Birding In The National Parks: Telling The Birds From The Cacti At Saguaro National Park

One of the complaints about birding in summer in many parts of the country is the plethora of leaves hiding the birds. Just when you think you’re about to get a good look, the sparrow dives into a bush or behind a leafy branch, never to be seen again. I figured that meant desert birding would be easy. Cacti don’t have leaves.

Birding In The National Parks: What Bird 'Sparked' Your Interest In Birding?

This week marks a bittersweet fifth anniversary of the last time I visited Yellowstone National Park. I’d love to have gone back by now, but life has conspired to keep me out of the northern Rockies.

Birding In The National Parks: A Conversation With American Birding Association President Jeffrey Gordon

A conversation with American Birding Association President Jeffrey Gordon.

Birding In The National Parks: Interesting Numbers From Acadia Birding Festival

The numbers are in from the 15th annual Acadia Birding Festival, and two of them are very impressive: 151 and 200,000.

Glacier National Park Has A 17-Year-Old Harlequin Duck!

There are young Harlequin ducks, middle-aged Harlequin ducks, old Harlequin ducks, and then the real old Harlequin duck that calls Glacier National Park home.

Birding In The National Parks: Is There A Lack Of Diversity In Birders?

When spring migration ends, the biggest birding lull of the year sets in. It’s a good time to sit back, recover from your migration birding binge, and reflect on some things. One of the things I’ve noticed this week is that I’m white.

Birding In The National Parks: Chasing Warblers And Other Birds

It's that time of year. Yep, the warblers are descending on national lakeshores for nesting.

Birding In The National Parks: Petrels And Cats Don't Mix At Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park

Feral and outdoor cats are notorious for being efficient hunters, as shown by the well-known “kitty cam” study in Georgia. Now, the latest bad news about feral cats is from Hawai’i, home of some of the most endangered birds on the planet.

Birding In The National Parks: Looking For The Regulars At Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Sometimes, if you look around, you can find some pretty good birding in your own backyard.

Birding In The National Parks: Birding In Saguaro National Park In Summer

It’s no secret that we birders tend to do things a little differently than “normal” travelers. Valentine’s Day weekend at the sewage treatment plant? Getting up at 4 a.m. every morning of your vacation? Perfectly acceptable behavior for the seasoned birder. But Saguaro National Park in August???

Birding In The National Parks: Acadia Birding Festival

Most of the United States has now passed the coldest (by average) depth of winter, so it seems appropriate to take a look at places to book some spring birding adventures in the national parks. One spot always comes to minds when I think of late spring, birds, and national parks -- Acadia National Park

Everglades National Park's Wading Birds Nesting Success Falls Far Off Average

South Florida, including Everglades National Park, has seen a precipitous decline in nesting success among wading birds, according to a report by the South Florida Water Management District.

Birding In The National Parks: In The Wake Of The Christmas Bird Count

Did anyone partake in a Christmas Bird Count in or around our national parks? Preliminary reports from the field indicate some robust species counts.

Nesting Birds Prompt Seasonal Closure Of Paurotis Pond At Everglades National Park

Hundreds of endangered Wood Storks are settling down for the nesting season at Paurotis Pond in Everglades National Park, and that means the pond and the surrounding area have been temporarily closed to visitors.

Birding In The National Parks: Will We Soon Lose The Island Scrub-Jay?

That rare bird you spotted on your last trip to Channel Islands National Park may be a good bit rarer than you thought. The Island Scrub-jay (Aphelocome insularis) is now estimated to be one-fifth of what had been previously believed, according to a study by the Smithsonian Institution’s Migratory Bird Center.

A Year Of Birding In The National Parks

Kirby Adams ranged far afield in the national parks looking for birds in 2012, relating his experiences that took him all the way north, and a bit east, to Newfound in Canada. Let's take a look back at those columns.

Birding In The National Parks: Counting Birds This Christmas Season

As the National Park Service approaches its centennial, one of birding’s grand traditions is turning 113 years old this winter. Yes, it’s Christmas Bird Count time, and things are a little different this year.

Birding In The National Parks: A Second Look At Newfoundland's National Parks And Birding

It’s time to head north once again to wrap up our discussion of birding the national parks on the island of Newfoundland. Gros Morne is certainly the most famous of Newfoundland’s parks and a gem of the entire Parks Canada system, but the other corners of the island have parks with their own unique birding opportunities.

The Hawaiian Petrel, Ready To Take Flight At Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park

Though November finds relatively few bird species nesting or fledging chicks in the United States, at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park this is the time of year when one of the state's rarest endemic seabird species, the Hawaiian petrel, watches its youngsters take wing.

Birding In The National Parks: Blown Off-Course By Hurricanes

Hurricane Sandy's winds redirected seabirds all over the northeastern United States.

A Halloween Creature Feature: The Burrowing Owl, Not Your Average Raptor

The classic picture of an owl is typically one associated with Halloween: large, nocturnal creatures with wide eyes and a wise mind. With Halloween here, it’s the perfect time to take a look into a lesser-known owl species that can be found in some national parks: the Burrowing Owl.

Birding In The National Parks: Gros Morne National Park Will Satisfy The Most Dedicated Birder

Newfoundland's Gros Morne National Park can be difficult to reach, but for the determined birder, the effort is well worth it!

Birding In The National Parks: Rare Bird Shows Up At Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

So, you’re a birder looking to add a nifty pelagic species like the Great Shearwater to your list. Where do you go? Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, perhaps?

Birding In The National Parks: Flocking To National Parks For Hawk Spotting

While most people think of the four seasons we all know so well, birders have a different calendar with more descriptive headings than “spring” and “winter.” And right now we are at the peak of hawk season.

Birding In The National Parks: Pledge To Fledge A New Birder!

Pledge to Fledge: Take a friend birding in a national park of your choice.

Birding In The National Parks: A Look At Spotting Scopes

Sooner or later, you’re going to need a spotting scope. I’ve tried a lot of scopes and found there are some great products at every price range. Clearly, you can’t expect a $250 scope to perform like a $2,500 scope, but if your expectations are realistic, you can find some excellent quality without robbing the piggy bank. Or, as a bird blogger said recently, robbing a real bank.

Birding In The National Parks: Attracting Birds With Recorded Bird Calls

What do you think of using recorded bird calls to lure birders towards your binoculars or camera? It's a controversial practice in some circles, but others consider it harassing birds.

Birding In The National Parks: The Black Widow Camera Holster From Spider

A camera holster from Spider Holster allows you to hang your camera on your hip when it's not immediately needed.

Birding In The National Parks: Seen Any Rare Birds Lately?

Birders like to talk about how much we appreciate every bird, even the most common ones we see on the feeder every day, and that may well be true. But the rare birds - the ones that take some blood, sweat, and tears to find - those are the birds that get our hearts racing.

Birding In The National Parks: Grab A Field Guide, There Are Many!

Finding the birds and getting some good glass (binoculars, scope, or camera) on them is only half the battle of birding. Once you see the birds, you then have to identify them. In other words, you need a field guide or six!