Many birders mistakenly believe that autumn is a poor season for birding because so many of our favorite summer species leave on migration, but in fact fall migration can bring many more birds within reach. Try this autumn bird scavenger hunt to find new fall birds, watch unique autumn behaviors and learn more about how birds adjust to this change of seasons. Not only can experienced birders enjoy this seasonal game, but it's a perfect birding project for kids to get them outdoors and exploring nature. How many of these things can you find?
1. Empty Nest
2. Duck in Eclipse Plumage
3. New Autumn Backyard Bird
4. Your Closest Migration Flyway
5. Birds Foraging in Leaf Litter
As leaves begin to fall, they bring with them a bounty of insects, ripe nuts and soft fruits. Many sparrows, thrushes, game birds and other birds will forage in those leaves to pick out tasty morsels, and if you want to avoid raking, providing the leaves for the birds is a great excuse!
Learn More: Use Leaf Litter to Attract Birds
6. An Unusual Migrating Bird
7. Kettle or Other Migrating Flock
Autumn birds often gather in tremendous flocks, and even birds that are normally solitary may be found in great flocks during migration. But can you find a kettle, charm, raft, murder, gaggle or flight? Try joining in a hawkwatch event to see what flocks will fly your way.
Learn More: Names of Flocks of Birds
8. Field of Sunflowers
Autumn flowers are lovely to see, and black oil sunflowers in particular offer a bountiful banquet for birds. The large sunflowers grown for agriculture can be stunning, but equally lovely and still a staple for birds are the spectacular flocks of wild sunflowers, all of which may attract many migrating birds.
Learn More: Saving Sunflower Seeds
9. Bird to Identify in Flight
Migration is an ideal time to sharpen your bird identification skills by learning how to identify birds by their wings, wing beat patterns, flight body shape and other clues. Identifying hawks, eagles and other raptors can be easiest, but try the same techniques with other birds as well.
Learn More: How to Identify Birds in Flight
10. Pumpkin Bird Feeders
Bright colors attract birds, and turning a pumpkin into an easy bird feeder is a great way to use fall produce for migrating birds. If you can't find birds enjoying a pumpkin naturally, there are fun projects you can use to make pumpkin bird feeders, and don't forget to save the seeds for feeding birds!
Learn More: 3 Easy Pumpkin Bird Feeder Projects
11. An Endangered or Threatened Bird
12. An Owl
No other birds are more associated than the ultimate autumn holiday – Halloween – than owls. As leaves fall and these birds hunt, it can be easier to see owls in fall than many other times of year, and if you're lucky, you might even be able to attract owls to your backyard for easy owling.
Learn More: How to Go Owling