Bird Watcher’s Digest Magazine

Barry Kent MacKay, the artist who painted the birds on the cover of this issue, also wrote the species profile. As a child, the American West and its birds intrigued and allured him. When he finally spotted lazuli buntings, he truly saw the colors of the West. Also in this issue, dive into the muck with bird ID guru Alvaro Jaramillo and learn to distinguish marsh and sedge wrens. Discover birding hotspots in our Nebraska Spotlight, and our Far Afield column on Rhode Island. Find all this and more in our May/June issue!
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A Wilson’s snipe, camouflaged in marshy vegetation—so typical of this species—adorns the cover of the March/April issue of BWD. Inside is an insightful profile of this fascinating bird that really does have superpowers! For comparison, read about the skydance of the American woodcock, a bird similar yet very different from the cover species. Bird ID guru Alvaro Jaramillo takes a look at fox sparrows and their regional differences. Find all this and more in our March/April issue!
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This is an extra-wintery issue of BWD. The northern cardinal, on our cover is especially eye-catching against a snowy backdrop. Writer Erik Bruhnke offers an interesting and informative species profile of this iconic species. Julie Zickefoose offers six tips for better winter bird feeding. Considering purchasing a new spotting scope? Birding optics expert Ben Lizdas review the brand new, top-shelf Zeiss Harpia. Find all this and more in the January/February issue of BWD!
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A cryptic bird of high elevations graces the cover of this issue. It blends in with its rocky habitat in summer, but is nearly invisible in snow. Author Steve Shunk went to great heights to see the white-tailed ptarmigan—as is required. Most birders are familiar with its smaller cousins, Cooper’s and sharp-shinned hawks. Bird ID expert Alvaro Jaramillo explains how the goshawk is different, in size, shape, and power. Jim McCormac offers tips and tricks for anticipating eye-catching action shots. Find all this and more in the November/December issue of BWD! Table of Contents »

Read a species profile by saw-whet owl banders Kelly Williams and Bob Scott Placier, who literally have hands-on experience with this tiny predator. Autumn is an ideal time to take a pelagic trip—a boat ride into deeper waters off shore. Many birders make such a Pacific pilgrimage, and bird ID guru Alvaro Jaramillo helps distinguish among the shearwaters The Viper Vortex HD Binocular is new and improved—and that’s a fact, says birding optics expert Ben Lizdas. Find all this and more in the September/October issue!
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Our species profile on the piping plover is by the global authority on the species, who literally risked her life studying the birds. Find out about the birding hotspots north of Rochester, New York, in Far Afield: Birding Lake Ontario’s Verdant Shoreline, by Jerry Uhlman. What’s going on in your backyard during the late summer? Fledglings, feather development, and molt, and they’re worth studying, says Identify Yourself columnist Alvaro Jaramillo. Find all this and more in the July/August 2018 issue!
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Just in time for the return of a beautiful bird with a beautiful voice, Ed Kanze provides an appreciation of rose-breasted grosbeaks, and recalls a gut-wrenching encounter. Long-billed and short-billed dowitchers are nearly identical. Nearly. bird ID guru Alvaro Jaramillo explains exactly what to look and listen for to distinguish them like a pro! Last, but not least: Optics expert Ben Lizdas reviews the Swarovski BTX Spotting Scope, “a La-Z-Boy recliner for your eyes.” Find all this and more in the May/June 2018 issue!
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The March/April issue of BWD covers things rare and wonderful. Consider our cover species, the wood duck. It’s not just the appearance that makes it interesting. It’s breeding behavior and conservation history have make it a wonder duck! Also, Before Hurricane Maria walloped Puerto Rico last September, fewer than 1,800 elfin woods warblers were believed to exist—and all of them on that single island. Did the species survive? Author Lee Snyder was determined to find out. Last, but not least, congratulations to Martha McLeod, of Rockport, Texas, for submitting the winning essay in the Bird Watcher’s Digest/Swarovski Optik Birder of the Year contest. Find all this and more in the March/April 2018 issue!
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What an issue! A dark-eyed junco researcher recalls his adventures in figuring out what makes a junco a junco. Columnist Scott Weidensaul reminisces about the joy and excitement of first visits to places where none of the birds are familiar, and Julie Zickefoose remembers a remarkable blue jay she once knew, and the lessons it taught her. Al Batt fans: There’s something you need to know about Al. It won’t make you happy, but as always, it will make you smile. Find all this and more in the January/February 2018 issue!
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This issue of BWD is hawk-heavy this time, with a golden eagle painting by Julie Zickefoose on the cover, and a profile of the species by Kyle Carlsen. Bird behavior specialist David Bird recalls the remarkable nest he watched last spring, as a pair of bald eagles raised a baby red-tailed hawk. Bird ID guru Alvaro Jaramillo takes a look at recent “splits and lumps”—species regroupings as determined by the American Ornithological Society. Find all this and more in the November/December issue!
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The obscure Philadelphia vireo is a fascinating but often-overlooked bird, explains Scott K. Robinson, a world expert on our cover species and author of its species profile, “A Profile in Deception.” Columnist Scott Weidensaul recounts 20 years of research on the northern saw-whet owl, a species once thought to be rare, but proven to be common, widespread, and secretive. The Spotlight column is on Michigan in this issue, and Far Afield takes you to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, where you might find sharp-tailed and spruce grouse! Find all this and more in the September/October issue!
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The mysterious marbled murrelet: Perhaps because it’s not a flashy bird and spends most of its life at sea, much remains unknown about this species. Its nesting habits weren’t discovered until the 1970s! Organic, fair-trade, even shade-grown labels on coffee don’t guarantee that the beans were grown harmoniously with bird habitat. But Scott Weidensaul visited a Smithsonian-certified bird-friendly region of Nicaragua and found both birds and coffee-growers thriving together. Learn to distinguish desert thrashers (sage, curve-billed, Bendire’s, California, crissal, Le Conte’s) from bird ID guru Alvaro Jaramillo. Find all this and more in the July/August issue!
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