• Joe
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      I’ve recently moved to a lake outside of Memphis TN. I live on a small lake and have enjoyed discovering all of wildlife that living in the area. I have particularly enjoyed the Great Blue Herons and the Green Herons. 3B1A49EB-DC0D-4A41-A461-E2676BA720A62B82BDE2-CD10-47B4-8306-F57F1221AA0BD2FF20DE-0E00-43E3-8503-AB1624FD6615
      • anne
        Participant
        Chirps: 9
        Gorgeous pics!
    • Nancy
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      20201126_095551My daughter gave me this course for Christmas.  How do I choose just one favorite bird lol?  I love the Northern Flickers that visit my suet feeders (the bird on the right in the photo).  I have a male and female and built a nest box for them that they already seem to have claimed even though it is December.  I packed  it full of aspen shavings animal bedding and they "carved" out the cavity just like you see in YouTube videos.  I also like the Ladder-backed Woodpecker (left in the photo), 2 females and 2 males have been in my yard at the same time.  I participate in FeederWatch and have done 2 counts so far.  This has been a great hobby to begin during the pandemic.
    • Dylan
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      We went on a nature walk in the back bay and saw ducks, shorebirds, songbirds, and a raptor.
    • Dylan
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      I liked the loon from the wall of birds best because of the audio of its song.
    • Dylan
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      We enjoy the hummingbirds that feed and nest in our front yard. P5260073-964
    • Collette
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      Hi- I got this for Christmas. I am 11. I lost my newpaper carrier job in May and started making bird treats for my family and neighbors. I like learning about birds in my backyard. I live in a city. I like the pictures here from places hat do not look like where I live. I am learning about birds so I can help my customers. I have a lot of customers now. My yard has a lot of birds now. I hung a finch sack and the finches now found it and eat at it. Here is a picture. I used Merlin and think I have juvinile american finches. But it is hard to tell because the app tells me the finches change color in the winter. I also have a woodpecker in my yard. I think it is a hairy woodpecker. I have a lot of sparrows and wonder if they are all house sparrows or differnt kinds of sparrows. From Elliottfinch
      • anne
        Participant
        Chirps: 9
        Elliott I love your birds and your bird treats! Very creative, thanks for sharing!
    • William
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      Absolutely loving this course!  I'm lucky enough to live near a place called Pajaro Dunes (pajaro = bird) near Watsonville, CA.  I'm just beginning to identify all of the birds there, of which there are many.  It's a freshwater river mouth that meats the Pacific Ocean.  There are many Brown Pelicans here, but there are also fresh water White Pelicans (which are huge!).20201009_12273720201009_122759
    • Jim
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      I am just starting this introductory birding course & liking it.  I want to share in this section Activity 2:  My Field Guide, which I really like, is "Birds of Ontario" by Andy Bezener.  My wife and I are fortunate to live in the Bay of Quinte area where we get to see lots of birds.  Along the Belleville Waterfront Trail where we walk there are lots of Geese, many even winter over here.  Also in the last few years Swans have come to live here.  Using my field guide I believe they are Mute Swans due to their orange bills (thanks field guide).  I am including a pic of a Swan in this post.  Lastly lots of ducks are to be seen all year round.  Mallards are common, although other species are also seen.  I intend to try to identify as many waterfowl species as I can.  Cheers.Swan
      • Laura
        Participant
        Chirps: 1
        The Belleville Waterfront Trail is lovely! I just discovered it this summer (I live in Ottawa).
    • Lisa
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      Hello! I live in NW Wyoming. At this time of year we see black-capped chickadees a lot as well as ravens and magpies. We also have trumpeter swans and bald eagles who over-winter here.
    • Misty
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      I think my favorite is the Common Grackle, when I first saw him in my backyard and snapped this photo, he was one of the first bird photos that I got to turn out not completely blurry!  Hahaha, because of that he's got a special place in my heart!  I starting birding in March due to quarantine, which is weird because all my adult life I have been afraid of birds.  I had a phobia and would literally cross the street if a pigeon was in front of me (sound silly now). My family finds it hilarious that now I'm crazy about birding. In fact this course is a present from one of my best friends!  As a new birder every "first" time I see (id) a new-to-me bird, that's my favorite until the next one! IMG_67455
      • Nancy
        Participant
        Chirps: 3
        Your comments made me smile :)
    • Kim
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      We love our Rose Breasted Grosbeaks. They return every year and raise new families on our land. My husband jokes thar we should call our place “Grosbeak Farm.”A024EE6D-AFAE-45BD-910A-8279E7D0A7C8
    • <p style="text-align: left;">Activity 2:  one bird described for each of three groups</p>   <p style="text-align: right;">Woodpeckers—Northern Flicker.  I used Merlin and “All About Birds” to obtain information about this species.  Our lesson lists the following characteristics for the woodpecker group:</p> <p style="text-align: left;">“Climb along trunks and whack at wood; distinctive group.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">Cling to tree trunks and sides of branches Hammer on wood and peck holes Small to medium-sized Medium-sized, pointed bill Short neck Moderate to short tail Very short legs”</p> <p style="text-align: left;">Unlike most of its fellow woodpeckers, this is a moderately large bird, being in size between a robin and a crow. It is brown with black markings; the eastern variant has yellow on its wings and tail, whereas the western has red.  Its bill is medium-sized and slightly curved.  It has a white rump that may be seen in flight.  These birds hammer on the ground where they search for insects (beetles and ants), but will live in holes in trees at least 6’ above the ground surface, where they build their nests.  They like to capture flying insects with their tongues.  They also eat berries and seeds.  They are found in ecotonal areas, where they can access sparse tree cover in open areas, as well as access forested areas.</p>   <p style="text-align: right;">Wading Birds—Roseate Spoonbill.  I used Merlin, “All About Birds” and the Audubon Society website to obtain information about this species.  Again, our lesson provides the following list of characteristics for the Wading Birds group:</p> “Large, long-legged birds often wading in water; includes herons, egrets, ibis, storks, and cranes. Wade in water, sometimes fields Large to very large Very long neck Long bill, may be curved Very long legs Short tail” The Roseate Spoonbill is a large bird with a pink body and long pink legs, a white head, red eyes, and a very distinctive bill that is flat, like a spoon, and used for capturing prey in shallow water.  These birds wade in shallow (5”) fresh or salt water areas and use their bills to sift muddy water for fish, aquatic invertebrates like crustaceans, and other small aquatic life. Their color comes from carotenoids found in the food they eat.  These birds are social and are often found in mixed flocks with other similar birds, like Ibises, Herons, Cranes, and Storks.  In the United States, they are found in states along the Gulf Coast and on Florida’s southern Atlantic Coast. They occur along the coasts of Mexico, and throughout South America.   The distinctive bill shapes are somewhat famous in North American archaeology, as they show up as decorative elements on pottery found in Iowa, Illinois, and Missouri between 200 BCE to 400 CE.  These are areas far outside of the geographic distribution of these birds.  Such art-work helped support the concept of a far flung interaction amongst prehistoric peoples throughout Eastern North America.  People traded copper from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan; catlinite, or Pipe Stone, from Minnesota; conch shells from the Gulf Coast; spike freshwater mussels from Eastern Georgia, used for personal adornment, such as necklaces; and had knowledge of fauna and flora from other parts of the continent, like the Spoon Bill.  Pottery in Illinois was made from local materials using decorative motifs of birds from another part of the continent.  How did ancient Illinoisans know what these birds looked like?  We have examples of skeletal remains of these birds found buried with humans from the time.   <p style="text-align: right;">Parrots—Scarlet Macaw.  I used information from the Rainforest Alliance to obtain information on this species.  Our class provides the following information:</p> “Parrots have a heavily curved, short, strong bill; distinctive group. Large head Short neck Short, strong bill with upper mandible curving over the lower one Short legs Many with brilliant colors on parts of body; mainly green” Scarlet Macaws are large birds and represent the largest of the parrots in the world; they can be up to 33” long from tail tip to the tip of the beak. Their faces are almost featherless and white.  The dominant color is red on wings, tails, and body.  The wings also have yellow and blue feathers. The large curved beak helps the bird eat the hard nuts found in the rainforests of Mexico and throughout South America. It is not uncommon to find hundreds of these birds clinging to clay cliffs along a river, as the clay helps neutralize poisons they ingest when eating certain toxic fruits that would kill other animals.  They live in large gregarious groups in tall deciduous trees near rivers.  They like to nest in holes found in dead trees and they mate for life.  Adults love to preen one another, as well as their offspring, which helps form strong social bonds.  These magnificent birds are sometimes stolen from their nests as juveniles to be sold in the United States for as much as $4,000. Activity2-pict
    • ADRIENNE
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      Eastern Bluebird I just signed up for the course as well and find it extremely interesting.  I guess I always liked watching and listening to birds, but I never took the time to really learn much about them.  Since this course I venture out in the backyard and around the local waterways and I see lots of amazing flying neighbors!! The  Eastern Bluebird above is probably one of my favorites because they come and visit with me on the porch, sit on the back of my lawn chairs, and well, just make themselves right at home.  I also think they're cute as well :-) I hope to do more bird watching in my area when Covid is under control, but in the meantime my backyard is showing me amazing things!!!!  Y'all have fun.............................................
      • What a beautiful bird.  They aren't afraid of you, they come to your porch when you're there?  How special.
      • ADRIENNE
        Participant
        Chirps: 4

        @Jacqueline If I'm really quiet  they will come by and I can stand in the doorway or watch from the window .

      • Great photo! Love the Eastern Bluebird. There's a few places I go birding where I see and hear them regularly... always makes my day
      • Kim
        Participant
        Chirps: 3
        We love our bluebirds! We have a pair that raise two families every year in one of our nest boxes. We monitor these boxes for Cornell’s NestWatch project. They ask us to take photos when we check the boxes if we can do so without disturbing the birds. Here are some of our nestlings from this past summer (:D2ECC753-9858-4A1F-9C97-9C950FBACF9F
      • Kristen
        Participant
        Chirps: 3

        @Kim We have recently moved to an area where we've seen many bluebirds! We hope to put up some houses in the spring. Any tips? I am hopeful that we will attract some families! They are so beautiful to watch. They love our birdbaths and we really enjoy seeing them! Thank you!

    • David
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      I have just signed up for the course.  I used to be into bird watching but I guess I let life and career get in the way.  I have forgotten more than I remember.  It seems some feral cats have invaded my neighbor and the birds seem to have disappeared a couple of weeks ago.  I ordered a live trap, and I am going to try to catch them and take them to the humane society.  The squirrels also vanished at the same time, and normally the yard is full of them.
    • Suzi
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      Activity 3, my favorite neighborhood bird is the Phoebe... literally my neighbor as it nests in the eaves of the barn as well as my fixed back door awning. Seeing (and hearing) them return each year means I’m in for the ultimate treat of watching their fascinating and adorable behaviors, listening to their songs, and observing another season of creation as they raise a family. It’s a giddy feeling when I know they’re back!
    • Alicia
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      I just signed up for this class last week as something fun for my friend and I to do together. We have become birding buddies this year. We are in Chicago, so we don't have a ton of diversity in our urban neighborhoods, but we've started to venture out to some of the forest preserves. In our own backyards, we both really love the Downy Woodpecker. We see them here a lot. I only used my phone camera, so the photo is not so great. downy woodpecker
      • Nice! I live in a suburb where the Downy Woodpecker is frequently seen and heard. They're a joy to watch, the way they maneuver in the trees and forage so quickly is amazing!
    • Alison
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      Like many people I’ve gotten into birding since being home all the time during Covid, and starting to notice the natural world in my backyard. I have hung up bird feeders and am identifying birds I’ve never seen before because I never stopped and really looked at them. One of my favorites is the White-Breasted Nuthatch because it’s so lively and dances around on the tree trunks like a little sprite. I have a wonderful Hairy Woodpecker who has discovered my suet feeder, as well as some Ladder Backed Woodpeckers and a female Williamson’s Sapsucker who seems to live on one particular tree in my yard. The Sandhill Cranes picture is from a recent visit to Bosque Del Apache, which is basically bird heaven here in beautiful New Mexico. These birds have given me so much joy in these difficult times.658A0AB1-0749-4E12-9BA6-5A114581E395B14E0F27-5D4F-45BF-B9FA-C45B425532785ADD53F2-C66E-4FBC-8B67-A3D23F7FB58D
    • John
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      I saw these beauties while watching the sunrise off Pompano Beach in South Florida. Unfortunately, the Merlin Bird ID app did not help me identify them right away.  So I dug into other references, finding hits in All About Birds, Audubon, and Birds of Southwest Florida. They are Black Skimmers. It was incredible watching them soaring back and forth across the beach, the entire flock moving as one, finally settling a few yards from where I was standing. Black Skimmers - 2020-11-28 The pigeon landed in the foreground just as I was taking the picture.
    • Mary
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      I recently put a bird feeder in a tree next to our patio and this has become my primary bird watching experience as we are rather homebound during the pandemic.  Over the last week, I've been able to identify three perching bird species: (1) Black-capped chickadee, (2) black-eyed junco, and (3) spotted towhee.  We also have a hummingbird feeder and have a steady line-up of Anna's.  When we first put up the hummingbird feeder, I wasn't able to distinguish the family, they just looked like a tiny metallic green bird.  It was when one turned his head toward the sunshine that I first saw the flash of crimson head and throat.  I identified the chickadees using an old National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds.  I was already familiar with the juncos, but the spotted towhee is new to me, I hadn't seen it before we installed the seed feeder.  While cleaning my patio this afternoon and getting ready for winter, I spent about two hours sweeping, moving flower pots, and cleaning all the while the chickadees didn't seem to mind, they continued to feed.  At one point, I stood still just a couple of feet from the tree and just observed the feeding activity.  They took from the feeder and flew off to another branch to work at their food.  They are the most delightful birds, very active and surprisingly tolerant of other birds.
    • Rachel
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      I was finally able to identify my favorite bird today! I've read about the ruby-crowned kinglet and how they can survive the bitterly-cold winters even though they are so small. I think they are more common in western Oregon now that it is late fall and today I saw one outside my window in my front yard. It reminded me of a wren at first, then I saw the black and white lines on the wings and white eye ring. The bird hopped around on a brush pile then, suddenly, it flashed the red crown feathers! It was near another kinglet who also flashed back - two males. What a treat! It was my first time recognizing this truly great little bird in the wild. I wish I had taken a photo, but I was too excited!
      • Alicia
        Participant
        Chirps: 2
        I had never even heard of the ruby-crowned kinglet before, but then spotted this unusual looking bird in a bush one day several months ago when I was walking a dog (I own a pet care business). After looking it up on some apps I found out what it was. I've never seen one again. So cute. I just signed up for this class with my friend this week. We have become bird watching buddies during the pandemic. ruby crowned kinglet
    • Peggy
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      This Great Horned owl stays all day hidden in the depths of the tree behind our house, then takes off each night just about sunset.  He puts on quite a show for us and our neighbors because he scoots out onto a branch about a half hour before flight and just hangs around.  Take off is amazing, such huge wings! 12A23022-8799-4750-9A14-52A0B92ED81C
      • Alison
        Participant
        Chirps: 10
        That’s awesome! What luck to have him as a visitor.
      • ADRIENNE
        Participant
        Chirps: 4

        @Alison Great Horns are beautiful  Owls. You can bet something is peaking his attention !! Nice pic.

    • Sara
      Participant
      Chirps: 9
      The first bird I was able to identify from my feeder last year, using my new guide book, was the Dark-eyed (Oregon) Junco, I loved watching it flick food out of the feeder then jumping down to the ground to eat it, thankfully I am seeing them again around my apartment, sadly I had to take down the feeder this summer as I was also attracting a large family of rats underneath  my feeder and my landlord was not happy:( Every time I see a Junco, now, I smile and think of the start of my becoming a birder:)
    • Susan
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      I chose the Belted Kingfisher. I met a few kingfishers this summer-fall while kayaking on the Hudson River. They come across as quite the characters: chatty and bossy, but so fun to watch. At first, I had mistaken them for blue jays since it seemed--from a distance--in flight they have similar markings on their wings.  In researching them for this activity, I discovered that what I thought was a male is actually a female. This is one of the few species where the female is more brightly colored than the male. She has a rust band or belt, whereas the male does not. They burrow into fairly deep holes. I also looked up the red-breasted nuthatch since I have two who have been spending a lot of time at our feeder since October. They are often around chickadees and titmice, and I wasn't sure if that was just our two, or a coincidence. But apparently this is common behavior. I really love watching them hop up and down the tree, then dive in for a quick grab at the feeder. My source of information: Cornell Lab, All About Birds.
      • Suzy
        Participant
        Chirps: 1
        I love Kingfishers! I'm wondering into which of the general categories mentioned in the previous lesson do they fit? I thought probably "Other"? Incidentally, "kingfisher" is one of the nature-based words that was removed from the Oxford Children's Dictionary in favor of words like "broadband". This prompted naturalist Robert McFarlane to write the wonderful book The Lost Words. Perhaps instead of removing the words from the dictionary, birding and other nature studies could be (re)introduced to children!
    • Tufted Titmouse I don't have a very good picture that anyone could use for identification.  But, since the pandemic and our lock-down in March (I live in Central Illinois), I had not bought bird seed for my multiple bird feeders until October. Our pergola, from which all feeders had been hung, has been taken down due to rot and the danger that posed. I bought a shepherd's hook and hung a tube feeder from that and a suet feeder from a tree. Then I waited, and waited, and finally a Tufted Titmouse darted into the yard during the second week of November. The bird landed in a Red Bud tree. It then flew to the tube feeder to eat, then it went back to the tree. It chirped several times, then a second Tufted Titmouse joined the first one. They collected food at the feeder, then flew to the tree. This species grabs food, then goes to a more protected location, like a nearby tree. There the bird uses its feet to process seeds, according to the Cornell course "Feeder Birds, Identification and Behavior." Also, in the winter, this species provides safety to other birds found in flocks with mixed species composition that include chickadees, woodpeckers, and others (Contreras, T.A. And K. E. Sieving, 2011. Leadership of Winter Mixed-Species Flocks by Tufted Titmice. International Journal of Zoology, pg1-11. DOI: 10.1155/2011/670548). Tufted Titmice are vocal in the group and help provide information to others about predators. As a newly minted amateur birder, I find this species to be a very cute bird, full of personality, pleasant to watch, and fairly bold. I am pleased to learn so much about it. I like it because it was the first species to re-inhabit my back-yard feeders.
      • Elizabeth
        Participant
        Chirps: 1
        The tufted titmouse is one of my favorites too.  The other day, just after a rain, a tufted titmouse was carefully turning over wet maple leaves on my back patio and eating up whatever he found underneath.  It was a good strategy for him because whatever he was finding under those wet leaves, he was five for five in terms of success! Betsy (in Virginia)
    • BRENT
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      Activity 2. I recently purchased a telephoto lens.  Now I can take a photo and use the iNaturalist app Seek to ID the bird from the photo(s) on my desktop screen._T6A4452
      • What a wonderfully detailed picture.
      • Alison
        Participant
        Chirps: 10
        I just ordered a telephoto lens for bird pictures too! I love birds of prey, and you got a good shot of him.