Breeding Bird Surveys are a fun activity that get you out to an area you may not visit or birdwatch otherwise. Never heard of a Breeding Bird Survey?!?... This is a great way for you to contribute meaningful data and help assess long term population trends of local breeding birds. Each participant usually runs the same route anually, with 50 stops in all. At each stop, you record every bird heard and seen in three minutes, then load up and move to your next stop 1/2 mile away.
Learn more about how you can get involved at:
Finding nests and observing nesting behavior can be extremely rewarding and is a fantastic way to learn a lot more about the birds you see all the time. Even if you don't find the nest, you can always enjoy the interactions between recently fledged chicks and adult birds. On a drive back from completing my Breeding Bird Survey recently, I stopped to enjoy and study some young Loggerhead Shrikes. Despite >20 years of intense birding, I realized I'd never really paid much attention to birds in this plumage and had certainly never gotten a picture of young Loggerheads.
In this plumage, young Loggerheads show distinct barring on the breast and flanks (similar to that on an adult Northern Shrike) and show distinct buffy wingbars that the adults lack.
Little discoveries like this can be made simply by paying closer attention to the "common birds" in your area and are very rewarding. If you are a true migration junkie though, things aren't as bad as they might seem. The last migrant warblers to trickle through Florida (usually the highly sought after Connecticut Warbler) are best seen in the first 10 days of May which is also the best time to find the locally uncommon White-rumped Sandpiper.
Here in the first days of July, I'm hearing birds I haven't had in the yard for over a month. Singing Northern Parulas, and wheezy Blue-gray Gnatcatchers are sure signs of things to come. By mid-July though, fall shorebird migration will be in full swing as well so if you feel you've exhausted the pool of birds locally and are hankering for some variety, never fear. You're almost there, but in the interim try to change your focus and enjoy the new discoveries awaiting you in your own backyard.