By Eileen Richardson

Now in early April may seem early, but it's not. Every year we can count on seeing the broad-tailed first in late March since they come from all over Mexico and in Central America. It stands to reason that hummingbirds don't all show up on the same day or even the same week. They are not all coming from the same spot. So it makes sense that hummers wintering in Southern Mexico will arrive in in our area later than those that winter hundreds of miles further north.

Read more: Southwestern Birding-Hummingbirds return to New Mexico 2017

By Eileen Richardson

Migration Madness Birding Festival April 27-30 2017 - http://www.birdyverde.org

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

If you want to feed birds in the backyard you should recognize that with the fun and enjoyment comes responsibility. While there is some common sense to responsible bird feeding, depending on your neighborhood and it’s setting and the season your approach changes. Here are a few things to be considered when establishing your feeders.

1. Keep feeders clean

Clean your feeders as needed. Platform feeders will need to be cleaned more often than tube feeders. Feeders will need to be cleaned more often in warm, damp weather than in cold, dry weather. Feeders visited by obviously ill birds need to be cleaned more often than usual. It is a good idea to clean your feeders a couple of times a year even if no obvious problems are present. You can clean your feeders with soap and water or even a 10% bleach solution. Rinse thoroughly and dry before returning to service.

Read more: Southwest Birding - The Dos and Don'ts of Backyard Feeding

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

I myself am a novice birder and in fact going to my first birdwatching event later in the month. (Check out my article on the Southwest Birding events)

I know there are a lot of seasoned birdwatchers in the state who are avidly attending birdwatching events, but for me (although when I am retired in a few years I plan to attend these events) right now they don’t fit into my schedule. I feel just going one on one with an experienced birder on my schedule is a great idea.

So I am going to share with you the birdingpal concept and information.

Read more: Southwest Birding - Birding Pals in New Mexico

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

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
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