About us: We own a wild bird feeding supply nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Photo Share: Birdie it's cold outside

Photo by capt_tain Tom
Gregarious and social, House Finches are found in noisy groups that are hard to miss if present. Look for House Finches feeding on the ground or at bird feeders, or perching high in nearby trees.
Related Articles:
- House Finches: Those Year-round Red Heads http://bit.ly/oOPJYR  
- Where do you place finch feeders? http://bit.ly/qr78Dd
- How to have more colorful birds at your feeder http://bit.ly/rT5Hfj
- Why male and females are a different color http://bit.ly/ueILUf
- Remove all winter wreaths before finches begin nesting in them http://goo.gl/OeyOS

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

What squirrels eat in the winter

Photo by Jim Bauer
Even when it's cold out, squirrels need to eat. They have food that they have hidden and also eat nuts, fruits, and berries for calories and fat to see them through the winter. Squirrels can also eat bugs, soil, mushrooms and animal bones. Squirrels need water too if they want to remain hydrated during winter.

Related Articles:
How do I keep squirrels off my bird feeders? http://bit.ly/yiZsML
Squirrel proof bird feeder reviews http://bit.ly/waJs9o
Why are Squirrels Called Squirrels? http://bit.ly/yhktkr
How many species of squirrels are in Michigan? http://bit.ly/yYt6Nb
Black Squirrel History & Facts http://bit.ly/AxiqPz
"Frisky" Fox Squirrels http://bit.ly/AndeTw
Why squirrels chew http://bit.ly/AjVzFW

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The difference between a male and female blue jay

@birdsunlimited What's the difference between a male and female bluejay?

Side by side you might find the male Blue Jays are slightly larger than the females. Otherwise male and female Blue Jays appear almost identical in appearance to the casual human glance. However the feather structures of many species also reflect light in the ultraviolet range. Because many birds can discriminate a greater variety of colors than humans, including ultraviolet wavelengths, they can appear quite different to each other than they do to us. 
You can also observe their behavior, especially in February when courtship begins. Little groups form and if a female begins to fly, the males follow. After landing, the males bob their heads and fluff their feathers in attempts to impress the female.

Once a mate is chosen the male and female both gather materials and build the nest, but on average male does more gathering and female more building.

Related Articles:
- Why do Birds Scatter Seeds from Feeders? http://bit.ly/w4vRPP
- Blue Jays aren't blue http://bit.ly/roVPVX
- What Feeder Do You Recommend for Blue Jays? http://bit.ly/txd8ja
- Blue Jay Fun Facts http://goo.gl/wJgMmJ
- Do birds know winter is coming? http://goo.gl/EilIa6
- Why Blue Jays go bald in the fall http://goo.gl/gAX3x 

Monday, December 28, 2015

Icy weather is the worst for birds

The first cold snap of winter cracked an icy whip across mid-Michigan, forcing the birds to return to our feeders in droves. You may notice a lot more titmice, woodpeckers, nuthatches and chickadees at the feeders. These clever birds collect and hide or cache food all over their territory, in a behavior known as scatter-hoarding.

Usually this secret stash of food hidden in the crevices of tree bark, in knotholes, under shingles, in the ground and on the underside of small branches helps them survive during bad weather and when food sources are low. Unfortunately ice storms can cover this food and make it unattainable. So while their backup foods as well as natural resources aren’t available, they are attacking the feeders.

Winter is the time when high fat foods become more critical in a bird’s diet. Every night up to three-quarters of a bird’s fat reserves are used up; reserves that must be replenished the next day. When fat reserves are depleted, protein — mostly scavenged from muscle tissue — is depleted to keep up with energy needs.

Keeping your feeders filled with high energy, high fat foods can provide your birds with the critical nutrition they need to survive. High on the list of best choices to meet this nutritional need is suet.

Our most popular Wild Birds Unlimited seed blends are No Mess Blend and Choice Blend because they are filled with many of high fat seeds and nuts making them ideal foods, along with suet, to offer your birds this winter. 

Related Articles:
- Common winter birds in Michigan and their food preference: http://bit.ly/yp9YQA
- How to choose the best suet cake http://bit.ly/xATYPQ
- Best food for birds in the winter http://goo.gl/MVFcbl
- Why do Birds Scatter Seeds from Feeders? http://bit.ly/vZ6gzM
- Choosing a seed blend to feed wild birds  http://goo.gl/C3mFuD

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Upside down bird

White-breasted nuthatches are small birds that can often be spotted climbing up and down the trunks of trees. Their black and white body and long bills make them easy to identify. Their bills are nearly as long as their heads and White-breasted nuthatches have black crowns on their heads, with white cheeks and white undersides.

They are found year-round in Michigan and do not migrate. In the winter it’s not unusual for a group of mixed species to fly together for protection and to forage for food.

They get their common name from their habit of jamming large nuts and acorns into tree bark, then whacking them with their sharp bill to “hatch” out the seed from the inside. White-breasted Nuthatches may be small but their voices are loud, and often their insistent nasal yammering will lead you right to them.

It is easy to attract the White-breasted Nuthatches to your yard, with a suet or peanut feeder as well as our Wild Birds Unlimited seed cylinders.

Related Articles:
- Bird Guilds: How different birds band together to survive http://goo.gl/d0VzDD
- Bird of the week: Red-breasted Nuthatch http://bit.ly/sXqKVH
- Fascinating Nuthatch Bill-Sweeping & Wing Fanning http://bit.ly/s4MWlV
- Facts every backyard birder wants know about Nuthatches http://bit.ly/tBbDbQ
- Black and white bird walking upside down on a tree trunk http://goo.gl/RUCT6O

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Photo Share: American Goldfinch

Photo by Christopher Paquette 
"One of my favorites.... I didn't recognize him in his winter colors"
The American Goldfinches are here in mid-Michigan year round. To encourage them to your yard, plant native Purple coneflowers,  milkweed and other plants that produce seed heads.

At the feeders, finches prefer sunflower and nyjer (thistle) seed. They can figure out how to use any bird feeder including hoppers, mesh or tube feeders, and these birds don’t mind feeders that sway in the wind. You’ll also find American Goldfinches are happy to feed on the ground below feeders, eating spilled seeds.

Related Articles:
European Goldfinches http://bit.ly/Q2Cu37
Goldfinch Migration http://bit.ly/MzGSPD
Are Goldfinches here in the winter? http://bit.ly/PZu5ML
Goldfinches: The Last Birds Nesting http://bit.ly/PZuejj
Bird of the week: American Goldfinch http://bit.ly/PZum2a

Friday, December 25, 2015

Our native birds; how to protect them and attract them to our homes

"Life is a series of little deaths out of which life always returns." ~ Charles Feidelson, Jr.

Photo from Wikimedia Commons
Last week was the Winter Solstice, the day the Earth's Northern Hemisphere has the shortest day, and longest night, and the sun's daily maximum position in the sky is the lowest. The birds might consider it the beginning of the "real" New Year. I did too! It’s the day when the whole annual cycle begins all over, and I can look forward to the gradual lengthening of days.

You can’t help but admire our hardy winter birds in Michigan. When I go out to fill the feeders in the morning and hear the nuthatches and woodpeckers “laughing,” I feel happy that they are excited to see me with the food.

And remember if you feel a little guilty about just throwing away your Christmas tree, its usefulness can be extended by placing it outside near feeders for added shelter against the weather and predators. In a matter of minutes, the old tree is providing a new natural cover.

The birds have an advantage this year with the milder November and December which allowed them to seek natural foods. Though it might seem strange to humans, wild birds prefer to forage over visiting feeders (with the possible exception of the House Sparrows).

However, as the temperatures dip and natural food sources may become covered with snow or locked in ice, the supplemental food and water we provide is more widely appreciated and has a bigger impact on the birds’ survival.

I hope everyone is enjoying this "winter" weather and I wish everyone a future filled with great birding experiences. Happy New Year!

Related Articles:
Edible ornaments for the birds http://bit.ly/tXDnSB
Decorate a Tree for Your Birds http://bit.ly/t3QtGV
Let's all share Nature's bounty http://bit.ly/syPNzh
The Tradition of feeding the Birds at Christmas Time http://goo.gl/7ODaQ
How the Christmas tree tradition started http://goo.gl/LFmtk
What is winter solstice? http://goo.gl/OFplO

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Why Rudolf's nose was red

Photo from Wikimedia Commons
The secret to Rudolph's red nose is the dense network of blood vessels that carry red, oxygen-rich blood in the nasal architecture, say the scientists from the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and the University of Rochester in New York.

"In colder climates and also when they are higher up in the atmosphere pulling Santa's sleigh, the increase in blood flow in the nose will help keep the [nose's] surface warm," Dr. John Cullen of the University of Rochester told MedPage Today. The dense network of blood vessels in reindeer noses is also essential for regulating the animal's internal body temperature — like many mammals, reindeer don't sweat.

The researchers found reindeer noses do turn a rosy red after a treadmill test. "These results highlight the intrinsic physiological properties of Rudolph's legendary luminous red nose, which help to protect it from freezing during sleigh rides and to regulate the temperature of the reindeer's brain, factors essential for flying reindeer pulling Santa Claus' sleigh under extreme temperatures," scientists explain.

Related Articles:
Edible ornaments for the birds http://bit.ly/tXDnSB
Decorate a Tree for Your Birds http://bit.ly/t3QtGV
A closer look at the holiday wreath tradition http://goo.gl/Y3cJ5g
The Tradition of feeding the Birds at Christmas Time http://goo.gl/7ODaQ
When did Reindeer Learn to Fly? http://bit.ly/veTLpT
How the Christmas tree tradition started http://goo.gl/r92VN
Holly's symbolism http://goo.gl/Dj5nOy

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Hawk perching in tree

Photo by Chris Sorge
Short to medium-distance migrant. Cooper’s Hawks can be found wintering in mid-Michigan year round and over most of the continental United States. But some birds migrate as far south as southern Mexico and Honduras.

Related Articles:
Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk comes for a visit http://bit.ly/w1fDRM
Can You Scare a Hawk Away? http://bit.ly/w3vz5B
Small birds attack hawk http://bit.ly/sH68yB
Frozen Woodpecker http://bit.ly/ubSCTR
Is it safe to feed the birds out in the open? http://bit.ly/rBErxI

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Woodpeckers’ tongues spear food

Most people know woodpeckers use their beak like a chisel searching for insect larvae in the barks of trees. But the bugs don’t want to get eaten and they tuck tight in tiny crevices to hide. That’s when the woodpecker has to pull out a secret weapon, his tongue.

Woodpeckers’ tongues act like a spear with sticky barbs that can extend up to 4 inches. The tongue starts out on top of the mouth, passes through the right nostril, between the eyes, divides in two, arches over the top of the skull and around the back part of the skull passing on either side of the neck, coming forward through the lower mouth.

Tiny bones within the entire length of woodpecker's tongue fold up like an accordion. When a woodpecker contracts his muscles the tongue is propelled out of the bill. When the muscles relax the tongue shortens. The woodpeckers' tongue is also super sensitive. It contains muscles that move it side to side as well to search for food and feel for unseen insects behind dead wood.
Related Articles:
How do I stop woodpeckers from pecking on my house? http://bit.ly/KGItqF
What’s the best suet for Michigan wild birds? http://bit.ly/tcKasp
Hairy Woodpecker vs. Downy Woodpecker http://goo.gl/WMH31
How many woodpeckers are in Michigan? http://goo.gl/P2qRv
How do I Attract Woodpeckers? http://bit.ly/o4CLqI

Monday, December 21, 2015

Fewer cardinals at feeders

Where are the cardinals?

With the abundance of fruit and nuts the trees produced this year along with the mild fall and winter so far, birds are finding it easier to forage for food naturally. It's estimated that only about 20% of a backyard bird's daily energy intake comes from feeders and because we haven’t had a lot of snowfall in mid-Michigan, there still might be a lot of natural food sources available.

Cardinals are often the first to visit a feeder in the morning and the last to stop by and grab a bite at night. You can listen for their “chip, chip, chip” calls to each other just before the sun rise and sets.

Also this year we've had no major bird irruptions. According to Ontario Field Ornithologist Ron Pittaway's Winter Finch Forecast, several bird species will stay in Canada for the whole winter. You can read the full 2015-2016 Winter Finch Forecast at: WINTER FINCH FORECAST.

Other things to check if you don’t have birds at your feeders:
1. Make sure your seed is fresh. One way to do this is to pinch the seed with your fingernails on a piece of white paper and see if any oil comes out. On cold days where every meal counts, if your seed has dried out your feeder will be skipped. (Wild Birds Unlimited receives a fresh load of seed each week).

2. Make sure there is no mold in the bottom of your feeder. This can be dangerous to the birds and they will avoid your feeder again. To prevent mold in bad weather use Feeder Fresh™ (a silica grit that absorbs water and humidity, is safe for birds, and made from non-toxic absorbent sand). You can also shelter your feeder from the elements by using something like WBU Weather Guard.
3. Look for predators. Hawks or cats can deter birds from feeding in your area.

You'll probably notice that the bird activity will increase at the next storm when winter may finally arrive.
Related articles:
Feeder Fresh: Prevent your seed from becoming moldy http://bit.ly/vLY9jU
Will the hawk eat all my birds? http://bit.ly/v3XkTF
Millions of Birds Die Each Year at the Hands of Mr. Puddy Tat http://bit.ly/tG9cXO
Can birds predict the weather? http://bit.ly/txkFqX

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Michigan's largest woodpecker

*A Pileated Woodpecker "drums" on hollow trees with its bill in order to claim territory.
*A group of pileated woodpeckers are collectively known as a "crown" of woodpeckers.
Female Pileated Woodpecker by wplynn
*Beetle larvae make up about one-third of the Pileated Woodpecker’s natural diet. Ants are the next most important food item.
*The barbed tip of a woodpecker’s tongue is very sensitive to touch and can both detect and impale insect larvae. The tongue is coated with sticky mucus that is secreted by large salivary glands; this coating helps to ensure that its prey does not slip away.
Male Pileated Woodpecker by wplynn
*Woodpeckers are among a very few birds that have zygodactyl feet – which simply means they have two toes pointing forward and two toes pointing backwards. Most birds have an arrangement of three toes forward and one backwards. Having two sets of opposing toes gives them a much better grip on the trees they land on and climb.
*In order for woodpeckers to survive the 10G’s of force that they can sustain with every blow against a tree, they have the following special adaptations:
-The bones between the beak and the skull are joined by a flexible cartilage, which cushions the shock of each blow.
-The skull is made of spongy, air-filled bone and the brain is packed very tightly into the brain cavity, with little room to rattle around during impacts.
-The shear force from each blow is directed not to the brain, but downward towards very strong neck muscles that act as shock absorbers.
-A woodpecker’s head and body are always in a perfectly straight alignment when hitting a tree to avoid breaking its neck.
*When feeding on wood, grubs make an audible sound that could be heard by a woodpecker.
*Woodpeckers have a better sense of smell than most birds and may be able to detect the strong odor of the formic acid that ants, bark beetles and termites excrete (smells like Sweet Tarts.)
*If you want to provide good habitat for woodpeckers, consider leaving the dead tree snags in and around your yard.

Related Articles:
- What’s the best suet for Michigan wild birds? http://bit.ly/tcKasp
- Michigan made suet feeders: http://bit.ly/rbKskX
- How many woodpeckers are in Michigan? http://bit.ly/tJ7e6S
- Fun Facts about Woodpeckers http://bit.ly/tQ5lwt
- How do I Attract Woodpeckers? http://bit.ly/o4CLqI

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Why chickadee seem so tame

Chickadees are my favourite birds along with hummingbirds. Chickadees are so so tame, they talk to you, if they know you'll feed them. I had a few that came within three ft. of me. I loved them so. Do you know how to get a wild bird to come to your hand?

Chickadees are among the most popular birds in North America, due to their regular visits to feeders, ability to nest in urban gardens, and willingness to take food from people's hands.

Winter can be a tough time for chickadees. The cold temperatures requires them to expend a great deal of energy to maintain their body temperature the shorter days also means a shorter time to forage for food.

Add to that, their smaller size. In a winter flock of birds, the little chickadee is lowest on the pecking order. The larger Hairy Woodpeckers are more dominant over the smaller Downy Woodpecker which is more dominant than the White-breasted Nuthatch, which can be more dominant then the titmouse which is always more dominant than the chickadee. By the time it’s the chickadees time to feed the pickings might be slim.

But clever birds that they are, they wait for humans to fill a feeder to grab a quick bite before the others can claim their turn. They are also confident in their ability to flit away and avoid a predator's capture. So confident, in fact, they may even come down to your open hand full of food.

Related Articles:
Best Bird Houses http://bit.ly/AuLTJt
A window feeder is the best way to entertain indoor cats http://bit.ly/xQVMaa
Why don't chickadees stay to eat at the feeder? http://bit.ly/AkKThH
After chickadee babies have fledged http://bit.ly/yAYbP4
Fun Facts About Chickadees http://bit.ly/zIDkCi
What Do Black-Capped Chickadees Eat? http://bit.ly/zxi04X
Bird of the Week: Black-capped Chickadee http://bit.ly/A1YFQ4

Friday, December 18, 2015

Photo Share: Murmuration

Photo by Tom Lee
Photo by Joe Valtierra
During non-breeding seasons, starlings will roost together in groups of hundreds to thousands. It's usually during this same time that you'll see giant murmurations or wires covered in birds.

Related Articles:
- Do birds warm their feet on telephone wires? http://bit.ly/t7k91r
- Fun Facts About European Starlings http://bit.ly/rSQtFD
- How do thousands of European Starlings fly without colliding? http://bit.ly/vwM3Ra
- Amazing moment bald eagle chases down & catches a starling http://bit.ly/tnPo6z
- Starlings stealing shiny money from machine http://bit.ly/uKaP8b

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Chickadee food

In the winter Black-capped Chickadees eat about 50% seeds, berries, and other plant matter, and 50% animal food (insects, spiders, and sometimes fat and bits of meat from frozen carcasses).

At feeders they eat sunflower seeds, peanuts, suet, peanut butter, and mealworms. You will also see them occasionally on the goldfinch feeders eating Nyjer Thistle.
Mid-Michigan's chickadees are non-migratory and will be around all winter. New fall and winter flocks can join bands of nuthatches and woodpeckers for safety. Flocks can consist of 2 to 18 birds. Normal suburban flocks range from 6 to 10 birds over a territory of 20 to 50 acres.

Related Articles:
- Bird Guilds: How different birds band together to survive http://goo.gl/d0VzDD
- A window feeder is the best way to entertain indoor cats http://bit.ly/xQVMaa
- Why don't chickadees stay to eat at the feeder? http://bit.ly/AkKThH
- After chickadee babies have fledged http://bit.ly/yAYbP4
- Fun Facts About Chickadees http://bit.ly/zIDkCi
- Bird of the Week: Black-capped Chickadee http://bit.ly/A1YFQ4

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Tree Swallows: Where are they now?

Photo of Tree Swallow by William H. Majoros
Tree swallows breed between May and September in mid-Michigan. They raise one brood per year and then gather in large flocks to prepare for their journey south in the fall. Tree swallows winter in southern North America, primarily in Florida, and along the Caribbean coast of Central America.

They are especially fond fruits of waxmyrtle and bayberry bushes that grow in sandy soils near seacoasts. They are one of the very few birds able to digest the energy-rich waxy outer coatings of these berries. 

Watch an extremely neat YouTube video of a flock of Tree Swallows feeding on a waxmyrtle bush.
Related Article:
Barn Swallow Babies http://bit.ly/LZPY8G
What is a brood patch on a bird? http://bit.ly/LZQ3sO
Barn swallow and tree swallows at the Wetlands! http://bit.ly/LZQ5AT
How Do Birds Lay Eggs? http://bit.ly/H8omO0
Blue and orange bird making mud nest http://goo.gl/ZQJae

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Attract winter bluebirds

Female bluebird photo by Finiky
Eastern Bluebirds to gather together in large flocks starting in August until September in search of food. After nesting season has ended, they usually form large nomadic groups that roost at night in the woods.
Their diet changes from mostly worms and insects to fruit, nuts and berries. They can eat crab apples, Mountain Ash tree berries, and sometimes look under feeders for nuts. They also appreciate open water in the winter. If you have a pond or heated birdbath they may show up in large numbers for afternoon drinks.

We often think of migration as birds traveling thousands of miles south to winter in a tropical climate. That’s true for some birds even some bluebirds. The bluebirds that nested in Canada may skip over Michigan to winter in the southern states, but in southern and mid-Michigan, many bluebirds are year-round residents. Scientists think it’s due to genetics whether they want to fly south or winter over. Some birds are compelled to move south and others are not. They all gather in huge family groups in the fall however to increase their survival through the winter.

Related Articles:
What do American Robins eat in the winter? http://bit.ly/wQh59Q
The best heated bird baths http://bit.ly/uIHnB7
Bird of the Week: Eastern Bluebird http://bit.ly/xgm1V4
Ultimate Bluebird House http://bit.ly/A4kliS
The Migration of Eastern Bluebirds http://bit.ly/yCLcQH

Monday, December 14, 2015

Scientists have an answer for which came first, the chicken or the egg

Spruce grouse
According to National Geographic, scientists have an answer for the age old dispute over which came first, the chicken or the egg. Reptiles were laying eggs thousands of years before chickens appeared. The first chicken came from an egg laid by a bird that was not quite a chicken. Therefore, the egg came first.

Grouse are heavily built like other Galliformes such as chickens. Spruce Grouse are year-round residents in the Northern part of Michigan. Inconspicuous and relatively quiet, they spend most of their time in black spruce stands and young jack pine forests searching for seasonally available foods like blueberries, flowers, black spruce buds, moss spore capsules and insects.  

Related Articles:
Bird of the Week: Ruffed Grouse http://goo.gl/fS3p2E
Audubon's First Engraving of a Bird Discovered http://goo.gl/LY2cor
Where birds sleep http://goo.gl/h1mt1z
The Birds of the Song "The Twelve Days of Christmas" http://goo.gl/fidsVW

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Crows fly over every morning

American Crows are common throughout much of Michigan year-round. They are intelligent birds that have flourished due to their ability to adapt to a variety of habits. In the fall, crows group together in flocks numbering in the hundreds.

As they fly over every morning they look like a loud, large, unorganized crowd moving in the same direction cawing. While they don't move with the same precision as geese, all their cawing isn't just noise; they're talking to one another, and doing so in a very advanced fashion.

Related Articles:
Crows: Are they Feathered Apes? http://bit.ly/LvWgge
Most common winter birds in Michigan http://bit.ly/LvWpAm
Has anyone asked you why there are so many crows this year? http://bit.ly/KQJFmt
Crow sliding down snow covered roof http://goo.gl/qMsD4
Why are “black” birds considered bad by most people? http://bit.ly/LWbxeD

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Make your squirrels work for their food

Songbirds and squirrels have similar tastes in food, so it’s no surprise that they are constant companions to backyard bird feeding. Maintain backyard harmony and prevent costly damage to bird feeders by providing squirrels a feeder of their own – one designed to challenge twisty thinking minds.

The Wild Birds Unlimited Interactive Squirrel Feeder is a pine feeder that provides you with the opportunity to witness the problem-solving skills of those furry little critters in action.

Squirrels must push on the weight-activated paddle to open the lid and allow them access to those tasty treats like our specially developed Wildlife Blend that squirrels crave.

Related Articles:
- How do I keep squirrels off my bird feeders? http://bit.ly/yiZsML
- Squirrel proof bird feeder reviews http://bit.ly/waJs9o
- Why are Squirrels Called Squirrels? http://bit.ly/yhktkr
- Black Squirrel History & Facts http://bit.ly/AxiqPz
- "Frisky" Fox Squirrels http://bit.ly/AndeTw
- Why squirrels chew http://bit.ly/AjVzFW
- How many species of squirrels are in Michigan? http://bit.ly/yYt6Nb

Friday, December 11, 2015

Photo Share: Female Cardinal

The beautiful bright red male cardinals are often used to decorate calendars and cards but a closer look at the female cardinal reveals she also has a quiet beauty.
Photo by: Tony Alter
I liked the way she tilted her head when looking at me.
Related Articles:
- Northern Cardinal Fun Facts http://bit.ly/twE6NV
- How the Northern Cardinal bird was named http://bit.ly/tSKZYs
- Cardinal Bird Feeders Made in the USA: http://bit.ly/qXJPFM
- How to Attract Cardinals: http://bit.ly/pjh7mO
- What can I feed the cardinals to make them redder? http://bit.ly/rAArXw

Thursday, December 10, 2015

#GBBC: How many #birds will you count next year?

GBBC eNewsletter 

December 2015

Click the image for a larger view. How many of these raptors can you identify?

Test Your Raptor ID Skills

It’s always exciting to spot the imposing silhouette of a raptor flying overhead, but they can also be tricky to identify–especially when you only get a quick glimpse. Test your abilities and hone your identification skills by attempting to identify the 12 different species shown above. Click the image for a larger version and scroll down on that page to see the list of possible species, as well as their true identities and the field marks that can help you get to know these tricky predators. 

Download and share GBBC posters!

Make Your Birds Count

Want to make sure your local birds are counted during the upcoming GBBC? Here are some resources you can use to promote the GBBC to friends, family, and your community.

Post GBBC Posters

Download the 2016 GBBC posters from our website and share them around your community. Send it by email or print it on standard-sized paper and post a few copies (with permission of course) at your local library, school, nature center, nursery, hardware store, bird supply store, or even along the trails at your favorite birding spots. Don’t forget to customize the editable versions with information on any local GBBC events. Posters in Spanish, and French are coming soon.

Host a Local Event

You can use the 2016 GBBC "How To" slideshow and accompanying script to share information about how to participate in the GBBC and explain what the observations reveal. Hold a workshop and invite both new and experienced bird watchers. Better yet, take the "Pledge to Fledge" and introduce the GBBC to those who have never gone bird watching at all! All the images in the presentation are by GBBC participants. You'll also find results from the last count and detailed instructions on how to set up a new account and enter data.

The next GBBC is
February 12-15, 2016


eBird Mobile App for Android

It's here! The Android version of the free eBird Mobile app is now available and joins the iOS version released a few months ago. This app will allow you to upload your GBBC data from anywhere and replaces the BirdLog app. Your sightings will be included in the Great Backyard Bird Count if you use the app during the GBBC count period, February 12-15. You can log in with your existing GBBC/eBird account or create a free account if you don’t already have one. eBird Mobile is translated into 8 languages, and supports species common names in more than 20 languages. Its offline functionality even allows you to enter sightings in areas with no cell service, or when traveling abroad without Internet access. Learn more about transitioning from BirdLog to the eBird Mobile app.

Be a Bird Song Hero!

Identifying a bird by its sound can be pretty tricky. Try this fun, interactive game from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's "Bird Academy" website and see how many sounds you can match with the bird that makes it.

Photo by Camilla Cerea/Audubon

Christmas Bird Count is Almost Here!

The 116th Christmas Bird Count season begins Monday, December 14. Check out some of surprises from last year’s counts and explore the map here to find and register for counts near you so you can join the world’s longest-running citizen-science program.

Visit Wild Birds Unlimited, a sponsor of the Great Backyard Bird Count!