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

    • Alice
      Participant
      Chirps: 14
      Activity 1: Outside
      • Blue Jay
      • Pine Warbler
      • Red-bellied Woodpecker
      • Tufted Titmouse
      • American Cardinal
      • Red-wing Blackbird (female)
      • Mourning Doves
      • Summer TanagerPine Warbler
       
    • I visited the Armand bayou nature center today and was fortunate to observe and photograph a black and white warbler. This was a new species for my life list. I used Merlin sound id because the birds were not visible at first and Merlin reported a brown creeper(infrequent for this region) and then I noticed the bird creeping along the trunk of the tree. I initially assumed this was the brown creeper. Later, Merlin Photo Id suggested black and white warbler. The species notes say "creeps along tree trunks and branches like a nimble nuthatch, probing the bark for insects.". Images attached. 70D92FFE-C3EC-41E3-811F-8AEB7967EC6C26029478-DB1E-4D16-81CC-E9E21A770EAF
    • Belinda
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      I used eBird to see which birds had been seen at a pond in the area. I walked around the pond and saw cackling geese, wood ducks, mallards and pied-billed grebes. The highlight of the walk was using Merlin to identify ring-tailed ducks which I was able to add to my life list.
      • Belinda
        Participant
        Chirps: 2
        This is a correction on my observation- it was ring-necked ducks, not ring-tailed.
    • Andrea
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      Activity 1: I spent 50 minutes in Long Branch Nature Park; I was able to see a Red-bellied Woodpecker, I heard several others that I was not able to see, but thanks to the Merlin Bird ID app with its Sound ID feature I have been able to learn to identify some of the calls of local birds- I heard some American Crows, Fish Crows, a White-breasted Nuthatch, Carolina Chickadees, Northern Cardinals, a Tufted Titmouse, a Hairy Woodpecker, and a Barrel Owl. Activity 2: From my balcony I have been able to see many Blue Jays, Mourning Doves, Northern Cardinals (they are usually in pairs, if I see a male I look for the female which is usually around in the same tree), and House Sparrows. Activity 3: Next time I go birding I will look for a Northern Flicker which is a very pretty bird and appear in charts as present in this area the whole year. I have heard its calls many times but I haven't been able to see it.
    • Ross
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      Melbourne Australia:  I spent about 45 minutes in a small local  park with a Field Guide to Birds.   Little Wattle Birds  Anthochaera chrysoptera  were in abundance with their distinctive call and acrobatics amongst the trees; the Noisy Miner Manorina melancophala  was certainly living up to its name and spent quite a bit of time chasing off other birds, which is typical of this bird during breeding season;  the Rainbow Lorikeet Trichoglossus haematodus which one could hear before you could spot it - very distinctive constant screeching and chattering ; a pair of Little Ravens Corvus mellori; and Magpie Larks Grallina cyanoleuca which were also quite aggressive toward other birds as I read they also can be during breeding season. Wonderful to be able to identify and appreciate the bird life...next time I'll take my camera :-)
    • Julie
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      Lunch time is not the best birding time in my yard, but it’s a time when I’m free. I went out today and saw only three species—a Carolina Wren, a yellow-rumored warbler, and two Blue Jays.  It’s a beautiful day but not very birdy. I haven’t seen yellow-rumored warblers here since last winter; it’s nice to see them again. One chirping critter turned out to be a chipmunk.
    • Alicia
      Participant
      Chirps: 23
      Activity 1: I spent about 25 minutes watching the Cornell feeders cam on Oct. 16th, and saw a flock of Red-winged Blackbirds (it was raining). No other birds came, but I could there were others calling. Maybe there were some little birds on the ground under the feeders - it would be great if the feeder cam could also give us a view of the ground feeders (and the chipmunks...). Activity 3: From eBird I saw there are some interesting birds around Brussels I haven't seen much locally or never at all - the Graylag Goose, Wigeon, Eared Grebe, Common Gull and Rook.
    • Beth
      Participant
      Chirps: 13
      I tried the Merlin app most likely feature for Butler County Ohio.  It was interesting to see the lineup because many come to our backyard feeders and trees.  Now I know what to be on the lookout for.   I also liked checking the eBird website for our state and county to see which birds are here in October.  Looking at the photos and calls  of ducks seen here will be helpful for identification when I am walking by marshes, ponds, etc. These are handy, informative tools to have at the ready as a new birder.
    • Raphael
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      Brooklyn, NY on 9.28.2021 reports Monk Parakeet as a likely bird sighting. I always thought parakeets were domesticated birds; I could never imagine seeing them in the wild in NYC. Their calls were more screechy than I would have imagined when I listened on the Merlin app.
    • Gretel
      Participant
      Chirps: 11
      I used Merlin to see the likely birds I would find in my city today and selected sort by family - most likely, which I haven't used before. Looking at waterfowls that I am yet to have on my life list we have the pink-eared duck and the plumed whistling-duck. Both are rare sightings but they have been sighted in this area in September previously. Both ducks have very unique plumage so a visual ID would be perhaps the easier way to identify them. Although the whistling duck does actually whistle!
    • Nancy
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      Activity 1: Visited wetlands park area nearby. Tide was low. Saw very large Herring Gull pull up a stranded fish from the mudflat- he had difficultly pulling the fish out and then flew away. Saw many groups of Semipalmated Sandpipers- they flew together in synchronized form around the mudflat before landing together in a safe spot on an island- then they began walking around pecking at the mudflat edge foraging for food. Saw many beautiful Great Egrets foraging solo and one Great Blue Heron walking slowly and occasionally standing still before capturing prey from the mudflat. Caught a glimpse only of beautiful black wings with white bars on the dorsal side flying into the marsh trees; later identified this as a Northern Mockingbird. Activity 2:  Likely birds in my area today include American Goldfinch, Ring-billed Gull, Barn Swallow, Hairy Woodpecker, Indigo Bunting. Activity 3: Five birds that pass through my area include Monk Parakeet, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Brant, Yellow-crowned Night Heron, Green-winged Teal.
    • Emily
      Participant
      Chirps: 23
      Activity 3: using merlin and looking at the bar charts of birds that come through my area i see alot of waterfowl and shorebirds which i knew about. Chincoteague is a huge stop over place for many waterfowl headed south of the the winter. Some birds i didn’t know about that pass through the area  and may not be full time residents are purple martins are here for the spring and summer months, yellow billed cuckoos are here for end of spring to the beginning of fall months, eastern wood pewee are here for summer and fall months, the great crested flycatcher and the eastern kingbird are both here for summer months, and blue grosbeak and indigo buntings are here for the summer and into fall months.
    • Emily
      Participant
      Chirps: 23
      Activity 2: merlins most likely feature for Chincoteague today which is 8/30 shows laughing gulls, great egret, snowy egret, forester terns, double crested cormorants, willets, tricolored herons, willets semipalmated plovers and great blue herons just to name a few. I've seen laughing gulls (heard as well), a great egret, a snowy egret and i still struggle with terns but i have seen some terns which i believe are the forester terns.
    • Emily
      Participant
      Chirps: 23
      Activity 1: I went bird watching in the back section of the RV park I’m living in at the moment. It has some big tide influenced ponds for water fowl and during the mid tide i was able to see a lot of shore birds feeding. I saw a few ducks probably black or mallards. I saw a bunch of sanderlings and semipalmated plovers. I saw and heard a laughing gull flying over head. I saw 2 grackles fly to a nearby tree. I also saw a great blue heron fly overhead. I did have trouble with one lone bird. He reminded me of a willet but seemed too brown. The area is such an interesting place and I’ve seen so many birds from shorebirds to song birds. Some birds I’ve never seen before in person like an eastern kingbird, some Carolina chickadees, a few northern flickers and a downy woodpecker.
    • Alanna
      Participant
      Chirps: 15
      Activity 3: Searching on the Merlin app, easily I found 5 birds in my location that I did not know they were there. The Red-headed Woodpecker that could be spotted easily it seems like for the way his head is fully red. And this bird stays in my region all year around according to the map. This type of woodpecker is unlikely like the other woodpeckers how the bird has solid colors instead of having patterns. Listening to the sounds, I did recognize some of them by the way the bird would hammer its head on the tree trunk. An Indigo Bunting would breed here in the summer. This striking blue bodied bird which is a male I have never seen and would love to find. The only Blue Bird I have seen in my location is the Blue Jay. The Indigo Bunting would breed in shrubby areas and edges of the forests and fields. The females are plains brown with a whiteish throat, blueish tail, and have faint streaks in the underparts. I could of possible see a female without knowing it was an Indigo Bunting and thinking it was either some type of sparrow or finch. And again I have heard of their sound before. There is a rare bird breeding in my location that is called the Scarlet Tanager. The males are a bright red during their breeding season and could be easily spotted with such color. Both female and male would be the same color of yellow-olive when the male is not in breeding season. Their song is described as a American Robin with a sore throat. A water bird called the Hooded Merganser would be in areas such as wooded swamps, ponds, and rivers. Looking at the picture of the bird I would not expect on seeing them since they look like the types of bird that would be in the tropical areas the way they have puffy heads and the colors of brown, white, and black. During the winter they would be in calm bodies of water but they will never be in the ocean. Their sound kind of reminds me of a crow. A bird that has red eyes and is hard to see its eyes in person is the Red-eyed Vireo. They are a plain olive green with whiteish below with no wing bars. Would breed in mature deciduous forests and would actually sing all day long. They would flock with Chickadees and Warblers during their migration routes.
    • Susan
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      On my usual daily walk along  I was able to use Merlin and the call ID feature to tell whether I was seeing the raven I thought I was or if I was seeing a crow. Their calls are very different. I was happy to verify that it was a raven.
    • Tom
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      One of my favorite birds that visit my backyard feeder are the Painted Buntings. The Male is so colorful! I look forward to their return later this year to the south and my feeder stations.   JX1A5657-Edit-Edit-Edit
    • Dominique
      Participant
      Chirps: 21
      I’ve spent a few hours bird watching around my home. Spotted a green pigeon flying in and out of a leafy tree with what I presume is nesting material (like twigs) - each time flying an almost identical path to source area. I identified the bird as Little green pigeon, but seeing it better today as it perched on an overhead wire i noticed it had red eyes - so the fist ID was wrong. It is a Pink-necked green pigeon. Before doing this course I would not have spotted that difference (the birds are quite similar to a beginner).
    • Gloria
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      So excited that I am able to identify some birds now.  On a nature walk in Pennsylvania with friends, I saw a red winged blackbird flew by us and heard a loud tapping sound made by a woodpecker.  I am so excited learning more and more our winded creatures.
    • Armando
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      For the 3rd activity I found the following 5 species that live in my county: gadwall, common gallinule, nanday parakeet, bells vireo, and purple finch. I am particularly surprised about the nanday parakeets. They are very colorful birds native to central south america, but there are some that live in my county. This would be a particularly fun bird to find and watch to see how it behaves in the Californian habitats.
    • Yvonne
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      Found the Red Cardinal found on Merlin, but the sound and other information I am having trouble finding on Merlin.  I will attempt to get better at using Merlin.  But the the location, colors, size did fine the Red Cardinal, so not all was a loss.
    • Karrin
      Participant
      Chirps: 47
      I completed all 3 activities. Activity 1: I tuned in to the birdcams for the (a) barred owl, (b) Panama fruit feeders, and (c) Savannah osprey. With regard to (a), the owl was sleeping [I tuned in at 9am EST], which gave me the perfect opportunity to get a long look at the design / pattern of its feathers. With regard to (b), I didn't see any birds, but the location was so beautiful, and I was excited to learn that the location is open for visitors! With regard to (c), I saw a baby in the nest. What struck me was how non-plussed it was by the sound of a nearby leafblower. Activity 2: On my way into the office this morning, I heard so much birdsong, but couldn't identify the birds. Using Merlin's "Most Likely" feature, I was able to identify three birds I was hearing: (a) robin, (b) blue jay, and (c) house finch. Activity 3: First, I have to say I was surprised by how many birds are common in my area this time of year! I chose my 5 based on their names alone: (1) white-throated sparrow*, (2) cowbird, (3) Eastern towhee, (4) killdeer*, and (5) pine siskin. The * indicates that these are birds that I have heard quite often without realizing who they were. :-)
    • Michelle
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      Activity 1: Used the Merlin app to find out that brown headed and white-breasted nuthatches have visited my deck!
    • Bruce
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      I live near Ventura Harbor Ecological Preserve in Ventura, California.  I regularly do Activity 1 there.  Yesterday, I saw Ruddy Ducks, American Coots, Gadwalls, Mallards, Northern Shovelers, Snowy Egrets, Black-crowned Night Heron, Pied-billed Grebe,  and my find of the day, a Ring-necked Duck. Just outside the preserve stood a Great Blue Heron while a Red-tailed Hawk stood on a nearby lamppost.
    • Chloë
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      Activity 3.  I did not know the the Fish Crow, Ring Billed Gull, Great Egret, Herring Gull or Northern Pintail could be found so near to where I live.  I shall be researching not only these birds, but also the location that I found on e-Bird where people have seen them.