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Questions tagged [bird-watching]

Questions referencing the practice of observing birds in their natural habitat as a hobby. Use this tag for questions asking for help on the practice of bird watching.

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25
votes
7answers
7k views

Why is there such a singular place for bird watching?

There are a lot of interesting things in nature, but of all land vertebrates, birding has highly disproportionate attention. People (perhaps including birding enthusiasts) may note and appreciate ...
3
votes
2answers
91 views

Birds not eating Nyjer (thistle seed)?

I purchased a sock filled with thistle and a large bag of bulk thistle from the same store. The sock is hung and the bulk thistle is in a feeder, but the birds don't eat from either. Is there ...
2
votes
0answers
40 views

White Throated Magpie Jay - Costa Rica

My wife and I have been watching these magpie Jays for a while and I was just wondering what if all would be the purpose of the plume on their heads. It's strange in it's a single strand with a few ...
6
votes
2answers
217 views

Why aren’t birds using these feeders?

I've been hanging these fat balls for a good while and they're intact. Previously I was hanging a feeder filled with seeds (for birds) in front of the window and that was also intact for a while; so I ...
8
votes
2answers
102 views

Where are some accessible flat areas for handicapped birders in Acadia National Park in Maine, USA?

We're planning a trip to Acadia National Park in Maine, USA. It would be in July or August. We'll be spending two days, with a night in a hotel in one of the surrounding towns. (We haven't chosen that ...
8
votes
1answer
192 views

How do songbirds and small animals know when there's a hawk in the immediate vicinity?

At any given time in our yard, we have at least 20 birds, up to the same number of squirrels, 15 or so chipmunks, and a few rabbits. Our many feeders and birdbaths are mostly under big trees and next ...
3
votes
2answers
651 views

How can I help an injured crow fledgling with a hurt leg?

I found this guy right under my window, huddled in a corner and bleeding a lot (for a crow) from his leg. You can see that the leg is sort of twisted backwards on these two pics, and you can see where ...
10
votes
1answer
355 views

How can I photograph a kingfisher in the United Kingdom?

I want to take some photographs of Kingfishers in the United Kingdom. How do I find them, get close to them, etc? Image Source
10
votes
1answer
209 views

What kind of bird is outside my window?

I live in Phoenix, Arizona, USA. Recently, there has been a bird sitting in the mesquite tree outside my window, singing. This bird comes in the middle of the damn night. Once 3am, once 5am, and now ...
14
votes
2answers
3k views

Do birds eat chillies? Do they feel the chilli heat?

We had a few white browed bulbuls visit us recently. One of them seemed to have a peculiar interest in the chillies that grew in one of our pots (I believe these are bird's eye chillies [no pun ...
4
votes
2answers
63 views

Possible resources to identify birds while outdoors (preferably in the Indian subcontinent)?

I get to travel a lot in the richly biodiverse western ghats of India. While hiking, one of the most difficult tasks I face is to identify birds that I come across. I'm not a professional or even ...
4
votes
3answers
152 views

Is there a way to attract more birds to my yard without a bird feeder?

I live with my parents. I love bird watching, and would love a bird feeder, but my mother does not want to keep one fearing it will attract rodents which may carry lyme disease. We've had bad ...
3
votes
2answers
121 views

What is the meaning and proper usage of the term “irruption” in bird behavior?

The author of a question on this site wondered if they had possibly seen a snowy owl. A quoted source in this answer to that question used the word irruption in part of a sentence about where the ...
5
votes
1answer
210 views

What is this brown bird with a white area over its eye, found on the top of a pine tree in Ohio?

Any ideas what bird is making this song? Unfortunately, this photo was the best I got, but I did get a lot of audio of it's call (the YouTube video has a bunch of them clipped together). At the end ...
7
votes
1answer
573 views

What is this black and white bird with thin brown legs and a multi-colored beak, found in Massachusetts USA in January?

I live in the central region of Massachusetts, United States. Last January we found this lovely bird eating suet in our suburban back yard. It's in a section of about ten feeders, mostly in the ...
8
votes
1answer
5k views

Why are common grackles standing on our bird feeders with their heads pointed straight up?

I live in Northeastern United States, where it's spring at the moment. We keep bird-feeders throughout the year, so those that over-winter always have something to eat. As is usual at this time of ...
6
votes
1answer
3k views

What is the smallest owl in the world, and where can I see one?

I've read that there are up to 200 species of owls, encompassing many sizes, shapes and colors. Ornithologists and scientists continue finding new species and sub-species. They also re-name ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

Do American mourning doves only make their plaintive cooing sound where people can't see them?

We have American mourning doves in abundance in Massachusetts. They spend months in our yard, eating seeds both on the ground and in the feeders. They also peck around in my flower garden, so I think ...
8
votes
3answers
311 views

How can I tell the difference between an American Crow, and a Common Raven that lives in America?

I live in Massachusetts, which is part of New England, in the Northeast section of the United States. We have a large number of birds I identify as crows, and only crows. I've heard of ravens, but ...
5
votes
2answers
6k views

Best food to attract Blue Tits

We have a bird feeder in the garden and fail to attract Blue Tits. Which food should we put in there?
10
votes
2answers
656 views

Does feeding migratory birds in the fall affect the timing of migration?

On the east coast of the United States where I live, various species of birds migrate South (sometimes West) for the winter. Some stop briefly on their long trek, others have been here for months. ...
9
votes
1answer
2k views

Swift, Swallow or House Martin?

What are the identifying features that allow you to tell the difference between these 3 common UK summer visitors? I've been looking at the RSBP advice but it seems that a swift and a house martin ...
11
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3answers
3k views

Did I see an Osprey?

My friends think that I'm mad, but I'm pretty sure I saw an Osprey the other day. Could anyone confirm that what I observed is an Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) or, at least, Osprey-ish? I saw the bird ...
8
votes
3answers
976 views

What can I provide to help a robin build her nest?

We went away for five days and came home to find a robin building a nest in the crook of the downspout of our gutter. I live in Massachusetts, in Northeast United States, so she's probably an American ...
8
votes
2answers
243 views

How can I prevent my binoculars from steaming up?

I went for a walk last night in my local woods. I took a pair of binoculars with me. It was quite a cool evening (not that cold). Every time I put the binoculars to my face though to look at something ...
8
votes
4answers
398 views

Are crows more interested in identifying individual humans than vice versa, and if so, why?

I live in Crow City, USA (AKA Monterey, California). I can't tell one crow from another without their perching right next to me on a bust of Portola. They seem to all be clones of each other, as far ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

Selecting magnification for binoculars for hunting at 100 yards?

I am trying to find some binoculars for hunting. I generally zero my rifle to fire at 100 yards. I really can't imagine shooting animals much further than this distance, although for scouting and ...
18
votes
6answers
620 views

Is there a type of binoculars to view both nature reserves (birds, etc.) at a distance, and airplanes?

I'm after a pair of binoculars for visiting Nature Reserves to get a better view of colonies of birds on the water (at some distance) etc. Separately I'm interested in aviation and being able to ...
8
votes
1answer
1k views

How to differentiate between a Hobby and a Kestrel?

I often see Kestrel's in the countryside around my house (Hobby & Kestrel). I live outside of the range of hobby's so I don't really see them. But if I did, how do you differentiate between them? ...
7
votes
1answer
147 views

Swans jammed together in a small pond

Due to heavy rain, the water level raised drastically in the last days and arose a few small "ponds" besides our local river. Also the main stream is accordingly extremely wild these days. Recently ...
13
votes
1answer
737 views

What should I do if I disturb a bird of prey with a kill?

A friend of mine disturbed a bird of prey (I think it was a kestrel or sparrow hawk) that had just killed a pigeon in her back garden. The pigeon was still alive when she found it but died soon after. ...
10
votes
1answer
217 views

Lots of birds together at the same time

This year in October I saw a lot of robins, male and female, finches and chickadees, and geese flying south. Surprisingly I didn't see many juveniles from previous broods. My guess is that juveniles ...
6
votes
1answer
113 views

Is “dynamically soaring” suitable as a bird identification feature?

I've never heard of a bird besides the Albatross which is able to use "Dynamic Soaring". Am I able to draw any conclusions out of this behavior? Like, can I say "it's definitely an Albatross" or "it's ...
16
votes
8answers
46k views

What should I feed ravens/crows?

There are some big raven's I've noticed visit our housing estate in the early am. They're big majestic birds and I quite like them. What food would you put out to encourage these into your garden? ...
14
votes
4answers
5k views

Does a bird really abandon the nest? Will similar birds re-use it?

This may appear a bit opinion-based. Birds take a while and a lot of effort to build a nest. Is it okay to take that pretty nest as a sample or a show-piece to put in a personal balcony or a garden? ...
9
votes
1answer
235 views

What type of bird seed attracts the most amount of birds?

When looking for bird seed (particularly this time of year, Autumn) what kind of bird seed should I be using to attract the most amount of birds into the garden? Is the seed even important or will any ...
8
votes
1answer
242 views

Why do I often see male robins with female robins?

Observing and understanding the behavior of wild animals is an integral part of enjoying the outdoors. Hence the following question about the behavior of robins. Even when it is not breeding season ...
9
votes
4answers
350 views

Why do I never see robins in the woods?

I know that there might be robins in the woods that I just never see. But why don't I see any robins. I see lots of birds including chickadees, cardinals, and blue jays. There are Hawthorn trees out ...
6
votes
1answer
178 views

Do Herons travel alone in New England?

We live in Massachusetts, and love trees, flowers, and wildlife of all kinds. Sometimes when wandering around marshy areas, especially in New Hampshire and Vermont, we're blessed with a sighting of a ...
18
votes
2answers
17k views

Why do seagulls circle around at high altitudes?

I was recently at a music festival in a field here in the UK. It was a nice hot day and I was staring up into the lovely blue sky. I noticed there were high numbers of seagulls circling above, ...
13
votes
4answers
928 views

How to encourage birds into the garden of a rented house?

I live in a relatively rural area of North Wales in a new build house. I've been trying to encourage birds into our garden with limited success. There are plenty of birds in the area just not many in ...
9
votes
1answer
119 views

Identify this bird call?

Could somebody please identify the birdcall in this recording? The bird is calling at 00:01, 00:10, 00:29, 00:36, 00:52, 01:06, and 01:18. This recording was made in England, in mid-June. Also, how ...
19
votes
3answers
4k views

Why do Robins tilt their head to the side before pulling a worm out of the ground?

I've seen this happen several times. The robin hops along, stops, tilts it's head slightly and then grabs the worm/grub, etc. What's the purpose of this gesture? I'm thinking it maybe helps them ...
8
votes
1answer
1k views

Help identifying black and white “square winged” bird?

I keep seeing a particular bird lately and I don't recognise it. Can anyone help? I've only ever seen it from the car and in flight so I have no photo's unfortunately. It's black and white about the ...
22
votes
6answers
414 views

Where can I find help identifying an owl by its call?

I am in a semi-rural area of Aldergrove, BC Canada--close to the US border. From our house we can hear the call of what we think is an owl, but would like to know what particular species. We were ...