Thursday, May 10, 2012


At some point, a birder is likely to come across an injured bird. I know from experience that this can be an emotional and startling time. Many times, friends have called me knowing that I'm interested in birds, asking me to help with an injured bird they have bound. It's good to know what to do for an unfortunate bird. Here are some suggestions that have helped me.


This time of year especially, it is common to find a fledgling bird on the ground. This can cause a lot of concern for the young bird but it is a common circumstance for a fledgling. Most songbirds leave their nest long before they can fly. They spend several days to a week on the ground or in the grass or weeds while their wing feathers and flight muscles develop.

You may not see the parent birds but they are still around feeding the young bird, and it is best to leave it alone. Cats, both pet and feral, are one of the biggest risk for young birds on the ground. If cats are present, the bird can be placed on a nearby branch to get it off of the ground.

If the bird is so young that its eyes are still closed and it has down instead of feathers, you can place it back in its nest if the nest can be found. Most birds have a very poor sense of smell, and despite popular belief, touching a young bird will not cause the adults to abandon it. If the nest can't be found, locate a licensed wildlife rehabilitator in your area. Most animal shelters can give you contact information. Licensed rehabilitators have the training to care for and properly feed injured wild birds.

Window collisions

Collisions with windows kill thousand of birds each year. Often when a bird hits a window, it is stunned and not killed. If you find a stunned bird, it's best to leave it alone or put it in a warm, dark, box for a few minutes. The dark will keep the bird from being over-stressed.


Get some help from an expert

Again, if you find an injured adult bird or helping a bird is beyond your ability, find a rehabilitator. These are the experts who will know just what to do. Also, keeping a bird for any reason is against federal and state laws.

Friday, May 4, 2012


I wish these applications were available when I started birding years ago. Now you can carry several field guides on your phone or tablet. I still think printed guides are a little easier to use but the apps make up for any deficiencies with their portability and the availability of sound. Often, they have more information included than is in the printed versions.

The bird guides play birds songs, include range maps and usually have several images of a bird.


Spring is finally here and birders new and old are anxious to get outdoors and have some fun. Here is some advice, along with recommendations, on buying a good pair of binoculars that will make bird watching a great experience.

Shopping for binoculars can be an overwhelming experience.
There is an almost endless variety to choose from and the prices range from the sublime to the ridiculous. Also, unfortuntely, many sales people know little about binoculars and will often give you wrong information.

Knowing what you need and what you don't need will save you a lot of frustration and a lot of money.


Binoculars with seven times or eight times magnification are perfect for most bird watchers. Binoculars with higher magnifications tend to be heavier, something that becomes a big deal if you are using them all day, and are harder to hold steadily making the image you are looking at bounce around. Higher-powered binoculars often have narrow fields of view. That is, the area your binoculars can take in. The wider the field of view the better for bird watching.


The amount of light your binoculars can gather and send to your eyes the brighter and more distinct the object you are looking at will appear. How do you know if your binoculars are giving you enough light to make the image of that hawk you are looking at really bright and crisp?

There is an easy formula you can use. The diameter of the binoculars' objective lenses, the big ones at their front, should measure in millimeters five times the power of the binoculars. A seven powered pair should have objective lenses with diameters of at least 35 millimeters. Eight powered binoculars should have objective lenses of 40 millimeters. These numbers are usually printed on the binoculars such as 7X35 or 8X40. Stay away from zoom binoculars. You can increase their power but the objective lenses stay the same size.

Also, the lenses should be coated. Almost all modern binoculars have lenses with some sort of coating on them. The coating will make them look blue, orange, yellow, or some other color. The coating helps your binoculars focus the light coming into them and also gather any extra light bouncing around in them. Binoculars with good light gathering capabilities also help if you are bird watching on cloudy days or at twilight.

Ok, you now know how to go out and buy a pair of binoculars that will make your bird watching enjoyable.