Posted on April 13 2021
Photo by Anna Sullivan via Unsplash
By Ali Harford
“Birding” is a hobby that is equal parts respectable and hilarious. A study conducted in 2016 by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife service found that more than 45 million people in the U.S. are “birders,” or people who watch birds—about 12% of the U.S. population. A 2011 study found that birders spend $41 billion annually on birding trips and equipment, which is astounding. My parents are avid birders, and by avid, I mean they own three pairs of binoculars, a spotting scope, and a number of bird field guides, which still doesn’t amount to anything in the professional-birding-gear realm.
There’s no denying that birders are dedicated. Last December, a rare Western Tanager in Manhattan dominated the news cycle—and the Twitter account that originally publicized the bird, @BirdCentralPark, has 47,000 followers. There’s a plethora of birdwatching magazines: Audubon Magazine; Bird Watching Daily; Birding; Bird Watcher’s Digest; Birds and Blooms; and movies: The Big Year (2011); A Birder’s Guide to Everything (2013); Birders (2019). An Audubon story, “Can the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker Be Found in Cuba?” was nominated as one of the best magazine feature stories of 2017.
“This is birding,” the author, Mac McClelland, writes in the story. “Go dangerous or go home.”
April marks the beginning of the return of migratory birds to the Northern Hemisphere. According to Audubon, “at least 4,000 species of bird are regular migrants, which is about 40% of the total number of birds in the world,” which makes for fantastic maps.
Below, find a list of resources, and maps, to show you where to find migratory birds in your area.
1. Bird Migration Forecasts in Real Time on BirdCast
2. Upcoming Birding Festivals and Events on AllAboutBirds
3. Important Bird Areas in the U.S.
4. Annual Bird Migration in the Western Hemisphere
5. Track your favorite birds with eBird
6. Flight paths of migratory birds on National Geographic