My little friends, the sparrows

Until I started taking a more serious interest in birding, to me a sparrow meant the ubiquitous house sparrow. A passer domesticus, rarely alone, was always at the feeders when I was a kid growing up in Ohio. Years later, I marveled at how the house sparrows thrived amid the skyscrapers of Midtown Manhattan, flittingContinue reading “My little friends, the sparrows”

In praise of the not-quite-so-early birder

Most of my morning birding walks are at dawn or even slightly ahead of it, typically a convergence of my believing the birds are most active when they wake up and my needing to get home and get ready for work. Even on the weekends and especially on Saturdays, I stick to the same earlyContinue reading “In praise of the not-quite-so-early birder”

Setting the year in motion: Birding resolutions for 2022

As I headed into 2021, I was intent on improving my ability to recognize birds by their calls and songs. I’m happy to report that I improved that skill considerably, and I’ll continue my education there. I also realize that I am woefully weak on spotting and identifying waterbirds. In the new year, my topContinue reading “Setting the year in motion: Birding resolutions for 2022”

The ultimate American bird: The bald eagle

As with many things in my Cleveland upbringing, bald eagles were just another creature in decline during the 1960s and ’70s. As a teenager, I experienced a couple of ghastly fish kills while heading for a day at the beach on the shore of Lake Erie. Every time I’d look at the embarrassingly polluted CuyahogaContinue reading “The ultimate American bird: The bald eagle”

Giving Thanks for a New Bird: The American Tree Sparrow

The only thing that can top the thrill of spotting a new bird for your life list is knowing that you have a nice image of that bird saved on your camera. I was on the way back to my car about 8:30 this morning along one of my regular routes at the Mercer MeadowsContinue reading “Giving Thanks for a New Bird: The American Tree Sparrow”

A refuge near (and from) the Motor City

Since my daughter and her family moved to Michigan, during the handful of drives I’ve taken up Interstate 75 to visit I spotted with curiosity the signs for the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge. Each time I drove past, I made a mental note to arrange to stop the next chance I’d get. I gotContinue reading “A refuge near (and from) the Motor City”

Man in the Limberlost: A side trip to Indiana

The “Jersey Birder” title of this site notwithstanding, I do venture out of the Garden State on occasion and sneak in a bit of birding as time allows. Last week, I drove to Michigan for some family matters that involved a jaunt to the northeast quadrant of Indiana. I had done some online scouting fromContinue reading “Man in the Limberlost: A side trip to Indiana”

October Big Day: I meet local legends

Saturday was eBird’s October “Big Day” in which all birders, from the backyard feeder watchers to those with huge life lists, are encouraged to get out and count. I headed to my nearby hot spot, the Mercer Meadows Pole Farm, about dawn and had a middling day as far as bird spotting. But I gotContinue reading “October Big Day: I meet local legends”

Heinz wildlife refuge, a special place for birds and birders

With jets taking off and landing next door at Philadelphia Airport, it’s hard to believe the abundance of wildlife at John Heinz National Wildlife. On countless treks to PHL in recent years, I’ve seen the signs for the refuge but was never able to explore it until this past weekend. I arrived mid-morning Saturday atContinue reading “Heinz wildlife refuge, a special place for birds and birders”

The colors of the day: scarlet and indigo

What a thrill! I finally got a good look at scarlet tanagers today out at the Mercer County Pole Farm. I had only seen a scarlet tanager once before, during a previous summer when on a bicycle I flushed one from the trail-side brush. That was only a glimpse, but the sighting was a no-doubter:Continue reading “The colors of the day: scarlet and indigo”