Helpful Guides and Tips for Bird Watching

Marlton, NJ

This thread which will become a Sticky will help show some great Bird Guides,
Internet Bird Sites etc.

Please DO NOT post questions or comments on this thread.

You are welcome to do that on any other thread or a post of your own. Thank You!

-Bird Guides are a must for any beginner or experienced bird watcher.

Lets start with North American Bird Guides which will give complete descriptions,ranges and other information on each bird.

1-The Sibley Guide to Birds (National Audubon Society)
by Audubon Society Staff (Editor), David Sibley (Illustrator)
544 pages (October 3, 2000)

*Sibleys also has guides for Eastern and Western North America

2- National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America

Internet Site for Birds

Cornell Lab of Ornithology site "All About Birds" is one of the best. Along with photos, descriptions and information on each bird there is also a Gear Guide which talks about Binoculars and Spotting Scopes. A section for "Attracting Birds" which will give a list of what seeds each type of bird prefers along with landscaping for birds, feeders and much more.
Here is the site:

-Here are Bird Guides and 1 Internet site for Europe (inc. UK)

1. Mullarney, K., Svensson, L., Zetterström, D., & Grant, P. (1999). Collins Bird Guide. HarperCollins. ISBN 0-00-219728-6.

2. Jonsson, L. (1992). Birds of Europe with North Africa and the Middle East. Helm. ISBN 0-7136-8096-2

- Internet Site for Birds

* I would like to thank Resin and wallaby1 for their help with this information.

Here are 2 sites for Australian birds.

Heres a site for Identifying Hawks In Flight

Here are some sites w/ Migration Maps for different birds.

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds

Rufous Hummingbirds


Bald Eagles

Some other helpful website about birds.

Another site w/ migration maps for different species of birds. Just click on the photo of each bird to see their migration map.

Boreal Birds Migration Map

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Marlton, NJ

Along with seeds; Suet is an important food especially during the winter months when natural food sources are scarce for the birds. You can buy suet at the store, but making it yourself or with your children can be a fun and interesting project.

Some Important Things to Remember when Cooking Any Type of Fats

- Do not leave cooking fats unattended. If you must walk away turn OFF the heat and put a tilted lid on the pot.

- Keep all Pot Handles turned to the back of the Stove away from small hands or furry paws.

- Do not cook fats on High Heat as they burn very easily.

-Use a slightly larger pot than you think you'll need. Preferrably a Heavy Bottom pot.

This first suet recipe talks about using Cayenne Pepper to deter squirrels.

The Sialis site has many different suet recipes.

One last site that has recipes along with using your old Christmas tree for birds.

Marlton, NJ

Meal Worms are great food you can feed to most birds.

They are rich in vitamins A & B and are important for growth and nutrition.

They can be bought at most pet supply stores but can be expensive; if you want a large quantity you'll need to order them online.

Heres a company that comes highly recommended by folks that host Bluebirds.

Heres an article on the care and storage of mealworms.

Mealworms can be put into any type of container to feed birds as long as its not too light in weight.
If you only want smaller type birds to be able to eat such as Bluebirds,Wrens Chickadees etc. then you'll need a caged style feeder that will keep the big birds out.

You could make one yourself or heres a popular one you can buy online

Be sure not to put meal worms in any water or they'll drown.

This message was edited Apr 2, 2008 10:14 AM

Marlton, NJ

If your ever in the unfortunate situation where you find an injured animal or bird and want to see if
there is someone who can help, here is a site where you can look for a Wildlife Rehabilitator near your area.

By States A-M

States N-W

This message was edited Jul 20, 2008 5:49 AM

Marlton, NJ

Photographing Birds

Many thanks to Linthicum for writing the following artcle.

Photographing Birds in Flight

"A good photograph is knowing where to stand." - Ansel Adams

Photographing some birds in a stationary position can be a challenge. Photographing most birds in flight can be an unnerving ornithological feat. On the other hand, photographing birds in flight is merely elevating those same skills necessary to produce a “quality” image of that sleepy songbird, sitting idly by the bird feeder, in your backyard. Here are a few recommended actions.

Camera Settings (Shutter Speed & Aperture):

Certainly the quality of the camera and lens can make a difference but the purpose here is getting the most out of what you got. With that in mind the most important feature is shutter speed. The faster, the better. To accomplish this, one needs to have their shutter speed, aperture and ISO setting working in concert. An optimum shutter speed would be at least 1/2000 sec. to effectively stop the action. Using the automatic setting on your camera will probably not produce the desired results. First, try using the AV mode (aperture priority) with a low f-stop setting. Or, try the shutter speed priority with a minimum shutter speed of 1/2000 sec.


Almost equally important is lighting. One needs good light in order to be able to elevate their shutter speed sufficiently to get the required stop action. Early morning and/or late day in-flight shots are virtually impossible because of low lighting. Depending on your results with the recommended action above, it may be necessary to increase your ISO setting, as high as you can without getting any noise in your images. Practice using different ISO settings to establish an optimum ISO setting. Each camera does respond differently as to the noise impact.


Location, location, location. Where you stand is very important. It will make a big difference if the sun is to your back. Hold camera as steady as possible. Also, using the “burst mode” (if you have one) on your camera can be helpful in minimizing camera movement. A tripod can be helpful as can cameras with image stabilization.

Other Tips:

1. Many photo websites include Exif data (camera settings) with the photo. If you see a photo that you like, look at the respective photographer’s Exif data. After a while you will arrive at a consensus of opinion as to what is required.

2. Use the viewfinder on your camera for tracking rather than the LCD.

3. A zoom lens capability of at least 300mm to 400mm (6x optical to 8x) is preferred.

4. Practice, practice, practice.

5. Invest in photo-editing software which is a totally separate subject.

6. Be at the right place at the right time (good luck !!!).

7. Smile … and enjoy the fresh air.

“You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.” – Mark Twain

Marlton, NJ

Bird Photography Tips

Here are some links to websites that give tips for bird photography.

Marlton, NJ

Cleaning out Nestboxes

Heres a great post about cleaning out nestboxes by 2dCousinDave

I clean out my nestbox after each group fledges. If you leave the old nest in place, the BBs will build anonther nest on top and the eggs and babies in the new nest will be that much closer to the opening, and as such, closer to the reach of predators. The old box may contain wasp nests or other things so its good to take a close look at it each time.

I take my box down within hours after they fledge, scrub the insides with a toothbrush and a diluted solution of bleach, let it dry thoroughly and put it right back up. As someone on this thread said previously, when they fledge, the parents take the fledges to a remote location for a week or so where they teach them the basics of survival. During this time my adults come back to my feeder for mealworms and in a week or so, the fledges will follow them, first to a nearby tree and ultimately, in a day or so, right to the feeder where they will often wait for an adult to come feed them. In a short time one of the extraverts will struggle to get into the wire cage feeder, as he has seen Papa do, then all of them will. A very fun time for me to watch.

The female will probably break away and build a second or third nest, often while the male is still running the survival school. When she starts her second brood, Papa has all of the baby sitting responsibilities. If the fledges beg from her she will ignore them or give them that "go ask your father" look. Papa will continue to feed them until they are about 40 to 45 days old. After that, when they beg, he may fly straight at them, making them dodge. They soon stop begging.

I leave my nestbox up all winter too. Since my BBs stay year round, they seem to like knowing their house is there. They perch on it every day, go inside a few times, and just hang around, especially in the morning when there is a lot of bird traffic in the yard. Then they usually leave until late afternoon or the following morning. This continues all winter, so I am able to get pics of them literally every day, in the heat of the summer but in the ice and the snow too.


Marlton, NJ

A wonderful site with great videos of birds from all over the world.

Whiteside County, IL(Zone 5a)

Tricky Bird IDs from Cornell

Whiteside County, IL(Zone 5a)

DG Link Discussing Landscape Plants for birds. Great pix from lilyfantn

Linthicum Heights, MD(Zone 7a)

The United States is home to an amazing 800 species of birds, but nearly a third of those species are endangered, threatened, or in decline. That’s the news from “The U.S. State of the Birds, 2009” -- the most comprehensive study ever of the health of North American birds, released today. The link below will provide a PDF file of the study.

Marlton, NJ

Here is a place you can report tagged birds along the Atlantic coast.

Marlton, NJ

Here is a thread listing members camera's.

Marlton, NJ

A website for information concerning Purple Martins

Marlton, NJ

Two wonderful sites with tips for attracting birds through feeding, landscaping and much more.

Whiteside County, IL(Zone 5a)

Interesting site with sound recordings of birds and more.

Brisvegas, Australia(Zone 12b)

For those of you who might be interested in Birds from AUSTRALIA.
Here is a very comprehensive link showing the bulk of Aussie Birds.

Whiteside County, IL(Zone 5a)

This looks like an interesting Blue Bird book.

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