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A beautiful snowy owl photographed during the Bird Watcher's Digest Reader Rendezvous in Sax Zim Bog, Minnesota. Photo by Peter Trueblood.

Snowy Owl Viewing: Observe Without Disturbing

Seeing a snowy owl is a rare privilege. Snowy owls are magnificent birds, and attract considerable attention when they visit the Lower 48 in winter. Enthusiastic observers and photographers should understand and remember that these birds may be stressed by hunger and long-distance travel. It is important to resist the temptation to get too close for a clearer look or better photograph.
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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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Can You Identify These Early-Spring Migrants?

Spring begins in four days! But spring migration has been going on for more than a month already and will continue for another two months, depending upon where you live. The experience of spring migration varies a lot across this continent. For those in the South, it means the abundant waterfowl and other more northerly breeders are departing. For those who live in the central tier of states, it means our winter visitors will be heading out while species that winter in the South and breed in the North will be passing through. For those who live in the northern states and Canada, the “snow birds” will be returning. The first birds to get the urge for leaving are, in most cases, those who haven’t traveled too far, including those that spend the winter on this continent, so that’s the focus of this quiz. Can you identify these early migrants?
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