Fall is the perfect time to be on the lookout for migrating birds. Familiar summer residents will be taking flight for warmer winter climates, but it’s also worthwhile to keep a sharp eye out for new birds that are passing through. Here are some online tools to use to help you find and discover exciting new species.
Ebird: This online resource collects data submitted by birders around the country. During spring and autumn migration season, this can give you a solid idea on when and where you can view arrivals and departures of specific species.
BirdCast: This “breaking news” resource from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology uses data from radar, weather reports and citizen sightings to bring forecasts of when and where migrating birds are coming to a field, body of water or park near you.
Twitter: This social media platform can be a rich resource for real-time migration news for birders. Play around with the advanced search feature, using dates, key words and geography to limit your results. This can help you find active accounts from local birding organizations and serious birders that are worth a follow.
Three essential bird accounts to follow:
Tip: If you see something unfamiliar, take a photo and tag your local birder or organization to help you ID it.
Weather Reports: If you are heading out to search for birds, keep in mind the ever-shifting autumn weather can make or break your outing. Keep an eye on wind speed, direction and precipitation, because these are conditions that can keep flocks landed. (Of course, if they happen to be “stuck” in your area, that can mean more opportunity for you for some great bird watching!)
Whether you're heading out with the binoculars, or staying home to keep an eye on what shows up in your yard, these online resources can help you make the most of the fall bird migration. As always, keep those bird feeders filled with fresh, high-quality bird seed, so migrating birds can catch a much-deserved energy break.