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Birding during Winter Months


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Does anyone have particular plans for bird watching or bird photography in the winter months? My first experience with bird watching and photography started in May of 2020. I have enjoyed it very much.  The Meadows in central Illinois are silent now.  The small colorful birds that we used to see have migrated south for the winter.

I would like to continue bird photography outings during the winter. But the bird traffic has really slowed down.

Thank you, 

Lonnie 

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Backyard bird feeders primarily, but around here (Vermont) we cruise the back roads looking for migrants like Rough-legged Hawks and Snowy Owls, and dream of spring.  Open water lakes are good for water birds, until they freeze over.

If you're on eBird, you can set up 'needs lists', which can point out what other people in your area are spotting.  Also, there might be a listserve in your area that people use to discuss what they're seeing.  Someone local to you could give you that info.

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@Lonnie, are you familiar with eBird's 'Explore' tool?  You can enter a county or state name in the 'Explore Regions' box.  You'll get a map showing the registered birding hotspots for that county.  (If you enter a state, you'll have to zoom in to see the individual hotspots.)  You can also change the date range to show a particular month.  Clicking a hotspot will let you see  how many species have been reported; clicking 'See details' will provide more information.

hthttps://ebird.org/explore

Here's a link to instructions to use the tool:

https://support.ebird.org/en/support/solutions/articles/48000961496-explore-birds-in-ebird

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  • 1 month later...

Bird watching is a fun, often surprising, way to connect with nature, and it's one pleasure you can enjoy out in the wild or from the comfort of your own home. For backyard birding, one of the most important rules is to simply be consistent. Once the birds have decided your yard is a reliable food source, they'll return even on the coldest days expecting ? and counting on ? ready food stores to provide them nourishment and energy. Whether you're watching from the warmth of the living room or traipsing through the woods, winter can be a wonderful time for bird watching. It's easy to entice new visitors to your yard in winter by offering much-appreciated food and shelter. Or grab your boots and make a visit to their neighborhood.

If you want to be extra thorough, scour eBird and other resources to see what species have been spotted over the years during the winter where you live. There could be species not listed in your field guide that might turn up during irruption years, that is, when a species temporarily moves into a region it doesn’t normally inhabit. This exercise may take you some time, but you'll learn new identification skills, know what birds to expect and know which ones are surprise visitors.

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On 11/10/2020 at 12:56 PM, Driss said:

Bird watching is a fun, often surprising, way to connect with nature, and it's one pleasure you can enjoy out in the wild or from the comfort of your own home. For backyard birding, one of the most important rules is to simply be consistent. Once the birds have decided your yard is a reliable food source, they'll return even on the coldest days expecting ? and counting on ? ready food stores to provide them nourishment and energy. Whether you're watching from the warmth of the living room or traipsing through the woods, winter can be a wonderful time for bird watching. It's easy to entice new visitors to your yard in winter by offering much-appreciated food and shelter. Or grab your boots and make a visit to their neighborhood.

If you want to be extra thorough, scour eBird and other resources to see what species have been spotted over the years during the winter where you live. There could be species not listed in your field guide that might turn up during irruption years, that is, when a species temporarily moves into a region it doesn’t normally inhabit. This exercise may take you some time, but you'll learn new identification skills, know what birds to expect and know which ones are surprise visitors.

 

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There’s always cool birds to see, no matter where and when you are. You just need to get out and find them. In more northerly areas bird diversity and abundance is often lower in winter, but some very cool visitors come south from even farther north, and those can be exciting. Food sources like feeders, and running or open water, can help concentrate birds. Dumps can be good for gulls, agricultural fields worth checking for Horned Larks, Longspurs, geese, etc. 

Even if you are seeing less birds, it’s still worth getting outside in winter just to observe the change in seasons and see the corresponding changes in birds. It can be less exciting at times and the weather conditions more difficult in some areas, but ultimately can be even more rewarding in my opinion.

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