Bird Watcher's Digest

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2021 Issues

November/December 2021

It's the last issue of 2021! Our November/December issue features the red-bellied woodpecker. One of the most conspicuous and vocal birds throughout its range, with a high tolerance for people, the red-bellied woodpecker is one of the most familiar woodpeckers in the eastern half of the country. In his Identify Yourself column, bird ID expert Alvaro Jaramillo explores how sexes within a bird species can differ greatly, and the interesting biology behind these differences. Also, raw, unprocessed suet is nearly impossible to find these days, so columnist Julie Zickefoose improvises with fat scraps to keep her woodpeckers fueled. Finally, when it comes to Christmas Bird Counts, humorist Al Batt will shiver up an earthquake in Minnesota to experience the joy that only a CBC can bring. Find all this and more in our November/December 2021 issue!
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September/October 2021

The barred owl graces the cover of our September/October issue. In our species profile, Cathryn Sill shares an extended close encounter with this species, one that she and her husband, cover artist John Sill, have long admired. In her True Nature column, naturalist Julie Zickefoose writes about the magic of migrating hoary bats—which she likens to silvery woodland shearwaters that move through the trees like flung boomerangs. Also, who stays bright, and who goes dull in the fall? And why? Bird ID guru Alvaro Jaramillo offers helpful tips on how to remember the songbirds that slip into a more subtle winter plumage. Find all this and more!
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July/August 2021

The July/August 2021 issue of Bird Watcher's Digest abounds with great birding stories, well-told! BWD editor Dawn Hewitt started keeping her life list in 1979, but it took until 2005 for her to get her first clear, lingering look at a species that frequently eluded her: the least bittern. Black vultures are not known for their beauty, poise, manners, or hygiene. They should, however, be world famous for their brains. Columnist Julie Zickefoose regales readers with two stories of bird watchers who have had remarkable encounters with black vulture families. Bird ID guru Alvaro Jaramillo reveals a secret about the warbling vireo, a nondescript bird commonly found across North America from spring to fall: It will likely be split into an eastern and western species. Find all this and more in the July/August issue!
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May/June 2021

Cuckoos rule in the May/June 2021 issue of BWD! Julie Zickefoose explores the yellow-billed cuckoo’s bizarre life history, which makes it one of the most interesting birds in her woodland—and perhaps in all of North America! Also, in her True Nature column, Julie finds a black-billed cuckoo that struck her window and struggles to bring it back to health. Do birds have ways of saying “thank you”? Julie thinks so. In his Watching Bird Behavior column, Dr. David Bird digs into a study about what color feeder birds prefer, some mysterious blue jay behavior, and other interesting avian questions and observations. Lastly, warblers are one of the most challenging families of birds to photograph, but with a little luck and the tips that Bruce Wunderlich offers in this issue, you just might capture those elusive warbler shots every birdtographer desires. Find all this and more!
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March/April 2021

The March/April issue of Bird Watcher's Digest will help you prepare for warbler season! The Townsend's warbler graces the cover. This species can be found throughout the West during migration—that is, if you can spot one in the dense foliage of the mature wooded habitats they prefer. Contributor L. E. Guidici shares his delight in having one frequent his feeders. Many birders need a bit of priming before the migrating warblers pass through each spring. Columnist Alvaro Jaramillo offers tips on how to get ready for these highly anticipated visitors by using eBird and internet birdsong recordings to brush up on your warbler ID skills. Love bird photography? BWD designer and professional photographer Bruce Wunderlich shares tips for creating smooth bokeh and avoiding distracting backgrounds. Find all this and much more in the March/April issue.
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January/February 2021

North America’s smallest and most widespread raptor—and arguably one of the most beautifully colored, the American kestrel is often found near areas of human activity, but the species faces severe population decline due to decreasing habitat in some areas. Learn more about our cover species in a story by contributor Melissa Moore. The long-eared is an owl many only dream of seeing, despite occurring across the continent. Bird ID expert Alvaro Jaramillo shares this secretive owl’s habits and how to distinguish it from other large owls. Also, in their annual festival roundup, Phil and Leigh Creighton ponder a fantasy Big Year, recalling six festivals they attended over several years and the cumulative species tally. Will the final number rival their successful 2014 Big Year total? Find out in the January/February 2021 issue of BWD!
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