I absolutely LOVE eBird! It is a website managed by Cornell Lab of Ornithology and has an app for your phone too. It is such a great resource! All of us are tracking bird populations all over the world! There are pictures and audios of all of the birds that the people on eBird have uploaded-myself included. You can keep your own pictures and audios on the site for free and keep track of all the birds you have seen. One of the best features is the Explore function. It will show you all the hot spots around where people have seen birds in present time. There are also videos that help you to learn all kinds of bird-related things-some of these are not free. You can join me in helping to conserve the bird population by creating an account and tracking the birds you see in your yard or during your travels. You can search my name and see my checklists and some photos and audio from our local birds too. The link below takes you to the site-enjoy!
Cornell also created a very cool app last year that I am OBSESSED with! Merlin bird ID app has both visual and audio tools that help you identify the birds you are seeing and hearing! There is photo function that lets you upload a photo or take a picture in real time to ID a bird. The audio will record and identify the bird sounds simultaneously. This has really helped me to learn about the different local birds that I didn’t even know we had! Merlin has the similar feature of being able to store your sounds for you. It will also connect directly to ebird and help you log a sighting instantly. Just realize that is is an app. I find it invaluable, but you have to listen and look around you and try to verify the actual birds not just log what Merlin thinks it sees and hears. Our Western Mass eBird expert Larry has flagged me more times than the Patriots get flagged because I incorrectly identified a bird based on just Merlin LOL.
Mass Audubon Society is an excellent resource for birds and humans! I joined so I get updates on some local bird populations and places to see different birds. For example, a lot of people are going to Massachusetts coastlines to see Snowy Owls that have come down from the Arctic for the winter. I am planning a trip to try and see one soon! Mass Audubon gives you information on local sanctuaries and trails that you can go to to enjoy birds and more. They run programs such as bird watching trips and photography classes. They publish lots of interesting articles as well. If you are a member, you can get discounts on trips and receive emails and magazines with planned activities you can participate in. They are a huge benefactor for birds through their fundraising campaigns as well. They have a Facebook page you could follow as well.
Here is a link to learn about the Snowy Owl I am currently obsessed with seeing!
I am not sure how I can add links here for the Facebook pages that are such great learning tools and ways to share information and pictures about our local birds. The Birding in Massachusetts page is phenomenal. Daniel needs to approve your entry, but then you can see and share bird pics etc. from all over Massachusetts. The Western Massachusetts Birds page run by Larry is really for bird alerts. People post about birds they are seeing but it is not really for pictures. There is also a Massachusetts Rare Bird Alert page that you might like that does have pictures. Gretchen runs the Hampden, Wilbraham, Monson Wildlife, Nature & Gardening Forum page. I love this group AND my picture is the current cover (YAY ME!). You will get to see all kinds of beautiful photos and posts about local birds, wildlife and plants. I have a Facebook page as well that you can access from this site. I would love it if you could follow my page and I will be posting any interesting birds I see locally in real time. That way, you might be able to see them too!
March 31st-I found this short article on How and Why Birds Molt by Melissa Mayntz an interesting read.https://www.thespruce.com/importance-of-molting-386470
April 27-The Avian Flu is making its way across the country. Each person needs to read up on this highly contagious bird disease and make their own choices about whether to feed the wild birds etc. I have read lots of articles and watched the news and the advice is very mixed. Most researchers seem to be saying the Passerines (song birds you likely feed) are not really impacted by this disease, and that they have only found 2 dead crows and a dead Blue Jay. Others say, yes, this is true but birds have enough to eat and minimizing any gatherings of birds can only be helpful so stop feeding. I looked up the current CDC map and am attaching the link here. It seems like our local area is disease free, but they say the songbirds can possibly be carriers and not show symptoms….sound familiar? Anyway, today I found a dead Eastern Bluebird in Monson. It could be totally unrelated, but if you raise poultry, I would probably be super cautious and read the suggested guidelines to keep them safe. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/avianflu/data-map-commercial.html
Massachusetts Forester for the Birds program info/link. https://www.massaudubon.org/news-events/publications/explore/past-issues/summer-2017/foresters-for-the-birds