American Kestrel

American Kestrel

One of the more common fall migrant raptors in eastern North America is the American Kestrel (Falco sparverius). This brightly-colored small falcon is now almost gone from Westchester and Putnam counties as a breeder, but continues to migrate through our area in good...
Baltimore & Orchard Oriole

Baltimore & Orchard Oriole

One of the most notable avian events of May, a month with no shortage of such events, is the return of our two species of oriole from their Mexican and Central American wintering grounds. The arrival of such tropical-looking birds has always seemed to me an assurance...
Barred Owl

Barred Owl

The Barred Owl (Strix varia) is a common inhabitant of larger forest tracts and wooded wetlands in our area, though it, like many other nocturnal creatures, is seldom seen by humans. This species can be distinguished from our two other most commonly encountered owls,...
Broad-winged Hawk

Broad-winged Hawk

The autumn Broad-winged Hawk (Buteo platyperus) migration is an awe-inspiring event. Each September, vast numbers of these birds make their way from their breeding grounds in the deciduous forests to our north to their wintering grounds in Central and South America....
Bufflehead

Bufflehead

The Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola), often known to hunters as the “butterball” for its ability to put on quantities of fat during fall migration, is a small, stubby, strikingly-plumaged duck common in our area in winter—as long as there is open water.  The odd name is...
Carolina Wren

Carolina Wren

The Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus) is an often-conspicuous presence, loudly announcing its presence to all within earshot with its loud, ringing song and a variety of distinctive call notes. At other times, this bird shows its retiring side, skulking in...
Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing

In a time when the populations of many songbird species in our part of the world are declining, one happy exception to this is the elegant Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum). One of a family consisting of only three species worldwide, our Waxwing is a common breeding...
Chimney Swift

Chimney Swift

The Chimney Swift (Chaetura pelagica), is truly a bird of the air, spending its days speeding aloft on thin, sickle-shaped wings, catching flying insects for food. This species, though declining in numbers, is still a fairly common sight in our area in summer. The...
Eastern Kingbird

Eastern Kingbird

Although not brightly colored, the Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus) is a conspicuous and flamboyant bird. This large flycatcher, about the size of a Catbird, is found commonly in our area in summer in fields, wetlands, and even urban parks. Except for a thin,...
Eastern Phoebe & Wood-Pewee

Eastern Phoebe & Wood-Pewee

The Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe), is a familiar species to most in our area, often found building its nest of mud and moss under the eaves of houses and other buildings, especially near water. This bird, though not at all brightly colored, is a conspicuous one,...