62 votes
Accepted

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
  • 26.3k
26 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
  • 361
24 votes
Accepted

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
  • 26.3k
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
Accepted

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

You can definitely go for one pair. I've actually been pleasantly surprised at the quality of the optics at almost the bottom end of the market, if you go for something common like 8x20. We've got ...
Chris H's user avatar
  • 26.3k
12 votes
Accepted

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
  • 11.7k
11 votes
Accepted

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

The best thing to do would have been not disturb them in the first place, but I do understand the need of this question. So I wouldn't add any advice like "Do not disturb them in the first place". ...
WedaPashi's user avatar
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11 votes
Accepted

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
Accepted

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
Accepted

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

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

(Ah, I meant this as a comment to Chris' post. Oh well, I guess I need to try making it a real answer.) For tracking moving objects, a wide field of view (FOV) may also be helpful. (Apparent FOV ...
requiem's user avatar
  • 8,438
10 votes
Accepted

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

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

I support the accepted answer but wanted to add an potentially helpful anecdote. When I joined the Marine Corps as a young man some 20 years ago - the first thing they did was give us a uniform and ...
SteveJ's user avatar
  • 339
9 votes
Accepted

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

I suspect this mostly is a result of need, and antipathy. First of all I think your premise that humans can't identify individual animals within a breed or species is false. People who spend ...
Erik's user avatar
  • 9,668
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
Accepted

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
  • 7,815
9 votes
Accepted

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
  • 26.3k
8 votes
Accepted

Swans jammed together in a small pond

If the swans are forced to stay next to shore (as opposed to casually being there), they flock together to avoid predation. In addition to flock safety by numbers, Swans are very tough, and very ...
Escoce's user avatar
  • 4,812
8 votes
Accepted

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
Accepted

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

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

Don't concentrate on the magnification (strength) for your first binoculars for airplane viewing, especially if you'll be using them for an additional activity as well (bird watching). Concentrate on ...
dotancohen's user avatar
7 votes

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

(As addition to the other answers) This also depends on whether you're going to use a tripod or not. If you're not planning to use a tripod, I recommend getting at maximum a 10x magnification, which ...
flawr's user avatar
  • 1,747
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
  • 26.3k
7 votes
Accepted

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
  • 26.3k
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

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

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