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62 votes
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Why is there such a singular place for bird watching?

This is rather speculative, but draws on a few birding/wildlife books I've read and it's too much for a comment. It also has a little UK bias, but I've visited 4 continents on wildlife trips, and much ...
Chris H's user avatar
  • 26.7k
25 votes

Is color blindness a significant obstacle to bird watching?

My son is red-green colour blind, and he has the superpower that goes with colour blindness: his eyes are much less easily fooled by camouflage. My lay understanding is that colour blind people are ...
Jason's user avatar
  • 351
23 votes
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Is color blindness a significant obstacle to bird watching?

Colour is only one of several visual clues for identification. It's useful to a novice who gets a good look (I regard myself as a perpetual novice when it comes to birds), but shape (bill and whole ...
Chris H's user avatar
  • 26.7k
15 votes

Why is there such a singular place for bird watching?

It's also a case of accessibility, birding really doesn't take any special equipment beyond say a pair of binoculars and birds will visit peoples backyards and bird feeders. While mammals can be shy ...
Charlie Brumbaugh's user avatar
14 votes

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

TLDR: Yes they eat them, No they don't feel the heat. The tiny Bird’s Eye Chili originated in Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, The Philippines, and surrounding countries, but they can now be found all ...
Charlie Brumbaugh's user avatar
12 votes
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Did I see an Osprey?

The osprey does seem the most likely option. There are only a handful of breeding pairs in North Wales, but they are in your area so it's credible. The wingspan of a small common buzzard starts at ...
Tullochgorum's user avatar
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11 votes
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How can I tell the difference between an American Crow, and a Common Raven that lives in America?

According to this article, (How to Tell a Raven From a Crow): Ravens often travel in pairs, while crows are seen in larger groups. Also, watch the bird’s tail as it flies overhead. The crow’s tail ...
Charlie Brumbaugh's user avatar
11 votes
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What is this black and white bird with thin brown legs and a multi-colored beak, found in Massachusetts USA in January?

It looks like a Starling (Sturnus vulgaris), which are quite common over here in the UK. https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/bird-and-wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/s/starling/ Starlings love suet....
Martin Hügi's user avatar
11 votes
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How do songbirds and small animals know when there's a hawk in the immediate vicinity?

All it takes is one of the birds to notice and give the alarm and then the other birds join in. Even the chipmunks and squirrels will listen to the birds and then pass the message along. Birds' ...
Charlie Brumbaugh's user avatar
11 votes

Why is there such a singular place for bird watching?

I'm not a bird-watcher myself, but I have bird-watchers in my family, so I had rich opportunity to observe their conversations on their hobby. Here's a collection of points that I think contribute to ...
Schmuddi's user avatar
  • 213
10 votes
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Why are common grackles standing on our bird feeders with their heads pointed straight up?

Those grackles are engaged in a courting behavior, most frequently called “bill tilt.” It's also been called “head up” or “head up threat.” While establishing pairs for mating, males vie for the ...
Sue Saddest Farewell TGO GL's user avatar
9 votes

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

The smallest owl in the world is the elf owl (Micrathene whitneyi). It's about the size of a sparrow, and weighs about an ounce and a half, which is just less than the weight of a golf ball! Wingspan:...
Sue Saddest Farewell TGO GL's user avatar
9 votes
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What kind of bird is outside my window?

The bird you are listening to is a northern mocking bird. I am not sure why it’s making the calls in the middle of the night. Mockingbirds in general are known for their intelligence and their ...
Ricketyship's user avatar
  • 7,825
9 votes
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What species of bird is this?

Asian Koel (wikipedia), specifically a female. CC-BY-SA 3.0 Wikipedia user Dougjj It's a member of the cuckoo family, and like other cuckoos it's a brood parasite. This species is found across much ...
Chris H's user avatar
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8 votes
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Best food to attract Blue Tits

It looks like the problem might not be the types of food, but the feeder itself. In the past blue tits had a monopoly on the relatively tricky kind of feeders people put out. The tiny birds were ...
Charlie Brumbaugh's user avatar
8 votes
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Where are some accessible flat areas for handicapped birders in Acadia National Park in Maine, USA?

I am an avid birder in and around Acadia National Park. Acadia National Park is one of the most accessible national parks in the system when it comes to major locations and their accessibility. ...
Patrick's user avatar
  • 96
7 votes

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

Because there are so many different migratory birds, each with their own unique pattern, this is a rather broad question. The answer, therefore, will be based on the general study of migration, rather ...
Sue Saddest Farewell TGO GL's user avatar
7 votes

Did I see an Osprey?

It's certainly possible in North Wales, one was reported near Mold a couple of weeks ago and they're quite mobile at this time of year. I don't think you can rule out common buzzard for several ...
Chris H's user avatar
  • 26.7k
7 votes
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Swift, Swallow or House Martin?

Swifts tend to fly higher than swallow and house martins, but the biggest giveaway is the noise they make. From almost the same page you linked you can listen to the audio file. A swift call is a ...
Chris H's user avatar
  • 26.7k
7 votes

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

TLDR: Its when a massive amount of birds suddenly migrate all at once to a area they aren't usually found in. An irruption is a dramatic, irregular migration of large numbers of birds to areas ...
Charlie Brumbaugh's user avatar
7 votes

Is color blindness a significant obstacle to bird watching?

An obstacle, but not large. The size,location,actions, calls/song, are more important than the specific colors. For example , a wood pecker is pretty easy to recognize by their vertical perching on a ...
blacksmith37's user avatar
  • 1,152
7 votes

How useful are 12x42 binoculars for birding?

What binoculars you choose depends what you're doing with them as much as what you're looking at (birds). If you're hiking a long way, lightweight is good, meaning less glass; you might carry 8x25s. ...
Chris H's user avatar
  • 26.7k
7 votes

How useful are 12x42 binoculars for birding?

They would be good on a tripod at an open shore line looking at shore birds but professional tend to use higher power for those circumstances . Most people would need to brace against something like a ...
blacksmith37's user avatar
  • 1,152
6 votes

Did I see an Osprey?

In that area, Hen Harriers are reasonably common. They feed on the grouse on the moorland to the south. By Andreas Trepte (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], ...
CMaster's user avatar
  • 221
6 votes

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

That vocalization is called a perch call, or perch coo. It's only made by a male mourning dove, and the only time he uses it is when he's looking for a mate. As @cr0 and @That Idiot have seen, the ...
Sue Saddest Farewell TGO GL's user avatar
5 votes

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

The biggest difference between ravens and crows is that ravens average 2 feet long with a 4 ft wingspan, while crows are about 1.5 ft long with a wingspan of 3 feet. These numbers can vary a bit ...
Karen's user avatar
  • 4,254
5 votes

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

It takes a lot of energy for a bird to migrate, and comes with numerous risks, so if it is possible for it to stay where it is, not migrating can give it an evolutionary advantage. An example would be ...
Charlie Brumbaugh's user avatar
5 votes
Accepted

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

We have one spot under our back deck where Robin's make a nest every year, last year we had a nest with five eggs: Every year, we did absolutely nothing to help them out, and they always did just ...
ShemSeger's user avatar
  • 53.6k
5 votes

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

The robin should be quite capable of building the nest on her own. Almost anywhere there should be enough dried grass and small twigs around. It is unlikely your robin is having trouble finding ...
Olin Lathrop's user avatar
  • 21.4k

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