Birds of
River Bend
Nature Center

page originally created
by Debbie Chittick,
Naturalist/Educator Intern

 
River Bend Nature Center provides a unique opportunity to view a variety of birds. The nature center is located on the Straight River in southeastern Minnesota and contains over 700-acres of different habitats such as prairie, hardwood forest and wetlands. Our ten-mile trail system can give birders easy access for viewing birds up close. River Bend is home for many birds throughout the winter. It also provides migrating birds a place to nest and strengthen themselves for their continuing travels.

Click a category to learn more about those birds at River Bend!

Water Birds

Raptors, etc.

Swallows, etc.

Other links of interest on our site:

Birding tips

Bird Banding

Bird Club of Rice County

Christmas Bird Count

Wildlife of River Bend (photos)

 

Download our Birds of River Bend brochure

(trouble downloading? click here)

Woodpeckers & Nuthatches

Upland Ground Birds

Perching Birds

Doves

Kingfishers & Gulls

Hummingbird


 

Water Birds

Ducks

blue-winged teal

  • Habitat: marshes, shallow ponds and lakes
  • Food: aquatic plants, grass, insects and small aquatic animals
  • Plumage: both are brown with blue shoulder patches. Male-gray head and white crescent in front of eye. Female-mottled brown.
  • HOTSPOTS: Upper pond in fall/spring

green-winged teal

  • Habitat: marshes, ponds and marshy lakes
  • Food: aquatic plants, grass, insects and small aquatic animals
  • Plumage: both have iridescent green speculum. Male-chestnut head with green ear patch in sunlight and vertical white mark in front of wing. Female-brown with speckled back
  • HOTSPOTS: Upper pond in fall/spring

wood duck

  • Habitat: wooded rivers, ponds and swamps; often perches in trees
  • Food: aquatic plants, grass, insects and small aquatic animals
  • Plumage: male-multicolored with crest; female-grayish with white eye ring
  • HOTSPOTS: all ponds

northern shoveler

  • Habitat: marshes and prairie potholes
  • Food: aquatic plants, grass, insects and small aquatic animals
  • Plumage: both have a large shovel-shaped bill. Male-has green head and white body with chestnut flanks
  • HOTSPOTS: Upper pond in fall/spring

mallard

  • Habitat: ponds, lakes, marshes and city ponds
  • Food: aquatic plants, grass, insects and small aquatic animals
  • Plumage: Male-green head, white neck ring, chestnut breast and gray body. Female-mottled brown with white tail.
  • HOTPOTS: all waterways

northern pintail

  • Habitat: marshes, prairie potholes and tundra
  • Food: aquatic plants, grass, insects and small aquatic animals
  • Plumage: Male-brown head, white under parts, neck with white line extending onto side of head and long, black, pointed tail feathers. Female- mottled brown
  • HOTSPOTS: Upper pond in fall/spring

gadwall

  • Habitat: freshwater marshes, ponds and river
  • Food: aquatic plants, grass, insects and small aquatic animals
  • Plumage: both have white patch on hind edge of
  • HOTSPOTS: Upper pond in fall/spring

American widgeon

  • Habitat: marshes, lakes, bays and fields
  • Food: aquatic plants, grass, insects and small aquatic animals
  • Plumage: Male-brownish, gray head with shinning white crown and deep green patch. Female-brown, gray head and white belly
  • HOTSPOTS: Upper pond in fall/spring

redhead

  • Habitat: nest in marshes but other times live on lakes and bays
  • Food: small aquatic animals and plants
  • Plumage: Male-gray with brick-red head and black breast. Female-brown with light area around base of bill.
  • HOTSPOT: Upper pond in fall/spring

ring-necked duck

  • Habitat: wooded lakes, ponds and rivers
  • Food: small aquatic animals and plants
  • Plumage: both have a white ring around the bill. Male-black back and breast, purple head and vertical white mark on side of breast. Female-brown, narrow white eye ring.
  • HOTSPOT: Upper pond in fall/spring

lesser scaup

  • Habitat: ponds, marshes and rivers
  • Food: small aquatic animals and plants
  • Plumage: Male- purple head, black breast and gray back. Female-dark brown with a small white face patch.
  • HOTSPOT: Upper pond in fall/spring

bufflehead

  • Habitat: wooded lakes and ponds
  • Food: small aquatic animals and plants
  • Plumage: Male-white with black back, black head with a large white patch on top of head. Female-all dark with whitish patch on cheek.
  • HOTSPOTS: Upper pond in fall/spring

hooded merganser

  • Habitat: wooded lakes and ponds
  • Food: mainly small fish
  • Plumage: Male-white, fan-shaped, black-bordered crest and black body. White breast with 2 black strips down the side. Female: gray-brown, warmer brown head and crest.
  • HOTSPOTS: Upper pond in fall/spring

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Swans and Geese

tundra swan

  • Habitat: arctic tundra, winters on marshy lakes and bays
  • Food: aquatic plants, seeds
  • Plumage: Male and female same. All white with black bill and a yellow spot in front of the eyes.
  • HOTSPOTS: overhead

Canada goose

  • Habitat: lakes, bays, rivers, marshes and fields
  • Food: grasses, seeds, aquatic plants
  • Plumage: Male and female same. Brown with black head, long black neck and white cheek patch.
  • HOTSPOTS: all water ways

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Herons and Egrets

black-crowned night heron

  • Habitat: marshes, swaps and wooded streams
  • Food: fish, frogs, crawfish, other aquatic life, mice and insects
  • Plumage: Males and female same. Short-necked heron with black crown, black and gray wings with white underparts.
  • Behavior: largely nocturnal, beginning to forage at dusk
  • HOTSPOTS: upper pond, river valley

great blue heron

  • Habitat: lakes, ponds, rivers and marshes
  • Food: fish, frogs, crawfish, other aquatic life, mice and insects
  • Plumage: Males and females same. Large gray-blue bird with a pale or yellowish bill. Adults have a white cap on head.
  • Behavior: flies with its neck folded (S shape)
  • HOTSPOTS: all waterways

green heron

  • Habitat: freshwater or brackish marshes with clumps of trees.
  • Food: fish, frogs, crawfish, other aquatic life, mice and insects
  • Plumage: Males and females same. Dark, crow-sized heron. Black crown, back and wings are dark gray-green with a chestnut colored neck.
  • HOTSPOTS: upper pond

great egret

  • Habitat: marshes, ponds, shores and mud flats.
  • Food: fish, frogs, crawfish, other aquatic life, mice and insects.
  • Plumage: Male and females same. large white heron with yellow bill. Legs and feet are black.
  • HOTSPOTS: large ponds

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Sandpipers/Sandpiper-like

pectoral sandpiper

  • Habitat: moist grassy places, grass-lined pools
  • Food: insects, crustaceans, mollusks, worms, etc.
  • Plumage: Males and females same. Short-legged wader with heavily streaked breast sharply delineated from unmarked white belly. Yellow legs.
  • HOTSPOTS: all ponds

solitary sandpiper

  • Habitat: ponds, bogs, wet swampy places and woodland streams.
  • Food: insects, crustaceans, mollusks, worms, etc.
  • Plumage: Male and female same. Dark olive legs, speckled upperparts, white tail barred with black and prominent eye ring.
  • HOTSPOTS: all ponds

spotted sandpiper

  • Habitat: ponds, streams and other waterways, both inland and along the shore.
  • Food: insects, crustaceans, mollusks, worms, etc.
  • Plumage: Male and female same. Breeding adult: brown above with bold white wing stripe, white below with bold black spots on breast and belly.
  • Behavior: bobs its tail almost constantly.
  • HOTSPOTS: all ponds

common snipe

  • Habitat: marshes, bogs and wet meadows.
  • Food: insects, crustaceans, mollusks, worms, etc.
  • Plumage: Male and female same. Long-billed, brownish shorebird with striped head and back, white belly and rust in tail.
  • Behavior: Usually seen flying in a zigzag way when flushed from edge of a marsh or a pond.
  • HOTSPOTS: all ponds

killdeer

  • Habitat: fields, lawns, riverbanks, shores and short-grass prairies.
  • Food: small marine life, insects, some vegetable matter
  • Plumage: Male and female same. Brown above and white below with 2 black bands across breast, long legs and relatively long tail.
  • HOTSPOTS: along road and ponds

sora

  • Habitat: freshwater marshes and marshy ponds.
  • Food: aquatic plants, seeds, buds, insects, frogs, crustaceans and mollusks.
  • Plumage: Male and female same. Quail-sized with short yellow bill, gray breast and black face. Brown back with black and white strips underneath, white or buff color under tail.
  • HOTSPOTS: upper pond

Virginia rail

  • Habitat: freshwater and brackish marshes.
  • Food: aquatic plants, seeds, buds, insects, frogs, crustaceans and mollusks.
  • Plumage: Male and female same. Long reddish bill, rusty underparts with gray cheeks.
  • HOTSPOTS: upper pond

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More Water Birds

American coot

  • Habitat: open ponds and marshes.
  • Food: aquatic plants, grass, insects and small aquatic animals
  • Plumage: Male and female same. Gray, duck-like bird with white bill and frontal shield.
  • HOTSPOTS: upper pond

American white pelican

  • Habitat: shallow lakes and coastal lagoons.
  • Food: mainly fish and crustaceans.
  • Plumage: Male and female same. Huge white bird with a long flat bill and black wing tips.
  • HOTSPOTS: overhead

double-crested cormorant

  • Habitat: coast, islands, bays, lakes and rivers.
  • Food: fish and crustaceans.
  • Plumage: Male and female same. Large, blackish water bird with yellow face and gular pouch. Hooked-tipped bill.
  • Behavior: Often stands in a "spread-eagle" pose to dry off.
  • HOTSPOTS: upper pond

pied-billed grebe

  • Habitat: ponds, lakes and marshes.
  • Food: small fish, crustaceans, tadpoles and insects.
  • Plumage: Male and female same. Small brown grebe with chicken-like bill. In summer, it has a black throat patch and a ring around the thick whitish bill.
  • HOTSPOTS: upper pond

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Kingfishers

belted kingfisher

  • Habitat: streams, lakes, bays and coasts; nest in banks
  • Food: mainly fish, amphibians
  • Plumage: Pigeon-sized bird. Both have blue above and white below with bushy crest and a blue breast band with a dagger-like bill. Female-has rusty breastband.
  • HOTSPOTS: upper pond, along river

Gulls

ring-billed gull

  • Habitat: lakes and rivers
  • Food: marine life, plants and carrion
  • Plumage: Male and female same. Silvery gray on back. White on head, tail and underparts. Greenish-yellow feet with narrow black ring around bill.
  • HOTSPOTS: on ponds, overhead

herring gull

  • Habitat: lakes, rivers, estuaries and beaches
  • Food: marine life, plants and carrion
  • Plumage: Male and female same. White with light gray back and wings. Wings have black tips with white spots. Yellow bill with red spot on lower mandible and pink or flesh color feet.
  • HOTSPOTS: on ponds, overhead

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Raptor/raptor-like

Hawks

broad-winged hawk

  • Habitat: deciduous woodlands
  • Food: rodents, rabbits, snakes, frogs and insects.
  • Plumage: Male and female same. Plain brown above, barred with rusty color below and broad black and white tail bands.
  • HOTSPOT: overhead

Cooper’s hawk

  • Habitat: broken woodlands
  • Food: small birds and mammals
  • Plumage: Male and female same. Adult: slate-gray above with dark cap and rust barred below. Immature: brown above and whitish below with fine streaks.
  • HOTSPOTS: wooded valley

northern harrier

  • Habitat: marshes and open grasslands.
  • Food: small mammals, snakes and frogs.
  • Plumage: Male: pale gray back, head and breast. Female: brown above and streaked breast. Immature: similar to female but with rust color. All have a white rump patch.
  • Behavior: flies low to the ground with wings in a V shape.
  • HOTSPOTS: over marshlands

red-shouldered hawk

  • Habitat: woodlands and wooded rivers.
  • Food: small mammals, frogs, snakes and insects.
  • Plumage: Male and female same. Adult: white barring on dark wings, rusty shoulders, pale underparts barred with rust and narrowly banded. Immature: same as adult but streaked below.
  • HOTSPOTS: overhead

red-tailed hawk

  • Habitat: deciduous forests and open country.
  • Food: small mammals, reptiles and insects.
  • Plumage: Male and female same. Adult: brown back, white breast with rust-colored tail. Immature: streaked breast and lacks rust-colored tail.
  • HOTSPOTS: along road

rough-legged hawk

  • Habitat: winters in open plains, farms and marshes.
  • Food: small mammals, reptiles and insects.
  • lumage: Male and female same. Brown back, tail is white at the base with a dark terminal band.
  • HOTSPOTS: overhead

sharp-shinned hawk

  • bitat: woods and thickets
  • Food: small birds and mammals
  • umage: Male and female same. Adult: slate-gray above, pale below with fine rust-colored barring. Immature: brown above with whitish spots, creamy white below with streaks on breast.
  • HOTSPOTS: backyard habitat

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Owls

barred owl

  • Habitat: low, wet woods and swamps
  • Food: rodents, birds and frogs
  • Plumage: Male and female same. Gray-brown with crossbarring on neck and breast with streaks on belly.
  • HOTSPOTS: wooded valley; near canoe campsites

eastern screech-owl

  • Habitat: open deciduous woods and farm groves.
  • Food: small rodents and big insects.
  • Plumage: Male and female same. Small with prominent ear tufts, rufous and gray phases both occur.
  • HOTSPOTS: forest

great horned owl

  • Habitat: forests, deserts, open country and swamps.
  • Food: mammals, birds, reptiles and frogs.
  • Plumage: Male and female same. Various shades of brown and gray. Mottled and streaked below with white throat. Large eye tufts.
  • HOTSPOTS: wood valley

long-eared owl

  • Habitat: deciduous and coniferous forests.
  • Food: small mammals, birds and large insects.
  • Plumage: Male and female same. Long ear tufts set close together. Heavily mottled brown with chestnut facial disks.
  • HOTSPOTS: prairie at night (hunting rodents)

northern saw-whet owl

  • Habitat: coniferous woodlands and evergreen thickets in the winter
  • Food: small rodents and large insects.
  • Plumage: Male and female same. Adult: brown above with white streaks on forehead. Immature: chocolate-brown above and buff below with white triangle on forehead.
  • HOTSPOTS: near Trailside Center

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Eagles

bald eagle

  • Habitat: lakes, marshes and coasts.
  • Food: waterfowl, fish and carrion.
  • Plumage: Male and female same. Adult: white head and tail, yellow beak and black body. Immature: all brown with patches of white on chest and under wings.
  • HOTSPOTS: Upper pond, along river, overhead

Falcons

American kestrel

  • Habitat: open country, woodlands and grassland.
  • Food: mainly small mammals, birds and reptiles.
  • Plumage: Male-spotted tawny-buff breast with black and pattern on head. Female-similar as male but has streaked pale underparts.
  • HOTSPOTS: along road

Hawk-like

osprey

  • Habitat: lakes, rivers and coasts.
  • Food: fish
  • Plumage: Male and female same. Brown above and white below, white head with dark line through eye and on side of face.
  • HOTSPOTS: overhead

turkey vulture

  • Habitat: mainly deciduous forest and woodlands.
    Food: carrion
  • Plumage: Male and female same. Black with reddish head (lacks feathers).
  • Behavior: flies with wings in a V shape.
  • HOTSPOTS: overhead

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Swallows/Swallow-like

Swallows

bank swallow

  • Habitat: banks of rivers, creeks and lakes.
  • ood: flying insects
  • Plumage: Male and female same. Brown above and dull white below. Breast crossed by brown band with a notched tail.
  • HOTSPOTS: over river

barn swallow

  • Habitat: agricultural land, suburban areas, marches and lakeshores.
  • Food: flying insects
  • Plumage: Male and female same. Dark steel-blue above and buff color below. Rusty throat and forehead.
  • HOTSPOTS: low over large ponds

cliff swallow

  • Habitat: open country near buildings or cliffs.
  • Food: flying insects
  • Plumage: Male and female same. Dull steel-blue above and buff-white below. Dark chestnut throat and white forehead. Square-tailed with pale buff rump.
  • HOTSPOTS: over river

northern rough-winged swallow

  • Habitat: riverbanks.
  • Food: flying insects
  • Plumage: Male and female same. Pale brown above, white below with brown throat.
  • HOTSPOTS: low over large ponds, over river

tree swallow

  • Habitat: lakeshores, flooded, meadows, marshes and streams.
  • Food: flying insects
  • Plumage: Male and female same. Adult: metallic blue or blue-green above and clear white below. Young: dull brown above with white under.
  • HOTSPOTS: low over large ponds, near bird houses

purple martin

  • Habitat: open woodlands, residential areas and agricultural land.
  • Food: flying insects
  • Plumage: Male-dark steel-blue. Female and young-dull blue above with pale gray below.
  • HOTSPOTS: prairie overhead

Swifts

chimney swift

  • Habitat: chimneys, hollow trees
  • Food: flying insects
  • Male and female same. Gray-brown with darker throat and breast.
  • HOTSPOTS: prairie/river overhead

Nighthawks

common nighthawk

  • Habitat: open woodlands, clearings or fields and towns with roosting trees or fence posts.
  • Food: nocturnal insects
  • Bownish-black above and below. Long notched or square-tipped tail and long wings with broad white wing bars. Male-white throat patch and white tail bar. Female-buffy throat patch and no tail bar.
  • HOTSPOTS: overhead in evening

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Woodpeckers/Nuthatches

Woodpeckers

downy woodpecker

  • Habitat: woodlands, parks and gardens.
  • Food: tree-boring insects
  • Plumage: both are sparrow sized, black and white with white back. Male-has small red patch on back of neck. Smaller body and beak than a hairy woodpecker.
  • HOTSPOTS: WOW backyard habitat

hairy woodpecker

  • Habitat: deciduous forest.
  • Food: tree-boring insects
  • Plumage: both are robin-sized, black and white with an unspotted white back. Larger body and beak than a downy woodpecker. Male-has small red patch on back of neck.
  • HOTSPOTS: WOW backyard habitat

pileated woodpecker

  • Habitat: mature forests and borders
  • Food: tree-boring insects
  • Plumage: both are crow-sized, black with white neck stripes, conspicuous white wing linings and a red crest. Male-has red mustache. Female-has black mustache.
  • HOTSPOTS: Owl trail woods

red-bellied woodpecker

  • Habitat: open and swamp woodlands, comes into parks and feeders during the winter
  • Food: tree-boring insects
  • Plumage: both are barred black and white above, pale buff below and on face. Male-red crown and nape. Female-red only on nape.
  • HOTSPOTS: WOW backyard habitat

red-headed woodpecker

  • Habitat: open and swamp woodlands, comes into parks and feeders during winter
  • Food: tree-boring insects
  • Plumage: both are barred black and white above, pale below and on face. Reddish patch on lower abdomen is seldom visible in the field. Male-red crown and nape. Female-red only on nape.
  • HOTSPOTS: clearings near woods - rarely sighted at RBNC

yellow-bellied sapsucker

  • Habitat: young, open deciduous or mixed forests with clearing
  • Food: tree-boring insects
  • Plumage: both are mottled with off-white above and dull yellowish below. Distinctive white wing stripe. Male-red crown and throat. Female-only red crown.
  • HOTSPOTS: forest

Nuthatches

red-breasted nuthatch

  • Habitat: coniferous forest
  • Food: bark insects, seeds and nuts
  • Plumage: Male-blue-gray upperparts, pale rust-colored underparts, black crown, line through eye and white eyebrow. Female-same but crown is gray.
  • HOTSPOTS: WOW backyard habitat in winter

white-breasted nuthatch

  • Habitat: deciduous and mixed forests
  • Food: bark insects, seeds and nuts
  • Plumage: Male and female same. Blue-gray above, white underparts and face, black crown and under the tail is chestnut.
  • HOTSPOTS: WOW backyard habitat

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Upland ground birds & Doves

American woodcock

  • Habitat: moist woodlands and thickets near open fields
  • Food: insects and worms
  • Plumage: Male and female same. Chunky, quail-sized bird with a very long bill and rounded wings. Rufous below, “dead leaf” pattern above with transverse black bands on head. Large, bulging eyes located on back of head.
  • HOTSPOTS: field between Arrowhead/Deer trails

ring-necked pheasant

  • Habitat: farmlands, pastures and grassy woodland edges
  • Food: insects, seeds, buds and berries
  • Plumage: Male-red eye patch, brilliant green head with white neck ring. Body patterned in soft brown and iridescent russet with long pointed tail. Female-mottled sandy brown with shorter tail.
  • HOTSPOTS: northern prairie; along road

wild turkey

  • Habitat: oak woodlands, pine-oak forests
  • Food: berries, acorns, nuts, seeds, insects
  • Plumage: both are dusky brown with barred wings, bluish head and neck naked with reddish wattles. Male-tail erected like a fan in display and a “beard” on breast. Female-smaller than male and lacks a beard.
  • HOTSPOTS: northeast & southwest corners of nature center

mourning dove

  • Habitat: open fields, parks and lawns with many trees and shrubs
  • Food: seeds, fruits and insects
  • Plumage: Male and female same. Soft, sandy buff color with a long pointed tail. Black spots on wings.
  • HOTSPOTS: WOW backyard habitat

rock dove (pigeon)

  • Habitat: city parks, suburban gardens and farmlands
  • Food: seeds, insects and fruits
  • Plumage: Male and female same. Typical birds are gray with whitish rump, black wing bars and a broad dark tail band. Many color variations.
  • HOTSPOTS:

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Hummingbirds

ruby-throated hummingbird

  • Habitat: flowers, gardens and wood edges
  • Food: nectar of flowers, small insects, spiders
  • Plumage: both have tiny, needle-like bill, metallic green above and white below. Male-has iridescent red throat. Female-has white throat and breast with buff sides and white-tipped outer tail feathers.
  • HOTSPOTS: WOW backyard habitat in summer

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Perching birds

more information may become available in future

Blackbirds

  • brown-headed cowbird
  • common grackle
  • European starlings
  • d-winged blackbird
  • rusty blackbird

Chickadees

  • black-capped chickadee

Cuckoos

  • black-billed cuckoo
  • yellow-billed cuckoo

Finches and Finch-like

  • American goldfinch
  • purple finch
  • house finch
  • indigo bunting
  • northern cardinal
  • rose-breasted grosbeak
  • dark-eyed junco
  • pine siskin
  • rufous-sided towhee

Flycatchers

  • Alder flycatcher
  • eastern kingbird
  • stern wood-pewee
  • eastern pheobe
  • great crested flycather
  • least flycathcer
  • olive-sided flycatcher
  • willow flycatcher
  • yellow-bellied flycatcher

Jays and Crows

  • blue jay
  • American crow

Kinglets and Gnatcatchers

  • goldern-crowned kinglet
  • ruby-crowned kinglet
  • blue-gray gnatcatcher

Orioles

  • Baltimore oriole
  • orchard oriole

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Sparrows

  • American tree sparrow
  • chipping sparrow
  • clay-colored sparrow
  • field sparrow
  • fox sparrow
  • grasshopper sparrow
  • Harris’ sparrow
  • house sparrow
  • Lincoln’s sparrow
  • savannah sparrow
  • sharp-tailed sparrow
  • ong sparrow
  • swamp sparrow
  • vesper sparrow
  • white-crowned sparrow
  • white-throated sparrow

Thrashers

  • brown thrasher
  • gray catbird

Thrushes

  • American robin
  • eastern bluebird
  • gray-checked thrush
  • Hermit thrush
  • Swainson’s thrush
  • veery
  • wood thrush

Vireos

  • Philadelphia vireo
  • red-eyed vireo
  • solitary vireo
  • warbling vireo
  • yellow-throated vireo

Warblers

  • American restart
  • bay-breated warbler
  • black-and-warbler
  • Blackburnian warbler
  • blackpoll warbler
  • balck-throated green warbler
  • blue-winged warbler
  • Canada warbler
  • Cape May warbler
  • cerulean warbler
  • chestnut-sided warbler
  • common yellowthroat
  • Connecticut warbler
  • golden-winged warbler
  • Magnolia warbler
  • ville warbler
  • northern parula
  • northern waterthrush
  • orange-crowned warbler
  • ovenbird
  • plam warbler
  • nessee warbler
  • Wilson's warber
  • yellow warbler

Waxwings

  • cedar waxwing

Wrens

  • house wren
  • marsh wren
  • winter wren
  • sedge wren

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Bird Watching Tips

  • The best time to view birds is the first few hours after dawn and the last couple of hours before dusk.
  • Walk slowly, quietly and avoid sudden movements.
  • Look for rustling leaves or motion of a flitting bird. Stand still and keep your eyes fixed on the spot. If you can’t see the bird right away, slowly scan the area with your binoculars.
  • If you have located the bird with your eyes, bring your binoculars straight up to your eyes.
  • Within many habitats it can be difficult to see the birds. Birding by song is a great way to help identify the birds in an area.
  • When identifying birds, focus on beak size, color of feathers, specific field marks, size, behavior and habitat.
  • For beginning bird watchers, buying a local/regional field guide is best. Choose a field guide that is easy to follow and you feel comfortable with. Make sure the field guide has range maps, physical description, behavior and habitat of the bird.
  • It is a good idea to bring a notebook along to make observations or drawings while you are observing the bird. Once the bird has left or you are at home, then you can look up the bird according to your descriptions.

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