Birding In The Parks: Discerning An Ancient Murrelet From A Japanese Murrelet At Point Reyes National Seashore

If I were to mention a controversy at Drakes Bay in Point Reyes National Seashore, undoubtedly the two words that would pop into your head are “oyster company” rather than “Japanese Murrelet,” but the latter is what birders have been talking about since Thanksgiving week.

Birding In The National Parks: Following Woodpeckers In The National Parks

It’s not much of a secret among my birding companions that I am quite fond of woodpeckers. From their unique physiology allowing them to safely bang their head into wood for hours on end to the common theme of stark black, white, and red coloration, woodpeckers are fantastic birds.

Birding In The National Parks: Odd Birds Showing Up In National Parks

I write this from the south shore of Lake Superior, not far from Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Two days ago, while casually birding the lakeshore, my wife Sarah spotted a Black-crowned Night-heron. That’s an extremely unusual bird to find as far north as the Superior shore.

Birding In The National Parks: Where The Birds Are

Spring is an exciting time for both birds and birders across North America. The colorful songbirds are on their way back to their northern nesting grounds after spending a lazy winter in the tropics. Warblers, with a rainbow of plumages and equally diverse collection of songs, are the most sought-after birds during migration.

Birding In The National Parks: The Hidden Gems Of Everglades National Park

I spend quite a bit of time talking about Everglades National Park, and with good reason. I doubt there’s a birder in the country who would rank it out of the top five national parks in the country for birding. It’s that good.

Birding In The National Parks: Where Are The Birds In Wilderness?

A fascinating post appeared at the American Birding Association’s young birders’ blog, The Eyrie, last week. You can read it here, but if you’re short on time, here’s the digest version: Birders don’t often bird true wilderness because wilderness is less birdy than fragmented and disturbed habitat often is.

Birding In The National Parks: Enduring The Heat To Bird In Saguaro National Park And Chiricahua National Monument

I was all set to regale you with stories and video of adorable Piping Plover chicks from Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore this week, but I seem to be running out of time. By the time you read this, I’ll be on a plane to Tucson, ultimately to do some birding in Saguaro National Park and Chiricahua National Monument. Thus, you’re stuck with a behind scenes look at how one birder prepares for a trip to a never-before-visited destination.

Birding In the National Parks: The Crossley ID Guide--Raptors

A few months back we talked about the hawk watch at Acadia National Park. I mentioned a few books that are useful for the enterprising raptor enthusiast. At the time I was also aware that a new raptor identification aid was on the way, but I kept that little secret to myself. The proverbial cat is out of the bag now, and I’ve spent the last couple weeks devouring The Crossley ID Guide: Raptors.

Birding In The National Parks: Point Reyes National Seashore Is "Hallowed Ground" To Birders

A couple weeks ago we looked at the annual birding festival in Acadia National Park coming up this spring. Keeping in mind that not everyone can get to the East Coast frequently, it seems fitting to highlight the gem of west coast birding events: the Point Reyes Birding Festival.

Bird Postcards

Back before the Internet, before email, there was hand-writing. Letters, cards, and postcards were the primary means of personal communications, and if you still lean in that direction, and admire birds, then Christine Berrie's collection of Bird Postcards are for you.

Birding In The National Parks: Looking For Birds In Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Though Theodore Roosevelt National Park is located in the "badlands" of western North Dakota, the birding there in early June can be exceptional.

Birding In The National Parks: Top 10 Birding Spots In The National Park System

Spring migration is winding down across much of North America, and it’s time for birders to relax and reflect. I’ve been contemplating happy thoughts such as where I would go if given an all-expenses paid birding trip to any U.S. National Park in the next 12 months. No one has offered this to me yet, but I made up a list in my head.

Birding In The National Parks: Do You Have The Necessary Gear?

Every hobby has its collection of necessary equipment. You can’t golf without clubs, balls, and tees. You can’t knit without a collection of needles and a room full of yarn. You can’t (and definitely shouldn’t) skydive without a parachute. Birding is no exception. The beauty of birding as a hobby, however, is that there are distinct stages of equipment necessity

Birding In The National Parks: A Spring Visit To Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Looking for some spring bird watching? Consider Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and don't forget to bring the kids along.

Birding in the National Parks: Looking For The Elusive Ivory-Billed Woodpecker in Congaree National Park

Ivory-billed Woodpecker. That’s all you need to say to a bird lover to stir some strong emotions. Once common across the southeastern United States, these majestic woodpeckers, as large as a red-tailed hawk, are now most likely extinct.

Birding in The National Parks: Bald Eagles No Longer A Ghost Bird in the National Parks

I lowered my binoculars and muttered, “Oh, it’s just another eagle.” With that statement I recognized a few years ago that I officially had started taking Bald Eagles for granted.

Birding in the Parks: Not Too Early To Plan To Attend Birding Festivals in the National Park System

Earlier this month, while we were having positively spring-like weather here in the Midwest, I wrote about Snowy Owls, the most iconic of winter birds. Two weeks later, my world is buried under blankets of snow and I’m in the mood to talk about Spring.

Birding in the National Parks: Chasing The Snowy Owl

The United States has been invaded. None of the presidential candidates are talking about it and I haven’t even seen it mentioned on the national news reports yet. Birders, however, are well aware of this invasion and we welcome our new owl overlords.

Birding in the National Parks

This past year we started a bimonthly column on birding in the national parks, which is a great way to enjoy the parks while learning more about the hundreds of species that flit about the National Park System. Here's a look back at those columns.

Birding in the National Parks: Time For The Christmas Bird Counts

It's that time of year again. Yep, time to grab your binoculars and notebook and head out into the national parks for the annual Christmas Bird Count.

Birding in the National Parks: Searching For the Colima Warbler In Big Bend National Park

If you plan to notch your "Big Year," you need to head down to Big Bend National Park to catch a glimpse of the Colima Warbler.

Birding in the National Parks: Northern Saw-Whet Owls At Assateague Island National Seashore

“I’ll need some time off in November to go to Assateague to band owls.” That remains one of the best excuses for some time off I’ve ever heard, and of course it was legitimate. Who would be creative enough to make up that?

Birding In The National Parks: Where Are All The Kittlitz's Murrelets Going?

Data being gathered to help the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decide whether the Kittlitz's murrelet should have Endangered Species Act protection shows an alarming direction in the species' population trend.
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Birding in the National Parks: Track Your Birds On The Web With eBird

eBird is a helpful took courtesy of the folks at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society that makes it easier for you to keep track of your birding life-list. Let's take a closer look at how it functions.

Birding in the National Parks: Spotting Egrets, Herons, and More In Big Cypress National Preserve

Hopefully everyone’s planning a birding excursion to Alaska after reading Kurt’s review of his adventures in Glacier Bay National Park. In the meantime, a less frigid destination might be suitable for most travelers during the impending winter.

Birding in the National Parks: Puffins, Murrelets And More In Glacier Bay National Park

I wasn't really sure what to expect from Glacier Bay National Park, outside of glaciers, of course, but it didn't take long for me to realize this Alaskan park is a birder's paradise. From the "poor man's puffin" to dwindling numbers of Kittlitz's murrelets, I was rewriting my birding success, and not in days, but in minutes.

Birding in the National Parks: Fall Migration's On the Way

You might not like it, but fall is in the air. Sure, the temperatures might not feel like it, but the migratory birds know what time of year it is and soon will be taking flight. Around the National Park System there are more than a few parks where you can see this in action.

Birding In the Parks: Reviewing Binoculars from Vanguard

The truly essential items for the birder’s or wildlife watcher’s gearbox are few, but binoculars are pretty difficult to do without.

Rare Bird At Channel Islands National Park: First California Common Murre Chicks In 100 Years

They really do have a rare bird at Channel Islands National Park: For the first time in a century biologists have spotted California Common Murre chicks on one of the park's islands.

Birding in the National Parks: Down The Park Road Towards Flamingo in Everglades National Park

Everglades National Park offers some of the best birding in the National Park System, but you need to be alert for the hazards -- gators, poisonous snakes, mosquitoes, and sharp, slippery rocks, as Kirby Adams discovered.