WildBirds.com eNewsletter
May 2012

Wow! I added seven new birds to my Florida life list last week as the spring migration rolled through southern Florida.

This has been an exceptionally good year down here and a recent weather front forced thousands of Warblers, Tanagers, Buntings, Thrushes, Cuckoos and Grosbeaks to linger here for a few days. Normally they would keep flying north.

There are four "tricks" to seeing a LOT of birds during spring migration.

1. You need to be outside. I noticed that I saw many more birds while walking around the Sanibel Lighthouse or Fort Desoto Park this year than I did in previous years when I stayed indoors working at my computer.

2. Monitor Daily Changes. Watch the weather channel for major fronts moving though your area that may affect bird migration. Check the online postings to see what others are finding in your area.

3. Know where the local bird migrant traps are. I typically think of the local birding spots as anything I can reach by car in 45 minutes. During migration you need to expand your horizons and think about "near" as anything within a four hour drive from your house. If you are ever going to venture out, this is the right week to do it!

4. Bird with a friend. You need more than one pair of eyes to find all the good birds out there! You need all the friends you can get when searching out those rare migrants. Be a friend too. Share information when you meet someone on the trail. Help newer birders with a tough ID.


How to Monitor Daily Changes
Using the Internet to Find Birds


If you want to see a really cool way to monitor daily bird migration using radar imaging, check out BirdCast !

Almost every state and province has an online reporting service that lets birders report their recent sightings. Monitoring these can be extremely helpful in planning a birding excursion.

At WildBirds.com you can quickly find this by looking at the State/Province Checklists.  Just click the name of your state or province along the left side of this web page. Then click on the Electronic mailing List or Transcripts or Rare Bird Alert links. You can reach the same spot by looking in our Find Birds section of the WildBirds.com web site.

In case you have never tried this, here are a few examples of what you might find:
New York (northern)


Finding Migrant Hot Spots
Go Where the Birds Are


Birds gather in high numbers during migration at places that offer lots of food and shelter. You need to figure out where these spots are.


Typically there is a geographical reason birds stop where they do. The Sanibel Lighthouse and Fort Desoto in southwest Florida are both on islands that jut out into the Gulf of Mexico. Each has lots of trees and brush. Many species of birds can find insects to eat and a place to hide for the night. From the air, these are obvious landmarks. It is far more likely that a Scarlet Tanager will stop at one of these Hot Spots rather than fly an additional 2 miles inland and land in my back yard.


Crane Creek in northern Ohio is a migrant Hot Spot because the habitat is right and the birds decide to fatten up a bit before attempting to fly over Lake Erie. A lake that big would give me pause too if I were a bird!


Point Pelee (Ontario) and Cape May (New Jersey) are perfect examples of "funnels" of land that force birds to gather at a narrow point of land before continuing their fall migration. In the spring, these are also great because it may be the first bit of land a bird sees after traveling over water for a long time.


Here are my 250 favorite Hot Spots.


Learn more about Why Birds Migrate from these great books. We especially like Living on the Wind by Scott Weidensaul.


Mother's Day is May 13th
Finding the Perfect Nature Gift for Her


There are about 10,000 items in the Online Nature Mall and the most popular items for Mother's Day have been our Hummingbird Feeders. There are now even some that attach right to your window. Get a couple to attract even more of these feathered jewels to your yard.



For a really big surprise, consider a new binocular. The huge imrovements in optic quality, special coatings and optic design in the past five years is simply amazing. We strongly recommed a binocular with either 8 or 10 power for birding. Here are my recommendations.

Viper 8x42 

Thayer Birding Software

The Ultimate Birding DVD for Windows
Gold v5.5  

Get ready...Get the Gold!

Be able to identify 970 birds of North America - including rare and accidental species. Export songs and images to your iPod or iPhone.


Thayer Birding Software

New Version 4.5
For Windows and Mac
GBNA v4.5   

753 Species with songs, range maps, ID Wizard quizzes and more!

Cornell Lab Audio CDs

For the US and the World
Cornell Audio Guides 
Learn the bird songs before your next big birding trip. CDs also available for frogs and mammals!

A Gift Card is Perfect for the Holidays!

Give the Gift of Nature!
 Gift Certificates

Quick Links

Good birding!
Pete Thayer & The Wildbirds.com Team!