Using The Birds of North America Online to find Uncommon Birds

The last place I check for tips on finding uncommon birds is The Birds of North America Onlinehttp://bna.birds.cornell.edu.bnaproxy.birds.cornell.edu/bna  The subscription comes with my membership to the Indiana Audubon Society and is a wealth of information. If I move and drop out of IAS, I will probably still personally subscribe.

The Birds of North America Online

The Birds of North America Online

My experience is that Sibley’s and Dunne’s (see previous posts – http://wp.me/p3Q2lz-3M  and http://wp.me/p3Q2lz-5h) cover almost everything you need to know about finding uncommon species. So paying for a subscription to The Birds of North America Online is a good idea but not a nesessaity. All we can hope is that The Birds of North America Online gives us one more piece of the puzzle.  So it is worth checking.  I’ll give a more thorough review of the entire The Birds of North America Online site at a later date. Since I, as previously stated, like to read text on each species, the site fits my personality. Each species has fifteen different sections but for finding uncommon species we will concentrate on the Habitat and Behavior sections. The Habitat Section is further divided into Breeding Range,  Spring and Fall Migration, and Winter Range sections.

Winter Wren - The Birds of North America Online

Winter Wren – The Birds of North America Online

And once again we’ll look at the Winter Wren for our example. We really don’t find anything new that is different from Sibley’s or Dunne’s, but for other species I have found useful information. The articles however do reinforce the information from the other two sources. The second paragraph starts “frequently associated with water, particular streams, but also bogs, swamps, and lakes”.  The Behavior section elaborates on Dunne’s description of mouse like behavior “skipping along and using its short wings”. So after checking the three sources we have a pretty good feel for the habitat to find a Winter Wren.  There is now one last thing we need to discuss before we tie it all together. And that is using personal experience.

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