Fun Challenges and Cautionary Tales from Fall Banding

Steve BrennerBanding, Identification, MigrationLeave a Comment

Fall migration out east is a conflicting time for birders: the rarity machine is usually churning out goodies after goodies. Also, fall warblers dressed in brand-new plumage are pulsing through the woodlots of every town. These days most birders have come to appreciate the subtle nuances of fall warblers. The ID challenge is fun and rewarding, and in a way … Read More

Gambel’s White-crowned Sparrows in PA

Alex Lamoreauxdistribution, Featured, Identification, photo study, Ranges and Distributions, Rarities2 Comments

After having a great opportunity to study an adult Gambel’s White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys gambelii) at Arlene Koch’s property last weekend near Easton, while also enjoying the immature Harris’s Sparrow there, I was interested to learn more about this western subspecies’ history in Pennsylvania and the mid-Atlantic. Gambel’s White-crowneds are essentially the western-Canadian counterpart of our more familiar Eastern birds … Read More

Barnacle Geese – Weir Lake, Monroe County, PA

Alex LamoreauxChase, Featured, Identification, photo study, RaritiesLeave a Comment

It’s not often that Barnacle Geese show up in Pennsylvania, in fact there have been less than 20 instances of this beautiful goose in the state, but they are on the increase throughout the northeast and every winter more and more are discovered among flocks of Canada Geese as more birders get out there looking. Typically a sighting here in … Read More

Rufous Hummingbird – Kent County, Delaware

Alex LamoreauxBirding, Identification, RaritiesLeave a Comment

Just as the last Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are beginning to make their way south for the winter, Rufous Hummingbirds and other rare western hummingbirds are beginning to show up at lucky homeowner’s feeders and well-planted backyards. With many scattered reports around the northeast so far this fall, Delaware birders like myself were anxiously awaiting a rare hummingbird to turn up in our small … Read More

Hawk Migration Up-Close and Awesome

Steve BrennerBanding, Birding, Field Work, Identification, Migration2 Comments

This fall, I’m stationed atop Capilla Peak in the Manzano Mountains, about 25 miles southeast of Albuquerque. My purpose: count, identify, and band as many migrating raptors as possible. Myself and three others are working for Hawkwatch International, an organization devoted to the conservation of North American raptors. There is nothing quite like a complete immersion into the miracle of … Read More

‘Puget Sound’ White-crowned Sparrows

Alex Lamoreauxdistribution, Identification, photo study, Ranges and DistributionsLeave a Comment

Many species of sparrows vary considerably in appearance and vocalizations across their ranges in North America. In particular Dark-eyed Juncos, Song Sparrows, Fox Sparrows, and White-crowned Sparrows show the most distinct populations. The White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys), one of our largest and classiest-looking sparrow, can be separated into five subspecies: Eastern (Z. l. leucophrys), Gambel’s (Z. l. gambelii), Mountain (Z. l. … Read More

Piping Plovers – Beyond Cute

Jordan RutterBanding, Conservation Issues, Featured, Field Work, General News and Info, Identification, Ranges and Distributions4 Comments

Many birders are familiar with this small migratory shorebird and some know of its endangered status. Not to mention the fact that they’re adorable. But there’s a lot more about Piping Plovers (PIPL) than their good looks. There are two subspecies in three distinct populations of Piping Plovers. The Atlantic coast has its own subspecies (Charadrius melodus melodus) while the internal … Read More

Things That Look Like Snowy Owls

Steve BrennerGeneral Rant, Identification4 Comments

With an apparent Snowy Owl invasion upon us this winter, the excitement over viewing such a majestic creature cannot be overstated. Snowy Owls are truly one of the natural world’s most awesome birds, and no one can fault you for being ecstatic about finding one in the Northeast, Midwest, or anywhere! Yet, regardless of location, weather conditions, or birding experience, … Read More

MacGillivray’s Warbler – Highspire, Pennsylvania

Alex LamoreauxBirding, Chase, Identification, Rarities2 Comments

After close observation between yesterday afternoon and this morning, as well as consulting with warbler experts, it seems the tricky Geothlypis warbler found yesterday by Sue Hannon at Highspire Rreservoir Park is the 2nd PA state record of MacGillivray’s Warbler! This morning, the bird was mostly seen along the boardwalk on the the north side of the lake, foraging low … Read More