Bird Calls Blog

Bird Calls brings birds to life on the page with a stream of bird-related stories, tips, perspectives, and more.

Common Backyard Birds of the United States
If you're just getting interested in birds, identifying the ones that live in your backyard or neighborhood is a great place to begin. With a little guidance and patience, most people can quickly learn to recognize these common birds by sight and sound. To get started, take a look at the illustrated list below, which … Read More>>
Ruby-throated Humminbirds can live for upwards of nine years.
Hummingbirds Lead Intense Lives: How Long Do They Live?
The ornithologist James Welty once said that “birds lead intense lives.” Perhaps no avian group embodies that phrase better than the hummingbirds. With wings beating so fast they're a blur, these tiny birds fuel their super-high metabolisms with sugary flower nectar, then go into torpor to make it through the night, conserving energy by slowing … Read More>>
Extraordinary Appendages: An Introduction to Bird Wings
All birds have wings. Even flightless birds, which are descended from flying ancestors, use their wings for balance, display, and other purposes. The origins of these extraordinary appendages date back to the time of dinosaurs, but the cause of their development remains a mystery. Scientists, however, have some ideas. Some theorize that birds' ancestors may … Read More>>
ABC Birding: Holywell Recreation Area, Jamaica
"ABC Birding" is a triannual feature of Bird Conservation magazine that takes readers to birding sites benefiting from ABC and partners' conservation efforts across the Western Hemisphere. Lay of the Land: The Holywell Recreation Area (also called Hardwar Gap) is the gateway to the Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park. It sits at about … Read More>>
Nests of Rare South American Birds
In South America, the nests and breeding behavior of many secretive species remain shrouded in mystery. This offers exciting opportunities for ornithologists and birders to fill in knowledge gaps. In recent years, a few individual researchers, like Harold Greeney in Ecuador and Gustavo Londoño in Colombia and Peru, have made out-sized contributions, describing numerous species' … Read More>>
Fertile Grounds: How Seabird "Waste" Benefits Land and Sea
“You work on seabird colonies? How can you stand the smell?” That's a common reaction when I mention my work as a field biologist. While it's true that guano can be pungent, it's also a key source of nutrients — and the more researchers tease out seabirds' contributions to both islands and oceans, the more … Read More>>
A Question of Habitat: Saving Rare Birds Large and Small
The Pale-headed Brushfinch was rediscovered in a dry inter-Andean valley in west-central Ecuador almost 25 years ago — following three decades without a record of the species. A wave of relief rolled over those on the expedition that found this “lost” bird, an effort spearheaded by Fundación de Conservación Jocotoco (Jocotoco) with ABC support. But … Read More>>
1625 Painting of a Dodo
Six Extinct Birds Whose Fame Lives On: The Dodo, Passenger Pigeon, and More
More than 180 bird species (out of around 10,000 total) have likely gone extinct over the last 500 years, and the rate of extinction is accelerating. Bird species have disappeared for a number of reasons. These include: competition with and predation by introduced species, unsustainable hunting and trapping by humans, habitat loss due to human … Read More>>
Swainson's Warbler singing. It is on a branch.
Birds of Virginia: A Guide to Must-See Birds in the Commonwealth
The Commonwealth of Virginia's tourism and travel slogan is “Virginia is for Lovers,” but it's also for lovers of birds. Virginia supports a high diversity of birds and bird habitats, from the mountains in the west to coastal and offshore areas in the east. According to eBird, 488 species have been observed in Virginia, among … Read More>>
Birds of Virginia: Raptors
Virginia hosts a diversity of raptor species, and there are hawk-watching opportunities at coastal and mountain sites during migration, which are usually most active in autumn. As raptor populations expand, some species are becoming more common in our urban areas, including the Cooper's Hawk, Mississippi Kite, and Peregrine Falcon. Day-flying raptors and waterfowl are two … Read More>>

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Kirtland's Warbler sitting on a small pine tree branch

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