain bluebird (my favorite), house finch, american robin, pine siskin, white-crowned sparrow, tree swallows.fullsizeoutput_2a9cP1000064P1000286
    • Louisa
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      I have been learning about the differences in bird communities by comparing what I used to see when I lived in Gresham, Oregon with my current location in Caldwell, Idaho.  My place in Gresham had a patch of large Douglas-firs, a developing natural area with shrubs, deciduous trees, and native forbs, a small stream, and a lawn area.  Average annual precipitation was about 35 inches and the marine influence was present throughout the year leading to relatively mild winters and generally pleasant summers, although as the climate is warming, temperatures over 90 became increasingly common in July and August. Over the years of watching my feeders, I had over 50 species of birds, some regularly and a few infrequently.  Some of the regular species included wood ducks, house finches, black-capped and chestnut-backed chickadees, Steller’s and scrub-jays, American and lesser goldfinches, dark-eyed juncos, varied thrushes, downy woodpeckers, bushtits, red-breasted nuthatches, song sparrows, Anna’s hummingbirds, and northern flickers.  Less frequent birds included pileated woodpeckers, evening grosbeaks, white-breasted nuthatches, mountain chickadees, rufous hummingbirds, and red-breasted sapsuckers, among others. Caldwell gets an average of 11 inches of precipitation, winters are colder, and summers hotter than in Gresham.  My place here was farmland about 11 years ago.  As a result, vegetation is mostly non-native and relatively young.  The trees are not very tall as yet.  I have been planting native forbs and shrubs in an effort to create better habitat for birds and pollinators.  My backyard bird list is much smaller than in Gresham.  Species present include black-chinned hummingbirds, house finches, house sparrows, mourning doves, Eurasian collared-doves, red-winged blackbirds (still lots of irrigation canals around), Brewer’s blackbirds, California quail, American robins, and brown-headed cowbirds.  Birds have planted sunflower seeds that are now producing sunflowers so I am seeing American goldfinches more regularly.  Over the winter I had a few dark-eyed juncos but they migrate into the mountains for the summer.  A yellow-rumpled warbler stopped by last fall, but haven’t seen one since. A few species are similar to the two places (house finches, the two dove species, American robin) but the numbers are different.  Mostly the differences reflect the difference in climate and in vegetation.
    • Gabrielle
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      We'll share birds from two different types of forest we've recently visited. Near our home in Seattle is a forest where we often see song sparrows, spotted towhees, Steller's jays, Bewick's wrens, and once we even saw a pileated woodpecker. Last week we took a trip to the forests near Sisters, Oregon where we saw Williamson's sapsuckers, white-headed woodpeckers, western bluebirds, common nighthawks, and pygmy nuthatches.
    • Bobette
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      One of my favorite places to go birding it the rookery at UT southwestern. It is in the middle of Dallas, and it has nesting snowy egrets, cattle egrets, and more. The habitat has mature live oaks with an open area, but then it also had some dense understory, that so I can’t see the middle very well. I have been thereafter a storm and it’s interesting to see the amount of fish laying on the pathway. Where did they come from?? I can’t see if there is any water in the middle. I think one of the forks of the trinity river maybe near the area. Vs the my backyard. I have a big open grass area with raised beds that have native plants, it backs up to a green belt with tall mature tree. Not far alway is water where the egrets could eat., but they don’t nest in this type of habitat
    • Hannah
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      Activity 1: I visited the Hamilton Waterfront Trail which is an aquatic habitat. The trail runs between the shoreline of Lake Ontario on one side and some marshland on the other. It is abundant in Red-winged Blackbirds who love to perch on the cattails in the marsh. I also saw some gulls (unsure which species) flying overhead, some terns (unsure which species), and Canada Geese. I also visited Beamer Memorial Conservation Area, which is a more wooded habitat. The trail I walked is right at the top of the Niagara Escarpment and it is punctuated by breathtaking views of the city below (Grimsby). The birds were more difficult to spot in this area, as they were well-hidden in the trees. I could certainly hear them, though. I heard mostly songbirds, but struggled to confidently identify the birds I heard. I saw, and heard, a Bluejay and some sort of raptor. I suspect it was a hawk of some kind. I also saw a couple of robins. At one point, I thought I heard a woodpecker, but it may have been just the trees creaking in the wind. Activity 2: I used the two spots in Arizona. Some of the species that can be found at Roger Road are Red-naped Sapsuckers, Black-tailed Gnatcatchers, Wood Ducks, Hooded Orioles, a few sparrow species, a few swallow species, and Cooper’s Hawks. This leads me to conclude that this hotspot may be a mix of a forested and an aquatic habitat. Some species found at Mt. Lemmon are Swainson’s Thrushes, Williamson’s Sapsucker, many species of hawks, Cassin’s Vireos, and Painted Redstarts. I think this hotspot is a forested habitat, maybe of a higher altitude.
    • Margaret
      Participant
      Chirps: 13
      Activity 2. The two British sites, Down House and Sevenoaks, host species or subspecies different from their North American counterparts and appear to be different collections of habitats. At Down House, the 44 total species include birds that frequent a variety of land habitats, including humanly built and humanly frequented ones –gardens, open fields, and young woodland.  For example, the three types of pigeons/doves tend to live in farms and fields, and the corvids and raptors are adaptable generalists. The ring-necked pheasant likes grassland and cropland. The woodpeckers favor woodlands. The Eurasian nuthatch likes deciduous or mixed woodland. The Common Chiffchaff is a warbler that favors wooded and scrubby habitats. (The gulls seemed to be passing overhead).   EBird lists 3 rose-ringed parakeets there, I always thought of the parakeet as a cage bird in Europe and North America, but I gather there are wild populations now, probably escaped from city cages. The Sevenoaks birds, 135 total species/sub-species, inhabit either a water-based or land-based habitat, including deep and shallow lakes, ponds, rivers and riverbed, grassland (scrub) and woodland. The water birds include swimming birds (a great variety of ducks, swans, geese) and long-legged waders and other shorebirds (herons and egrets, a Eurasian Spoonbill, Eurasian Oystercatcher, Pied Avocet, Eurasian Curlew, plovers, snipes, sandpipers, gulls). Kingfishers need water, but I’m not sure into what category of bird they fall. The trees and scrub support woodpeckers, warblers (some live in reeds), swallows,  cuckoos and swifts.  There are also corvids and raptors (Common Buzzard, Red Kite, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Carrion Crow) with some overlap with Down House species.
    • Catherine
      Participant
      Chirps: 17
      Activity 2: since I have friends in England and I've been to and around London, I thought I'd check out the two sites near there, and it was truly amazing to see how obvious the answer to the environment would be: around Down House the largest numbers were meadow and grassland types: pheasant, doves, partridges. The only surprise there were the several types of gulls that were mentioned--perhaps they are like the ones here, having become "urbanized" (and being rather a pest around shopping centre parking lots....). The other site, Sevenoaks, is a nature reserve, very close to Down House  and lists especially various types of geese, swans and ducks--again a very obvious list, as it is located around several small lakes.
    • Mary
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      Activity 1:   One trail near me that is a hotspot for birders consists of open pastures and scrubby fields, wetland and boggy areas and a river.  This habitat attracts birds that like open habitats, wetlands and being near water.  Birds I observed there recently included Tree and Barn Swallows, Red-winged Blackbirds, and an Eastern Meadowlark.   Other bird species that like this habitat have also been sighted here such as Northern-rough-winged Swallows,  Grasshopper, Song, and Field Sparrows and a Great Blue Heron. A second birding hotspot that is near me is in the Blue Ridge Mountains.  The habitat is primarily forested with thickets of mountain laurel and rhododendron.   This area attracts birds species that prefer forested areas.   Birds I have heard or seen there include a Scarlet Tanager, Wood Thrush and  Ovenbird.   Other bird species that have been observed here include several different types of warblers (Cerulean, Hooded, Black-throated Blue, Chestnut-sided).
    • Kenneth R
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      Activity 2: The more aquatic habitat around Sevenoaks seems to have more waterfowl, waders and shorebirds along with the raptors and others. The open fields and sporadic areas of shrubland around Down House seem much more suite to birds who prefer those types of habitats.
    • Kenneth R
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      Activity 1: In and around the Lithia Park Reservoir in Ashland, OR we have a Great Blue Heron that comes back in the morning or afternoon, the occasional pair of Canada Geese and the usual Mallards. I have also seen a Belted Kingfisher several times but only in early morning. Yesterday, a Red-breasted Sapsucker was tapping away at tree on the edge of the reservoir. This time of year I have also seen Dark-eyed Juncos and Spotted Towhees foraging around the reservoir. Further up the hill, on one of the partially forested trails above Ashland, the Warblers, Tanagers and Hummingbirds passing through have been seen recently. A few days ago a Cooper's Hawk was hanging out midday, I suppose looking for lunch or digestng the one he just had.
    • Marlene
      Participant
      Chirps: 17
      We were able to take a trip to Lake Michigan last weekend. About 2 hours from our home in the Northeast WI. This habitat showed us quite a few different water birds that we don't often see in our area. The most prominent was the seagull. Many of them hover over the lake to catch fish and other food. When Point Beach State park is busy with tourists by the pavilions, the seagulls also love to scavenge for food scraps from them. The other bird we saw was the Cormorants. While they are not as prevalent in this area as the seagulls, they are around. Lastly, we were able to see a killdeer on a sandy, grassy area up from the lake shore. Closer to our home in the woods of Wisconsin, we also have a large lake nearby where we also observe some of these same water birds, but not to the degree we observed at the larger Lake Michigan.
    • Sarah
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      Today I went to a local park to try to recreate a recent virtual bird walk video from the county parks department, where the naturalist showed off the different habitats found in the park and therefore variety of birds common in each one.  The areas I walked through included grassland, upland forest, riparian forest, field, and a little bit of shrub-scrub wetland.  I could hear lots of birds but only see a few.  I was able to notice how the bird songs and calls changed from each area, and use Merlin to identify a few of the calls, like the field sparrow which I heard the entire loop around the grassland but nowhere else.  I'm also positive I heard an owl in the upland forest!! It sounded the closest to Great Horned Owl on Merlin (of the birds I compared it with).  Birds that I saw and ID'd with Merlin were a Warbling Vireo in the upland forest and a Tree Swallow at the edge of the forest and pond. IMG_1489IMG_1491
    • Julie
      Participant
      Chirps: 13
      Activity 1 - The two areas I visited are a large recreational park near our home and a state park near our home. The interesting thing is that both are about a one mile walk from our home, and they have very different bird life. The recreational park is full of nesting parrots, and ravens emptying the fast food bags. Also the usual pigeons and sparrows. The habitats at this park include sycamore trees and pine trees, and at some times of the year, a small stream runs through it. The state park is a very different habitat, it is very dry chaparral, mountainous with more lush canyons, but otherwise pretty dry.  Today we saw huge birds soaring above the canyons, there were four of them. We saw them about a month ago also, so this must be their habitat. They were soaring at a high altitude, and so I never saw anything but the profile of them in the air. I believe they were turkey vultures, although it is not out of the range of possibility that they were California Condors. We also saw quail - the California State Bird - which I have never seen in the wild before. Pretty fun.
    • Cara
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      Today I visited Sydney Olympic Park where there is a great wetland reserve. I saw a Great Egret, White-faced Heron, and many Black-winged Stilts (which I adore), Black Swans, Fairy Wrens, Swallows, Black-fronted Dotterels, Silver Gulls, Royal Spoonbills, and Chestnut Teal ducks. The water on the reserve is shallow and marshy is many areas, and these were the places the Stilts and herons hung out. The ducks and swans were on islands and banks in the deeper areas. The Fairy Wrens were catching bugs in the shrubby area at the edge, and the swallows just swooped over the whole area, catching lunch. Notably absent were the Red-necked Avocets I saw in the warmer months amongst the Stilts. They must have migrated north for the winter. The pelicans that are usually in the area were also absent, and whilst I did see a few cormorants, they were not present is as many numbers. Hope you norther hemisphere birders are enjoying the abundance of birds in your areas!
    • Mary Ann
      Participant
      Chirps: 13
      Activity 2 As others have said, Roger Road must be near some kind of body of water, with over 250 sightings. The list included ducks, so maybe it was a pond. Mt. Lemmon had only 120 species listed and included many hawks and owls, indicating fields and meadows.
    • Mary Ann
      Participant
      Chirps: 13
      Activity 1-My favorite place to walk is Croton Point Park in Westchester, NY. It is located on the Hudson but also it has a capped landfill. The meadows of the landfill attracts red-tailed hawks, Northern Harriers, owls, and all kinds of sparrows. Croton Bay attracts waterfowl such as Mergansers, Buffleheads, and Great Blue Herons. It is famous for the Bald Eagles and their is an annual Eaglefest every winter.
    • Wendy
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      Activity 1 I visited a local wilderness park that encompasses coastal sage scrub habitat as well as vernal ponds. In the sage scrub habitat, I observed several species, including a Great-Tailed Grackle and an Allen's Hummingbird. In the ponds, I observed a Snowy Egret as well as a Ruddy Duck. I also saw swallows and terns flying above the ponds, but I was not able to identify the exact species.
    • Nicole
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      Activity 2: My initial thought,before looking at numbers or recorded sightings would be that Mt. Lemmon would have a bigger variety and see more birds but after looking at both sites more carefully and getting an idea of their location and habitats it makes sense that the number and types of birds. I am guessing a lot of birds migrate through there or make it a pit-stop. It seems smaller birds, song birds are very common whereas at Mt. Lemmon there are larger birds, perhaps less migratory? What an amazing spot that must be- so much to see and it must be pretty condensed because the park is not that big.
    • Nicole
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      Activity 1 con't Rockefeller Preserve in Westchester County, NY is one of my favorite places to walk, especially around Swan Lake. Lots of different birds to see from those that make their home here most or all of the year Canada Geese to those that are passing through or just here for a short stay- Green Heron. There is so much wildlife to spot at this Park it never ceases to amaze and surprise. It is a welcoming spot, whether it be by or in the water or further into the woodlands or open fields- there is a place for so many species. DSCN4637DSCN4484DSCN4558
    • Nicole
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      1. Near my parents home in Putnam County, NY, which is a development about 10 years old in which the builder leveled all the trees before building and just now are the new trees and more natural areas coming back. One of the neighbors has a few bluebird boxes hung up and the bluebirds and tree swallows take advantage of them every year. In the same development another neighbor has a few feeders hung up that attract 10-20 American Goldfinches as well as other birds at one time. It is a sparse area, not much other wildlife, some deer, a rare squirrel but the birds seem to have made their way back and found comfortable spots to feed and nest. Turkey vultures and a few hawks routinely fly over head. Canada Geese, Robins, finches, sparrow, swallows and bluebirds are common. Tree Swallow on fenceDSCN4769DSCN4893
    • Charlotte
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      20200518_182823Tanagers were in the manmade pond/waterfall in my wooded yard. I also see many woodpeckers, cardinals, nuthatches, and starlings regularly. At the lake about a quarter of a mile down, there are blue herons, swans, mallards, geese and kingfishers. Occasionally eagles are present as well.