Where the Birds Are

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All the information you need to plan exciting and rewarding birding trips. From vast wildernesses to the most cluttered urban sprawl, North America is home to a wide variety of birds. More than 900 species have been spotted on this continent -- some breed here, others migrate through regularly, and still others may be seen on rare occasion when they stray from their usual range in Europe or Asia. Where the Birds Are features 100 of the best birding sites in the United States and Canada, from Denali National Park,...
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All the information you need to plan exciting and rewarding birding trips. From vast wildernesses to the most cluttered urban sprawl, North America is home to a wide variety of birds. More than 900 species have been spotted on this continent -- some breed here, others migrate through regularly, and still others may be seen on rare occasion when they stray from their usual range in Europe or Asia. Where the Birds Are features 100 of the best birding sites in the United States and Canada, from Denali National Park, Alaska, to Central Park in New York City, from the Everglades in Florida to Churchill, Manitoba. Every corner is represented, and ranges from national parks and wildlife refuges, to state parks, nature preserves, research stations, forest, and canyons. Each site description includes sections on habitat, bird life, and visitor information, as well as a map and directions. Over 400 photographs feature each site and show some of the birds that may be found there. A special 20-page section provides a mini field guide to the book's most frequently mentioned birds. Whether you are a novice or an experienced birder, Where the Birds Are will guide you to the very best locations in North America to pursue your passion and add species to your life list.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780789471697
  • Publisher: DK Publishing, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/1/1901
  • Edition description: 1 AMER ED
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 5.74 (h) x 1.26 (d)

Meet the Author

The National Wildlife Federation has been helping to save wildlife and wild places since 1936. With more than 4 million members and supporters and thousands of volunteers across the United States, the NWF is the nation's leading conservation education organization. Tim Gallagher is an award-winning writer, editor, and wildlife photographer. Editor-in-Chief of Living Bird magazine, published by the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, he is a lifelong birder and the author of Wild Bird Photography. Kristi Streiffert is a naturalist and award-winning journalist. Her birding articles appear regularly in many publications, including Living Bird and WildBird. Robert M. Brown has made humorous editorial contributions to books and magazines on history, literature, and nature. His work is featured in Reader's Digest's Birds of North America. Sheila Buff is a freelance writer specializing in natural history and the outdoors. She is the author of a number of books, including The Complete Idiot's Guide to Birdwatching.
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Table of Contents

Map of the United States 8
Map of Canada 10
Introduction 12
Eastern United States 18
1. Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge 20
2. Hammonasset Beach State Park 23
3. Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge 26
4. Everglades National Park 29
5. J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge 32
6. Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge 35
7. John James Audubon State Park 38
8. Mammoth Cave National Park 41
9. Acadia National Park 44
10. Baxter State Park 47
11. Assateague Island National Seashore 50
12. Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historic Park 53
13. Parker River National Wildlife Refuge 56
14. Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary 59
15. Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge 62
16. St. Catherine Creek National Wildlife Refuge 65
New Hampshire
17. Odiorne Point State Park 68
New Jersey
18. Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge 71
New York
19. Central Park 74
20. Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge 77
North Carolina
21. Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge 80
22. Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge 83
23. Hawk Mountain Sanctuary 86
24. Presque Isle State Park 89
Rhode Island
25. Block Island Conservation Properties 92
South Carolina
26. Huntington Beach State Park 95
27. Great Smoky Mountains National Park 98
28. Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge 101
29. Dead Creek Wildlife Management Area 104
30. Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge 107
31. Great Falls Park 110
West Virginia
32. Cranesville Swamp Preserve 113
Central United States 116
33. Felsenthal National Wildlife Refuge 118
34. Lake Chicot State Park 121
35. Horseshoe Lake Conservation Area 124
36. Illinois Beach State Park 127
37. Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore 130
38. Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area 133
39. Riverton Wildlife Area 136
40. Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area 139
41. Flint Hills National Wildlife Refuge 142
42. Sabine National Wildlife Refuge 145
43. Whitefish Point Bird Observatory 148
44. Agassiz National Wildlife Refuge 151
45. Hawk Ridge Nature Reserve 154
46. Prairie State Park 157
47. Taberville Prairie Conservation Area 160
48. Crane Meadows Nature Center 163
49. Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge 166
North Dakota
50. Lostwood National Wildlife Refuge 169
51. Theodore Roosevelt National Park 172
52. Green Lawn Cemetery and Arboretum 175
53. Magee Marsh Wildlife Area 178
54. Black Mesa Preserve 181
55. Little River National Wildlife Refuge 184
South Dakota
56. Badlands National Park 186
57. Sand Lake National Wildlife Refuge 190
58. Aransas National Wildlife Refuge 193
59. Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park 196
60. Horicon National Wildlife Refuge 199
Western United States 202
61. Denali National Park and Preserve 204
62. Cave Creek Canyon 207
63. Ramsey Canyon 210
64. Point Reyes Seashore National Park 213
65. Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge 216
66. Upper Newport Bay Ecological Reserve 219
67. Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge 222
68. Rocky Mountain National Park 225
69. Haleakala National Park 228
70. Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge 231
71. Snake River Birds of Prey Conservation Area 234
72. Bowdoin National Wildlife Refuge 237
73. Glacier National Park 240
74. Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area 243
75. Ruby Lake National Wildlife Refuge 246
New Mexico
76. Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge 249
77. Sauvie Island Wildlife Area 252
78. Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge 255
79. Olympic National Park 258
80. Skagit Wildlife Area 261
81. Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge 264
82. Yellowstone National Park 267
Canada 270
83. Elk Island National Park 272
84. Jasper National Park 275
British Columbia
85. Mount Revelstoke National Park 278
86. Pacific Rim National Park and Reserve 281
87. Churchill and Vicinity 284
88. Riding Mountain National Park 287
New Brunswick
89. Grand Manan Archipelago 290
90. Kouchibouguac National Park 293
91. Gros Morne National Park 296
Northwest Territories
92. Nahanni National Park Reserve 299
93. Wood Buffalo National Park 302
Nova Scotia
94. Cape Breton Highlands National Park 305
95. Amherst Island 308
96. Long Point 311
Prince Edward Island
97. Prince Edward Island National Park 314
98. Forillon National Park 317
99. Prince Albert National Park 320
Yukon Territory
100. Kluane National Park 323
About the Birds 326
Index 346
Photography Credits 351
NWF 352
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North America is enriched with a bevy of dazzling birds. Look up to see them soaring and shimmering all around. From bright bluebirds to wind-riding hawks, these amazing creatures adorn the United States and Canada like feather jewelry. New birdwatchers are often astounded when they realize the diversity of bird life inhabiting our national parks, refuges, and other natural areas - more than 900 species in all. From countryside to urban areas, travel anywhere in North America and see a wide array of birds, many unique to that location.

Bird Finding

The art of birdwatching provides extra incentive to visit some of the most beautiful natural areas in North America: Where the Birds Are features 100 of these biologically rich, bird-filled places. From the rainforests of Olympic National Park in Washington state to the Rio Grande river, which sets the stage for the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico, this book represents an impressive parade of wetlands, deserts, forests, seacoasts, and more, all home to an equally impressive range of bird life.

Not to be missed are the airborne river of fall migrating raptors at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Pennsylvania, the confetti of spring warblers migrating through New York's Central Park, and the noisy congregation of wintering waterfowl at Florida's J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge. The Swan Days festival at Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge in North Carolina and spring bird-banding days at Long Point Bird Observatory in Ontario are also well worth attending.

Discovering not only where to look for birds but when, why, and for what species is an essential part of birding. Where the Birds Are also offers inside information, gathered from biologists, refuge managers, and local experts that will give a new dimension to weekend excursions, family vacations, and any type of travel. Users of this book will learn to watch for Harlequin Ducks not on rural ponds with Mallards and geese, but on the swift, mountain streams such as those found in Glacier National Park in Alaska. Likewise, they'll learn that Colorado's Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge is the stage for the early dancing grounds of Sandhill Cranes.

Most birdwatchers keep a life list where they record all the species they have seen since they first began noticing birds - and write their dreams. How many new birds might I see if I visit Texas? Where can I observe Arctic Terns? Where the Birds Are not only helps answer these questions, but suggests precisely where in Texas to look for southern rarities - Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park - and where to see a variety of far-northern birds - the Churchill area in Manitoba.

Travel Gear and Safety

Birdwatchers need two basic tools to get started: high-quality binoculars and a field guide. Choose binoculars that are designed especially with birders in mind (try birdwatching stores or advertisements in birding magazines). Keep in mind that quality of optics increases dramatically with price. The oft-heard advice from seasoned birdwatchers is "Buy the most expensive birding binoculars you can afford."

Many birders buy several field guides to determine which system of bird identification works best for them. Field guides, by definition, provide illustrations, range maps, and identification information for all the birds in a given area. Some emphasize comparisons, others rely more on photographs and color keys, while still others provide more detailed written descriptions.

Most birdwatchers eventually invest in a spotting scope, which is invaluable for viewing waterfowl, shorebirds, perched birds of prey, and for up-close feather-by-feather views of cooperative birds of any species.

Other handy items include a camera with a telephoto lens; up-to-date road maps; relevant state atlases; a carrying pouch for field guides; field bird list; a notebook (worn around the waist for easy access); and a daypack for water, mosquito repellent, and extra clothes. Long-sleeved pants, shirts, hat, and hiking boots (break in the boots at home!) are also recommended.

Sprained or broken ankles and wrists are not unknown injuries among birdwatchers, who sometimes forget to watch where they walk. In addition, birders should be aware of their fitness level before undertaking strenuous hikes or any high-elevation activity. When driving pay attention to the road; pull well off to the side of the road before stopping, even if the bird of a lifetime is within viewing distance.

Birds Up Close

Unobtrusive birders who approach birding areas slowly and quietly usually find it quite easy to observe birds close-up. Patient birdwatchers (especially those dressed in earth-tones) are rewarded with intriguing natural behaviors - the sight of a Northern Harrier eating a mouse at Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area in Idaho, perhaps, or a pelican catching a fish at Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge in North Carolina.

Although birds are often quite unconcerned by human presence, take care not to disturb them. Birders are getting too close if the bird looks at them and begins acting agitated. Be especially cautious around feeding, resting, and nesting birds. Never, never frighten a parent bird from the nest. When possible, use a car as a viewing blind, since birds are often undisturbed by automobiles. Be conscientious about staying on established roads, though.

To see the most birds - both in variety and number - heed the birdwatchers admonition: "The magic is over by 8 a.m." If there are no hotels within a half-hour or so of the intended birding site, consider camping. With practice a birder can learn to identify dozens of species by sound alone before even leaving the tent.

Wild Places, Wild Birds

For over 100 years - starting in 1900 with the Christmas Bird Count, an annual census conducted by volunteers - birdwatchers have been sending an urgent message: our birds are under threat. Birders have seen firsthand the effects of habitat fragmentation and degradation. They've watched favorite birding sites drained, paved, plowed, overgrazed, and chemically polluted. Often their voices were the first ones raised in protest. Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring, the book that spawned the modern environmental movement, was not surprisingly a birdwatcher.

Many others eventually joined the battle to save habitat, and today conservation is a concept held dear to most residents of North America. The sites included in this book - from Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore on Lake Michigan to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge on the Atlantic shore - represent hard-won battles by an array of people committed to providing places for wildlife.

The National Wildlife Federation is one of the oldest and largest of these member-supported environmental organizations, with a long-term mission to educate and inspire conservation of places like those listed in this book. Since its inception in 1936, the NWF has worked with conservation-minded people to make a place for wildlife in our modern world. From the Endangered Species Act to its own Backyard Wildlife Habitat Program, from International Migratory Bird Day to PBS's Birdwatch, National Wildlife Federation's participation in the conservation movement has made it possible for these wild places and wild birds to thrive.

How to Use this Book

Where the Birds Are is organized so that readers can easily find the best places to birdwatch in their region of choice, whether that's the Eastern, Central, or Western United States, or Canada. The states or provinces within each region are organized alphabetically, then numbered 1 through 100. The page numbers where the sites appear in the book are listed in the table of contents, pages 4-7. A map of the United States (see pp. 8-9) and one of Canada (see pp. 10-11) shows each region and displays the location of each site.

Each site is accompanied by two maps - one locates the site within North America and the other illustrates directions to the site. These are accompanied by written directions, which in most cases are for road travel from the nearest large city. Some sites can only be reached by airplane or ferry; in those cases phone numbers for service providers are listed.

Each site also includes a boxed section titled Birds to Look For, which lists 12 to 15 of the birds found at the site. The organization of these bird names follows the sequence found in the Checklist of North American Birds (7th Edition, 1998) of the American Ornithologists' Union (A.O.U.). This checklist arranges bird species according to what is understood of their natural and evolutionary relationships, and is widely followed by ornithologists and birdwatchers throughout North America.

Other practical information includes each site's hours of operation, entrance and parking fees, and special access for the disabled. Listings for campgrounds, on-site or nearby lodging, and licensed guides are also provided. Many sites are closed on national holidays, and other information can change without notice, so it's a good idea to call ahead for details before visiting any of the sites in this book.

The final section of the book, About the Birds, serves as a miniature field guide to the birds most commonly found at these 100 sites. This guide highlights birds that are widespread (such as the Canada Goose and Black-and-white Warbler ), or very rare (including the Golden Eagle and Piping Plover). About the Birds is arranged in A.O.U. order, and each entry lists the sites where the featured bird is discussed. Readers who want to add a particular species to their life list should consider starting their search for information here.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2001

    Essential Guide for Traveling Bird Watchers in North America

    Whenever I travel on business or for vacations, I try to see the local highlights that interest me. Over the years, this has helped me to enjoy many museums, concerts, gardens, golf courses, and national parks. As an early riser, I often find myself with nothing to do before 10 a.m. on business trips. I am consciously aware that very few places I visit offer good bird watching, of the sort that I know how to find near my home. This volume is a perfect addition for me. I can now plan bird watching excursions as part of these same trips. This will add enormously to the enjoyment I will gain from my travel. Can you name 100 outstanding places to watch birds north of Mexico? If you are like me, your list is pretty short. This guide now gives me places to look in every region of the United States and Canada. Each site contains a brief overview, a description of the habitat, the birds you are most likely to see (which includes some fine color photographs to help with identification), a description of the bird life in the area, suggestions for visiting, and highlights of seasonal events. In addition, you get the basics about how to get to the site (driving directions), hours, cost, whether camping is available or not, ways on get more information by telephone and on-line, and the availablility of local motels, hotels and bed-and-breakfast inns. I checked out several places where I had been before, and found the information to be accurate and appropriate. For those who want to make more detailed plans, you will probably want to do more research before you visit, using the references here. There is also a micro mini-field guide in the back for the birds you are most likely to see. But you will want to bring your own field guide, I'm sure. That's almost as important as a good set of binoculars and broken-in walking shoes. If you are new to bird watching, the introduction also contains useful information about how to prepare. Conservationists will be pleased to see that the book contains much information about how not to disturb important nesting areas. Whether or not these are the 100 best birdwatching places from your perspective, I urge you to get this book and use it to extend the range of your viewing. If you are a retired person with the health and resources to travel, this book could add a great deal of happiness to your life. After you finish reading this book, I suggest that you plan a bird-watching trip to take advantage of this information. Then, go on to think about what else you like to do which might be seen on the same trip. Do some research, and add those activities to your trip. After all, the best bird-watching is often over by 8 a.m. Enjoy the world we inhabit with our animal friends! Donald Mitchell, co-author of The Irresistible Growth Enterprise and The 2,000 Percent Solution

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