Machias Seal Island puffins

Machias Seal Island in Maine: An Overview

Every birder should visit Machias Seal Island at least once. (The author has been eight times.). This is one of the very few breeding colonies where visitors are allowed to land on the island and get close to the birds. What Do You See? You can observe at very close range breeding: Atlantic Puffin, Razorbill, Common Tern, and Arctic Tern. …

Crows

Names for Groups of Birds

All of the names in this list may be used by birders who wish to display their knowledge, although it is probably linguistically inaccurate (and it is bad manners) to interrupt someone who refers to “a flock of swans” by saying, “Surely you mean a whiteness of swans.” The names are still fun to know and perhaps useful in some …

birds and wind turbines

Birds and Wind Developments

The Challenge Wind power has the ability to be a green, bird-friendly form of power generation, but it can also adversely affect birds. In 2009, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service estimated that 440,000 birds per year were killed by U.S. wind turbines, and included this figure in the agency’s 2013 budget request to Congress. Birds can die in collisions …

North American Migration Flyways

North American Migration Flyways

There are many routes that migratory birds follow, and although some of them are pretty simple, some of them are extremely complicated and hard to trace. Many things contribute to that diversity, including differences in flight speed, time of starting, geographical position, distance traveled, the latitude of the breeding and wintering grounds, and other factors. Geographically grouped species with an almost continental distribution may travel …

Nighthawk Boom

The Booming Sound of a Nighthawk’s Dive

What was that noise? There it goes again! Is someone beating on a plastic trash can lid? I am often asked, “Do you know what makes this sound?”. Then the person asking the question starts to hoot, cluck, chirp, or squeak. I try to pick up the cadence of the sounds and run through the usual suspects. Then, we stand …