Spring is on the way, and that means readers are having more questions about nesting birds and spring birding. This week, Ely from North Carolina asks...
"I had bluebirds at my feeders for the first time this winter, and I'd like them to stay and nest in a bird house I have, but they haven't even looked at it. Is there something more I can do?"
Bluebirds can be finicky residents and may take some time to get used to a bird house, but if you use proper bluebird houses you'll have a better chance of inviting them to raise a brood. The house needs to be the right size and properly positioned, and if you take other steps to attract bluebirds, you'll stand a good chance of success.
Are you a bluebird landlord? Share your tips in the comments!
Photo © Shanthanu Bhardwaj
Though the Indian peafowl made a good showing, it couldn't stand up to the Mandarin duck, and that wonderful waterfowl that will represent Asia in the next round of voting. Which of these African birds will join it?
The lilac-breasted roller is one of Africa's most beautiful birds with its pastel rainbow plumage and graceful tail, and its characteristic rolling flight is always a gorgeous show. A highly sought after target bird, these birds often perch in the open and offer birders amazing views.
The superb starling helps give starlings a better name than their European cousins. With bold plumage and stunning colors, this bird is superb indeed, and while it may be common in its range, its uncommon beauty keeps birders visiting Africa for outstanding lifers.
Which of these birds should move on to the next round? Vote in the poll below to help choose the winner, but don't wait - voting is only open for two days!
There are 20 North American hummingbird species that may visit, breed or migrate into the United States, but few birders will see all of them unless they know where to go. Fortunately, thanks to the efforts of the American Bird Conservancy, Tucson Audubon Society, Victor Emanuel Nature Tours and more than 1,000 generous birders, one of the best hummingbird hotspots in the county has been saved and will be available for generations of birders to enjoy.
According to a press release, Paton's Birder Haven in Patagonia, Arizona, has been purchased by the combined groups, with enough funds to ensure its maintenance and management as a public bird sanctuary through the Tucson Audubon Society. Of the 20 hummingbird species that may be seen in the United States, 15 of them have been regularly recorded on the property, and occasional rarer species show up as well.
Where do you go to see hummingbirds? Share your hotspots in the comments!
Photo © Don Faulkner
It was a tight flight, but the blue tit flew to a late victory over the European robin and will represent Europe in the next round of birding March Madness. Which of these Asian birds will join it?
The national bird of India, the Indian peafowl and is immediately recognizable for the male's beautiful, fan-like tail, though those elaborate feathers aren't his tail at all - they're the uppertail coverts. These astonishing birds are popular residents of zoos, aviaries and botanical gardens worldwide.
The Mandarin duck is widely considered to be one of the world's most beautiful ducks, and while the female is more camouflaged, there is no mistaking the male with his bold colors and unusual feather shapes. Like their competitor in this challenge, these ducks are also popular residents of exotic bird collections.
Which of these beauties should move on to the next round of competition? Your votes will decide, so be sure to participate in the poll below and help choose the winner!
Voting has ended for this matchup. Which bird has moved on?
This week's featured bird is a familiar one around the world, but not because it has an exceptionally large range. The common myna is one of the world's most invasive birds and has been introduced far from its native Asian territory. Also a popular pet bird, escapees often establish feral colonies, particularly in cities. Easily recognized by its bare eye skin and bright yellow bill and legs, this bird is an accomplished mimic and always a surprise, despite its widespread appearances.
Where have you seen the common myna? Share your sightings in the comments!
Photo © Jes
The scarlet macaw dominated the swallow-tailed hummingbird by a 2-to-1 margin and will move on to the next round of our international March Madness competition. Which of today's European birds will join it?
The blue tit is a colorful and energetic European garden bird, renowned for its curiosity and intelligence. With a wide range of subspecies and color variations, watching blue tits is an exciting way for any birder to bird their way across Europe.
The European robin is another of Europe's most popular and widespread birds. Though not a thrush like its colonial cousins, this bird is a delicate passerine with a stunning singing voice that makes it a welcome visitor in any garden.
Which of these birds should move on to represent Europe throughout the competition? Cast your vote below to help choose the contender! Voting will only last for two days, however, so be sure to vote right away and stay tuned all month to see what other worldwide birds are competing for this year's championship honors!
Voting for this round has ended. See which bird took the honors, and vote in the next matchup!
The largest die-off recorded in France since 1900 is being attributed to winter storms. According to The Local, severe storms that have battered French coasts since January have led to the deaths of more than 21,300 seabirds, primarily Atlantic puffins, common murres and razorbills. When birds are unable to access good fishing areas in storms, they do not have the energy to survive the weather and can starve. Additionally, higher numbers of birds contaminated with oil and other pollutants have been reported, likely because of ships dumping contaminants during storms.
While thousands of birds have been unable to recover, more than 2,500 birds have been turned over to shelters and rehabilitators. Anyone interested in helping can contact local wildlife rehabilitators and offer to fulfill their wish lists or otherwise make donations to help support the birds' care.
Photo © Robert Bieber
Every week I answer a new question about birds, and this week Denise from New Mexico has a great one about bird baths.
"I have a bird bath in my yard, but the birds barely use it and the neighbor's dog always drinks out of it. If I move the bath, will that make it better, or will all the birds leave?"
Bird bath placement can be tricky, and you need to consider stability, climate, sunlight, predators and more when finding the best place to put a bath. First you'll want to speak with your neighbors about keeping the dog away from the bath, and you might find a better place in your yard to put the bath and the birds will appreciate it more.
Do you have a birding question you'd like answered? Submit it to Mailbag Monday!
Photo © davidgsteadman
The first matchup in North America was a tight race, but the whooping crane edged out the American goldfinch by a single vote and will represent North America in the rest of the month's competition. Which of these two South American birds will join it after this matchup?
The scarlet macaw is one of the largest and most familiar birds in South America, and there's no mistaking this parrot with its brilliant plumage and acute intelligence. Though popular as a pet, birders dream of seeing these birds flying free in South American skies.
The swallow-tailed hummingbird, by contrast, is one of the smaller birds of South America. Relatively large for a hummingbird and common in their range, these birds are frequent visitors to nectar feeders, where they often dominate other species and display their beauty aggressively.
Which of these birds should advance to the next round? Cast your vote in the poll below (it only takes a second to click!) and help your favorite South American species move on!
Voting has ended for this matchup. See which bird won and vote in the next competition!
The voting was very close in February to choose a photo winner, but with 40 percent of the votes cast, olmail's Titmouse Seed photo flew to first place for a well-deserved win! Congratulations to olmail and to the tufted titmouse for some spectacular recognition of its beauty.
See the full, uncut photo in the forum, and check out the March Bird Photo Contest for your chance to win! Entries are now being accepted under the "International Avians" theme, and even captive birds can be entered into this month's contest. Join today!
Photo © olmail