Rosamond Gifford Zoo

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Go Birding!

With social distancing still a necessity during the COVID pandemic, what better way to enjoy the outdoors while maintaining safe distance than birding! National Go Birding Day on April 24 originally came about in the late 1800s in an attempt to encourage Americans to take an interest in avian conservation. Today, birding is a popular way to get close to nature and learn about other animals that share our planet.

Spring is the perfect time of year to see native species migrating back to their native breeding grounds, engaging in courtship behaviors and nesting. The beauty of birding is that it can be as simple as observing birds in your backyard or local park to travelling to state parks or wildlife refuges! Beginner birders only need a pair of binoculars to get a closer look at your feathered friends and a field guide to identify the species.

Birders often keep what is called a “Life List,” a compiled list of every bird that they have observed in the wild, so a notebook would also be helpful. Check out the list below for some tips on getting into birding!

  • Most birds can be seen throughout the day, but are often more active in the morning.
    • Fall and early spring are usually the best seasons to see the most activity
    • Placing bird feeders in your backyard can bring the birds to you!
    • Be as quiet as possible, wear neutral color clothing and avoid bringing your dog to optimize the number of species seen
    • Getting a bird into the field of view in your binoculars can be a little tricky. The easiest way to keep your eyes on the bird is to point your nose at the bird and then carefully raise the binoculars to your eyes without moving your head.
    • Take a look at different styles of field guides to see which makes the most sense to you, but be sure to get one that is appropriate for the region in which you are birding.

Some convenient places to bird in the Syracuse area are:
o Onondaga Lake Park, Liverpool
o Derby Hill Bird Observatory, Mexico, NY
o Montezuma Wildlife Refuge, Seneca Falls, NY
o Cornell Lab of Ornithology Bird Observatory – Visit the observatory to learn more about bird and then walk the trails to see what species you can spot!

You can share you birding experience on social media with the hashtag #Gobirding. Happy birding!

 Pictured: Red-bellied woodpecker at backyard feeder by Betsy Waterman

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