About Birds

Male Red-winged Blackbird by Holly Ellerbusch

Enjoy this compilation of bird profiles by Bedford Audubon’s Naturalist, Tait Johansson.

Brown Creeper

The Brown Creeper (Certhia americana) is an inconspicuous and often overlooked member of our local avifauna.

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10 Years of MAPS

Located in Hunt-Parker Sanctuary and established in 2009, Bedford Audubon Society’s MAPS station marks its 10th Anniversary this summer. MAPS, which stands for Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship, is a continental-wide research effort that aims to...

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Accipiters

  Each fall, ridgetops throughout the northeastern United States play host to flights of migrating hawks. The most spectacular of these in our area are the flocks of Broad-winged Hawks that pass through in mid-September. But providing the most consistent flight...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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Great Blue Heron

  Our largest North American heron, the Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias), can reach a standing height of about four feet. Its impressive stature makes this species one of the birds most often noticed by the casual observer. Also contributing to its...

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Great Horned Owl

  The Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) is one of our most widely distributed birds. Almost our entire area is potential Great Horned Owl habitat. These fierce, powerful predators range over large areas in search of prey, which can range in size from insects to...

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Mallard & Black Duck

  The ubiquitous Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) is a familiar sight to most of us. Though it prefers shallow ponds and marshes for its habitat, it can turn up on almost any unfrozen body of water in our area at any time of the year. The drake is easily identified...

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Ovenbird

  There is a singer everyone has heard, Loud, a mid-summer and a mid-wood bird, Who makes the solid tree trunks sound again.   Robert Frost, The Oven Bird The song of the Ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapilla) is one of the most familiar summer sounds of deciduous...

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Pine Siskin

  The Pine Siskin (Carduelis pinus), a small, gregarious finch closely related to the American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis), is an irregular visitor to our area. This fall (2008) has seen a tremendous movement of this species into the northeast, likely due to...

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Prairie Warbler

The tiny, green and gold Prairie Warbler (Setophaga discolor), contrary to its common name, is a bird not of grasslands, but of large areas of shrubland. In our area, this means powerline cuts and overgrown old fields with dense areas of shrubs or young trees,...

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Rose-breasted Grosbeak

  One of the first Neotropical migrants to arrive in southern New York every spring is the Rose-breasted Grosbeak (Pheucticus ludovicianus). In late April, this species completes its journey from its winter range (Mexico south to Ecuador) to our area, announcing...

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Scarlet Tanager

The male Scarlet Tanager (Piranga olivacea) is a stunning bird in spring and summer. The incandescent red feathers covering most of its body contrast sharply with the glossy black of its wings and tail. Although this bird is a common species in deciduous forests in...

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Tree Swallow

  The Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) is a familiar bird in our region, inhabiting open areas, usually near water, in the nesting season. Like our other swallows, it is an aerial insectivore, catching its prey almost exclusively on the wing, during the course...

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Wood Thrush & Veery

  Of the breeding birds of our area, probably the two most accomplished singers are the Wood Thrush (Hylocichla mustelina) and the Veery (Catharus fuscescens). These species are both brownish, secretive thrushes that mostly stay in the shadows of the woods, but...

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Yellow Warbler

  Many birders find warblers a difficult group of birds to identify. Fall, when warblers tend to have drab plumages, is the most challenging season for warbler identification. Even in spring, when their more colorful breeding plumages make them easier to...

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Yellow-rumped Warbler

  Many birders find identifying fall warblers to be a tricky proposition. One good species to start with is the Yellow-rumped Warbler (Dendroica coronata) since it is probably the most common fall warbler in our area. The most consistently distinctive feature of...

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