Bird Watcher’s Digest Magazine

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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The rusty blackbird has a sad story to tell: Its population is on a steep decline. A researcher shares her stories of studying this bird in its remote, northerly breeding ground. Can you distinguish loons in nonbreeding plumage? Bird ID guru Alvaro Jaramillo offers a strategy. What bird would swallow—and regurgitate—an entire hawk foot, including its killer talons? It took some sleuthing, but Julie Zickefoose figured it out.
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The Calliope hummingbird, North America’s smallest breeding bird, flies more than 5,000 miles per year. Look for the unique starburst plumage on the male’s gorget. Want to see the most hummingbird species while putting the fewest miles on your odometer? Visit southeastern Arizona. Bird photographer Charles Melton, who lives there, shares his insider knowledge. Optics experts Michael and Diane Porter conducted side-by-side tests of 13 models of binoculars priced at $330 or less, and were particularly impressed by several.
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Bird Watcher's Digest May/June 2016

Marvel at the day-by-day development of a nest of house wrens from egg to fledgling through the eyes of artist and author Julie Zickefoose in our cover species profile. Just in time for spring, “Far Afield” suggests a route from Kentucky through Michigan and Ontario to maximize encounters with neotropical migrants as they are returning to their nesting territories. Can you distinguish greater and lesser yellowlegs? Bird ID guru Alvaro Jaramillo shows you what to observe to make that call, even when the birds aren’t standing side-by-side. Also, two heartfelt stories: one about watching a hesitant peregrine falcon fledge, and the other about rescuing birds, including an orphaned common merganser.
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In anticipation of spring, Scott Weidensaul’s “Migrations” column focuses on harbingers: the honking of northbound geese and flocks of blackbirds, signs that never get old. Wilson’s phalarope is a most unusual species: Females are more colorful than males, and males are destined to be single parents. For those who think they can’t identify “little brown jobs,” think again! Find out how to look at—and appreciate—the beauty and diversity of sparrows. Contemplating swapping your binoculars for a camera with a long lens for birding? Here are some considerations and tips.
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Backyard blue jays, rampaging grizzly bears in Alaska, a summer birding camp in Maine, an unexpected “flock” of California condors in the Grand Canyon, how to identify North American cormorants, and an answer to the question: Where can I go to see puffins? This issue of Bird Watcher’s Digest has it all! You might be surprised at what you don’t know about blue jays, since there’s plenty even experts don’t yet know. Read the debut column, “Migrations,” by Pulitzer Prize-nominated author Scott Weidensaul, about his experiences banding and attaching a geolocator to Swainson’s thrushes in Denali National Park.
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