Belize Raptor Spotlight: Black-collared Hawk

Anna Fasoli|

Black-collared Hawk - adult; Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary, Belize

Last year at this time, I spent two months in Belize helping to count raptors at the Cattle Landing Hawk Watch site in Punta Gorda, Belize, for Belize Raptor Research Institute. This hawk watch site has seen incredible numbers of Hook-billed Kites, and is the only place in the world where you can see such numbers migrating south. The fall …


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Gambel’s White-crowned Sparrows in PA

Alex Lamoreaux|

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After having a great opportunity to study an adult Gambel’s White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys gambelii) at Arlene Koch’s property last weekend near Easton, while also enjoying the immature Harris’s Sparrow there, I was interested to learn more about this western subspecies’ history in Pennsylvania and the mid-Atlantic. Gambel’s White-crowneds are essentially the western-Canadian counterpart of our more familiar Eastern birds …


Barnacle Geese – Weir Lake, Monroe County, PA

Alex Lamoreaux|

Male and female Barnacle Geese (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

It’s not often that Barnacle Geese show up in Pennsylvania, in fact there have been less than 20 instances of this beautiful goose in the state, but they are on the increase throughout the northeast and every winter more and more are discovered among flocks of Canada Geese as more birders get out there looking. Typically a sighting here in …


Rufous Hummingbird – Kent County, Delaware

Alex Lamoreaux|

Rufous Hummingbird - adult female (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

Just as the last Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are beginning to make their way south for the winter, Rufous Hummingbirds and other rare western hummingbirds are beginning to show up at lucky homeowner’s feeders and well-planted backyards. With many scattered reports around the northeast so far this fall, Delaware birders like myself were anxiously awaiting a rare hummingbird to turn up in our small …


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Hawk Migration Up-Close and Awesome

Steve Brenner|

Swainson's Hawk in fight (photo by Steve Brenner)

This fall, I’m stationed atop Capilla Peak in the Manzano Mountains, about 25 miles southeast of Albuquerque. My purpose: count, identify, and band as many migrating raptors as possible. Myself and three others are working for Hawkwatch International, an organization devoted to the conservation of North American raptors. There is nothing quite like a complete immersion into the miracle of …


‘Puget Sound’ White-crowned Sparrows

Alex Lamoreaux|

Adult 'Puget Sound' White-crowned Sparrow from Fort Stevens State Park, Oregon (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

Many species of sparrows vary considerably in appearance and vocalizations across their ranges in North America. In particular Dark-eyed Juncos, Song Sparrows, Fox Sparrows, and White-crowned Sparrows show the most distinct populations. The White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys), one of our largest and classiest-looking sparrow, can be separated into five subspecies: Eastern (Z. l. leucophrys), Gambel’s (Z. l. gambelii), Mountain (Z. l. …


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Piping Plovers – Beyond Cute

Jordan Rutter|

Female Great Lakes Piping Plover with unique color band combination including orange flag indicating it is a Great Lakes bird (Photo by Jordan Rutter)

Many birders are familiar with this small migratory shorebird and some know of its endangered status. Not to mention the fact that they’re adorable. But there’s a lot more about Piping Plovers (PIPL) than their good looks. There are two subspecies in three distinct populations of Piping Plovers. The Atlantic coast has its own subspecies (Charadrius melodus melodus) while the internal …


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Things That Look Like Snowy Owls

Steve Brenner|

Can you find the Snowy Owl? (photo by Gunnar Kramer)

With an apparent Snowy Owl invasion upon us this winter, the excitement over viewing such a majestic creature cannot be overstated. Snowy Owls are truly one of the natural world’s most awesome birds, and no one can fault you for being ecstatic about finding one in the Northeast, Midwest, or anywhere! Yet, regardless of location, weather conditions, or birding experience, …


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MacGillivray’s Warbler – Highspire, Pennsylvania

Alex Lamoreaux|

MacGillivray's Warbler - Highspire Park, PA (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

After close observation between yesterday afternoon and this morning, as well as consulting with warbler experts, it seems the tricky Geothlypis warbler found yesterday by Sue Hannon at Highspire Rreservoir Park is the 2nd PA state record of MacGillivray’s Warbler! This morning, the bird was mostly seen along the boardwalk on the the north side of the lake, foraging low …


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Tricky Geothlypis Warbler – Harrisburg, PA

Alex Lamoreaux|

Unknown Geothlypis Warbler - Harrisburg, PA (Photo by Sue Hannon)

Check out these photos taken by Sue Hannon of a Geothlypis warbler found today in Highspire Park near Harrisburg, PA. The bird is absolutely a Mourning OR MacGillivray’s Warbler, but which one? The eyering is thicker on the top of the eye and below the eye, but there is a narrow line connecting them behind the eye. The white-ish throat, blue …