• cynthia
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      Perusing the Wall of Birds, I found my favorite to be the Phainopepla. It looks like the literal dark horse of cardinals. Its call/song reminded me a little of that of the red winged black bird - slightly annoying, but also musical. I also like the notion that the Phainopepla’s behavior/patterns are still under question - the Jekyll/Hyde description caught my attention. I’m only seeing songbirds in my backyard at the time of writing: sparrows, finches, cardinals, robins (occasional junco). I pondered on the robin, however, wondering why it’s categorized as a songbird. Following the descriptions given in the course material, I would have called it a chicken-like bird - mostly because I only ever see them walking on the ground. Do chicken-like birds never perch? I wondered whether the characteristics of how birds look are weighted in some way to cause them to be placed in one category over another. I think my favorite neighborhood bird is the cardinal. They speed through the back yard with a streak of bright red. It’s attention-getting and cool. I enjoy their morning calls, too. They call to one another from across the yard and I enjoy listening to their conversation.
    • Glenda
      Participant
      Chirps: 9
      Greetings from the Languedoc region of France. Activity 1: The Wall of Birds is a wonderful learning tool. I'm so happy to be able to access it online. Favorite birds are had to pick. Today, I’m going with the White-throated dipper as my favorite. This little bird feeds underwater in fast running streams, and is fascinating to watch. Activity 2: On my walk this morning, I found a number of birds in various categories: Two Red-legged partridges having a dust bath at the edge of the path (chicken-like); Black kites soaring overhead (raptor); and the colorful European goldfinch (songbird). Activity 3: My favorite neighborhood is the Eurasian Hoopoe. It has an almost magical appearance, from it’s distinctive feather crown and long, curved bill to its boldly striped wings. Their call is a distinct "hoop-hoop-hoop". I hear them often, but see them rarely. 4B4AB5AE-7451-439E-8969-5EAA0836C36A_1_105_c D429DAFA-EA4F-4E4B-98B2-C7FA7C2861A8_1_105_c
    • David
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      Browsing through the Wall of Birds there are so many and hard to pick a favorite but I have to say that I do gravitate to the Carolina Wren that I see regularly in my neck of the woods...they have such personality. Here is a picture I took a few years ago of a visitor to our balcony and he left us a present!  I believe it is a Red-tailed Hawk. 2016-10-29 12.57.02
      • Judy
        Participant
        Chirps: 1
        Carolina wrens are my favorite too. I know some people say it's singing "teakettle teakettle teakettle" but I clearly hear it calling my name: Judy Judy Judy :)  A few years ago there was a nesting pair in a hanging plant under my bedroom window and it called every morning at 5:30.  We have a window feeder in the back of the house that attracts brawling American finches and curious tufted titmouses? mice? that cling to the window and peer into the room. I'm enjoying this course for the opportunity to start looking for shyer species that hang out in the woods behind the house.
    • David
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      Browsing through the Wall of Birds there are so many and hard to pick a favorite but I have to say that I do gravitate to the Carolina Wren that I see regularly in my neck of the woods...they have such personality. 2016-10-29 12.57.02Here is a picture I took a few years ago of a visitor to our balcony and he left us a present!  I believe it is a Red-tailed Hawk.
      • Lorae
        Participant
        Chirps: 4
        What a beauty- Great picture !
    • George
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      As I just mentioned in another post, as a new birder, I've become enamored by a Belted Kingfisher on the shore of Lake Champlain in Vermont, USA. And now every time I go near the spot I first saw it, I have to check and see if it's there. It nearly always is. My wife just started birding too and I took her to see if I could show it to her and we saw TWO. I wonder if it's a nesting pair and if their nest is nearby. I keep seeing a very small bird that runs up and down the side of trees. I think it could be a Brown Creeper, but not sure. Lastly, yesterday, I saw a very small bird high up in what looked like a dead tree, going into a hole and coming out with what looked like parts of the tree. It kept doing that repeatedly. Anyone have any idea what kind of bird would do that and why?
    • Lucy
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      Hi there from Australia. I live on the far south coast of New South Wales and spend many hours walking the beaches and inlets in search of shorebirds, they are my favourite group of birds. This is a family of Double banded Plovers that I managed to get a picture of while out and about. I'm really enjoying the course and look forward to gaining further understanding and knowledge of these incredible group of animals. They never cease to amaze and delight! IMG_0134  
    • Linda
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      My favorite bird is always whatever I'm looking at at any given moment. The most common visitors to my feeders are Anna's Hummingbirds, Northern Flickers, and Dark-eyed Juncos, with some occasional visits by House Finches and Bewick's Wrens. I love watching them all.
      • George
        Participant
        Chirps: 2
        I generally agree that my fave bird is the one I'm looking at. But, I have to admit that, as I've just started birding about 1-2 weeks ago, I've become quite captivated by a Belted Kingfisher, as it's the first unusual (to me that means not a robin or crow) bird that I know the name of. I"m in Vermont. Where are you located that you see Juncos and Wrens? I have no idea if we have those here.
      • Nicole
        Participant
        Chirps: 1
        Anna's hummingbirds are pretty amazing. Incredible that they can stay through winter in the Pacific NW. Also, their tail feathers emit a high-pitched noise when they reach max speed at the bottom of their courtship high-dive display (males). My first favorite songbird in the Pacific NW is the red-winged blackbird.20200425_104249I love hearing them. I took this picture during a walk this week in a wetlands preserve in the Pacific NW.
    • Carole
      Participant
      Chirps: 14
      My favorite bird today was a turkey vulture.  I believe it may be nesting nearby.  I've heard some loud, thought stopping calls coming from the woods.  I've heard vultures nest in hollow tree trunks.  And, looking in my field guide, I see they are classified as raptors.IMG_6501
      • Megan
        Participant
        Chirps: 1
        Nice photo Carole ! Turkey vultures are so cool
      • Glenda
        Participant
        Chirps: 9

        @Megan Nice shot! A face only a mother could love.

    • Lisa
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      I have two questions that maybe someone can answer (or will be answered in future segments).  Do the bird groupings presented in this first lesson (e.g. songbirds vs. chicken-like birds, or the various groupings within songbirds) all correspond exactly to some level of taxonomy (e.g. family, genus), or do they cross taxonomies and represent more a convenient learning tool? Also, I see on the Wall of Birds some families that have representatives in both the Eastern and Western hemispheres (e.g. cranes), but some only in one hemisphere (e.g. hummingbirds).  Which is the more common situation for bird families--one or both hemispheres? Well, and related to that--why do families exist in both hemispheres?  Did they have a common ancestor before continental drift? And, those bird of paradise were the coolest, freakiest-looking creatures I have ever seen!  Haven't got any photos to share but saw a bird new to me this morning, a Great Crested Flycatcher.  AllAboutBirds helped me identify it with their sound recordings!
      • Carole
        Participant
        Chirps: 14
        I'm not sure of the answer to your first question, but I'm sharing a pic of a Great Crested Flycatcher I took yesterday.IMG_6485
      • Cathy
        Participant
        Chirps: 5

        @Carole What a cutie!

      • Manyu
        Participant
        Chirps: 42

        @Carole wow , cute shade of yellow.

      • Julie
        Participant
        Chirps: 13

        @Carole Adorable! Thanks for sharing.

    • Sarah
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      Wall of Birds-I don't have one favorite but I really thought it was cool to also see extinct birds and read about them, too.  Many of them were so huge! Around my neighborhood in the past week or so I've seen lots of robins, some mourning doves (a pair sat right by the window), an occasional heron, and I think some type of smaller shorebird, but I don't know which one. My favorite bird in the neighborhood right now is the robin, simply because I can almost always find one somewhere. IMG_1291
    • Ron
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      IMG_1933
      • Evelyn
        Participant
        Chirps: 4
        Hummingbirds are so magical!
      • Manyu
        Participant
        Chirps: 42
        Read about bee hummingbirds in this course, image only 5 cm long bird.
      • Cynthia
        Participant
        Chirps: 6

        @Manyu I watched a National Geographic program recently on Cuba where they showed the Bee Hummingbird.  I had no idea a bird could be that small! I love to watch the hummingbirds when I visit Mexico.  We only have the Ruby Throated ones here in Ontario Canada.

    • Diane
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      While sitting on front porch and teaching a virtual elementary class during covid 19 in Florida, I had 10 species come to the bird feeders, included within 3 different groups discussed in lesson.  Made for interesting class.
    • Teresa
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      Hi all! I’m relatively new to bird watching. I went a handful of times to Valley Forge park to hike with a wonderful bird watching group. They were so knowledgeable. Before I even spotted it, they had various birds identified and zoomed in on the scope! I had a hard time seeing the birds from a far distance. What I really want is to identify by sound. Then I can google the bird and know what I should be looking for.  Anyone else feel this as a viable strategy? I’ve relocated since, so I will no longer be joining that group. I’ll see what’s local to me. Stay healthy, Tess
      • Linda
        Participant
        Chirps: 4
        Hi Tess, A lot of people bird by ear. Oftentimes it helps identify a bird before you can see it, or if the visual cues aren't enough to figure out based on your field guide. It is a skill I wish I was better at.
      • Teresa
        Participant
        Chirps: 3

        @Linda Well Linda, perhaps we can develop that skill. I’m giving it a go anyway!

      • Vicki
        Participant
        Chirps: 4

        @Teresa Cornell also has a course on learning birds by their songs. It's pretty good. They also have a free app that you use to record a birdsong and upload it to their very large library and it will identify the bird from the song. I've learned a bunch of birdsongs this way

      • Danya
        Participant
        Chirps: 20
        You might try to take a picture through someone else's scope with your phone.  I have never been good with identifying many birds by their songs.  I try to get a few photos and go back to my field guide to identify the bird later if I don't know.  Someone with a scope though will tell you the bird's name and then you can write it down in a small notebook.  Having a scope is typically a sign of a serious or advanced birder!
      • Cynthia
        Participant
        Chirps: 6

        @Danya @Danya,  That is exactly what I do as well.  I am often out with friends hiking and don't want to spent too much time searching through my bird book to find the bird so take a picture and then look it up when I have the time.  I also find then that I can zoom in and focus on a particular part of the bird that helps with identification.

    • Jeanne
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      My favorite birds from the Wall of Birds are the Magnificent Frigate Bird, because it was one that stood out on my trip to Costa Rica when I first became very interested in birding, and the Wood Duck, just because I never see them in Southern California and I think they are beautiful. My favorite bird I often see in the neighborhood is the Black Phoebe. She is always visiting the lamp post in my front yard and just appears like such a go-getter.
    • Evelyn
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      My favorite image on the Wall Of Birds is the Blue Heron. Our neighbor has a pond with goldfish and the Blue Heron likes to think of it as his private fishing pond. Luckily Our neighbor now puts a fish net over the top. But when you saw this big guy fly over it looked like a pterodactyl. the shadow was incredible. My two favorite birds,(or should I say three) are my hummingbirds and this pair of Mallard ducks. I planted a hummingbird garden and they come back every summer. We also have a small pond and this pair of Mallards has been coming back every year also. They usually show up in the very early spring, (even in the snow) and they disappear in late fall. I am also really enjoying the course and learning a lot. Thank you so much. IMG_3238IMG_0254IMG_0848
    • Brad
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      I don't see the American Robin on the Wall of Birds.  Does anyone else?  Heading out to look for them now out here in Eastern Long Island.  Everyone stay safe and healthy.
      • Hello Brad,   The reason you won't find the American Robin on the Wall of Birds is because only one bird per bird family is represented on the wall due to space and time constraints. The artist could not have done all ~ 10,000 species so we chose one per family.  American Robin is a Thrush.   The species chosen for the Thrush and Allies family (Turdidae) is the Fieldfare  Turdus pilaris.  If you'd like to find that on the Wall of Birds it appears around Belarus, Poland, Lithuania portion of the map. Thanks for bringing this up as I am sure others have similar questions.
    • Andres
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      Hi everyone. Having a lot of fun with this course. I’m really new (4days) into proper birdwatching but I’m already surprised by the amounts of birds that visit my house. I’m in Colombia (is Colombia not Columbia) South America, 70km south west of Bogotá (600 masl) and just by sitting on a corner I’ve been able to see woodpeckers, hummingbirds, finches, tanagers, quail like birds, kiskadees, caracaras, parrakeets, vultures and even ducks (that needed a 300m walk to a water reservoir though). I’m still not confident neither of families nor species but the Merlin Bird ID app helped me -thanks to the song- to identify the one I put forward as my favorite (as today). A really annoying early bird (gang of them) that make the most laughable of songs conversation (listen to it on the app), The Gray-Cowled Wood-Rail. Really looking forward to improve my ID skills (not even able to choose the Kiskadee I’ve seen), and sharing real fotos (not Merlin) with you. About the Wall of Birds, fantastic artwork, great video (miss my university days), and really hoping Amazon gets my book after the pandemia wethers down. Hope it does soon. Thanks Cornell Lab and Kevin, and all of you. 447D0782-A921-496B-B8D4-B1C65526AAC7
      • Carole
        Participant
        Chirps: 14
        Sounds like you are in a magical spot.  I have clapper rails which are very secretive.  Have you ever heard the saying "skinny as a rail".  I think it comes from the bird because they are "skinny" enough to walk through the rush plants.
      • Andres
        Participant
        Chirps: 6

        @Carole Thanks Carol. Nice to know.

      • Glenda
        Participant
        Chirps: 9
        Sounds like you are located in a birding paradise. I look forward to seeing your photos.
      • Andres
        Participant
        Chirps: 6

        @Glenda By watching eBird, I know now than I´m in a really fantastic spot. Very fortunate. But also I´ve learned how difficult is to take a good picture of a Bird. None the less I share a couple.. L1020019Red-Crowned Woodpecker L1020075 I have not been able to Id this one, but love the silvery head and the proud way he shows off on the most visible branches.

    • Jill
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      DSC06007-300x300 This is a photo from the Hawk Ridge website (Red shouldered hawk) that very briefly visited our tree outside our kitchen window last fall. He probably was after the local/visiting rabbits from nearby woods. Viewing spring and fall migration for the hawks is a fun pastime for our region so these birds have been a longtime favorite. As a black bear recently destroyed our bird feeder we may be on hiatus for bird feeders until next winter!
    • Mary
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      Hello from Western New York. We are blessed by having the Niagara River, the Erie Canal and Ellicott Creek nearby so we get to see different birds of varied kinds. By the water, of course, we see many gulls, which I have to learn more about the varieties. Once at the river I saw a dunlin. I saw what I think were goldeneye ducks by the river a few weeks ago, I have never seen them here  before so I wondered if they were passing through. At my own birdfeeder we get sparrows, juncos, bluejays, cardinals, grackles, starlings, red wing blackbirds (which I just noticed a female for the first time), downy woodpeckers, mourning doves and an occasional goldfinch and Baltimore oriole.  Once I saw a flock (?) of Cedar waxwings on my crabapple tree. A drive of 40 minutes takes us to the Iroquois National Wildlife refuge where we see eagles, herons, terns, sandhill cranes, common yellowthroat, ducks, geese.  I can't wait to get back there to see if there are babies in the eagle nest. Today I went by the creek and saw robins, blackbirds, a pair of cardinals, a hawk being chased in flight by a small bird, a semipalmated plover, and some goslings feeding in the grass near mom, with dad nearby guarding them from intruders! Thanks for letting my share my excitement with you all.  I love hearing what you see from your neck of the woods!
    • James
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      Turkey in Love This old Tom was parading about my front lawn in Eastern MA looking for a hot date (see background) on a cold and rainy Friday night!
      • Carole
        Participant
        Chirps: 14
        What a wonderful sight.
      • Sheilah
        Participant
        Chirps: 10
        Great picture of a turkey. How fun! We also get wild turkeys on our property, and I'm amazed at the size of them, especially when the males have their tails fanned out.
    • James
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      Raptor 1Raptor 2 This fine fellow skulking around my front steps was my motivation to enroll in the Bird Academy course. Red Tailed Hawk?  Other ideas?
      • Cat
        Participant
        Chirps: 2
        I would guess Red Tailed Hawk too! I saw one today soaring low over a park in Brooklyn. They are magical.
    • William
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      Instructive introduction into the fundamentals of birdwatching. Provides a solid foundation on which to build one's knowledge of birds, as a whole, and birdwatching techniques, in particular. Clearly written. Easy to understand. Enjoyable. Living by a large body of fresh water, lined with marshes and trees, riotously loud with birdsongs, now that spring has arrived, I find myself, often trying to distinguish, which bird song belongs to which bird. Already, the first module of this lesson has provided me with the tools to help me discover answers to my birdwatching questions. I now know, delightedly so, who are some of my avian neighbors; robins, blue jays, song sparrows, red winged blackbirds, common yellow throats, mourning doves, cardinals, red bellied woodpeckers, grackles, starlings, red tailed hawks, and, by the time I complete this course, I imagine I will recognize even more of the feathered residents who reside outside my windows. Thank you, Dr. McGowan.
    • Vicki
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      Greetings from Eastern Massachusetts! So great to see how geographically diverse this group is. Activity 1: The Wall of Birds is amazing on it own, and the interactive feature is truly spectacular. I couldn't possibly pick a favorite. There are so many. Activity 2: March 11 was the last meeting of my Wednesday morning bird walk group. We were up along the ocean. One of my favorites of the day was the flock of Harlequin Ducks, a member of the waterfowl species. That same week, just before we were asked to stay at home, I bought a bird feeder and a large bag of wild bird food. My feeder has attracted many local passerines; chickadees (our state bird), house sparrows, grackles, dark-eyed juncos, song sparrows, cardinals, house finches, blue jays, white-throated sparrows, tufted titmice, brown-headed cowbird. Hanging around the base are mourning doves and robins. I heard a northern flicker woodpecker, but did not see it. I also heard a red-tailed hawk but didn't see it. Check out the great app BirdNET from Cornell. You can record bird songs and they will match it to their library of bird songs and tell you what it is. And it's free! Activity 3: I know this is not always a popular bird, but I am really enjoying the grackles. They look more like dinosaurs to me than many of the other birds that visit my feeder. Their colors are beautiful and I love that bright yellow eye.
      • William
        Participant
        Chirps: 2
        Vicky, I love grackles! Their bright, golden yellow eyes, gleaming out of their glistening, black feathered cloaks, captivate their observers. They appear the embodiment of avian magicians. Their eyes, shiny and clear, knowledgeable, speak answers to questions. The ancient Roman augurs knew their clairvoyant abilities, acknowledged their mysteries when divining the sweeping rush of a grackle swarm against an azure blue sky. They possess magic! Augur,_Nordisk_familjebok[1]
      • Vicki
        Participant
        Chirps: 4

        @William Yes!

      • Brad
        Participant
        Chirps: 8
        Grackles are cool!  Love the color when you look close.
      • Glenda
        Participant
        Chirps: 9
        Thanks for the tip on BirdNET! It looks like a great tool for Android users in North American and Europe. I hope it takes off and expands to other platforms and regions.
    • Tamsyn
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      Hi from Western Quebec, Canada! I live at the edge of the forest and have found that the more I learn about birds, the more I enjoy their company... Even the woodpecker (not sure what species, we call him Wesley) that drums on our metal roof at first light, or the robin that repeatedly and aggressively flings himself into his own reflection in the windows around our house. I love hearing great horned owls at night, but I think my favourite bird at the moment is the white-throated sparrow, whose sweet and simple song I remember from early mornings last summer but which I was only recently able to identify! My neighbour has said she has heard an eastern whipoorwhil in our neighbourhood, so I've my ears perked on my forest walks. Thanks for this helpful course!
    • lisbet
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      I am looking forward to this course to learn more about birds. We have mostly sparrows, blue jays, cardinals around the bird feeder and off and on hawks are circling around high above.