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Suet is Simple, Effective and a Favorite for Birds and Birders

Although suet is a standard for any established feeding station during all seasons of the year – it’s a must when temperatures turn cold. Suet provides high energy food for birds and it is an economic, no-mess way to attract a variety of birds during all seasons – especially during late fall and winter. If you’re a beginner, it’s the best food to start with, and suet attracts many birds including some that may not come to other feeders or water.

Enjoy a Wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday from Everyone at The Birding Wire!


CNN Reports Birding is Great for Your Health and Mind

A video report provided by CNN news describes the yoga-like effects of birding as described by health professionals – as they are birding. This is a fun, informative video that underlines what we already know, that birding helps us all relax, helps change our focus and spend time surrounded by nature through the seasons. Enjoy the video that features birds, and many birders with binoculars and cameras in hand.

New Hybrid Warbler Wows Birders and Scientists

A remarkable “new bird” was discovered and photographed in Pennsylvania by an avid birder, Lowell Burket. The hybrid bird is extremely rare, and its genetics are complicated! To produce this apparent hybrid of three warbler species, the adult female that raised the new hybrid was itself a hybrid between a Golden-winged Warbler and Blue-winged Warbler, which is a very rare hybrid in itself, known as a “Brewster's Warbler.” That female “Brewster’s Warbler” hybrid mated with a male Chestnut-sided Warbler and successfully laid at least one fertile egg and raised the nestling to fledging, and it survived. The offspring could be called a three-way hybrid with an ancestry of three different species of warblers.

Fall Hummingbirds are Diverse and Sometimes Puzzling in Louisiana

Although all the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have migrated south from western Louisiana, there are a surprising number of interesting hummingbirds that birders have reported through mid-November. At least four other species of hummingbirds have been sighted, and not just one of each species. We’re talking 9 Buff-bellied Hummingbirds, 4 Black-chinned Hummingbirds, 2 Broad-billed Hummingbirds and 13 Rufous Hummingbirds – and that’s not all.

Learn All About Bird Anatomy

Explore birds’ anatomy with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Bird Academy, an interactive class prepared for easy understanding about the inner workings of birds. Learn about birds’ plumage and their anatomy including skeletal and musculatory systems, nervous and circulatory systems, respiratory and digestive systems, and even more bird anatomy quickly and effectively with the All About Bird Anatomy interactive class.

Join the Editor for Weekly Birding Highlights

Another first of fall sighting last Saturday: As expected, the first Snow Buntings slipped into the area among big mixed flocks dominated by Lapland Longspurs and Horned Larks. I enjoyed watching the Snow Buntings feed and work their way among the other birds. It was also the peak of Bald Eagle migration through the area; near dusk I found a roost site with 20 Bald Eagles, and about five miles north I found another three adults congregated.

Edit Your Photos with Paintshop Pro 2019 – Download a Free Trial

With Paintshop Pro 2019 you can create superior photos with this affordable subscription-free photo editing program for professional results. Edit and enhance your photographs and other images with a comprehensive set of digital editing tools. Keep it simple or use the impressive layer-based editing capabilities. With 40 percent off the list price, this is a great time to discover Paintshop Pro – and you can even download the program for a Free 30-day trial.

Bark Butter for Your Feeding Station

An effective spreadable mix of suet, peanut butter and corn, Bark Butter is available in tubs, bricks and bits. Bark Butter products can be smeared on tree bark, offered as “bits” in a feeder, or you can insert a “brick” in a suet feeder. To date, 146 species have been attracted to feed on Bark Butter, so how can we resist adding Bark Butter to our backyard feeding stations?

Swarovski’s New Compact Tripods are Lightweight and Stable

For your spirit of adventure, the new compact carbon tripod and compact head offers birders a lightweight, easy-to-use system perfect for traveling and weighing in at just 3.7 pounds. Detachable shoulder straps make it easier to carry on hikes, and with a detachable center column, the tripod fits into carry-on luggage. A quick release mechanism simplifies setting up your spotting scope or camera, and a counter-balance feature helps prevent the scopes from tipping.

40 Percent Off Columbia Sportswear

The change of seasons may mean it’s time to upgrade your outdoor wear, just in time to take advantage of Columbia’s 40-percent-off sale on quality men’s and women’s outerwear – and there’s plenty of options for girls and boys too. With stylish fleece, softshell and down jackets to choose from in a variety of colors, it’s a great opportunity to add a new fall jacket or winter coat to your wardrobe.

Window Mounts for Spotting Scopes and Cameras

We all go auto touring from time to time: Maybe you’re taking advantage of a refuge’s wildlife drive, searching far and wide for a new seasonal hotspot, or even if you’re driving to Grandma’s house for Thanksgiving. But what if you are surprised to find a Northern Hawk Owl along the way? You’ll want to grab your spotting scope from the back seat, and that’s where a window mount will be very helpful in stabilizing your spotting scope – and your camera.

Computer Software Provides Today’s Digital Darkroom Techniques

Digital photography has improved in remarkable ways during the past 20 years, and so has photo editing. Some people resist any editing of photographs, and that’s fine; but a few simple editing options can help appreciably, and even salvage a photo you may otherwise deem trash. My suggestion is to keep any edits simple, keep the image as natural-looking as possible, and don’t edit unnecessarily. But if a photo needs some darkroom editing, give it a try, and improve your image with a minimum of changes.

The ABA Rare Bird Alert’s Weekly Highlights

Considered one of the most extraordinary rare bird finds in the North American realm this year, a White-crowned Pigeon was photographed at by far the northern-most location ever, in Canada! It was obviously a first-Ontario record for this species that is rarely seen beyond southern Florida! Even rarer birds that did not make the record books included sightings of a LaSagra’s Flycatcher and yet another Key West Quail-Dove in southern Florida. Plus there was a Eurasian Skylark in northern California and a Pink-footed Goose in southeast Massachusetts – and there’s more!

National Geographic Kids Bird Guide of North America, Second Edition

Birding is like going on a treasure hunt. That’s the pitch from author Jonathan Alderfer in his Bird Guide of North America, and I can’t think of a better way to introduce kids to birding. This National Geographic publication is a fun, engaging way to excite kids about birds, birding and bird identification. A warning to adults: You’ll really like it too!

Birders are Adapting Our Mix of Outdoor Activities with the Change of Seasons
Birding in northern latitudes while hiking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing or auto-touring, you may be treated to the surprise of a dark morph Rough-legged Hawk overhead.

Seasonal changes in weather are dominating November, giving birders the opportunity to mix their outdoor activities to enhance birding. It may be a matter of using new equipment ranging from kayaks to snowshoes with binoculars in hand. It could be as simple as being able to access locations comfortably where insects or thick vegetation prevented fruitful birding earlier in the year. We birders adjust our birding activities to the season, and the pay-offs can be exceptional!

If you live in the southern tier of states, this fall may emphasize getting back outdoors after a very hot summer. More temperate weather during November provides more opportunities to enjoy cycling, hiking and camping, plus kayaking and canoeing. When you combine a brisk birding walk followed by a bike ride, birding becomes a very active endeavor that may overshadow a trip to the gym.

Among the throngs of wading birds and other interesting species that birders encounter in the Southeast, a White Ibis plucks a crayfish from a wetland shallow.

If you live up north, many states were getting their first base of snow last week and birders were expanding their outdoor activities by beginning to cross-country ski and snow-shoe (now those birding activities are good workouts). Often, these modes of travel allow you to explore locations that were tough to access during the insect and tick season. When adequate ice forms, you can even walk across wetlands and bogs that were inaccessible during warmer seasons. Bare trees also provide more open views of birds in the area.

Auto touring remains quite the same with the change of season, although you may be using your heater rather than your air conditioner – depending on where you drive. It’s also time to update your emergency clothing in your vehicle, and make sure your emergency equipment is charged, just in case.

A male Pyrroloxia is a desert gem for birders to find in the American Southwest.

We birders love to migrate, especially to warmer climates! Within a few hours of air time you’re cycling along a beach, hiking in a rainforest or visiting a tropical island – maybe Hawaii or Maui, the Bahamas or Trinidad! A winter travel destination can add appreciably to your life list and photo files, and provide a seasonal attitude adjustment.

In northern climes, we need to meet winter head-on with a big smile. We enjoy the birds that visit our feeding stations and get out regularly for field trips, even if it’s too cold to do much beyond our heated vehicle. Often during winter, we need to cover a lot of miles to find a bird, but often it’s super-exciting – possibly a jet-black dark morph Rough-legged Hawk, a flock of White-winged Crossbills or Pine Grosbeaks, or an unforgettable Great Gray Owl. We all need to adjust our birding activities to the season; the pay-offs may be fewer in number, but they can be exceptional in quality!

Among flocks of shorebirds, gulls, terns and other birds of the season, a unique Heermann's Gull will wow birders as they walk along the beach or cycle along the coast in southern and central California.

In southern climes, instead of reduced numbers of birds, southern birders can enjoy enhanced birding experiences! The local species are joined by flocks of wintering birds, and seasonal rainfall excites resident species into pre-nesting songs. Late fall and winter can be exciting, and inspiring with new migrants appearing and wintering flocks of Sandhill Cranes, geese, ducks, sandpipers, plovers, native sparrows, warblers and buntings, plus increased raptor activity and rare bird sightings. Enjoy the change of seasons to the max, wherever you are, and wherever you travel.

Article and photographs by Paul Konrad

Nov. 22 - Nov. 23
Thanksgiving Holiday Observed No Wires
Nov. 22 - Nov. 25
Waterfowl Weekend at Chincoteague NWR
Chincoteague Island, Virginia
Dec. 1 - Dec. 2
Eagle Days
Forest City, Missouri
Dec. 21
Final Wire Editions for 2018
Jan. 4
Outdoor Wire Digital Network Initial Editions for 2019
Jan. 17 - Jan. 19
Wings Over Willcox
Willcox, Arizona
Jan. 17 - Jan. 21
Everglades Birding Festival
Davie, Florida
Jan. 18 - Jan. 21
Morro Bay Winter Bird Festival
Morro Bay, California
Jan. 18 - Jan. 21
Wings of Winter Birding Festival
Springville, Tennessee
Jan. 19
Rains County Eagle Fest
Emory, Texas
Jan. 23 - Jan. 27
Snow Goose Festival of the Pacific Flyway
Chico, California
Jan. 23 - Jan. 28
Space Coast Birding & Wildlife Festival
Titusville, Florida
Jan. 25 - Jan. 27
Winter Wildlife Festival
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Feb. 2
Galt Winter Bird Festival
Galt, California
Feb. 6 - Feb. 9
Laredo Birding Festival
Laredo, Texas
Feb. 7 - Feb. 10
The High Plains Snow Goose & Heritage History Festival
Lamar, Colorado
Feb. 8 - Feb. 10
Birds of a Feather Fest
Palm Coast, Florida
Feb. 14 - Feb. 17
Winter Wings Festival
Klamath Falls, Oregon
Feb. 15 - Feb. 17
Matagorda Bay Birdfest
Palacios, Texas
Feb. 15 - Feb. 17
Sax Zim Bog Birding Festival
Meadowlands, Minnesota
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