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Photo by Bill Thompson, III

Christmas Bird Counting

A long-standing program sponsored by the National Audubon Society, the Christmas Bird Count takes place each winter from December 14 to January 5 in designated 15-mile (24-km) circles across North America. Each circle count is conducted in one day. Thousands of bird watchers participate in this annual bird census, contributing data that is invaluable to assessing North American bird populations and guiding conservation action.
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Red-winged blackbird by Jessica Ingram

Spring Birds: When Does Spring Migration Begin?

Bird watchers anticipate spring migration like kids anticipate Christmas. Looking forward to first-of-year species helps us make it through the bleak days of late winter. But when does spring migration actually start? For the past 35 years, I've lived and watched birds in the lower Midwest—southern Ohio and southern Indiana. If you live in New England, the Great Plains, the Rockies, the Pacific Northwest, the Southwest, or the South, your spring birding experience will probably be quite different in terms of the species and/or timing of their return.
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Yellow-breasted Chat photo by Emily Willoughby / Wikimedia.

How Much Do You Know About Chats? Take Our Quiz!

Is it a warbler? Some kind of mockingbird? We’ve long had a hunch that chats are one-of-a-kind, and now the American Ornithological Society has made it official: Yellow-breasted chat is the sole member of the family Icteriidae, nestled between the Cuban warblers and the New World blackbirds. No other bird is quite like a chat, that largish, olivish songbird with a heavy bill and bright yellow throat, usually hidden away in dense vegetation, uttering a bizarre series of snaps, crackles, and pops. If it weren’t for their talkative nature, it would be easy to overlook chats altogether, even when exploring their favorite habitat. So what do you know about chats? Let’s chat about that.
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