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American goldfinches flock at backyard thistle feeders. Photo by Randall Sholten.

Answers to Common Backyard Questions

We receive a lot of bird questions here at Bird Watcher's Digest. Since the earliest days of our magazine, we've taken seriously our responsibility as a source of accurate, reliable information about birds, so we've tried to answer each question as fully and clearly as possible. Some visitors have been taking advantage of the discussion features on our website and on Facebook to ask a variety of interesting questions or to chime in to address queries posted by other bird watchers. We've grabbed a few recent Q&As to feature here.
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Current Feature

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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Eastern screech-owl (rufous morph). Photo by Virginia State Parks Staff / Wikimedia.

All About Owls: Test Your Knowledge!

Owls are wildly popular birds, and for good reason: They're cool! Silent and deadly, they roam our forests, grasslands, and swamps, searching for prey long after the hawks, eagles, and falcons have turned in for the night. They also possess a unique appearance—an almost humanlike expression that has given owls their (mostly inaccurate) reputation as wise birds. And then there's the challenge of finding them. Since owls are mostly nocturnal and humans are mostly diurnal, we don't cross paths often. What a thrill it is to stumble across a roosting barred owl while hiking through the woods on an overcast day, to discover that a western screech-owl has taken up residence in a backyard nest box, or to spy a short-eared owl as it glides silently over an open field in the fading daylight. So how much do you know about owls? Here's your chance to find out.
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