The Cornell Lab Bird Academy Discussion Groups Joy of Birdwatching Activities: Local Bird Exploration

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    • Bird Academy
      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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    • Isabel
      Participant
      Chirps: 30
      IsabelTroyo
      My husband and I walk in the mornings and take some pictures. Thanks to eBird and the local Bird Watchers Group we were able to identify this Gray Hawk-Juvenile Buteo plagiatus, San José, Costa Rica 7 November 2020.Rapaz 7 nov 4
    • Rod
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      Rodney Kitick
      Preparing my backyard for the Project Feeder Watch this past week. We have repositioned the feeders and added some pine branches to protect the feeders and are using an old Flexible Flyer Sled to add a ground feeding zone.  Also ,used the interactive Cornell Winter Feeding Web site and Bird Notes to redesign our feeding area for location, feeder type, and feed options. With our first Seasonal Snow and the above changes in place we have observed an abundance of Pine Siskins,  Gold Finches, House Finches, along with our Northern Cardinals, Blue Jays, Red breasted Nuthatches, White Breasted NutHatches, House Sparrows , Black -Capped Chickadees, Downy Woodpeckers,  Red bellied Woodpecker, Red Winged Blackbirds, Mourning Doves, and our Winter Season favorite , the Dark Eyed Juncos !! Of course, with all this activity we have had frequent raids from the Coopers Hawks . And the Ground Feeding Zone has been active especially after sunset, with our some of our four legged visitors, skunk and a good looking young 4 point Buck !
    • Kyle
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      milbrand77
      I watched the Cornell Feeder Cam for a different experience from my normal feeders. 1.  I observed mostly mourning doves, and I saw several red-winged blackbirds and starlings.  The blackbirds were the most aggressive and even pushed out the northern cardinal that showed up. 2.  I definitely spotted a lot of the most like birds today.  The coolest was a turkey vulture that landed near my son and I as we were walking.  It seemed to be enjoying a meal and didn't want to leave.
    • Robin
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      cherobinlee
      Activity 2: I just positively identified the bird whose beautiful song I have loved hearing every fall and spring for so long but have never 'seen'!!!  The golden crowned sparrow!  My daughter and I watched some  at our feeder just now and were so excited to hear their song with the Merlin ap.  It is only during this time of COVID that I have been able to really watch the birds at our feeder and am so thankful for that.  We also have the birds by ear class to complete next after the Joy of Birdwatching!
    • Devin
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      Devin66
      Activity 2: I scrolled through the list of likely birds for Salt Lake City on Merlin and then went to my favorite birding hotspot. I spotted and was able to ID an American Coot, a pair of Downy Woodpeckers, and a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher. These all got added to my life list in eBird. I listened to the call of the Downy Woodpecker and recognized it as one that I had heard before, but didn't recognize until now. Activity 3: I looked at the bar chart for the Black-chinned Hummingbird and learned that they will be leaving my area soon. They must migrate to warmer climates for the winter. I see that, according to their bar charts, the Lesser and American Goldfinches stick around my area for the winter. I look forward to still finding them even during the cold winter.
    • Devin
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      Devin66
      Activity 1: I went to one of the birding hotspots near my house that was listed on eBird. Used Merlin to ID a Black-capped Chickadee. Still having trouble being able to distinguish between an American and Lesser Goldfinch, though.
    • BJORN
      Participant
      Chirps: 37
      suzukiawd13
      DSCF0529   An,  of the 'Crane Order,' Bird. On the north-shore of MA. He probably will go South for the Winter. As far as where ? Northern Georgia ? Is a Snowy Egret a 'must migrate' bird ?
    • BJORN
      Participant
      Chirps: 37
      suzukiawd13
      Activity 1 - I have watched the 'Hairy Woodpecker.' Whom was pecking on some surfaces that were not trees. He was pecking at a seeded lawn, and a hole in my garage. He was bigger than a 'Downy Woodpecker,' and it took me a little guesswork to separate him from an 'Acorn Woodpecker.' I did not know the 'Hairy Woodpecker,' was so big. It must have been a big one. He seem to beak-drum, no matter the surface. And he pecks and drums at everything. Lots of head and beak movements. Also goes from tree, to any surface, with the potential for successful pecking and foraging. Bigger and stronger than I thought.   Activity 2 - I would say, the most likely birds to see this time of year, are the Blue Jays and Cardinals. Because in OCTOBER, in New England, they do not have to migrate. The Canada Goose, you see them flying south, but you still see some of them, for now. I have not seen as many Red Winged Blackbirds, yet I never see them migrate. Do they just disappear ? I just looked it up, they migrate at night. Strange how they are so numerous in natural settings, but unseen as they migrate, and are not seen in industrial settings. Weird. I guess, up until late fall, in the N.E., Cardinals and Blue Jays are still around, and the Canada Goose are leaving in arrow formations. But some are still  at grassy patches for now.   Activity 3 - I learned about some birds, that I did not know before. I know Ospreys pass by here, because they like the N.E., and it is part of their path. I did not know the Red Winged Black Bird was such a popular bird. They are everywhere in a nature setting, but seem to avoid rural settings. There seem to be a lot of WaterBirds that are in watery areas, that must go south of the N.E., and start north of the N.E. Because the Herons and Egrets must go to warmer watery locales, when they need to, in the winter. How far south ? By decision or yearly ? I did not know the Arctic Tern travels so far. They pass by the N.E., I would assume, on their way to the Southern areas. S.America, or the wind channel to Europe/Africa. I still am not sure how, and where, non-migrating birds, stay in the dead of winter. I know my bird photography hobby will take a hit in the winter. Unless, I find out where to find, the non-'must' migrating birds. Snowy owl ? Raptors ? Where are you ?
    • Patricia
      Participant
      Chirps: 18
      patofvta
      Activity 1. I used my afternoon sit spot by my water fountain to count birds and submitted my list to ebirds.  I have explored the Bird Cam, Merlin, and All about Birds.  I have used my field guide mostly to identify birds.  I have used the Merlin Explore but have issues when I try to use Merlin in the field, it can’t seem to provide anything.  So far I have not been able to get one ID correct or use a picture to ID any species.  Sorry, not impressed with Merlin.  All About Birds worked well on my phone and on computer.  I have been exploring and so far have been successful using except when I need a bird ID because it automatically sends me to Merlin.  Seems to have an issue with my location, not sure why it’s not working.  Activity 2.  The Merlin “Most Likely” works while I am sitting at home but I get all the birds in my town, which includes over 200 birds.  I rarely see shore birds at my house even though I am only 3 miles from the beach.  Not sure if I can reduce the location in some way to get birds that are most likely to see at home.  Activity 3.  I have been very impressed with All About Birds and have been able to find 5 birds that pass through my area.  All are new species for me this year, Black Turnstone, Black Eyed (Oregon) Junco, Elegant Tern, Snowy Plover, and Least Tern. Question:  Is there a way to get to All About Birds while using the Ebirds app while counting what I see?  I have to use a browser to get the web site. Pat
    • JackBird21
      Participant
      Chirps: 21
      TBMachine
      Activity 1: I sat on the front porch of our home and observed birds that came to and close to our feeder.  Here is the list of  birds I saw during my 15 minutes of observations: Black-capped Chickadee Mourning Dove American Robin American Goldfinch Pine Warbler   Activity 2: Using Merlin’s “Most Likely” species feature, I was excited to see how accurate this tool is as each of the 5 birds I observed (above in activity 1) were listed as likely  !  While I am familiar with each of these species, I followed the instructions and listened to the call and song of each species on Merlin. The Pine Warble is awfully quiet when it calls and it has a very high pitched call that is hard for me to hear.   Activity 3: Using range maps I found five birds that pass through our area, that I knew nothing about ! Eurasian Wigeon (call is loud and "WEE are) American Wigeon (call sounds like squeezing a childs toy) Greater Scaup (call sounds like a screw gun) Lesser Scaup  (call sounds like a chicken clucking with a "whoop" like spinning a 45 record backwards) Clapper Rail (call is kik kik kik) I went to All About Birds, as well as Merlin to read a little bit about each of them.  I listened to each of their calls and songs, and looked at the bar chart to determine which were likely to be in our area the next two months (September and October).
    • Claudia
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      cqtull
      1. We went to Silver Springs State Park and hiked a trail through sand hills to wetlands and to Silver River.  Along the trail we saw red shouldered hawk, Quail, Woodpeckers: red bellied, red headed, and pileated, bluebirds, chickadees, and cardinals. At the river we saw Anhinga sunning themselves. 2. I hadn't used the most likely filter before and discovered most of the birds I see looking out windows or sitting in my backyard: house finch, wrens, chimney swifts, pileated woodpeckers, red bellied woodpeckers, humming birds, American crows and fish crows, bluebirds, downy woodpecker, and white Ibis. 3. I hadn't used the bar charts on ebird before. So helpful. In August we identified 7 Mississippi Kites traveling through. We've heard warblers but they are so difficult to see. The charts and sound recordings really helped us id Northern Parula, great crested flycatcher, and pine warblers. We've heard the whistling ducks fly overhead and observed a Great Egret plucking a lizard out of one of the bushed in our front yard.
    • Kathleen
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      tummychair14
      I regularly see white breasted nuthatches, robins, blue jays, house finches, ruby throated hummingbirds, sparrows, and downy woodpeckers. I have suet feeders, hummingbird feeder, and seed feeders. My thistle feeders haven’t seen much action lately but gold finches have been seen previously. I have many squirrels that try to rob my bird feeders. I have a corn stand for them but it doesn’t stop them from stealing bird food.
    • Lou Anne
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      hostetlerl
      Activity 1 I watched a bird cam at Cornell bird academy and saw 3 blue jays, 2 downy or hairy woodpeckers, a squirrel and a black bird with a long tail and a long curved beak maybe a common grackle or a crow. I also saw a squirrel.  Then I went hiking at a county park this evening and saw 2 great blue heron, some northern cardinals,and  a blue belted kingfisher that I could I'd. Activity 3 I researched the yellow billed and black billed cuckoos who are here in the summer in wet areas. Their bills and tail colors are different. I looked up the black crowned night heron and yellow crowned night heron--they forage at night and the yellow crowned have a longer neck,legs and a stouter bill-both here in the summer. Wilsons snipe is here in the winter along grassy edges of freshwater ponds or among muddy stubble.  Outer tail feathers produce a low pulsing whistle and song is Tikal's Tikal's Tikal's.  I didn't think snipe was a real animal or bird.
    • Diane
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      Dstenzel
      Activity #3:  I did not realize that there were so many types of vireos in my area during the summer months:  Warbling vireo, Red-eyed vireo & White-eyed vireo!  I will be looking and listening for these in the future!
    • Jennifer
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      Tanagerlover
      Activity 1: I took the below picture. I was visiting a conservation lake area. Suddenly, I heard some rustling and this beautiful Great Blue Heron flew by and then perched on this post. He appeared to be doing some grooming and otherwise did a great job of modeling for all of us that had gathered to see him. He remained there for quite a long time.
    • Jennifer
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      Tanagerlover
      IMG_3399 2A
    • Mark
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      markraby
      Activity 1 - I went to a local conservation area. I saw a pileated woodpecker and a mute swan within 15 minutes of arriving there. Activity 2 - I saw Canada geese, mallards and ring billed gulls - all of which were on Merlin ID's Likely Birds list. Activity 3 - According to Ebird, the following birds pass through my area at some points throughout the year. While I haven't seen them in person, I have studied them online. In each case, I wasn't aware that these birds passed through my area. They are: Tunda swans pass by my area in late March, early April. Red-eyed vireos pass through from May to December. Sanderlings pass through in September and again in November. Lesser Yellowlegs appear here in August - early November. The Yellow-Billed Cuckoo appear between June and July and again in August - Sept. I'm surprised to see the Tundra swan and Yellow-billed Cuckoo pass through here. One is known for living in the arctic and the other is known for spending its winters in South America. Quite fascinating indeed!
    • Luke
      Participant
      Chirps: 13
      Lukins
      email just vanishes when I hit submit ?
    • Jackie
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      jackie.muermann
      • Activity 1-I have a cylinder bird feeder and a log feeder. Everyday I see an abundance of goldfinches, house finches, northern cardinals, mourning doves, red-bellied woodpeckers, hairy woodpeckers and downy woodpeckers,
      • Activity 2-Today I went kayaking on Round Lake, NY and used the Merlin app 'most likely' species for my area today. I saw so many birds from the list including a bald eagle, great blue heron, American Goldfinch and a Red-winged Blackbird. I also saw a double-breasted cormorant which wasn't on the list as well as another bird I couldn't get the Merlin app to identify.20200821_12404520200821_12313820200821_122807
    • Yulia
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      Koreshok
      Activities 1 and 2: First, I made a list of birds that I could see on a chosen spot (around 45 species), looked at their pictures and listened to their sounds. Then I went to the river mouth at the beach early in the morning, observed birds and took pictures and videos. This was very helpful later at home. For example, I noticed Blackish Oystercatcher only in the pictures. Finally I was able to identify 24 species. I saw some of them for the first time (Andean Flamingo, Blackish Oystercatcher and Black Skimmer). Pictures helped me to identify Kelp and Belcher’s Gulls and it turned out I saw both species in two separate groups. Pictures also helped me with the bird count and I could submit my first checklist in eBird. After my bird watch experience I realized that a pair of binoculars and a stronger camera zoom could be very helpful in the future. Activity 3: I looked at Bar charts and range maps of locally seen birds in Merlin Bird ID application. Then I looked up for more information online. Andean Goose: can be seen only in August. It migrates from higher altitudes in the mountains. Puna Teal: wasn’t spotted locally in March through May and mid-September – mid-October. I read that it’s not migratory, but changes altitude to match the season. Austral Negrito: disappears in October and appears in April (breeds in Patagonia). Least Sandpiper: disappears in May, June and July, flies to Alaska and Canada. It can be found at the beach for the most of the year. Tricolored Heron: Starting mid-October through February reproduces in Peru, can’t be seen locally. I realized that many birds, like Roseate Spoonbill or Chilean Flamingo live in the highlands all year round. But sometimes they can be spotted in the wetlands in front of the beach.
    • Beth
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      BPzniBirding
      Activity 3: I don’t think I’m using the Merlin bar chart feature correctly because all that came up for me were American robin, common grackle, northern cardinal, and house finch. I’ve already seen all those in my back yard.
    • Beth
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      BPzniBirding
      Activity 2: Used Merlin’s “Most Likely” feature and the first five birds on their list for my town are already listed in my birding journal for today (meaning, I’ve already seen them in my back yard) — American goldfinch, gray catbird, mourning dove, blue jay, northern cardinal
    • Beth
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      BPzniBirding
      Activity 1: I keep a birding journal in which I record the species I see each day and other interesting (to me) observational notes. I’ve noticed that there is usually a little flurry around 1:00 or 1:30. When I can, I sit and watch. Today’s flurry featured 2 American goldfinches, a downy woodpecker, a nuthatch, 2 chickadees, and a blue jay. Items of note during the flurry: 1) this is the first time the goldfinches have spent a good amount of time at the feeder, usually they’re here and gone in a flash, 2) this was the first time a chickadee checked out the new bird bath we installed last week, it didn’t drink or bathe, just looked, and 3) the chickadee checked out the bird house which we recently elevated about 3 feet higher than it was before, spending a good amount of time on the perch and popping its head in to look around. For a new birder who just started birdwatching shortly after we moved here in late May, gradually adding feeders and other amenities, all these “firsts” are exciting, as is seeing our guest list growing day by day!
    • Judy
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      TziporimenNR
      5C437336-8D00-4766-8192-C19653091ED151D88877-1915-4A57-922B-03AF15923795 I am trying to identify these two birds but so far, have not been successful. The first picture was taken on August 11 in Rye, NY. The second one was taken on July 25 in New Paltz, NY. When I use Merlin, both come up as a Gray Catbird - is that so? Thank you.
      • Luke
        Participant
        Chirps: 13
        Lukins
        Yes, Gray Catbirds. Nice photos.
    • Lisa
      Participant
      Chirps: 15
      lisabj
      Activities 1,2,3 Merlin’s Likely Bird list has been extremely useful. I have seen quite a few of the birds that are likely year round visitors. I made a list of resident likely birds that I had not seen and studied the photos, habits and songs. One day I saw a bird walking the side of our palm tree and remembered that one bird on my list did this. Sure enough when I found that description again it was the right bird, the White-breasted Nuthatch. The distinctive song of the Bewick’s Wren helped make a positive identification when confused by all the small grayish birds. Small gray and brown birds have been the most confusing for me to identify. Before sunset they all show up, flitting between trees, fences and the ground. They mix together on the ground and the late light can mask colors. I just take a good look and sometimes wait to add to a checklist. I also made a list of seasonal visitors from the Likely Bird list. It really helps to have an idea of what you are looking for. I had been watching for the Blue-gray Gnatcatcher for a while. One day there he was on the wire looking just like his picture. Now he sometimes lands right on the deck railing. I was surprised to catch a glimpse of a tiny black and white bird in a big honeysuckle bush. There was a bird like this on my list and looking through Likely Birds Found the Black-throated Gray Warbler. I have seen him a few more times in the same bush.
    • Mary
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      tortorello
      Activity 1: Not much activity at the Cornell Lab Feeder around sunset on Aug 11,2020 -  except for a pair of cardinals - one male and one female.  The male was feeding and fluttering his wings wildly, while the female looked on from her perch on top of the feeder.  The male then flew off, followed by the female;  but then she returned, and started to feed, and also started fluttering her wings, not quite as forcefully as the male had done. She finally settled into quietly feeding for a few more minutes. Checking in again at 7:40 am Eastern time on Aug12,2020: The most obvious visitor was a squirrel, but also saw a red-winged blackbird, bluejay and mourning dove. After the squirrel left, more visitors showed up: some type of woodpecker; a medium-size mostly brown bird, with a white strip on head, white flecks throughout, a blunt not very long beak, maybe some type of thrush Then a lot of black birds (10 or so) with bluish-purplish-greenish iridescent bodies (maybe grackles) showed up and everyone else left. A few hours later around 10:00 am I saw a male and female cardinal; a woodpecker, I think downy; mourning dove, blue jay, and then more of the grackles.   Activity 3: Using Merlin’s bar chart , here are 5 birds that I did not know about and should be passing through my suburban Chicago area now in high numbers: 1.Killdeer - I never would have thought I should be seeing one, and actually have never seen one. It is a shorebird but often nests far from water in parking lots, roofs, edges of roads, and other areas with bare gravel. It has distinctive black and white rings around its neck and face. 2.Blue-gray Gnatcatcher - Never heard of this one, and not sure if I have ever seen one.  it is tiny -  a cute little gray one. Its call seems familiar, but I’m not sure. 3. Chimney swift - I have seen these flying around in groups but did not know what they were. 4. Eastern Kingbird - High contrast black and white body:   a black head and back, and all-white chest and belly; black tail feathers trimmed in white. A rather short smooth round crown I don’t think I have seen one before. Cannot tell if I recognize its call . 5. Gray catbird - Gray or blu-ish gray body, with distinctive red undertail., black cap. Has a variety of calls, but one does  seem familiar to me - sounds a bit like a cat  -  but I do not know if I have ever seen one.
    • Kathy
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      Khicks1539
      It  was interesting looking at the graphs in Activity # 3.  I didn't realize how many birds pass through our area throughout the year.  I have never seen a true bluebird, green heron, or loon, and hope to run across one some day when I am out and about . Walking around my neighborhood I saw crows, barn swallow, mourning doves, house sparrows, a mockingbird, and a couple others I was trying to identify with sounds.  I recorded a couple sounds on my phone and checked in with the Bird ID when I got home but the recording wasn't that good, so not sure what they were.
    • wendy
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      wsummers76
      I saw seagulls (maybe herring gulls), American crows, Purple martins and ruby throated hummingbirds on about 8/3 in finger lakes area of NY. I would like to see Yellow bellied sapsuckers, pileated woodpeckers, Easter phoebe, gray catbird and eastern bluebird.
    • Lydia
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      lpultorak33
      Activity 1: Out side my window today I saw two female ruby-throated hummingbirds, a house wren, female cardinal, a bunch of sparrows, either a hairy or downy woodpecker, and a male goldfinch at my window feeder. There was also a dark brown bird that I couldn't figure out what it was. It was medium sized and shaped like a common grackle, but slight smaller and just brown.
    • Joy
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      jolando17
      At various times at my feeders were Northern Cardinals and fledglings, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Titmouse, Carolina Wren, Mourning Dove, Goldfinch, House Finch, Blue Jay, and a very small brown finch that I did not recognize. In my neighborhood I have also seen Mockingbirds and Barred Owls, Swallow-tail Kites, and Red-shouldered Hawks. The Kites, I think, were looking for nests that were blown down during a storm. They were flying very low overhead - maybe 10' above me. I love these birds with their split tails.
    • Joy
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      jolando17
      Egyptian Goose? I didn't know this guy came through the Orlando area! I saw them in South Africa!!  Another bird that comes to the area that I've never seen here is the Common Eider. Scoters, Mergansers, and the Chachalaca (whatever that is - have to look it up) make up the rest of the 5. These are according to Merlin. I am getting a new pair of binocs to do some more bird watching and hopefully, I will see some new species (for me).  Haven't been out much as the temps during the day and early evening are mid 90s with feel like in the 100s. Between temps and Covid, I've been staying in the house most of the time. But armed with binoculars, I plan to do some early morning bird watching!
    • Tricia
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      fred daly
      Activity 1:  I didn't do very well with this activity.  I walked down to a picnic spot near to the Molonglo River and spent 15 minutes trying to spot birds, but didnt see many.  I saw two Sulphur Crested Cockatoos and three Galahs fly overhead, and there were some very small birds in the undergrowth but they were too far away and too fast-moving to identify them.  There were plenty of birds around - I could hear them in the trees and shrubs, but they kept themselves hidden and I couldn’t recognise their calls.  On the plus side, it was a good chance to practice using my binoculars and it was good to spend a little bit of time just enjoying nature. On the walk back home I saw Red Rumped Parrots, Australian Magpies, Magpie Larks and Red Wattle Birds.
    • Juli
      Participant
      Chirps: 11
      Juli1321
      This morning I sat out in my backyard birdwatching. I saw lots of Northern cardinals, several Carolina wrens, blue jays, Ruby-throated hummingbirds, Carolina chickadees, red-bellied woodpeckers, a downy woodpecker, an American crow, a brown thrasher, and two red-shouldered hawk. These are all pretty standard visitors in my backyard that I see pretty close to daily. I figured out how to use the "Most Likely" feature on Merlin. I am looking forward to using it in the future. I pulled up the bar chart for my county and went through and found a few birds I have not seen before. I like the way it shows what months they have been seen and in what concentrations. This will be really handy for knowing when I should look for these birds in my area.
    • Jamies
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      Jamies007
      In Calgary, Alberta, Canada, the mostly likely birds seen almost all year round are Canada Goose, black-billed magpies and American Crows. They are seen almost everywhere in the city.  It is still pretty hot outside. Maybe go out another time to see other birds.
    • Cindy
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      Firebird56
      Activity 1:  Sat on my deck in central IL for 45 minutes and several birds came to my feeder.  A white breasted nuthatch, a pair of house finches, a pair of house sparrows, a pair of cardinals, a pair of blue jays, a robin sat on the fence, a pair of red-bellied woodpeckers climbed in the upper parts of my ginkgo tree and a goldfinch flew by without stopping.  Very fun.  I'm beginning to differentiate their calls.
    • Kimberly
      Participant
      Chirps: 9
      ageek917
      Five birds that I did not know passed through our area the Cackling Goose, the Yellow Billed Cuckoo, a Chick Wills Widow, and Eastern Wood Peewee and a Wood Thrush. Yesterday on my bird walk, I heard both the Wood Thrush and the Yellow Billed Cuckoo. Turns out I have been hearing them in my yard for years. I just didn't know what they were. Very fun to learn. download This picture is of the yellow billed cuckoo. I also heard many Carolina Wrens and Cardinals while out walking. I love the Merlin's tool for listening to bird calls. I have always felt my hearing was not discerning enough to differentiate bird calls, but I am learning! It is very fun.
    • Bill
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      wdlovern
      Activity 2 Merlin's most likely is a feature I hadn't used before.  Very interesting and helpful tool.
    • Janet
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      Janetcaperobin
      Activity 1: I saw a variety of birds, many that i know, especially the Cape Weaver which is very common in our area. I did see 4 birds that I have not seen before. The first bird "White-faced whistling duck" (Dendrocyna viduata) there were two of them sleeping in a standing position on the edge of a dam in the reeds. The 2nd bird I am still not able to identify it is a small stocky bird with a sharp heavy black bill and as I was looking into the sun it was difficult to be sure but I could see tinges of yellow and black - it could of been a cape weaver, but is was much smaller. The 3rd bird "Karoo Prinia" sitting on an electricity wire. The 4th bird "Yellow Canary" also sitting on an electricity wire.      
    • C
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      Dinosauring
      This morning I woke up to the sounds of a Carolina Wren and a Worm-eating Warbler.  I was able to see both of them from my window, as well as a Mourning Dove and several House Sparrows.
    • mei
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      meiwli
      Activity #1 - Sitting in my backyard for morning coffee, I saw 5 house finches, 2 morning doves, 1 Anna's Hummingbird and 2 Allen's Humming birds, 1 spotted towhee, 1 song sparrow, 3 lesser gold finches, 1 black phoebe, and 1 mocking bird.
    • Chris
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      graychris
      I spent time in ebird checking out new birding spots near me.  Level of detail was great.  Very informative. I also listened to a local WBU podcast regarding setting up bird feeders which is something that interests me.  There’s a lot to learn.
    • rita
      Participant
      Chirps: 15
      rlaurance
      activity # 1- I spent time watching the bird cam today and saw a couple different woodpeckers, one red bellied and I think the other was a hairy woodpecker. There were turning doves, starlings, a cardinal. I used field guides, Merlin, and bird today.  recorded my first sighting in EBird- I recorded the red-bellied woodpecker. I think the it must be lying in a tree nearby as the tree has cavities and I see this bird somewhat often. activity #2- I saw a cardinal, a pair of house sparrows, two goldfinches, a black capped chickadee, a red bellied woodpecker, several blue jays. They were just out and about and at the bird feeder. activity #3- lots of the warbler species fly through here on their migrations between Canada and central and south America. Their maps are really fun to watch. Other birds seen in migration are the red-necked grebe, which according to the map should never be seen here, the Ruby-throated kinglet, which flies down to Central American, then through Michigan and back up to Canada, Lincoln's Sparrow, which flies through Michigan all the way up to Alaska and then back down to Central America, Swainson's thrush, which makes it all the way down to South America and then back up to Canada, and finally the Rusty Blackbird, which flies through Michigan on its way north to the upper half of Canada and Alaska, and back down south to the upper half of Florida and Texas. I don't know that I've ever seen any of them.
    • rita
      Participant
      Chirps: 15
      rlaurance
      Activity #1, part 1 Today I heard many birds but didn't get to see very many. I have a new pair of binoculars, and the first bird that I was able to see through them was a hummingbird. Hummingbirds spend a lot of time at the monarda in the garden, but also travel from plant to plant. My favorite way to feed the birds has been to have plants that they like, but today I put out bird feeders with seed and suet and suet cakes around the garden. I heard a cardinal, a woodpecker, a jay, m goldfinches, chickadees, and a few others. I plan on watching BirdCam ad trying to identify more birds. I have been listening to a video of birds and their bird songs from my region. I find that I am not as up on my birdsongs as I thought. Even though I was up quite earl this mornings I was unable to identify very many birds by their songs. There was definitely a cardinal this morning singing quite boldly, but I could not find it to view it or take a photo. So I am creating a bird watching area out of my own yard, using my house as a sort of blind. I can go from room to room and see areas of the garden out different windows. Then there is a park next to the house and there should be more birding opportunities there. But using ebird I have also discovered that there are several hotspots in and around Ann Arbor, and a large variety of birds to be seen, if I just get out and about in the parks and nature areas.
    • Eric
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      shark_7
      Activity 1: After 15 minutes, I saw and heard:
      • Puerto Rican Woodpecker
      • Puerto Rican Oriole
      • Puerto Rican Tody
      • Puerto Rican Bullfinch
      • Puerto Rican Emerald
      • Red-tailed Hawk
      • American Kestrel
      • Loggerhead Kingbird
      • Gray Kingbird
      • Scaly-naped Pigeon
      • White-winged Dove
      • Antillean Euphonia
      • Orange-cheeked Waxbill
      • Black-whiskered Vireo
      • Pearly-eyed Thrasher
      • Greater Antillean Grackle
      • Bananaquit
      • Black-faced Grassquit
    • Eva
      Participant
      Chirps: 9
      Toucanny
      Activity 2: Merlin gave me many likely birds that I could see today, and the top 5 were: the Rufous-collared Sparrow, the Clay-colored Thrush, the Blue-and-white Swallow, the Great Kiskadee, and the Blue-gray tanager. I have seen all of those species around here. Activity 3: the 5 birds that I didn't know passed through here are: the Blue-vented Hummingbird, the Collared Redstart, the Flame-throated Warbler, the Ringed Kingfisher (the largest kingfisher in the Americas), and the Sooty Thrush, which has a marvelous song. These are only a few from the long list of Likely Birds near me that Merlin listed.
    • Montana
      Participant
      Chirps: 15
      mvasquezgrinnell
      Activity #2 & #3: Apparently we can see hummingbirds, chimney swifts, and Northern Rough Winged Swallows where I live. I have never seen these during my trips outside. I've seen hummingbirds only at feeders in regions north of me and south of me. I would love to see one in the wild! I'll have to try activity #1 when the rain stops here!
    • Matthew
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      mdonahu4
      Activity 3: I decided to learn more about birds I had heard of but didn't know to look for. It turns out chimney swifts are everywhere, and I've probably seen a lot of them and had no idea what they were! Yellow-billed cuckoos look almost too tropical to live near me, so I hope I get to see one. Also learned more about great horned owls, american kestrels (oh boy are those guys cute!), and eastern kingbirds.
    • Lisa
      Participant
      Chirps: 15
      lisabj
      I watched the birds cams for the first time and they are amazing! The Red Tail Hawk cam showed first attempts at flight. The cam at Sapsucker Woods is very busy! There were a lot of Starlings, a Nuttall’s Woodpecker, a Mourning Dove, a Red Winged Blackbird, and a Blue Jay while I watched.
    • Stephanie
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      Jubchas
      Activity 1: Pick a birdwatching spot in your area. It could be out your window, at a local park, or a nearby nature preserve. Or try watching a BirdCam—feeder cams are an especially good choice for seeing different species! Just watch birds for a good 15 minutes. Make a note of all the birds you see or hear.<p> I sat  at Shilshol Bay Marina in Seattle for about half an hour. It was late in the afternoon, around 4pm (next time I'll go early in the morning). I saw the following * rock pigeons * Glaucous Gulls * American crows, lots of them * a small brown bird that I could not clearly identify. I noted the following: smaller than a crow, larger than a sparrow, round body; longish tail, beak slightly smaller than head;  its flight pattern had a rapid beating then short glide, bobbing up and down. A chirping call.<p> I was feeling pretty disappointed with this visit, as I could have seen all of these birds from my yard (well, I might have had to walk down to the corner store to see the pigeons). Then, just as I was preparing to go, I saw what I later realized was pigeons mating - https://youtu.be/5Moiesnn7bI.<p> Activity 2: Use Merlin’s “Most Likely” species feature to find out what birds you are likely to see locally today. If you can, go out and try to find some of them. Be sure to listen to their call and song on Merlin. Maybe it’s a song you’ve heard before, but you didn’t know who made it!<p> I've decided to make this activity my summer project.  I'd like to learn more about 3 birds a week from the Most Likely list in my area. There are 195 birds on the list in Merlin. I will start with the 16 birds on the Common Urban Bird list from the Seattle Audubon (which I just joined) - http://www.seattleaudubon.org/sas/About/Conservation/UrbanHabitat/UrbanHabitatandBirds/CommonUrbanBirds.aspx.
    • Aidan
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      Vexium
      Going out around my complex I saw: 3 Anna's Hummingbirds, 3 Black Phoebes, 1 American Crow, 1 Tree Swallow, 2 Red-breasted Nuthatches, 3 American Robins, 6 House Finches, 12 Lesser Goldfinches, 9 Dark-eyed Juncos (a few juvenile), and 1 California Towhee. Quite a nice ecosystem for an apartment complex!
    • Daniel
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      Bird25
      Activity 1: Looking at the bird feeder in my backyard, I saw: White-Breasted Nuthatch Blue Jay Red-Bellied Woodpecker Mourning Dove The lighting wasn't great at the time I did this so I saw some silhouettes but couldn't tell what they were.   Additionally, I heard: Black-Capped Chickadee and several other calls I didn't recognize.
    • Liz
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      Liz Kranz
      I forgot to add the variety of wood peckers I have around my home. And the raucous blue jays In winter the downy and hairy wood peckers and the red breasted and white nut hatches are always at my suet. In the forest near me I can finally distinguish between the sounds of the northern flicker and the piliated wood pecker. Occupationally I see the little brown creeper. And on a rare occasion a yellow bellied sap sucker will visit.
    • Liz
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      Liz Kranz
      In front of my home is a good sized river where I see a multitude of ducks migrating in the spring. The great blue heron and some Canada geese stay for the summer. I was so excited to hear the american bittern last week. Behind me is forest so I am learning some of the various birds here. So fascinating. But now I am more able to pick out the many songs and realize all the ones I still do not know. What variety. The first bird I hear in the morning is the pine warbler, then the robin, soon followed by the song sparrow and the red eyed vireo. Ravens, crows, mourning doves, red winged black birds, grackles, chipping sparrows, oven birds, ruby throated hummingbirds and phoebes are common also. Others that I hear less common on my bike rides beside the forest are: blue headed vireo, chestnut sided warbler, yellow rumped warbler, cat bird, veery, wood thrush and one of my favourites: common yellow throated warbler. I took a bike ride to some open farm fields and saw a black bird on a wire. I assumed it to be a red winged black bird but when it took off I could see white patches and heard an intricate long pretty song. I had to go hunting in my bird book and asked the Cornell Lab of Ornithology bird song collection to discover it to be a bobolink. The variety of life, or all our fellow creatures astounds me! DSC08855
    • Jennifer
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      jennferguson76
      Activity 2: On today's walk with the dog, I was able to see some American Robin, Mourning Doves, Barn Swallows, Blue Jays, and House Finches. The Mourning Dove was nice see. I typically only notice the Eurasian Collared Doves, so I'm always happy to see the native birds around. I was also surprised to see a Western Kingbird, which according to Merlin is a most likely species, but I've never seen them in my neighborhood.
    • Meghan
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      heyhey907
      Yay! this was a helpful section. I figured out how to use Ebird a little bit better, to look up the hot spot and then record a track of neighborhood nature trail and birdwatching area Spenard Crossing in Anchorage Alaska. I didn't know there had been 130 species recorded at this little gem! I was hoping to see a redhed, I'll have to go back. I saw 6 species on my walk.
    • Terry
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      drtawpsyd
      After the rain stopped (June 24th in the afternoon) the feeder on my back deck got busy again.  Goldfinches, titmice, nuthatches, downy woodpecker, house finch, and chipping sparrow have all been regular visitors. House Finch 1Male Goldfinch
    • Terry
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      drtawpsyd
      While it poured rain at my home this afternoon, I spent several peaceful minutes watching the Cornell FeederWatch cam.  Immediately I recognized the blue jay, the grackles, and the male cardinal. A woodpecker appeared but was hidden by one of the feeders.  I noticed a red patch but I couldn't tell how large the bird was until it moved to another perch.  Hairy, for sure!  And a little while later, a red-bellied woodpecker!  Red-winged blackbirds, several mourning doves, and the cardinal front and center on the platform feeder.   I recognized the call of the mourning doves and the squeak of their wings.  The red-bellied woodpecker has moved from feeder to feeder, snacking from each one. Here are two I need help with: Screen Shot 2020-06-24 at 2.49.49 PMScreen Shot 2020-06-24 at 2.49.36 PM
    • Karen
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      KarenBFS
      June 23: a pair of  Carolina wrens  built a nest in a flower pot outside our kitchen window in southern Rhode Island. We saw them bringing bits of twigs & grass for the nest most of Saturday. We can't see into the nest, but we see one or both of the adults generally around 5:30 AM and at our dinner time. Most of the day the nest is completely quiet, so we're never sure if the birds are still around until one shows up. watering the flowers and working in our kitchen are challenges. In the woods near our house we saw an Orchard oriole nest last week. When I first saw the male near the nest I didn't recognize it as an oriole at first: it is much darker orange-red (the Sibley's calls it chestnut) and slimmer than the Baltimores that I'm more used to. We saw both parents bringing food. The nest was quiet this morning and no sight of the adults.
    • Linda
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      LindaJimP
      Hi!  I now know about grey catbirds...have heard them many times but finally put a face to the song!
    • Jacquie
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      Jsamples
      My son and I are taking this course together.  We did these activities and really enjoyed learning about local birds. My son started his life list last week and already has identified 14 birds in our backyard.  Instead of doing the suggested activities, we are using what we learned in this lesson to plan our upcoming vacation bird watching since we're going to the beach and aren't as familiar with shore birds.  We have our binoculars ready!
    • Laurie
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      llanodelrio
      Activity #1: We went for a walk yesterday and we saw, the Red Tailed Hawk, the Black Phoebe, Bewick's Wren, Northern Mockingbird, a Mourning Dove, and we heard: and Spotted Towhee, and a California Scrub Jay. Activity#2: We have seen many of the birds that were "most likely", but we will try to spot the Dark-Eyed Junco. Activity#3: The birds we did not know about are, the Violet-Green Swallow, the American Kestrel, Costa's Hummingbird, the Mountain Chickadee, and the Peregrine Falcon.IMG_3776
    • Cathy
      Participant
      Chirps: 37
      cgtv123
      1.  Bird watching exercise.  I looked in the area by my apartment for 10 or 15 minutes for this exercise.   I saw crows, sparrows, robins, and many blue jays.  I hadn't previously noticed how steeply blue jays could dive, and how quick the birds are.   I also noticed that birds often chase each other.  I always knew this but now that I am paying more attention, this seems to be more noticeable to me.   On this day, the crows and sparrows were chasing each other.  But yesterday I saw 2 different species of sparrows chasing each other and actually seeming to fight.  I was quite surprised at how aggressive one of them was. 2.  Merlin's locality tool.  I was very surprised at some of the birds which I could, in theory, see in my area.  I also noticed a bird that I could add to my life list, the orchard oriole. Activity 3: Using range maps or bar charts, find five birds that pass through your area that you didn’t know about:   I didn't know that the following birds could be in my area:  Wood Duck, American Kestrel, Green Heron, Virginia Rail, Cedar WaxWing.  I was surprised to see the Peregrine Falcon on the list.  The university that I went to in the MidWest helped with an initiative to help increase their population in the 1980s.  I was surprised to learn, when I listened to the call recording, that I have likely heard them out East in Maryland where I am currently living.
    • Jon
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      jonblum
      NorthernFlickerBelmontPond061620_1587NorthernFlickerBelmontPond061620_1592 Saw this northern flicker taking a drink at the pond at Fox Run in Novi, Michigan, June 16, 2020.
      • Jacquie
        Participant
        Chirps: 2
        Jsamples
        Wow, great photos!  I am never fast enough to get good bird shots.
      • Jamies
        Participant
        Chirps: 10
        Jamies007

        @Jacquie Same here. We need to be very agile and have a good camera with zooming function to get great shots of birds around. I wonder what cameras most people use in the Bird Academy.

    • Lesley
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      LNinNanaimo
      Activity 1: Walking along the shore in our community on Vancouver Island, I noticed three black birds, between a crow and a goose in size, that were sitting out on rocks offshore., and was uncertain about their identity. I am familiar with cormorants as well as Surf Scoters and Black Oystercatchers, but these three did not match exactly the profile of any of these, although the Oystercatcher was my best guess even though I couldn't see red beaks or legs. The Merlin app confirmed this identification based on the posture of the birds perched on the rocks. Activity 2: Most Likely to be seen today? Several at my feeder! Two Bandtailed Pigeons that squeeze themselves into the feeder and sit there to eat are especially amusing. Activity 3: Using ebird bar charts, I searched on my region: Northern Pacific Rainforest, and specified Migration Season to search for five birds that pass through this area that I didn't know about. So many possibilities -- but the real surprises to me, because I thought these birds were more common in the East and I didn't think they would be seen on the west coast of Canada at all, were: Great Egret, Cedar Waxwing, Purple Martin, Yellow Warbler, and California Scrub Jay. I also learned about some birds that I hope to see: Western Tanager, Golden Crowned Kinglet, Western Bluebird, and Red Breasted Sapsucker, if they show up one day in my region.
    • clara
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      clarys_clgd
      Actividad 1 En el Jardín de mi casa pude observar las siguientes especies de aves Pichitanka (Zonotrichia Capensis), Águila Mora (Geranoaetus Melanoleucos), Gaviota Andina (Chroicocephalus Serranus), Kurkuta (Metropelia Ceciliae), Paloma Manchada (Patagioenas Maculosa), Tortola Torcaza (Zenaida Auriculata), Vencejo Andino (Aeronautes Andecolus), Picaflor Verde (Colibri Curuscans), Picaflor Cometa (Sappho Sparganura), Picaflor Gigante (Patagona Gigas), Carpintero Andino (Colaptes Rupicola), Alkamari (Phalcoboenus Mrgalopterus),Qilli Quilli (Falco Sparverius), Kirki (Psilopsiagan Aymara) Y Canastero Rojizo (Asthenes Dorbignyi) Actividad 2 Las aves que encontré el día de hoy fueron: Águila Mora (Geranoaetus Melanoleucos), Paloma Manchada (Patagioenas Maculosa, Picaflor Verde (Colibri Curuscans), Carpintero Andino (Colaptes Rupicola) Y Alkamari (Phalcoboenus Mrgalopterus) Actividad 3 Los cinco pájaros que pasanpor mi área que no conocía son: Remolinera Común (Cinclodes Albiventris), Chainita Cordillerana (Sparagra Uropygialis), Monterita De Pecho Gris (Poospiza Hypochondria), Mielerito Gris (Conirostrum Cinereum ) Y Amizilia Chionogaster Picaflor De Vientre Blanco.
    • Marcia
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      m.kaye
      Activity 1: I went out in my backyard (I live just north of Toronto) and just sat there. At first I didn't see any birds, although I heard lots. Eventually I started seeing some birds, picking them out against the trees. I was amazed that after an hour, I had seen 11 species: Northern Cardinal, Downy Woodpecker, White-Breasted Nuthatch, Northern Flicker, Mourning Dove, American Robin, Common Grackle, House Sparrow, American Goldfinch, European Starling -- and then a Ruby-throated Hummingbird came to our feeder.   Activity 2: All the birds I saw are on the "Most Likely" list. Nothing rare here -- but still, I was amazed at the diversity!   Activity 3: Apparently the Eastern Bluebird, Indigo Bunting, Blue-winged Warbler, Blue-headed Vireo and Black-billed Cuckoo are all in my area. I've only managed to see the last one -- I'm still on the lookout for the other four!
    • Hannah
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      hvelde
      Activity 1: My birdwatching spot was on my back deck. I saw Common Grackles, House Finches, Mourning Doves, and an American Robin. I also identified two new birds: a House Wren visiting its nest inside my birdhouse gourd hanging from a tree, and a Song Sparrow eating seed from the ground underneath my feeder (both identified using Merlin!). I heard a warbling song from a tree in my yard, but I was unable to identify the bird it came from. Activity 2: The top seven birds on Merlin’s Most Likely list for my area today are: American Robin (seen today), Red-winged Blackbird (seen today), Ring-billed Gull, Song Sparrow (seen today), American Goldfinch (seen today), Northern Cardinal (seen today), and Common Grackle (seen today). Activity 3: Using eBird, I found the following birds that pass through my area: Yellow-billed Cuckoo, American Coot, Great Black-backed Gull, Green Heron, and Purple Martin.
    • Diane
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      maeketsu
      I didn't realize that I had checked "Family" in the Likely tab.  Seemed to limit my findings.  Switched to "Most Likely" in my current location, and suddenly I started seeing birds I see everyday at the top of the list.  Also, I affirmed my identification of this beauty. (It didn't show up in my previous settings)  Lifelong goal has been to see this  bird in person!   DSC02321 Great Horned Owl.  Located in a tree outside my front door! 5/17/2020 In addition to the owl, I had no idea that I might see Western tanager, Luzuli bunting, wood duck or mute swan in this area.  I generally see less colorful birds.  I hope to see them around!
      • Cathy
        Participant
        Chirps: 37
        cgtv123
        Beautiful picture.  I love the expression on it's face!
      • Lisa
        Participant
        Chirps: 15
        lisabj
        Changing the setting to Most Likely was a very helpful tip. I was able to make a list of likely birds that I had not seen yet. The plan is to study how they look, compare to similar birds, study their songs. I have already seen one bird on this list, the Wrentit. I am hoping to identify a bird that I hear everyday but have never seen. It makes a distinctive Wheeeeee sound. If anyone has an idea I would love to hear it. And beautiful photo!
    • Margaret
      Participant
      Chirps: 13
      pegkahn
      Activity 3. Using range maps or bar charts, find five birds that pass through your area that you didn’t know about. You can look on eBird, in field guides, on All About Birds, or use Merlin. Using these tools I investigated birds that I had never seen and are hard to spot because of where they alight or fly and because they are present but uncommon. I was unaware that the Indigo Bunting was present in this area.  The male is very blue when breeding, and the nonbreeding male is more speckled blue. Females are brown overall with whitish throats and a bluish tail. This bird seems to have a thick conical beak, darker gray on top and whitish on the bottom. Juliet Berger, our outstanding local ornithologist, has posted a spectrogram, but I find most calls hard to identify and remember. The Yellow Throated Vireo also appears in some of the natural wooded areas in the county according to hotspot checklists on EBird and Merlin. It is sparrow-sized and has a bright yellow head and eye ring (bright yellow spectacles), a white underside and white wingbars on black wings, with a thick bill that looks grayish blue from photos. It often favors tall trees near water. The Red-Eyed Vireo is similarly shaped but differently color patterned. Most of the photos show a dark or gray cap, a white streak above the eye, and a dark line through the eye. The back is yellowish (some descriptions say olive green). While some descriptions say there are no wing bars (patches), the photos show wings that are streaked with light yellow. Advanced birders say the red eyed vireo has a very recognizable song, a broken series of slurred notes ending in either a downslur or upswing, as well as well as a recognizable call. The vireos forage in deciduous canopies, probably difficult to spot. According to both EBird and Merlin, Chimney Swifts are present in the local area in summer and fall. Birders refer to this swift as a “flying cigar” because of its body shape. It has long, sickle-shaped wings. The bill is very short and hard to see, and the Chimney Swift has a very short tail. Its plumage is dark gray-brown. It flies continuously with constant wingbeats (no glide) during the day and nests and roosts in chimneys. It eats insects. (I spotted some high-flying, continuously flapping dark birds in a small group yesterday evening; the flight pattern and bird shape were something I had never seen before, and I couldn't identify them.)
    • Theresa
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      tet1512
      I've been using Merlin for a while but never utilized the "most likely" feature in Explore Birds.  Tested it out the other night and it is awesome.  I wasn't shocked by the birds at the top of the list--robin, grackle, starling, mourning dove, redwinged blackbird, house sparrow, cardinal--and I think I saw all of them when I went for a walk that evening.  One bird that was just outside the top 10 on the list was brown-headed cowbird, which I've seen in my area but not consistently.  Voila, what do you supposed landed right in my path that very evening, just a few feet away?  :D  Was so tickled to see it.  "Most Likely" will definitely be my default setting in Merlin from now on. It's also interesting that in just a few days, the birds a little further down the list have changed position significantly...according to Merlin, in the next week or so I need to be looking out for bobolinks and meadowlarks in my area, two birds I never would have bothered to look for before.  Just have to find a birding Hot Spot with an open field....      
    • Christopher
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      CD'Antonio
      Since my vista is my sliding glass door, the array of species I see is fairly limited, however I have identified, by sight and sound: blue jays, cardinals, red-bellied woodpeckers, morning doves, house sparrows, song sparrows, robins, and Grackles. Five species that I didn't know were likely to be seen in the area are wood ducks, gadwalls, northern bobwhite quails, yellow-bellied cuckoos, and chimney swifts.
    • Kara
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      kfawley
      During quarantine (and coincidently, spring migration), birding has been a welcome escape and a perfect pastime! My suburban house is outside Philadelphia and near some small forested areas. I have started a morning habit of drinking my coffee outside and logging birds observed within 20 min or so on eBird, using the Merlin app for any tough-to-identify birds. My friend also lent me her Kaufman's guide so I can practice using a field guide. On a typical morning I average about 13 types of birds - the usual backyard suspects - catbirds, house sparrows, robins, song sparrows, Carolina wrens, blue jays, cardinals, crows, and various woodpeckers (red-bellied most common). This morning I spent a little longer than usual, walking across the street to a field at an abandoned school. I saw a couple pairs of birds that through the Merlin app I was able to identify as Great crested flycatchers with their big round heads and light yellow bellies. They were flitting and flirting around the tops of the trees, must be breeding. Next I heard a peewee, whose song I never would have known without the Merlin app, now I hear it all the time! I followed the song and finally spotted it - it kept me company and sang to me for about 10 minutes! Then I was passing time with a few house finches when I saw another black and white bird I'd never seen before perched on a chain link fence. Thanks to the Merlin app I confirmed it was an Eastern kingbird by the white end of its tail. Finally, I was surprised to hear the "Peter Peter" and see a tufted titmouse singing in the branches right above my head. Honestly I can't think of a better way to spend my Sunday morning!
    • Catherine
      Participant
      Chirps: 16
      cvanderplaats
      I have just--once again--watched the Cornell Sapsucker Woods live birdcam--love it! I is really helping me in the identification process--meaning that I'm more aware that there are *many* different-but-similar birds, woodpeckers for example. I see them quite a lot around my area (Island of Montreal), but always assumed they were flickers, Downy's or Hairy. The other day the birdcam had two woodpeckers that I realize I didn't know, and they turned out to be the red-bellied--and my newly bought current Bird Guide book (my original, 1964 edition of Roger Tory Peterson really needed renewal....) helped me decide that what I saw was a pair, and how the female and the male differ: the top of the head of the male is almost entirely red, but the female's red is narrower. Wonderful! The Sapsucker birdfeeders were also obviously recently refilled (I had noticed the birds were getting to the bare bottoms...), and so there were a lot of birds, including what I decided were juvenile starlings: one of the adults was obviously helping a little one in the feeding process.
    • Ann
      Participant
      Chirps: 16
      BCHeritage
      Activity 2 and 3 - Use Merlin’s “Most Likely” species feature to find out what birds you are likely to see locally today. Interesting to explore this. Using range maps or bar charts, find five birds that pass through your area that you didn’t know about. I'm looking for the Hooded Oriole more now; 2 friends of mine have them on their property.  One built an incredible next on the underside of a palm frond!  We do see the European startling - not my favorite bird as they are not native and seem to be bullies.  We have see the brown headed Cowbird - I see that we have 2 types of cowbirds; I had thought there was only 1 type. This hawk shows up in the spring - not seen him/her since it got hot 04290839 hawk
    • Ann
      Participant
      Chirps: 16
      BCHeritage
      Activity 2 and 3 - Use Merlin’s “Most Likely” species feature to find out what birds you are likely to see locally today. Interesting to explore this. Using range maps or bar charts, find five birds that pass through your area that you didn’t know about. I'm looking for the Hooded Oriole more now; 2 friends of mine have them on their property.  One built an incredible next on the underside of a palm frond!  We do see the European startling - not my favorite bird as they are not native and seem to be bullies.  We have see the brown headed Cowbird - I see that we have 2 types of cowbirds; I had thought there was only 1 type.
    • Ann
      Participant
      Chirps: 16
      BCHeritage
      Activity 1: I have 2 places I watch - both on our property.  We have a "bird feeding" area where we put some seeds on the ground, some seeds in a feeder, and hummingbird food in a hummingbird feeder.  We watch in primarily in the morning (only time we put the seeds out).  On the ground, we have mainly have morning doves, white wing doves (although they seem to prefer the feeder), ground doves and gambel quail (sometimes they use the hanging feeder).  Cactus Wren show up but seem to be more after the bugs and stuff on the trees.  Once in a while we get the Eurasian Collard Dove.  We also get a fair number of house finches, sparrows (black chin, house,  and I'm working on figuring out the rest), cardinals, albert's towhee, cactus wrens, and curve bill thrashers.  In addition to hummingbirds (mainly Ana's), the gila woodpecker and northern flicka use that feeder; some other birds sort of use the feeder - they seem to find the slop over from the woodpecker and flicka. The picture is from our "water hole" where we have a camera.  The picture shows a cardinal and one of bigger quail families (we have over a dozen families visiting the water - one group at a time).  Some quail families have 2 sets of parents.  Sometimes in the night photos, we see a screech owl.  Not at the water hole, but we also have great horned owls, burrowing owls 11010496 owl MFDC0181
    • Carol
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      Carol8632
      Activity 1 I found a park in my area that I often go to. On EBird, even though this is not a Hotspot, other people have listed similarly and I look at what they are seeing and know what to expect. I use Merlin app of likely birds to help me narrow down a bird I have seen. I have also talked to people in the park that I recognize from EBird lists.   Activity 2 I was at Oak Hammock in Manitoba, There were a lot of Shorebirds. I saw one and took a picture of one I was not sure of what was. By the likely shorebirds and my picture I identified a Dunlin a new bird for me 0B4A58690B4A5876  
    • Jo Anne
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      joannetpt
      Activity 1 - Cornell Feeder Watch Cam The first birds looked like Grackles to me. Mostly black with a iridescent bluish head and neck. Black bill and legs. But then some arrived with similar colors, dark head, speckles on side and top of tail, and  some grayish streaks. And yellow bill and legs. I heard a metallic sound and also a raspy sound. They were both robin size or larger. Using Merlin, the yellow beak helped identify some of them as a European Starling. The ones with the bluest heads and black bills and legs turned out to be the Common Grackle. Red wing blackbird - black bird, smaller than grackles, red and yellow bar on wing. One blackbird had more yellow than red on band except when it flew. I could hear the Red Wing song in the background. I guessed the next one was a Flicker. Red crown extending down back a little. black eye and bill. speckled black and white back, buff breast. Using Merlin, it turned out to be a Red-bellied Woodpecker. Mourning Dove.  Mostly gray-pinkish, black spots, buff breast-stomach. Merlin agreed with my assessment. Activity 2: Use Merlin’s “Most Likely” species. I found the bar graph to be helpful. Canada Goose This is easiest bird to see on my walk. We have lots of little ponds here. Robin - Very common. I hear it singing every morning and see it on my walks. Northern Cardinal. I’ve been learning the variations of its song using LarkWire. Chipping Sparrow.  I see this bird often, but have not been able to identify its song. Song Sparrow. I hear this bird on some of my walks, but have yet to see it. Tufted Titmouse. I hear this bird very often, but have yet to see it. Northern Mockingbird. I have heard and seen this bird occasionally on recent walks. Wood Thrush/Hermit Thrush? I hear what sounds to me exactly like the call of a hermit thrush, especially early morning or early evening. But it is not supposed to be where I am sheltering in Indiana. The call sounds much more like a Hermit Thrush than a wood thrush. I hear the Hermit Thrush most days at my home in Vermont. Mourning Dove. Saw and heard this morning.
    • Mary
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      MDV1952
      I watched the Cornell Feeder Cam for 15 minutes and saw the following birds:  Common Grackle, Mourning Dove, Red-winged Blackbird, Blue Jay, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker and Hairy Woodpecker.   I used the Cornell All About Birds site to help identify the 3 woodpeckers.  The activity we did in the Joy of Birdwatching to differentiate between the Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers by beak size was very helpful. I used Merlin to see what birds I would find in my local area and saw or heard the following birds: Eastern Phoebe, Carolina Wren, Bluebird, Crow, Cardinal and Robin.   I am participating in Nest Watch as we have three Eastern Phoebe nests on our house.  I cannot monitor two of them as they are in the gables of our two story house.  However, I have been able to monitor the nest on our back porch. I used the eBird bar graphs to see what birds are in our area.  There are several types of warblers that I did not know migrated through our area in the spring and fall.  I also did not realize that the painted bunting was here for a short time during migration.
    • Jamie
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      JamieJoudrey
      I just looked at the Cornell Feeder Cam for maybe 10 minutes and I saw 5-6 different species. Mourning doves, European starlings, Crow, Downy woodpecker and Red bellied woodpecker. It was very cool! I'm amazed that they would all tolerate each other in such close proximity.
    • Zach
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      zmarkiewicz
      I took a my bike down along the Tomahawk Creek greenway near my house in Leawood KS and I stopped at a few places to rest and look for birds.  The ones I am pretty sure I saw included American Robins (they are all over the place here), Great Northern Cardinal, Blue Jay, Common Grackle, Turkey Vulture (may have been a dark brown hawk - was soaring overhead couple hundred feet up), Great Blue Heron, and Canada Goose.  There were lots of Canada Geese - families of them with their young.  IMG-0340IMG-0346
    • Lara
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      LaraDD
      I watched FeederWatch for 15 minutes, and saw 8 different birds, and one cheeky squirrel. I saw: mourning dove, grackle, blue jay, red-winged blackbird, hairy (I think) woodpecker, European starling, cardinal, and red-bellied woodpecker. That was my first time seeing the red-bellied woodpecker, and I used my field guide to be sure what it was. I think I'm starting to get straight the woodpeckers I'm likely to see.  I need more practice distinguishing hairy and downy woodpeckers. The feeder in NY is helpful because it has similar birds to what I have here in Massachusetts.
      • Lara
        Participant
        Chirps: 7
        LaraDD
        I used All About Birds to learn more about red-bellied woodpeckers, and also northern flickers. These are both birds I might be able to see in my own backyard, but haven't seen yet. I also read about great horned owls, because I'm pretty sure I saw one the other night. It was just a silhouette against the sky, really high up at the top of a tree. It was definitely the size and shape of an owl, and I could plainly see the two tufts with my binoculars. Almost every night after I get into bed I hear an owl, and listening to the calls of the great horned owl, that could be it. I'd like to learn how to go out at night and see the owl. Owls definitely have a special fascination, maybe because they are mostly nocturnal so sightings are more rare. I'm used to hearing owls only when I'm camping in Vermont, and really never seeing them. But it seems I must have one or more living near me!
      • Cathy
        Participant
        Chirps: 37
        cgtv123

        @Lara Hi Lara.  I think I have a Great Horned Owl living near me too.  Although I'm in a small city, we back onto a very large park.  I hear the owl at night and it amazes me how loud it is.  I heard it as I was walking around yesterday evening.  I went on an owl prowl through a regional park many years ago, and all I remember was it was very hard to see anything - though we could hear several owls.  I hope that you get more chances to see your local owls.  Thanks for sharing.

    • Kathleen
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      nielsenearl
      Activity 2: Use Merlin’s “Most Likely” species feature to find out what birds you are likely to see locally today. If you can, go out and try to find some of them. Be sure to listen to their call and song on Merlin. Maybe it’s a song you’ve heard before, but you didn’t know who made it! First I checked with Merlin to see how many birds I expected to see.  178!  I looked through and waterfowl, seabirds, wading-birds, chicken-like birds, shorebirds, owls & parrots, I was able to eliminate!  That left only songbirds, raptors, woodpeckers, and hummingbirds.  That's plenty! Because I am stroke disabled, and Covid-19 restricted, I looked only at the area around the house.  I started in the back, with the bird feeders and evergreens, tall and short.  It's Washington state and therefore it was raining...all day.  The first thing I saw was a Stellers Jay, picking around in the grass.  He didn't stay very long...he was alone.  The second thing I heard and saw, was the song of the Bewick's Wren, and sure enough, two came up on the patio and searched for nesting material!  One came hopping up to the door and peeked in with his bill full.  Then they flew away.  A bit later I finally saw a small Anna's Hummingbird come for a taste of our humming-juice.  He didn't stay long either, but two Black-Capped Chickadees came one at a time and flew quickly back to the trees to eat, while the other one flew up to get her portion.  Eventually they chased each other away, presumably in a courting chase.  I looked down from the feeders, and what did I see, but a Spotted [we call them Rufous-sided] Towhee gobbling up some of the seeds the small birds had dropped!  I raised my binoculars excitedly, and of course he flew off.  Before I went to the road side of the house, I was looking for some Dark-eyed Juncos which Merlin said were the only kind in the neighborhood.  I saw lots of Oregon Juncos, but no Dark-eyes.  I guess the Oregons are sub-species, but they sure aren't in our yard!  I had heard crows in the front yard all day, so I was eager to see if there were any kind but Common Crows. It seems the only kinds are common and a few Ravens on any one day.  I am trying to learn how to whistle a few of the songbirds' songs, and I've gotten the Junco's down pretty well, the crow's isn't a whistle it's throaty, but now I'm working on a few of the woodpeckers!  We'll see!
    • Carolyn
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      cfkterry
      # 3.  I've correctly identified about 30 species that have been coming to my newer location (about 5 yrs) and a number of them are new to me.  This lesson helped me learn to use several features of the eBird web page so that I found a Hotspot that is several miles north from me and near the mouth of the Duwamish River at water's edge.  I'm on a ridge overlooking the river so I don't have the water birds but I saw the names of three birds that I have seen on my property and could see what time of year they are most likely to come around so I can be on the lookout for them: the Western Tanager, the Orange Crowned Warbler and the Yellow Rumped Warbler.  I listened to the sounds and don't think I have heard those.  I also listened to the call of the Yellow Crowned Sparrow which I have hanging around this year, and I don't think I've heard the sound - at least often enough to recognize it.  I'm still trying to sort out a few other songs that I'm getting close to getting right a good deal of the time. The Bewick's Wren's call is important because it comes around sometimes but tends to be elusive so I'm more apt to hear it than see it many days. I think I went to the Duwamish spot for a morning view organized by the local Audubon last year.  I went to a few places when I first came here courtesy of a birder who takes tours one can sign up for at my nearby Wild Bird's Unlimited store.
    • Jill
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      jmjohnson
      I just love this course! I used eBird to find local hotspots and decided to try birdwatching at Hamlin Beach State Park in New York. When I was exploring the variety of species spotted at Hamlin Beach by previous birdwatchers, I noticed an interesting bird-the Red-breasted Merganser. I was determined to find that bird! When I arrived at Hamlin Beach along Lake Ontario, I spotted Ring-billed Gulls, Canada Geese, Mallards, Swallows, Robins, Warblers, and Red-winged Blackbirds-but no Merganser.  I continued to hike along the shore line, determined not to give up. Then I spotted three small bird heads, bobbing in the waves. I lifted my binoculars and, behold, three Red-breasted Mergansers (two females and one male). I enjoyed watching them float on the waves and dive for dinner.  Success!
    • Lesley
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      LNinNanaimo
      Activity 1. A startlingly large bird with pigeon-like features arrived at my backyard feeder this week. I was familiar with the Eurasian Collared Doves we see here (Vancouver Island, coastal) but this was clearly larger and had different features: yellow beak and feet, small head in comparison to the body, white cowl at the neck, lovely soft grey and taupe feathers. Merlin ID: Band-tailed Pigeon -- and fairly common here next to the forest, but this was my first sighting of this bird ever in my 50+ years of bird watching!
    • Patrick
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      pyoung_2024
      While watching birds outdoors I was able to positively identify a Downy Woodpecker and a house wren moving into a bird box.  Also a common robin and multiple Bluejays.
    • Vashti
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      vashti
      1. In my yard, there are robins, white throated sparrows, juncos, chickadees, and tree sparrows.  Ravens and harriers often fly overhead.  A pair of mallards have been hanging out in our dugout, which will probably dry up by August, so i hope they move on to find a better place to nest.  There are also several little songbirds ( sparrows or warblers) darting through the trees, but they won't stay still for long enough for me to get a good look at them!
    • Aixa
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      topsytree
      During an afternoon walk in woods near were I live, I spotted a few Eastern Bluebirds. I have never seen them. I did not have the binoculars with me (???) I made mental notes of their behavior and appearance and later used Merlin to ID. I hope to go back to the same spot soon with binoculars this time so that I can verify my initial ID. I was able to stand pretty close to were they were perching to get a good look, which surprised me.
    • Katie
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      kta400
      I have been seeing Baltimore orioles(only 2) at my feeder in mn
      • Patrick
        Participant
        Chirps: 8
        pyoung_2024
        I have two at my feeder a Male and a female. Its amazing how different a Males and females are.
    • Ellory
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      ElloryWS
      IMG_9599 I saw two Rose-breasted Grosbeaks at my feeder in Seneca, SC, near Lake Keowee. I have never seen them here before. Usually the feeder is overrun with cardinals, house finches, black-capped chickadees, red-headed woodpeckers, tufted titmice and the occasional cowbird.
    • Martha
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      marthac1
      I've been spending my morning work meeting watching my bird feeders instead of paying attention haha. This morning I saw what looked like a young blue tit, along with a couple of wood pigeons and a beautiful great spotted woodpecker (photo from a few days ago, this one's a regular visitor). IMG_20200516_202643
    • Sam
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      samalama
      I've been observing birds on my feeder for the last week or so (they just found it yay!).  The first species to come enjoy a treat were the lesser gold finches, which usually come in pairs and one acts like a lookout.  I have also recently been seeing some more house finches who come earlier in the morning.  I observed a bird I did not recognize but didn't get a great look but was making some interesting calls so I used an app called song slueth to get some likely species then looked up further info on ebird to determine it was the California towhee.  Also saw an oak titmouse which is a little cutie.  More bird friends please!
    • Tricia
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      tdthrasher
      Activity 1: Backyard - Observed some of the regulars: House finch, California Towhee, Black Phoebe, Mourning dove. But had a couple of new ones with yellow markings...after consultation with a field guide and the merlin app, identified one as a House finch with yellow where most have the red to orange, and the other as a Lesser goldfinch.
    • Sharon
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      Nubbin
      Activity 1: MidCoast Maine shoreline. Mid-evening sighting of Double-crested Cormorant, Great Black Backed Gull, Herring Gull, male & female Osprey. Gulls & Cormorant we’re feeding. Male Osprey repairing nest. Working to improve my skill at identifying various Gulls. Used Merlin to assist in Gull ID
    • STUART
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      ashtonsa
      Activity 1 Source: Cornell Feeder Cam Following species observed 05/17/2020 1420 DST: Blue Jay -Cyanocitta cristata Mourning Dove (2) - Zenaida macroura Common Grackle -Quiscalas quiscula Northern Cardinal - Cardinalus cardinalus Downy Woodpecker - Picoides pubesceus Activity 2 Great Blue Heron - Ardea hernias Scarlet Tanager - Paranga olivacea Northern Bobwhite - Colinus virginians Activity 3 Brown Trasher - Taxostuma rufum -appears to be nested in a Black Haw bush near our home. It has a distinct warning sound when the cat or dog comes out on the porch. Very protective and appears to be trying to decoy away from the nesting site (image below) Northern Harrier -Circus cyaneus -this appears only to be a passing visitor. Last year it appeared in late March and stayed in the area for about 6 weeks. This year again in March but was only seen once or twice in an open field to the south of our home. Its call was distinctly different from the other raptor  here. Rose Breasted Grosbeak - Pheudicus ludovicianus -the range chart does not show it breeding here but it clearly passed through (photo included). I did not get this photo at my feeder, credit a neighbor but I was able to identify it with the help of an Audobon member friend.  We believe it is only here for a week or two heading north.IMG_0198IMG_0226
    • Karen
      Participant
      Chirps: 11
      Northstar56
      Acitivy 1: This week I was able to identify a couple new birds with the help of my new camera, Merlin, a friend and a naturalist facebook page.  The new birds I identified: A Barrows Golden Eye duck (camera and Merlin); an American Pippit (camera and naturalist fb page); Dark Eyed Junco (camera and naturalist FB page).  I was able to identify osprey by their sound. I hear many song birds but can't identify them by their sound yet. Except for the Western Meadowlark. activity 3: Birds I didn't know are in my area: Trumpeter Swan; The Mourning Dove; Rufous Hummingbird; Calliope Hummingbird; Sandhill Crane. The bar chart feature is very useful.
    • Mary Alice
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      Landyce1
      I have been watching two hawks at a local park, where both may be nesting. I used my bird guide to identify a red-tailed hawk and a Cooper's Hawk. I also was able to distinguish between a blue-headed vireo and a red-eyed vireo both by their song and their markings.
    • Nicole
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      rosie2020
      Watching in Westchester County, NY. 1. I have a couple of feeders and at them I have been seeing mallards, starlings (who fight with each other constantly), tufted titmouse, Carolina wren, grackles, red-winged blackbirds, mourning doves, cardinals, house and chipping sparrows, hairy, downy and red-bellied woodpeckers, robins and black capped chickadees. I have trying to observe "pecking order" as well. I also saw an American goldfinch but he did not make his way to the feeder. I was lucky enough the other day to spot a Baltimore Oriole which I had never seen before- it was so beautiful, what an amazing orange color. I also can hear Canada geese most hours of the day as there are wetlands behind me. 2. According to Merlin I am most likely to see these but also a wood duck, bufflehead, loon, variety of flycatchers, eastern bluebird, and northern mockingbird. 3. Birds I would to be introduced to and did not know might come my way...yellow-throated vireo, blue-winged warbler, black and white warbler, American redstart and a Northern Parula. DSCN4169DSCN4090DSCN4037
      • Mary
        Participant
        Chirps: 3
        Louie!
        Your photographs are beautiful.
    • Lisa
      Participant
      Chirps: 13
      Lucylocket
      101BA97A-2066-40D2-8AC7-F970B1959D32
    • Lisa
      Participant
      Chirps: 13
      Lucylocket
      1. Watching for 15  minutes at my feeders, I saw the little House Sparrow couple, madly feeding their never-satisfied children in my birdhouse. I saw the Black-Capped Chickadee at the front feeder; they like to hang out in the Snowball tree due to it being riddled with some kind of horrible worm. I saw the American Robin in his plucky, aggressive bug finding mood. I saw the Dark-eyed Junco hopping around under the feeders, snapping up whatever the House Sparrow throws down at him. Of course, there were also the American Crows out in the front yard. 2. Most likely to spot in my area: American Robin, Black Capped Chickadee, American Crow and Spotted Towhee. I spot them all the time. 3. Using Range map to find out about birds I don't know: Common Yellowthroat, Black-headed Grosbeak, Wilson's Warbler, Orange Crowned Warbler and Chestnut backed Chickadee.  I don't believe I ever seen these or maybe I just didn't realize it. Now I want to!
    • Anne
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      ABulenJacobs
      I used Merlin to identify a Blue Grosbeak at my feeder. I later was able to identify a female Blue Grosbeak as well. Merlin made it so easy. This was a first sighting at our feeder which made it quite exciting. He has been hanging out for several days.
    • Sarah
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      PowellS9
      Activity 1: I just put up my first bird feeder today! I watched it, and there was some but not too much activity.  Hopefully the birds I saw will spread the word to others! I saw a gold finch, and another bird with reddish coloring around it's head/chest area and brownish/gray the rest.  By the time I got my binoculars out to get a closer look it was gone, but I wasn't sure if it was maybe a juvenile or female cardinal, or a house finch. Activity 2: I was honestly amazed when I looked at Merlin's most likely list for my area-there were way more species than I thought there would be! Many are birds I would expect by the lake shore but not right in my neighborhood.  Listening to the sounds-one song I recognized but hadn't known which bird it was is the Northern Cardinal! Activity 3: I used ebird to look at birds at a nearby hotspot, and I read about the Ruby Crowned Kinglet, Veery, Bonaparte's Gull, Hooded Merganser, and Black billed Cuckoo.
    • Andrea
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      andimort
      I go to the Ravine in Central Park almost every day. Yesterday I used Merlin to identify a gray cowbird, yellow-throated warbler, northern cardinal, blue jay,  & house sparrow.
    • Valerie
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      ValCSz
      Using the Cornell Live Cam, I identified Black capped Chickadee, male Cardinal, Red-winged Blackbird, Blue Jay, Common Grackle, Hairy Woodpecker, and Baltimore Oriole. In my yard, I spotted a Rose-breasted Grosbeak.
    • Suzette
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      szttdncn
      IMG_20200310_141330Anna's hummingbirds are abundant in my neighborhood in Sunnyvale, California. I've since had to move this feeder and I've had several birds stop by looking for it. It's just one story below. These are the birds I saw most in March, but since I've seen mourning doves and crows nearby. In fact, there's a nest of doves in the rain gutter above me. The crows have definitely been pestering them. I've noticed several flycatchers from this balcony, but haven't been able to identify them.   IMG_20200508_145517We went to take a look at goslings at at a lake nearby and spotted a grackle among them! First time I've ever identified a grackle. A beautiful bird. And though there were several PROMINENT signs admonishing people not to, a woman was feeding crackers to a groups of aggressive Canadian geese.
    • Richard
      Participant
      Chirps: 20
      rspayne
      Local  Bird Exploration, Activity 2, Using Merlin's list of birds nearby   I developed a visit plan to two spots nearby in Estero FL. Before I left I sorted Merlin for the most likely to see on the first few pages as its default look unmanageable (100+ by type).It turned out to be mostly correct.  As I drove tot the first spot (River Park) a boat tailed grackle flew by.  I went to the river first where I saw an Osprey and a Common Crow fly by but no wading birds or ducks.  Walking back to my car was a small clearing in the shrubs of about 30' in diameter with lots of butterflies.  While looking at them a pair of cardinals came by: see first photo below. Cardinal Pair A bluejay came by but failed to get his picture taken. Next stop was a spot my wife told me "always has lots of white birds.  There are two ponds part of the irrigation system and interconnected ponds for our golf course.  A brown thrasher flew by as I was walking over the grass to get closer to a small group of wading birds about 500' away.  As there are several large alligators around and it is the beginning of mating season, I did not go as close as I might have in January. The birds largely stayed in the same place and I took several photos over a few minutes.  My 150X telephoto on Olympus E-M1 helped me see things when I got back to my computer that I didn't see with my bare vision.  The first grouping has a little blue heron and a great egret and several ibis.  What I hadn't seen before was the snowy egret landing. Black beak and yellow feet were visible by chance in the landing.great-snowy-littleB-ibisA few minutes later the great heron was gone but the little blue and ibis were joined by what I had always thought were coots but today learned they were common gallinules.  The long green legs identify the female as such.  My homework for tonight is to figure out what a gallinule is all about.Little blue IBIS gallinule
    • Mary Ann
      Participant
      Chirps: 13
      makelly415
      Using Merlin’s most likely birds in my area of Westchester County, NY, I have seen the following birds: Grackles, European Starlings, Red-Winged Blackbirds, Baltimore Oriole, Double-Crested Cormorants, Mourning Doves, and one Goldfinch. I used Merlin to see that the Baltimore Oriole migrates from the south and breeds in the north. The double-crested cormorants live year-round in Florida, migrate from the south, and breed mostly in the northern mid-west. The goldfinch is found year- round here in New York, but breeds in Canada- interesting!
    • Barbara
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      blundy
      Looking at my bird feeder, here in Rhode Island, I have seen many American Goldfinches, some house finch and a song sparrow.  So I did not know what they were except the  goldfinch and feel good I now can recognize the song sparrow and house finch.  Thanks you for this course.
    • natsuko
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      natsukoYK
      Drive_027   Hello. I am taking this course in Hokkaido, Japan. Yesterday, I went to Lake Toya with my husband to see cherry blossoms. We saw and hear lots of birds, most of which we could not identify. I am sorry I can not find a suitable content pack to be installed for my Merlin. Anyway, here is a picture of Varied Tit. We could also identified Japanese Willow Tit, Narcissus flycatcher, Black-faced Bunting, Japanese nightingale, Eastern Crowned Warbler, Oriental Greenfinch, White Wagtail and some water fowls. We usually do birding from our window or while walking around the neighbourhood. There are flocks of Dusky Thrushs in our back yard now.
    • Michelle
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      NottawaChelle
      I live in Central Ontario near Georgian Bay. For Activity 1, I tried using Merlin for the first time even though I've had it on my phone for months. It was pretty fun looking for keys to bird identification using the easy questions Merlin poses. Because it was snowing (in May!!!) I  stuck to viewing birds through my window :) For Activity 2, Merlin's "Most Likely" told me that Baltimore Orioles should be back in the area so I added an orange half to my bird feeder. Bingo! This morning a male oriole visited and I expect to see him back. Hopefully he will bring a friend. For Activity 3, I used Merlin's birdsongs to check and hear whether the new song I was hearing came from visiting White-Crowned Sparrows or if I'd have to continue my quest to discover the singer. Sure enough, the new song matched the one on Merlin for the White-Crowned Sparrow. They visit my feeder every fall and spring but I don't think I'd heard their song before. These lessons have been great for making me look and listen more intently. I'm hoping to head out later this week to Stayner Lagoon which is a local hotspot. Taking Merlin with me as my new aide.
    • Vicki g
      Participant
      Chirps: 21
      vickigoldsmith
      Activity 3 Sort-of Update. From the course, I ended up putting myself on Cornell''s rare species alert for my region (Barnstable County, MA USA), so I decided to go try to find the Purple Gallinule that has been listed for several days in a row at a location about 10 miles from my home. I went to the right "spot" using the google map plus luck, but would never have seen it, without the graciousness of two gentlemen with binoculars who exited their car at the same time as me - (there were only 4 cars there and the others were off hiking). They assented to me tagging after them - which turned out to be about a 10  yard tag - but they knew how and where to look, and waved me over after a few minutes. Beautiful colors! I stayed and watched for a while. Here is a poor I phone photo IMG_4206
    • Jody
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      BookJody
      Activity 1:  For Big Global Day, I spent 30 minutes in my backyard this evening (May 9.)  The very first bird I encountered was a male Ruby -throated hummingbird - or so I assumed since his throat was a brilliant fuchsia color!  Next I saw his female counterpart in colorful green.  Both spent several minutes, individually feeding at my feeder.  But guess what?!  To confirm the ID, I looked up  ruby-throated hummingbirds in American Museum of Natural History "Birds of North American Wester Region" bird guide and this hummingbird was not listed.  I then consulted the Merlin app and learned the RTHB does not hang out in COLORADO, but the Broad-tailed Hummingbird does!  Score for guidebooks and apps. My other positive IDs included: Red-tail hawk mama sitting on nest, spotted towhee, black-capped chickadee, house finch,  black-billed magpie, eurasian collared dove, and I learned that house wrens have taken up residence in a vacant bird house! Greenwood Village, Colorado 80111
    • Jennifer
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      jenjohns
      Activity 1:  We expected high levels of different migrating birds this weekend in north FL due to the change in weather and it has been busy indeed. I saw a pair of  Purple Finches (they could have been House Finches, I didn’t get a good look at the male’s breast.)  Ovenbirds are migrating through and I used Merlin to identify these birds that were previously unknown to me. Sadly, 2 have flown into my window and perished. I also saw severalDowny Woodpeckers, Carolina Chickadees, & Tufted Titmouse  today as well.
    • Vicki g
      Participant
      Chirps: 21
      vickigoldsmith
      Combining activity 2 and 3 in my fashion, I focused on identifying and learning more about some common local birds. I was happy to distinguish (elementary, I am sure!) an Eastern Towhee by notating (in my fashion) its song while in the field and then listening to a couople of possiblities when I returned home. Similarly from using Merlin and then listening to songs, I identified and then read  up on the black capped chickadee which is a new favorite bird for me. Also getting familiar with Northern Flicker, which I realize I hear often in my yard and nearby. Realized that many of us have been calling tree swallows in a nearby field "barn swallows" although there are some of these around - the swallows we see have bright white breast/belly feathers and steal the blue bird nesting boxes. I have gotten better with my binocular, have purchased the Kaufman North America Field guide and use it, joined a local birder Face Book page, and love seeing their wonderful photos, which on occasion confirm what I have identified, and in many ways is edifying and delightful. Almost anyone I walk or sit  with outside knows more about bird than me - so I am enjoying picking up bits of understanding here and there. If I don't try to "get" too much at once, I find it all a very delightful way to enjoy being in nature. OH - I also now get "rare" bird alerts, which is acquainting me with some new areas to go walking - even though I have not yet rushed out to see a rare bird!
    • Ann
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      annekinnealey
      Today I took a different birdwatching walk and headed to the pier at Quincy Bay, coastal MA south of Boston.  With the help of Merlin App and the The Audubon Society Field Guide, if identified many Barn Swallows living at the pier. I now know they have migrated from South and Central America for breeding. What expert flyers they are! So fast and agile as they zoom along catching insects (way too fast for a photo, always on the move). They must make their mud nests underneath the pier, but I was unable to see them. Later I saw some again around a small fresh water pond (I assume they need fresh water to drink). What fun! This course has really enhanced my enjoyment of birding. Stay safe. Ann
    • Laura
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      LauraBea
      After the last lesson, I knew how to locate a "hot spot" so I looked up one near us on Long Island and we went there (wearing masks and social distancing of course). I was disappointed we didn't hear or see more birds, but using the app we could identify a Gray Catbird as well as an Eastern Towhee. This morning on my walk I was able to identify the song of the Black-capped Chickadee which had stumped us on an earlier outing. We put up a feeder but have not attracted any birds yet, so I enjoyed watching the bird cam from Sapsucker Woods - I could watch it for hours! A great way to practice identifying birds too.
    • Charlotte
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      Cnemeth
      Over the last three days here in northern New Jersey I have seen catbirds, male and female orioles, grosbeak, a bluebird, robins and the hummingbirds have returned. It is very interesting to see how the regular year round birds like the blue jays, cardinals, woodpeckers, nuthatches and mourning doves interact with the newly arrived migrating birds at the feeder. There is a definite pecking order and sometimes the party gets a bit rowdy!
    • Marlene
      Participant
      Chirps: 17
      mg47831
      Merlins's Most Likely found many of the same birds I see in my local area in Northeast Wisconsin. A few I didn't mention, but they are also here are Red-winged Blackbirds, Mallard ducks, Common Grackle, American Crow, Canadian Geese, Song Sparrow and Tree Swallows. There were many, many others mentioned. This area is great for bird watching.
    • Marlene
      Participant
      Chirps: 17
      mg47831
      Bird watching in the month of May in NE Wisconsin is great. Here are some of the migrating birds I have seen in my yard since the last week of April or so. Eastern Bluebirds, Robins, Baltimore Oriole (just came in about 2 days ago) and Brown-headed Cowbird. I'm still waiting for the Indigo Buntings and the Red Breasted Grosbeaks to come in. Two of my favorites. Then there are my local year round favorites: American Goldfinches (with bright yellow summer colors), Black capped chickadee, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Morning Doves, Northern Cardinals, Blue Jays, Downy and Red-bellied Woodpeckers.  I tried to get a few pictures to share. Tricky to capture some though.. I was able to snap a picture of the Oriole. I typically use the Peterson Field Guide for Eastern Birds for identification. I have had it for years and reference it often. My new favorite reference is the Merlin App. I am pretty sure the other bird pictured below is the Red-bellied woodpecker, although sometimes I get it confused with the Northern Flicker. 20200505_064408[1] 20200507_170619[1]
    • Betsy
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      BetsyPowers
      1. I feel so fortunate to be watching a Barn Owl in my neighborhood on a Webcam, The Mother Barn Owl laid 5 eggs in April. Incubation is approximately 30 days. Four have hatched, one is left. It is hard to get a good look at the babies because they are so small but I can see their movement under her wings. When she stands, I have seen her caress the babies with her talons which I know have very sharp claws. Nevertheless, she strokes them, one at a time. I have seen her fly in with a rodent and then eat it. She does a lot of preening of her feathers and occasionally will expand her wings almost as another way of protecting her babies. My grandchildren made me an owl box for Christmas which will be mounted early next year with the hopes of housing an Owl family. 2. Likely birds in the area that I have identified and seen within the last few days are Dark-eyed Junco's, California Scrub-Jays, California Towhee, Acorn Woodpecker, Violet-green Swallow, American Robin, and a Northern Mockingbird. The Northern Mockingbird was at a friend's house who has learned to call the mockingbirds to her. This one came about a month ago, injured with half its beak gone. As it was very thin and unable to get a good grip on food, she helped by feeding it mealworms. The bird will come to her but until I was there , would not come down when anyone else was around. I felt privileged that the bird felt it could come to the feeder while I was there approximately two feet away.
    • Marjorie
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      marjorielodwick
      Sat on my back deck and watched birds while working this morning. Really enjoyed watching a pair of nesting robins forage and bring their three little chicks food, as well as remove white fecal sacs from the nest! Other treats were a calliope and a rufous humming bird, each of which flew right up to me and hovered in front of my face checking me out. I saw two birds that I didn't know, a yellowish, grayish songbird, and some sort of sparrow with a lovey rust-brown cap. Using a field guide and Explore birds, I decided the sparrow was a chipping sparrow (black eye stripe, white brow, striped tan and brown back, and light, un-striped breast - although I saw a very faint rust-brown spot in the middle of its breast, something I couldn't find in my book or online), which was exciting because friends have identified them by ear for me before, but today I finally got a really good look at one. Has anyone else seen a chipping sparrow with a breast spot? The songbird was harder - very distinct white eyering, gray head, yellow breast, dark yellow/olive wings, yellow on the rump and under the tail, but a bit more white under the legs. It was moving around pretty fast, but I watched it for five minutes or so and took down all those details. My best guess is a Nashville warbler.
    • Ken
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      Kbaldauff
      Watching back yard feeder and pond early this morning and later in the afternoon. Saw a few Brown headed cowbirds and house finches at our feeder. A crane waded around the pond for a little while, as did a goose couple with three goslings. A mallard couple has also been in/around the pond over the past couple weeks, but lately it’s been just the male. We’ve been hearing a bird singing around sunrise over the past several days and I’ve been searching Merlin’s “most likely species” feature to find a match to the call/song. I think that it’s a Scarlet Tanager, but haven’t actually seen it yet. Need to get out around daybreak to look for it.
    • Vicki g
      Participant
      Chirps: 21
      vickigoldsmith
      This morning just reporting on activity 1, as I went to stand at a favorite spot the other day, as - when departing from a nearby spot earlier in the week my friend slowed her car and pointed - and later told me that she saw night herons, which I did NOT see then. SO, I went and stood with my binoculars late one afternoon - not considered "prime time" but it was the time I had - and close up, I watched a red wing black bird, mid vision cormorants perching on posts sticking up from the water, and occasionally drying their wings, far off to the left while I was watching some great egrets, down and around swooped an immature bald eagle (no white head). Bald eagles have only recently returned to nest in Barnstable County, MA - so still thriling to see them. I had only seen the "classic" white heads before - and thanks to this course when it LOOKED like a bald eagle but with different head color, I trusted myself to check further and confirm, and finally - looking off to the far right ... I saw two night herons (I am going to need to comce back to edit whether black crowned or other) perching at the very top of some medium sized pines ... I realized that when people told me "look in the trees" I was looking too low down. I am facebook friends with two local spectacular bird photographers (and now the local bird club). One of them recently posted a beautiful photo of a night heron in flight at sunset - which I hope to see in person some day. So that is what I saw, standing still late one afternoon.
    • Connie
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      Connie_Weber
      I work for Missouri State Parks and I am doing this class as part of my continuing education.  I know several birds but there are so many more and so much more to learn and I am excited that this class has helped tremendously with ideas on how to explain bird id to others.  I have even made up an Observation sheet to help with a future event that is coming up. With that I was able to get some field work in this afternoon. I spent approx. 30 min at Current River State Park in Missouri set my timer for 15 min. and then there were so many birds I just kept watching.  The list is relatively short but I was watching and noting behaviors.  Indago Bunting  3 adult males 1 juvenile male at least 1 female. They were really fun to watch they were eating and occasionally one bird would jump over the other like leap frog! Several brown headed cowbirds, they were eating as well.  Two Eastern Kingbirds. a Carolina Wren, Crows, Gold Finches, Northern Cardinal and a couple that I didn't get a good enough look at to be able to id. I spent 15 min. at Echo Bluff state park and only SAW one bird a Turkey Vulture soaring overhead.  I heard several and tried using the Audubon app. sounds to help not sure if Merlin  has that feature I am still learning it.  I know that I heard a crow and a Northern Cardinal but other than that unsure but could have been around 7-9 different birds per vocals.
    • Brad
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      bmiles33
      My backyard in Long Island New York has started to see some new visitors with the coming of Spring and warmer weather.  The last 3 weeks have brought us Brown-headed Cowbirds, Yellow-rumped Warblers, and American Goldfinch's.  My eyes are open for more visitors as it warms up more.  Stay safe and healthy everyone.
    • Mark
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      Mark Mcgeachie
      1. The birds that I saw were: Sulphur Crested Cockatoo, Rainbow Lorikeet, King Parrots, Noisy Minors, Crimson Rosella, and Currawong 2. I  have checked on Merlin for the birds most likely to be found in our area. Going out to look for them is not practical at the moment. I will however go asap. I will  also continue to watch from our back deck. 3. 5 birds that apparently can  be found in our area that I have not seen  are: Little Lorikeet, Eastern Yellow Robin, Rose Robin, Eastern Spinebill, and Golden Headed Cisticola. I am on their  case!
    • Michelle
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      mopsahl
      By sitting long enough and quietly, I guess, more birds flew close but I’m still sorting out which hummingbirds and songbirds are visiting. Using the Merlin app photos and songs/calls actually confounded things, as there are overlapping color patterns and my ear is not refined. I love to learn, yes, but the joy of birdwatching for me is in the watching and the listening, and talking to them, to the gestalt of sharing space with them. I did use “explore birds”, and look forward to noticing if the soaring swift I see has a white throat, spotting the forked tail of the barn swallow, catching the sweet song coming from the plain brown-ness of the house Wren, spotting the distinct black phoebe (name source for the daughter of a birder friend), and looking at the woodpecker in our nearby oak grove to see it looks like a Nutell. Also, when restrictions lift, and I can visit my Dad again, I want to see the Northern Road Runner with babies that he watches from his back porch in the mornings.
    • Danya
      Participant
      Chirps: 14
      dfurda
      We spent the day at Griggs Reservior and then Walnut Woods Metro Park (Columbus, Ohio).  My sister and 11 year old nephew went to Griggs with us to try out birdwatching.  Ian, my nephew, was good at spotting birds with his young eyes but got bored easily.  Oh well!  We saw barn & tree swallows, Baltimore Orioles, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Yellow Warbler, Palm Warbler, Eastern Kingbird at Griggs.  My huband and I then saw House Wren, Orchard Oriole, Cowbirds, Eastern Towhee and Field Sparrows at Walnut Woods.  We used Merlin a lot.  At Walnut Woods we were walking and saw a bird in the distance.  We couldn't make it out very well because the forest was a bit dark so we used the Merlin app to narrow down what it might be.  I suspected that it was an Eastern Towhee so we played that song on our phone.  Immediately, the bird flee to a tree next to us and sang back to us.  It was so close!  I guess it thought it had found a mate or something.  See our picture below (plus a few more from yesterday's outing.) 30-IMG_4837 12-IMG_477218-IMG_4794
    • Mary
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      Mary Kurtz
      1. During my observations I spied Cassin's Finch, Black-capped Chickadees, magpies, Hairy Woodpecker, Bullock's Oriole, robins, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Vesper Sparrow, Red-winged Blackbird, Canada Goose, and five Sandhill Cranes. 2. I love Merlin. Most all those on the "Most Likely" to see today, I saw except for the Song Sparrow. 3. Most of those I selected, interestingly, happen to be shore or water birds which do inhabit our county but are in habitats unlike where I live. They included the American Coot, Wilson's Snipe, Sora, and then I hope to see, near where I live, the Pygmy Nuthatch and the Belted Kingfisher. I've really enjoyed using the resources available through our classwork. I've also added the National Geographic Guide to Birds in Western North America. I, too, need a better zoom lens for my camera! Could someone explain why the Bullock Oriole, I believe, was once called the Northern Oriole?
    • Lisa
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      elnido
      Sitting in my back yard around 6:00 p.m. and observing my yard and an open behind it, I saw grackles, house sparrows, Inca and whitewing doves, some kind of flycatcher (ash-throated and Great crested, couldn't tell), a hummingbird (I think buff-bellied), and two mockingbirds that were...doing a mating dance?  Not sure; I've never seen that behavior before. Usually if I see two mockingbirds, one is trying to drive off the other.  These two were on the ground doing what looked like a Mexican hat dance, sort of circling and doing a tapping step.  Also I could hear a killdeer, a mourning dove, a kiskadee, and some kind of oriole (I think). Looking at eBird for this month for my county was pretty amazing. I was surprised at the number of birds I associate with water, ducks, for instance.  We don't have a lot of large water features in our county, besides the Rio Grande, but I know there are small ponds and lakes on private ranches, and irrigation canals, and I guess collectively they offer more water resources than I realized.
    • Jill
      Participant
      Chirps: 9
      jluccaHR
      IMG_0178IMG_3291IMG_0169 This section's activities prompted us to use our local Audubon Society's bird map to explore locales new to us. Cornell's E-bird site led us to lesser noted sites so as to seek out out less foot trafficked places. Using our optimized binoculars, and the well loved Merlin App, we identified buffleheads and a turkey vulture along the shore. The red-winged blackbirds were everywhere with their distinctive sounds. When we returned home the Black-capped chickadees were defending their territory (as usual) with the American Goldfinch. As Brown thrasher's have taken up residence in Arborvitaes adjacent to the bird feeder the Chickadees have been forced to relocate to yews in the backyard. Thanks to the course we're using bird behavior as an added discriminator for bird identification!
    • Karen
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      kbarlow
      this morning, I was able to see and hear Cardinals, a Mockingbird, Crows, and Field Sparrows. I saw a Phoebe, a Kingbird and a Bluebird. I also saw four Turkey Vultures. My walk lasted more than 15 minutes, but time flew by with so many birds to see and hear.
    • Cindy
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      clships
      This morning here in North Myrtle Beach, SC, I saw several Northern Cardinals, House Finches, and Black Capped Chickadees at my feeders and in the trees. I also saw one Mourning Dove and a few American Robins roaming around. They’ve taken a break from eating for now and I can hear the Cardinals in the trees. I plan to bike to a nearby lake today to see who I can see and hear from the Most Likely list. I am also at the beach most days, either walking or sitting, and always have a hard time positively identifying some of the sea and shorebirds with the guide I carry with me. I am sure Merlin is going to be a good improvement in helping me to learn these birds!
    • pat
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      gardenbuff
      May 1,2020 Cincinnat Nature Center, Milford, Ohio. I observed several local bird species today including, the Red Winged Blackbird, Red bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Mourning Dove, Blue Jay,  male Cardinals at the ourdoor bird feeder in  this private nature preserve.   The weather at 12  n oon is cloudy , overcast and chilly for early May.  I am a member and also a volunteer Ambassador at this nature center.  also I participat e in the Cornell Lab Project Bird Feeder Watch from November to April each year and send local bird count data to Cornell each winter.   IN comparison, My home backyard had only robins in pine trees and  hunting worme on ground.
    • Link
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      Leafblade61
      Activity 1: Watching from my yard: European Starling, House Finch, House Sparrow, Eurasian Collared Dove, Mallard, Lesser Goldfinch. (The mallards were a big surprise.) Activity 2: At Antelope Island State Park yesterday, I heard a song in the sagebrush. I couldn't see it, so I pulled up Merlin's most likely. The first bird on the list turned out to be what I was looking for: Western Meadowlark. Activity 3: Birds that I didn't know were in my area: Barn Swallow, Ring-necked Pheasant, Lazuli Bunting, Double-crested Cormorant, and Yellow Warbler.
    • Sandra
      Participant
      Chirps: 31
      sg333
      Activity 2: Sounds. California Quail, American Robins for sure, Song Sparrow, noisy Red-winged Blackbirds, Canada Geese were quiet under a large tree (They are most noisy when about to take off. They are most plentiful on our large lake). California Quail makes a sound like they are saying boo. lol. Was hard to see the small birds in the large, overgrown marsh area today, but I was sure I saw House Finches, and listening to the sounds on my app it was definitely them. I have to find Chickadees! So cute! But listening to their song on the app, I did not hear one today. IMG_1636IMG_1640
      • Marjorie
        Participant
        Chirps: 10
        marjorielodwick
        Is your first photo of an Audubon's (Yellow-rumped) Warbler? We have those near my house too! They came back about two weeks ago... I always think of California Quail as saying "chi-CA-go ... chi-CA-go" - one of may favorite calls, always makes me laugh.
    • Sandra
      Participant
      Chirps: 31
      sg333
      IMG_1643IMG_1639Activity 1: I went to one of our many marsh areas. There were the usual Mallards, Canada Geese, red-winged Blackbirds, Yellow-rumped Warblers which I am seeing for the first time (this is their breeding area), sparrows (I think they were Song Sparrows but they were moving in and around thick bush), American Robin (I have seen these my whole life and I did not know the full name. We have always said it is spring when we see the Robins). I love to watch the California quail; so cute. Didn't see any little ones yet. I heard what I think was Chickadees, but they were very high up in the trees. There were some big nests up there too, but I did not see any birds around them. Owls do inhabit this area.
      • Cathy
        Participant
        Chirps: 37
        cgtv123
        Hi Sandra.  Love your quail picture.  It looks so regal! Cathy
    • Rosemary
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      stagero
      While looking out my patio door I saw Robins, Cardinals, Blue Jays, Canada Geese and sparrows.  I didn't know that I might see yellow or black billed Cuckoos, common tern and blue grosbeak.
    • Donna
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      glomdoc
      Activity 1: I watched the feeders and birdhouses in our yard/field. I saw mainly common birds today: Northern cardinal, blue jay, red wing blackbird, common grackle, mourning dove, gray catbird (they love hanging out in our arborvitae trees), robin, downy woodpecker (on the suet as always) and at the houses we have tree swallows, house sparrows and Eastern bluebirds who have all nested and flit in and out. Activity 2: I had not used the Merlin bird app before this course and I really enjoy having that information at my fingertips! Knowing what's most likely to be seen helps me to identify the birds easier. Activity 3: The 5 birds that I didn't know about in my area that I read about were: chimney swift, killdeer, green heron, ovenbird, and Northern flicker (which coincidentally I then saw the next morning at the top of a tree in the field).
    • Jason
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      Jason Stanley
      Activity 1: I regularly watch for birds on my balcony. I live close enough to a large river for their to be a range of water fowl and migrating species that show up, but also on a residential street so get a mix of birds that love to hang out near humans. An example of the two extremes is seeing Great Blue Herons, Canada Geese, and Double-Crested Cormorants flying overhead, while listening to the cacophony of House Sparrows, Northern Cardinals, and Rock Pigeons at the same time. Activity 2: I use Merlin all the time while I'm in the field and also at home. In the field, I mostly use the Bird ID feature to help me ID things I see. It has proved super useful! At home, I also love to use the explore birds feature, especially the view that allows me to see bar charts for my area, which lets me know what birds are common or are soon to be common for my area that I haven't yet seen. Both in the field and at home, I also often listen to bird vocalizations to help me figure out what I'm hearing while outside. I've been amazed at home much my birding has become auditory as I've gotten into it -- I totally expected birding to be entirely about seeing, but hearing is just as important, and perhaps will become even more important for me as trees and bushes leaf-out, making birds harder to observe visually. Activity 3: I've been doing this a bunch lately. I love to check out what birds people are finding in my area that I haven't yet seen. Before I started observing birds more closely, I was basically ignorant of how much bird migration happened in my area. I knew all about migrating geese, but I ignored how many of the other species migrated as well, and also which ones stuck around, and all of the questions behind why some left and some stayed, etc. The range maps on All About Birds and the Bar Charts on eBird have been super helpful in teaching me about who migrates when and to where. I love it! One bird I'm looking forward to discovering is a bird that bar charts tell me is about to start showing up in big numbers here -- the Yellow Warbler. I've never seen it before, but realized it would be coming soon by checking out the Merlin list of most likely birds in my area with accompanying bar charts for monthly frequencies.
    • Laura
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      gruffie14
      I am thoroughly enjoying this course, and it has been great to read comments from fellow birders from all over the country. I live on the river, and have both a lawn and woods on our property. Today I have seen a Northern Flicker, Redheaded Woodpecker, Robin (of course!), Grackles, Starlings, and an Eastern Phoebe. Merlin said that bird was rare, but I got a great look at it, and it was a perfect match. The course has been very helpful in terms of knowing which features to look for. I hope to learn birds by sound. My son-in-law can identify all the area woodpeckers by sound. I am finding it very difficult, but hopefully it gets easier by time.
    • Eileen
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      Babybluebentley
      I live at the beach in New Jersey, so I am not sure if I will see the same types of birds as most people in this class.  I always see cardinals, grackles, American goldfinch (New Jersey state bird), Purple finch, sparrows (not sure what kind yet) and crows...not to mention a lot of shore birds. I am sad that we never get hummingbirds though because they are my favorite.  I hang a feeder out every year, but I was told that we just don't have enough vegetation on our barrier island to sustain them.  I keep trying though.  I usually see one a year in September, probably migrating south.  There are plenty of them on the mainland nearby though. We have had an unusual visitor the past few years.  A group of yellow-crowned night herons hang out in a tree across the street from my house.  The first two years, they had nests, but storms blew it aways this year.  They still hang out by the tree, but have not rebuilt a nest.  I was told that they often build nests in several locations. Looking forward to learning a lot about local birds.  I need to get a good field guide, a good pair of binoculars and a better long distance lens for my camera.IMG_8166
      • Marjorie
        Participant
        Chirps: 10
        marjorielodwick
        Beautiful night heron!
    • Sherri
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      Sherri137
      1.  Watching my bird feeders this afternoon, all I am seeing are the White Crowned Sparrows - so many of them - they are cleaning out my feeders daily.  It is quite windy right now so no other birds seem to be in the yard. 2.  Someone in my neighborhood posted a pic of an American Goldfinch.  I hadn't seen any around, and yesterday on our walk I heard a lot of singing coming from the trees - I used my app to identify the song and it said American Goldfinch.  As I got closer to the tree I could see about 10 birds singing in there - so cute! 3.  I didn't know that American Kestrel or Brown Headed Cowbirds were here.  I saw a Kestrel in Oregon before.  Yesterday I also saw the Brown Headed Cowbird for the first time - had to look it up - I knew it was different from what I had seen before. Enjoying this course so much and learning many new things!
    • cindy
      Participant
      Chirps: 16
      CindyFowler
      Charleston, SC.  I enjoyed this activity.  It also inspired me to Save and share my list With a birding friend in Jalisco, Mexico.  She sees so many more birds than me, but we did have some birds in common.   Loving Merlín and ebird!  Also still researching new binoculars.  If you have a favorite, let me know so I can evaluate them.
    • Paula
      Participant
      Chirps: 19
      Pklazrus
      Activities two (I'm doing it based on the walk I took yesterday and the birds  saw then as it is rainy today.  There are many more species in my area than I might have guessed.  I've seen Robins, Blue Jays, Downy Woodpeckers, Mallards, Red Winged blackbirds and various sparrows, but there are many birds to look for that I have either not noticed or aren't here right now. Activity 3 There are ALOT of birds in my county that I had no clue about including the wide variety of geese and ducks that are around, these include Green-Winged Teals, Wood Ducks, Blue-Winged Teals , Mergansers, Grebes, Yellow-Billed Cuckoo, various Rails,  various flycatchers, more birds of prey than I knew.  Really there is far more variety than I ever imaged here. Will have to get exploring.
    • Jay
      Participant
      Chirps: 19
      PeanutJay
      Activity 1. What a wonderful exercise, and I confess to spending more than 15 minutes on it!  Before I knew it, the entire morning had passed… In all, I spotted 17 different species.
      • Many were familiar to me from previous visits (e.g., Carolina Chickadee, White-breasted Nuthatch, Northern Cardinal, etc.), but a few I hadn’t seen since last year (e.g., Gray Catbird, who, from its range map, seems to winter along the Gulf Coast).
      • One bird, which I wasn’t able to positively ID is pictured below left. He moved about on the ground and was smaller than a House Sparrow. Merlin ID suspects him of being a Chipping Sparrow, but his all white face is throwing me off. What do you think? Has anyone else seen a bird like this?
      Screen Shot 2020-04-26 at 13.46.10
      • Kevin
        Bird Academy
        kevinmcgowan
        Yes, that's a Chipping Sparrow. However, it's an abnormal one with an albino-like white patch on the face. Things like this happen relatively frequently, so beware of big white patches, especially if they're not symmetrically placed on both sides of the body.
      • Jay
        Participant
        Chirps: 19
        PeanutJay

        @Kevin Thanks for the add'l info, Kevin! I'll keep an eye out for lil' "Whitey" -- I've since seen 4-5 Chipping Sparrows at a time (foraging for insects on my patio). Hopefully, Whitey's pals won't hold his abnormality against him.

      • Marjorie
        Participant
        Chirps: 10
        marjorielodwick

        @Jay Yeah! In birds, when it is a white patch like that it is called "Leucism" - which is similar to albinoism. There is a leucistic House Finch that returns to my mom's backyard feeder every spring. Interesting that yours is also missing the black eye stripe. Coincidentally, I saw my first Chipping Sparrow during this exercise today. :)

    • Julian
      Participant
      Chirps: 11
      FishIsTheWord
      I saw a nice yellow bird finally investigating the bird seed I put out. I thought it was an American Goldfinch, but it didn't have a black forehead, and it didn't come in a cute little flock. It was mostly dusky yellow, but not brownish like female goldfinches. It wasn't a Yellow Warbler because those birds are insect eaters. I was showing a family member all the online bird resources I know of, and we watched several live bird cams. It was fun seeing baby osprey and their mom. We looked at the Sapsucker Woods bird feeder right when a big squirrel was sitting in the box! There was a mourning dove, I believe, that the squirrel really didn't like. That was the only bird the squirrel seemed to scare away. After the squirrel left, lots of birds stopped by.
    • Katie
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      karboga3
      It is a drizzly type of day but in a 15-30 minute span at my feeders, I've seen House Finches, Gold Finches, Tufted Titmouse, Northern Cardinal, Chipping Sparrow, and House Sparrows. So thankful that I have some feeders up and have attracted a decent variety of birds in my more urban setting, although the city is designated a Tree City.
    • Paula
      Participant
      Chirps: 19
      Pklazrus
      Activity one. It's drizzly and cold by me today so I looked at the Sapsucker Woods webcam which was hopping with birds even in the rain.  I saw a pushy grackel and then another behind the feeder looking on, 3 blue jays, 2 red wing blackbirds, 2 starlings a mourning dove, 2 birds I think were mockingbirds, 1 male cardinal and what I think was a female or juvenile cardinal. This last was hard and the id apps weren't helping.  I guess the crest can go up or down and that makes it confusing. In this case the didn't appear to be a crest.  Also, 2 downy woodpeckers
      • Katie
        Participant
        Chirps: 8
        karboga3
        I've often found that their crest do go down when they feed and often if you see a male cardinal, a female will be nearby as they do breed for life, I believe.
      • Paula
        Participant
        Chirps: 19
        Pklazrus

        @Katie Thanks for that information Katies

    • Sylvia
      Participant
      Chirps: 9
      SylviaA
      Activity 1. Cornell's feeder (on the birdcam) was hopping today. I saw mourning doves, blue jays, grackles, red-winged blackbirds, female and male northern cardinals, red-bellied woodpeckers, a chickadee, and a couple of starlings. Activity 2. I saw many of what Merlin said were "most likely" in northern Manhattan where I live: robin, blue jay, northern cardinal, house sparrow, mourning doves, mallards, red-winged blackbirds, rock pigeons (of course, this is NYC)...and lots of ring-billed gulls (which Merlin didn't say were most likely, but I am near Hudson River which many Manhattanites are not). I also heard (but did not see) white-throated sparrows and a flicker. Oddly, I didn't see any starlings or grackles. Activity 3: I didn't know we might see the following five birds in NYC...or passing through, but I guess anything's possible: (1) Broad-winged hawks (thx to Merlin, I now know the high-pitched whistle to listen for...though if they're flying high I probably wouldn't be able to see them). (2) Bonaparte's gull (I think I'd have to go to Jones Beach or somewhere oceanic to see these...but now I know their scolding call...and during breeding season I'd certainly notice the black head and red legs, if I did see them. (3) Cerulean warbler - since they're high canopy birds, I probably wouldn't be able to see them (though Merlin gave some good tips for IDing from below)...I've heard people say there are places north of NYC where you can find them nesting. After corona virus lockdown, maybe I'll go look for them. (4) Common raven...never seen one in NYC...but I know that big call and the wedge-shaped tail. (5) Common nighthawk. I doubt I could find one roosting during the day since they blend in so well with tree branches, but Merlin gave some good ID tips..the fluttering flight and wing patch near end of primary feathers...which, if I saw one flying, I might use to ID one.  
    • Karen
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      ksmucker
      Activity 1:  Sitting in my back yard, I identified 5 birds.  American Robin (surprise, surprise :), house finch (male and female) mourning dove, American tree sparrow, and black-capped chickadee.  I saw another small yellow and black bird, but was unable to see enough of it to ID it. It had a yellow throat and a large black stripe from the chest up - I think!  Merlin did not help me. Activity 3: Yesterday, I was unable to make the most likely feature on Merlin work.  Today it is working - Yeah!  I love it! Birds I did not know that pass through here: Cassin's finch; Green-tailed towhee; Yellow-breasted chat; Wilson's warbler; Dusky flycatcher. Activity 2 I plan to do later today when we will visit a local small park with a wide variety of habitat.
    • Mackenna
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      rose.raptor
      When I was swimming there was a coopers hawk sitting in my pistachio tree.  It was really close to me. It stayed there for a while than some swallows chased it away.IMG_3510
    • Kathy
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      kcrowe
      Activity 1:  Western Bluebird, Tree Swallow, Yellow-rumped Warbler all seen where I'm birding nearly everyday this month as part of a volunteer effort for a local preservation organization, tracking Western Bluebirds.  Tree Swallows present and the warblers who seem to be arriving now for the season. Activity 2:  Apart from birds in first activity, I continued down to a neighborhood beach and saw a Black Oystercatcher, Glaucous-winged Gull, and Harlequin Ducks. Activity 3:  Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Pacific-slope Flycatcher, Bushtit, Marsh Wren, Wilson's Warbler
    • Ryan
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      NaniAndrew
      For the longest time, the same bird kept coming to my feeder, and I couldn't figure out what it was.  Is it it some sort of blackbird?  No, its head doesn't look like any blackbird I'd ever seen.  Was it a crow?  No, far to small.  Then I tried the Merlin bird ID and poof!  Now I know that it was a brown headed cowbird.
      • Sherri
        Participant
        Chirps: 6
        Sherri137
        I just saw one of those for the first time yesterday too!
    • michelle
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      mybarrette
      I sat and watched the birds at my feeders this morning. We see dark eyed juncos, chestnut-backed chickadees, bushtits, Anna's hummingbirds, red-breasted nuthatch. Sadly, we recently found a deceased varied thrush in the yard. We do not know how it died. A very beautiful bird and a shame to find it this way. We also have wrens, but struggled to identify which type. We used Merlin to help identify from the sound function. It sounds like it's a Bewick's wren.
    • Donna
      Participant
      Chirps: 11
      DonnaSouthard
      Good Morning! I have been interested in wild birds since I was a little girl and my grandmother let me put peanuts on the windowsill of her Queens, NY home to feed the birds.  Cardinals, Blue Jays and Northern Flickers were among the popular birds that arrived.  My grandmother would put out sunflower seeds in the early morning and dusk just for her favorite birds, Mrs. and Mrs. Cardinal.  I was mesmerized by the birds' beauty and how they came to the windowsill like clockwork. As an adult, I have noticed many changes of the birds who visit my backyard.  I have an acre of mostly wooded property on Long Island, NY.  For the past year I have had a flock of Cardinals who come to the feeders.  I have not experienced this before.  Usually, I had one "couple" and sometimes I witnessed "air fights" between Cardinals.  Lately, I have 4-6 males that come in with 4-6 females at the same time.  Is this common? Recently, I noticed that when I put shelled peanuts out for the wild birds in my backyard that the Blue Jays have mimicked the sound of a red tailed hawk.  It is a shorter sound than the hawks, but it seems to scare the smaller birds away.  This is the first year that I ever noticed Blue Jays making this type of sound.  Is this common? Thank you for your help!  Have a great day!
      • Katie
        Participant
        Chirps: 8
        karboga3
        I've seen something like that with Blue Jays. They seem to be very good mimics as well as singing a variety of their own songs.
      • Marjorie
        Participant
        Chirps: 10
        marjorielodwick

        @Katie We don't have Blue Jays where I am (Washington state), but Steller's Jays imitate Red-tailed Hawks all the time! I even caught one in my yard imitating a Bald Eagle (we have these in this area too). I was so excited when I heard the "eagle," and had to laugh out loud when I saw it was a jay. They are very smart birds, and good at imitating.

    • Karla
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      karladiane
      I am very lucky to have an abundance of birds in my backyard and around town in Ann Arbor Michigan.  One of my favorite, beautiful birds that has been very abundant for the past couple of weeks (since the beginning of April) has been the Northern Flicker.  Such gorgeous markings - they seem to be enjoying a smorgasbord of bugs in my lawn.  We also have quite a few raptors that visit often.  I spotted a sharp shinned hawk on the tree outside my office window the other day, but my viewing was cut short when s/he was chased away by a crow.  Lastly, a local park has a nest of Great Horned Owls.  They have the area roped off, so as not to disturb the birds - but we got a great view of the fluffy babies with our binoculars.
    • Emily
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      ericharson1227
      I spent some time in my yard. I observed a Black-Capped Chickadee, a Spotted Towhee, what I think is a Song Sparrow, and some kind of Hummingbird. I heard a Chickadee call. I wrote down notes to take back to my computer for identification, but I feel like I'm getting the hang of identifying a few of my local birds. It's lovely to spend even a little bit of time outdoors right now.
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