By Eileen Richardson

Birds make all sorts of interesting sounds. Some have beautiful melodies other have obnoxious squawks. 

There are reasons for these sounds. Birds use these songs and calls to communicate with other birds. The reasons can even be very complex.

A few species, like turkey vultures, are almost always silent. Most birds though are chatterboxes and have several different calls.

Birds that live in flocks most of the year are especially busy with several different calls.

Black capped chickadees have at least 15 different distinct calls that they use for various situations. If their flock is foraging in treetops, they make short light “contact” calls and a louder note when the flock is ready to move on. Chickadees make various alarm calls when danger is near. Rival males have aggressive calls they use when they are about to have a showdown.

Read more: What Bird Songs Mean

By Eileen Richardson

Bird watching today differs immensely from Audubon’s time. Over the centuries technological advances have changed the hobby of birdwatching several times over. Opera glasses and notepads replaced shotguns and burlap bags used by Audubon. By the middle of the 20th century, birders were equipped with the first field guides and better, lighter, more affordable binoculars.

 And today, birders are heading out with 50-megapixel image-stabilized super-telephoto zoom cameras and precision-honed, multi-coated, ultra-light-weight binoculars… and paper field guides, the technology of which hasn’t changed significantly since their inception nearly a century ago.

So take a look at some of the apps described below and bring your smartphone with one or more of these apps to help you along. Make sure you have a charger on hand and a way to charge your phone because these apps will drain your battery.

Read more: Bird Watching Apps and Field Guides

 By Eileen Richardson

The Santa Fe Raptor Center is a registered nonprofit 501 ( c ) (3) organization that relies on private contributions to finance wildlife care.

The Santa Fe Raptor Center has an educational program that serves the community that supports it. The beauty of Santa Fe is enhanced by Red Tailed Hawks soaring in our skies and Great Horned Owls hooting in our parks. The Center's goal is to establish a working relationship with Santa Fe area grade schools, high schools, and colleges and to cooperatively partner on projects that inspire appreciation, understanding, and respect for the wildlife around us.

Read more: Santa Fe Raptor Center

By Eileen Richardson

Migration Madness Birding Festival April 27-30 2017 -

The festival begins with an opportunity to go to an expedition with vendors and talks.

This annual event offers bird walks and drive on your own birding opportunities from a few hours to all day tours. The birds that can be viewed are numerous but include:

northern harrier, Virginia rail, sora, double-crested cormorant, white-faced ibis and osprey. common black-hawk ,typical riparian species as well as hawks and some grassland birds, ladder-backed and Gila woodpeckers, vermilion and brown-crested flycatchers, bridled and juniper titmouse, verdin, Bullock’s, Scott’s and hooded orioles, yellow, orange-crowned, and Lucy’s warblers, yellow-breasted chats, black-throated and lark sparrows, and Albert’s towhee. American dipper, black-throated gray and Virginia’s warbler, and painted redstart and more! 

Read more: Upcoming Southwest Birding Events 2017

By Eileen Richardson

First brought to North America by Shakespeare enthusiasts in the nineteenth century, European Starlings are now among the continent’s most numerous songbirds. They are stocky black birds with short tails, triangular wings, and long, pointed bills. Though they’re sometimes resented for their abundance and aggressiveness, they’re still dazzling birds when you get a good look. Covered in white spots during winter, they turn dark and glossy in summer. For much of the year, they wheel through the sky and mob lawns in big, noisy flocks.

Read more: European Starlings Came to Visit Santa Fe

By Eileen Richardson

In open parklands of the American West, brilliant blue-and-rust Western Bluebirds sit on low perches and swoop lightly to the ground to catch insects. Deep blue, rusty, and white, males are considerably brighter than the gray-brown, blue-tinged females. Male Western Bluebirds are shiny blue above with rust-orange extending from a vest on the breast onto the upper back. Females are gray-buff with a pale orange wash on the breast and blue tints to the wings and tail. The throat is blue in males and gray-buff in females, and the lower belly is whitish.

Western Bluebirds are small thrushes that usually perch upright. They are stocky with thin, straight bills and fairly short tails. This small thrush nests in holes in trees or nest boxes and often gathers in small flocks to feed on insects or berries, giving their quiet, chortling calls.

Read more: Western Bluebirds Breeding Time is Coming

By Eileen Richardson

The Juniper Titmouse is a plain gray bird with a prominent black eye and a crest of gray feathers on its head. It is a small songbird, but the long body, short neck, and medium-long tail makes it appear bigger than it is. A short crest gives the fairly large head a pointed silhouette. The short bill is fairly thick and round.

They mate for life and like other members of the chickadee family the Juniper Titmouse sticks around all winter and will come to seed and suet feeders. In the fall, they stash seeds in the crevices of tree bark to eat later. They are partial to pinyon nuts. New Mexico is the perfect habitat for this bird as they favor pinyon and juniper woodlands of the interior west. The Juniper Titmouse occurs in pinyon pine and juniper woodlands from about 2,250-8,000 feet. These cavity-nesting birds tend to nest in mature woodlands, where older pinyon and juniper trees offer a ready supply of cavities for nesting.

Read more: Juniper Titmouse

By Eileen Richardson

Heated birdbaths are a great way to provide the birds a source of water when other water sources have frozen over. When you have a heated birdbath and everywhere that normally is a water source is frozen, you attract more and varied species. So even thru winter you get the opportunities others don’t. A heated birdbath provides a source of drinking water which is very important in the dry Winter. It also is a birdbath which I have seen is a popular sort of sauna for our feathered friends.
Here are Four Tips for Your Winter Heated Birdbath:

Read more: 3 Tips for your Heated Birdbath
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