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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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Pectoral sandpiper by Peter Massas / Wikimedia

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

The birds that we call shorebirds include sandpipers, plovers, and other wading birds. In North America, many of these birds nest in the Arctic and travel thousands of miles to their wintering grounds, stopping on marshes and mudflats where many of us can see them in spring and fall. Shorebirds come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but some have confusingly similar plumages, presenting fun but tricky identification challenges. Even when we cannot put a name on every shorebird we see, it’s still a highlight of fall to go out and find a flock of shorebirds working the mud flats, thinking about the numerous obstacles these birds must overcome—and the incredible distances they must cover—as they rest and refuel at our local habitats. Are you a shorebird expert? Here’s a quiz covering some fun facts about this cool group of birds.
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