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DCNR Good Natured Blog: Fall Migration: Behold Beautiful Birds In PA Skies

Birding, or birdwatching, is a popular hobby, and it’s easy to see why, especially in Pennsylvania where there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy our feathered friends.

Birding is a growing activity, especially among youth, as:

-- Smartphone apps and other technology help beginners;

-- It is a relatively inexpensive hobby, especially with the advance of cell phone cameras;

-- It is convenient -- you can bird watch in your backyard, a local park, or a state park or forest near you;

-- It is an interesting, challenging, and relaxing outdoor hobby; and

-- You become involved conservation and nature.

Late August and early September kicks off fall bird migration. While you may think of spring as the prime time to bird watch, the fall season provides great opportunities, too.

What Can Pennsylvanians See During Migration?

Migration is the dominant bird activity throughout the fall months. The fall migration may not appear as dramatic as spring’s because, according to Audubon Pennsylvania:

-- Most birds have lost their colorful breeding feathers;

-- Many birds are not actively singing at this time of year, so some may be more difficult to spot; and

-- The fall migration is distributed over a longer period.

Birds are on the move this time of year, especially raptors (which are birds of prey, including hawks, eagles, osprey, harriers, etc.).

First Time Birding?  The Basics

The National Audubon Society shares some tips on how to begin birding:

-- Do research. Access a field guide with pictures of each bird and maps of their range;

-- Gear up. Birding requires little equipment, but you do need a pair of binoculars. As you improve, you may want to invest in a nice camera or spotting scope; and

-- Get out and explore! You’ll gain experience and knowledge after you spend more time with the birds.

The National Audubon Society recommends safety tips for better birding:

-- Bring a friend or tell people where you are going. Having a friend with you helps with safety, but also can better spot wildlife;

-- Prepare for inclement weather. Check the weather report for where you are headed and dress accordingly;

-- Plan your trip ahead of time, and bring a field guide and map. This will help you learn where you’re going, and find where you’re at if you get turned around;

-- Bring your cell phone. These tips can help prevent an emergency, while your phone may be able to help you during an emergency; and

-- Watch where you’re walking. It’s easy to get caught up in the activity in the trees; be aware of your surroundings.

Enjoy Your New Outdoor Hobby!

Pennsylvania is home -- and provides a temporary home -- to many bird species.

Remember, though, to enjoy your hobby but Leave No Trace in our natural places.

For more about where to observe birds and other wildlife at our state parks and forests, see our interactive map. You can also explore our state parks and state forests to find out where to go.

Click Here for 14 Great Spots For Birding In PA

For more information on state parks and forests and recreation in Pennsylvania, visit DCNR’s website,  Visit the Good Natured DCNR Blog,  Click Here for upcoming events, Click Here to hook up with DCNR on other social media-- Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.

(Reprinted from the September 6 edition of the Resource from DCNR. Click Here to sign up for your own copy.)

[Posted: Sept. 7, 2017]


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