Bird Watcher’s Digest Magazine

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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Just in time for spring migration, read all about this striking songbird. These beauties are commonly encountered throughout the eastern United States before they reach their northern breeding grounds in the northeastern states and Canada. Need more of a warbler fix? Go “Searching for Ceruleans” in Pennsylvania. The State Spotlight is on California, where 666 bird species have been documented. Find all this and more in the May/June issue of Bird Watcher’s Digest.
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March/April is when waterfowl are heading north, and this issue will make you into a merganser specialist. Read about hooded mergansers from an authority who has researched them for 50 years, and learn to distinguish those tricky hooded, common, and red-breasted merganser females. In the Far Afield column, take a virtual trip to southeastern Alaska just in time for the spectacle of spring shorebird migration: an estimated four million sandpipers. Julie Zickefoose writes about a photo that took her breath away, and Scott Weidensaul focuses on American kestrels, a once-common species now in steep decline.
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In this issue of Bird Watcher’s Digest, Our cover features one of the most industrious of birds, a bird with an obsession. The acorn woodpecker excavates thousands of acorn-sized holes, then feverishly collects the objects of its desire and shoves them into the holes for easy eating and long-term storage. In our popular “ID Yourself” column, bird identification guru Alvaro Jaramillo bird identification guru Alvaro Jaramillo profiles four species of North American nuthatches. This issue also includes our first State Spotlight profile, the state of Louisiana.
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Bird Watcher's Digest November/December 2016

In this issue of Bird Watcher’s Digest, BWD contributor John Acorn takes us north to the Alberta Grain Terminal in Edmonton, Canada, where gyrfalcons have fought for dominion for the past 24 years. In our popular “ID Yourself” column, bird identification guru Alvaro Jaramillo bird identification guru Alvaro Jaramillo focuses on two under-appreciated blackbirds, the rusty and the Brewer’s. Also, columnist Scott Weidensaul recalls one extra close encounter with a massive female golden eagle at Hawk Mountain in Pennsylvania.
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