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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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Test Your Knowledge of Mid-Spring Migrants

We're one month into spring, but many bird species started their annual northward peregrination during mid-winter. Spring migration runs from late February (waterfowl, cranes, and swallows) through early June, with stragglers including some shorebird, flycatcher, and thrush species. Mid-April is mid-migration, with Neotropical migrant songbirds gaining steam, and FOY (first-of-year) reports coming in daily on state and local email lists and in Facebook groups. Can you identify these middle-of-spring migrants?
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