Bird Adventures

How to decide where to go and what to take when birding beyond your backyard.

Bird Adventures

Bird feeders are a great way to attract birds to your backyard--and you don't even have to drive anywhere! However, there are some birds that won't come to bird feeders, including most warblers, ducks, herons, and eagles.

Eventually, you'll see most of the birds that will come to your bird feeders. So it might be time to start birding beyond your backyard.

Parks and wildlife refuges are probably the best places to go. However, you can find birds in many different places. One way to find places with a lot of birds is the eBird Hotspot Map. You can search your city in the Location search box and see where birds have been seen. There are over 100,000 hotspots in the United States, and many have 100+ species.

Note: If you click on a hotspot, it tells you how many species there are. Click the Directions button and enter your address to see how far it is. The best places to go have 150+ species and are less than 30 minutes away.

The best time to go is in the morning. By 11:00, birds start quieting down.

Good equipment to bring is binoculars, to see the birds closer, and a camera, to take photos of them.

Additionally, phones are good to bring for three reasons:

  • To get directions to the birding place.
  • The Merlin Bird ID app lets you record a bird's sound and it will try to identify it. Note: If the bird it identifies has a red circle next to it, or no photo, this means that it is rare and it's a good idea to see if Merlin Bird ID identifies it as this bird two or more times; otherwise, it may have made a mistake.
  • The eBird Mobile app lets you submit your sightings to scientists to give them an accurate understanding of if the bird is declining in population, where it lives, etc. 

So, happy birding!