• Bird Academy
      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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    • Barbara
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      I’ve seen most of the birds one would expect at my birdfeeders (one for thistle, one for black sunflower seed, one for hummingbird nectar). Now I’m trying to learn more about local birds that don’t eat seed or nectar, and that involves learning to identify them by sound as well as (or instead of) sight. Since I started this lesson I have heard a red-eye virio, a blue-headed virio (listed in Merlin but not in my old Peterson guide, and a wood thrush. My favorite bird at the moment is the red-winged blackbird, mostly because I saw a lot of them this spring and learned to identify their sound. Last year it was the black-capped chickadees and goldfinches that come to the thistle feeder. The bird wall is amazing! I used it to see if I could discover why Australian birds sounded so foreign to me when I visited there years ago. I now realize that European birds are quite different from our (North American) ones, too.
    • Yoel
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      IMG_8831Hi! I’m Yoel from Colombia. I recently started bird watching while on a trip to the coffee zone in Colombia. To my surprise I have watched and listened to so many birds in the neighborhood I live in Medellin since I came back. Here is a great kiskadee I saw today. Is impressive these fantastic animals have been there all along and I just started noticing them!
    • Anne
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      (Activity 3) I live in Seattle, WA, where there's a very large and gregarious community of American crows. I always enjoy seeing them patrol my neighborhood in pairs each morning, perched on the highest points they can find and cawing about their findings to each other.
    • Charlotte
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      Activity 2: Find birds—either outside, online, or in your field guide—from three different groups that you learned about in this lesson. Even if you don’t know what kind of birds they are, can you narrow it down to one of the groups? Bird #1: Great Egret Group: Wading birds Location: Jamestown, Rhode Island USA IMG_2422 Bird #2: Barn swallow Group: Songbirds Location: Jamestown, Rhode Island USA IMG_2209 Bird #3: Canada Goose Group: Swimming birds/waterfowl Location: Stamford, Connecticut USA IMG_2639
    • Sally
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      Green heron - he makes a statement both in sound and in view. Awesome!! And a great fisherman in my fresh water pond.
    • Debbie
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      Activity Two:  We left our feeders up for the summer this year and have had fun watching all the birds that still come to the feeder.  We have had at least 2 different Red-bellied Woodpeckers, as there was one on each feeder the other day.  We also have many song birds: Rose breasted Grosbeck, lots of cardinals, tufted titmice, chickadees, nuthatches, a song sparrow to name a few.  We live on a creek, and driving to the store, at the bend of the creek, I saw a heron.  But he did not look like most of the Great Blue herons we see; he was smaller and darker.  When I got home, I looked him up.  He was a Small Blue Heron.  I was glad to see him, as I think he was migrating.  Wish I had been able to get a picture. Red-bellied Woodpecker
    • Lorri
      Participant
      Chirps: 14
      I have been enjoying the Yellow Warbler this spring. Of all of the warblers this one is the easiest to find since it is frequently found lower in the bushes and trees. They are cheerful birds as well. Their song and color are cheerful and they seem so energetic. Yellow bird
    • Lorri
      Participant
      Chirps: 14
      Activity 2: Today I went birdwatching. Different groups of birds that have have found include songbirds, waterfowl, raptors, and woodpeckers. The songbirds include the Baltimore Oriole, Yellow Warbler, and the American Robin. The waterfowl included numerous Canada Geese and Mute Swans. I encountered 5 dyads with babies. The raptor I encountered was the Red-Tailed Hawk. The woodpecker that I saw briefly was the Red-Bellied Woodpecker. Baltimore oriole 2
    • Lorri
      Participant
      Chirps: 14
      Activity 1: I find the barn swallow fascinating. Their forked tail is distinctive and they are quite swift as they dive through the air. It is amazing that travel from the southern hemisphere every year and then return to breed so close to my home. Their blue wings and orange breast is quite vibrant. The cormorants are quite interesting as well. There seem to be different varieties of the family all over the world. They are adaptable between ocean and fresh water. I love to watch them sitting along the edge of the water or flying through the air. Looking at the Wall of Birds, it is magnificent to see all of these birds in relation to each other. It is hard to imagine the ostrich and the emperor penguin being related to one another.
    • Diane
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      IMG_7355I learned the word heronry for a colony of herons, which I had witnessed this winter on Longboat Key, Florida.  Three nests were in this one tree.
    • Ann
      Participant
      Chirps: 9
      Activity 3:  The Loon has been a favorite ever since I first heard one on a lake in northern Maine.  For 12 years I lived near a lake and could hear the loons calling in the early morning.  Now I live near the ocean and see the loons in their winter plumage, but I miss the haunting sound they make in the spring and summer.  loon in winter dress
    • Annie
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      Activity 1: The first bird that caught my eye on the Wall of Birds was the Ornimegalonyx, the largest owl known to us. I guess I didn't realize that owls had such a direct ancestor when it came to so many of their unique traits, but maybe it shouldn't surprise me. All those awesome features had to evolve from somewhere! Activity 2: In the songbird group, I see lots of redwing blackbirds, sparrows, and finches this time of year. I especially love the redwing's call. As far as waterfowl, we have LOTS of mallards and Canada geese coming back after the winter. And, of course, raptors. I've found it a bit easier to distinguish between red tailed hawks and red shouldered hawks when they're flying close, which is exciting to me. Activity 3: My "spark bird" is the Eastern Phoebe, which I believe we would classify as a flycatcher? I used to work out in the woodlands of southern Indiana, and I'd spend the early mornings bird watching. The first bird I felt like I successfully saw through binoculars and then identified (with help from the Merlin app, as I was an absolute newbie) was this tiny little brownish/gray bird. It was pretty immediately after that I fell in love with this bird's behavior and then with birding in general.
    • Catarina
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      Activity 1: Looking at the Wall of Birds, the Wandering Albatross caught my attention because of their size and capacity to live at sea for long periods. They also reminded me of Cory's shearwaters that I enjoy observing in the Azores, every time I visit the islands. I love their smooth gliding along to the ocean swell and funny distinctive call sounds. Activity 2: Cory's shearwater (seabird); Common blackbird (blackbird); European starling (blackbird) Activity 3: Black redstart, a common bird in the more urban setting in which I live in Portugal. I find its crouching and tail ticking behaviour very distinct and easy to spot, even from a distance. They are also quite daring and curious and ocasionally land on my balcony while I am sitting there.
    • mary
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      Activity 1: I enjoyed the map and if I had to vote for a favorite it would be the Loon. I love listening to them in the evening when we visit Canada or New England. Their song is so peaceful. Although it was not on the map, my favorite bird is the Common Myna bird. I recently spent several years in UAE, and they were a frequent visitor on my patio. I've really just started to birdwatch and I'm really enjoying it. Activity 2: I saw raptors this weekend on a hike which is really exciting for me. We live in Ohio and there is quite a few nesting Eagle pairs in some of the protected areas around lake Erie. I'd never seen bald eagles in the wild before, so to spot several on the same hike was exciting. I also saw what I believe was a hawk, although I'm not sure. I have seen several songbirds this spring.I spotted cardinals, robins, sparrows, and black capped chickadees in the yard. I have also seen plenty of Canadian Geese this week, along with Mallards. We have a lake behind my home where they like to stop. Lots of goslings this time of year. Activity 3: My favorite bird in the neighborhood is a hummingbird. I have only seen one this year, although I have several feeders out. No picture, but believe it was a ruby-throated hummingbird as it has a red area around the head. I'm hoping more will come when it's a little warmer and the flowers are planted.
    • Darin
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      Activity 1: The first bird to grab my attention on that wonderful Wall of Birds was the Great Gray Owl swooping down at the top of the map. My fascination with owls started at a young age when I spotted a majestic Snowy Owl perched on a large rock by the ocean in New Hampshire. Activity 2:  For this activity, I have chosen 3 birds that I have identified while hiking the trails in the lakes region of New Hampshire. The Bald Eagle of the raptor group, the Barred Owl of the owl group, and the Pileated Woodpecker of the woodpecker group. It is exhilarating to locate and identity these wonderful birds in their natural habitat. Activity 3: The neighborhood bird that I enjoy watching the most is the Red-shouldered Hawk that perches in my front yard overlooking the pond. It has rusty red shoulder feathers to contrast with its black and white striped tail feathers. I was fortunate enough to observe the hawk swoop from its perch to grab a black snake from the pond. It landed on the lawn and enjoyed its catch. Fascinating!
    • When people ask me what my favorite bird is, I answer, with sincerity, that it's the bird I'm looking at! I love 'em all. 1. But on the Wall of Birds, I voted for Eurasian Hoopoe, which has had a wonderful hold of me ever since I saw one in France 45 years ago. I didn't put that one in eBird then (since eBird didn't exist!) but since then I've been fortunate to see EUHO in Zambia and Zimbabwe. 2. Lately, I've been in search of Red Crossbills (songbirds/passerines), since several types of RECRs from the west are moving into Maine. I've been recording calls and sending to the Finch Network for typing, and entering the type into eBird. 3. Lately, my favorite species around my house has been Bohemian Waxwing. A beautiful bird that irupts from the north.
      • Lorri
        Participant
        Chirps: 14
        I love that you identify your favorite as the one you are looking at. That describes it so perfectly.
    • Jorge
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      Activity One:  Loons was the first I clicked on and voted for.  Gosh, I love to hear their call.  The first time I heard a loon call was at a friends cabin up in Maine.  I was transfixed. Activity Two: I live in a small village in Western Massachusetts on the Westfield River.  A beautiful spot with three mill ponds on the river.  So the first bird to mention in this activity is a Hooded Merganser duck of the water foul group.  They can be found on the Westfield Paper Mill Pond at the end of Main St.  I often see them when I'm out walking in the 'hood or kayaking on the river. The second would be the little House Wren of the song bird group.  They often nest in my garage.  They always make me jump out of my skin when I forget they're there as I walk into the garage and cause them to bolt out the door I just opened! The third would be Bald Eagles from the raptor group.  They like to fish on the mill ponds.  Friends of mine in town tell me there's a nest along the river in our area, but I haven't seen it yet.  Nuts. Activity Three: I don't really have a favorite.  Some I like less than others, but I'm not going there!  For this activity I'd like to pick the little Easter Phoebee, which would, I think, be considered part of the song bird group according to our lessons so far.  This little fellow has been a part of my life forever.  It was one of the first birds I could identify from a very young age, along with the Black Capped Chickadee, American Crow and Red Tail Hawk. But I've always loved to hear the call of the little Phoebee. To see it flitting from branch to branch in the hedges long the fields.
      • mary
        Participant
        Chirps: 4
        I share your love of loons. I always look forward to hearing them whenever we go on trips up north.
    • Krystal
      Participant
      Chirps: 11
      Activity 1: The Blue and Yellow Macaw was the first to catch my eye in the Wall, perhaps because that is my first memory of an interaction with a bird. We lived in a tiny village in Bolivia when I was little and had a macaw that lived just outside our house. I remember feeding it macadamia nuts and that it used to ride on the back of my dad's motorcycle! The reason I remember it so vividly though was more tragic, at least from my 3 year old perspective. I had put some stuffed dolls of mine on the window sill and came back to find them disemboweled by the macaw. Activity 2: I was very surprised to discover that crows are part of the song birds group! I sat in my backyard for a bit this morning and most of the birds fell into the song birds group, including 2 fish crows and 3 blue jays. The woodpeckers group were represented by a downy woodpecker and a red-breasted woodpecker and the pigeons and doves group were *well* represented by 8 mourning doves. Activity 3: My favorite bird to hear as I'm walking around my neighborhood is the carolina wren. I love it's clear sound and tone. My favorite to see at the feeder (although I do not have a good enough camera to have a good photo to upload) is the Titmouse. They are so cute with their little spikey mohawks.
    • Diana
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      I live in southern British Columbia (adjacent to Washington State).  Many years ago I was totally blown away by my first sighting of 6 American White Pelicans! About 30 years later, having joined the naturalist club, at Skaha Lake, closer to my home, we met for the day's hike and were stopped dead in our tracks by the sight of 74 white American Pelicans in the water. They entertained us, floating back and forth along the beach front at OK Falls for a half hour before they marshalled themselves and gracefully lifted off and flew south. There are two tiny lakes in the interior, the area called the Caribou, that they nest and breed in. Previous to this I was only  aware of the grey pelicans of California and Mexico.  what a treat!
    • Jason
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      Activity 2 - Went outside and didn't see or hear as much as usual. Turns out there was a raptor flying high above, looked like a Bald Eagle. I heard a humming bird click and buzz past me, but it is hard to say what type it was since I didn't get a good look at it. I think it was most likely an Anna's Humming bird since they are the most common around here. Later Merlin identified a Song Sparrow and a Robin, both of which are song birds. Within the song birds, the song sparrow belongs to the sparrows (in fact it was one of the examples given). The Robin fits into the other group I believe.
    • Phil
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      I am a novice bird watcher. While visiting in Alaska in January at Bettles Lodge (above the Arctic Circle) watched what I think is a grey jay land on the head of our dog musher. It surprised us both. 20240108_143728
    • Gabby
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      The Magnificent Frigatebird caught my eye on the bird wall with its bright red throat! My favorite bird to see in my neighborhood is a Cardinal!
    • Susan
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      Activity 1 - I voted for the American Oystercatcher -  I haven't seen one yet and would love to see one when visiting the east coast beaches. Activity 2 - I saw a variety of birds this morning in my back yard including the White Breasted Nuthatch, Common Grackle, and Downy Woodpecker. Activity 3 - The Blue Jay is a favorite backyard bird.   They hang out year round and are enjoyable to watch and listen to.  I don't have a picture but they have a crest with a wonderful blue, white, and black coloring.
    • Mary Jane
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      • Blue heron is one of my favs, they are so huge! Every year one or two hunt up and down the creek here in SE Kansas. We are lucky to see waterfowl, songbirds, owls, chicken-like birds, woodpeckers and raptors on a daily basis. Crows, Canadian geese, red-bellied woodpeckers, Harris' sparrows, nuthatches, juncos, Bluejays, spotted towhees and wild turkeys come into my feeder's view. 20240217_075321