Birding in the National Parks

This past year we started a bimonthly column on birding in the national parks, which is a great way to enjoy the parks while learning more about the hundreds of species that flit about the National Park System. Here's a look back at those columns.

Birding in the National Parks: An Introduction

Birders are a strange bunch of critters. I can say that because I’m one of them. We tend to carry around enough optical equipment to make the guys that were hunting Osama bin Laden jealous. We think eating breakfast at 3 a.m. in the summer is perfectly normal. We tend to travel…a lot.

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Birding in the National Parks: Spotting Vultures and Anhinga Along The Anhinga Trail In Everglades National Park

Black vultures are a common fixture along the Anhinga Trail in Everglades National Park. Unfortunately, they have a nasty habit of munching on windshield wiper blades.

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Bay-breasted Warbler. Kirby Adams photo.

Birding in the National Parks: Counting Warblers At Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

You want to see warblers in July? Head to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, and don't stop counting until you reach 23!

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Birding in the National Parks: Down The Park Road Towards Flamingo In Everglades NP

Everglades National Park offers some of the best birding in the National Park System, but you need to be alert for the hazards -- gators, poisonous snakes, mosquitoes, and sharp, slippery rocks, as Kirby Adams discovered.

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Birding in the National Parks: Rare Bird At Channel Islands National Park

They really do have a rare bird at Channel Islands National Park: For the first time in a century biologists have spotted California Common Murre chicks on one of the park's islands.

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Birding in the National Parks: Reviewing Binoculars From Vanguard

The truly essential items for the birder’s or wildlife watcher’s gearbox are few, but binoculars are pretty difficult to do without.

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Birding in the National Parks: Fall Migration's On The Way

You might not like it, but fall is in the air. Sure, the temperatures might not feel like it, but the migratory birds know what time of year it is and soon will be taking flight. Around the National Park System there are more than a few parks where you can see this in action.

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Birding in the National Parks: Puffins, Murrelets And More In Glacier Bay National Park

I wasn't really sure what to expect from Glacier Bay National Park, outside of glaciers, of course, but it didn't take long for me to realize this Alaskan park is a birder's paradise. From the "poor man's puffin" to dwindling numbers of Kittlitz's murrelets, I was rewriting my birding success, and not in days, but in minutes.

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Snowy egret. Kirby Adams photo.

Birding in the National Parks: Spotting Egrets, Herons and More in Big Cypress National Preserve

Hopefully everyone’s planning a birding excursion to Alaska after reading Kurt’s review of his adventures in Glacier Bay National Park. In the meantime, a less frigid destination might be suitable for most travelers during the impending winter.

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Birding in the National Parks: Track Your Birds on the Web With eBird

eBird is a helpful took courtesy of the folks at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society that makes it easier for you to keep track of your birding life-list. Let's take a closer look at how it functions.

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Kittlitz's murrelet. NPS photo.

Birding in the National Parks: Where Are All The Kittlitz's Murrelets Going?

Data being gathered to help the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decide whether the Kittlitz's murrelet should have Endangered Species Act protection shows an alarming direction in the species' population trend.

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Birding in the National Parks: Northern Saw-Whet Owls At Assateague Islands National Seashore

“I’ll need some time off in November to go to Assateague to band owls.” That remains one of the best excuses for some time off I’ve ever heard, and of course it was legitimate. Who would be creative enough to make up that?

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The Colima Warbler. NPS photo.

Birding in the National Parks: Searching For The Colima Warbler In Big Bend National Park

If you plan to notch your "Big Year," you need to head down to Big Bend National Park to catch a glimpse of the Colima Warbler.

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Birding in the National Parks: Time For The Christmas Bird Counts

It's that time of year again. Yep, time to grab your binoculars and notebook and head out into the national parks for the annual Christmas Bird Count.

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