Sunday, December 30, 2012

Two Nature Websites To Check Out on a Snowy Winter Evening

With the snow piling up outside on this cold winter evening, it seemed like a good time to take a look around the web and check out some different birding blogs and websites. Below are two sites I have come to enjoy over the last year and would definitely recommend to anyone with an interest in natural history.

The Massachusetts Audubon Society website is one of my mainstays for online local nature news and information. I personally have a rather abysmal record when it comes to attending Audubon programs - out of 5 scheduled outings, one attempt to see Snowy Owls ended with my car stuck up to the doors in sand in the middle of a snow storm, another outing in search of woodcocks was failed to produce any sign of avian life, a planned evening of owling fell victim to torrential rains, and most recently I had a Saturday morning trip on the South Shore canceled because not enough people signed up. Still, I love Mass Audubon, and I would highly recommend checking out their website. In addition to information on birds and birding its also a great resource for general wildlife information. My only criticism is that I think the site would be even more useful if the sections for each individual sanctuary were updated occasionally and also had more specific information about programs going on at each location.

The website of naturalist, author and illustrator David Sibley is another site I like to check out from time to time. Sibley's filed guides have been my most valuable tool since I started birding, on both the east and west coast. The site appears to be updated only once or twice a month, but Sibley shares both his elegant, accurate illustrations and the things he learns from close observation, with readers. When I took a look this evening I saw that he had posted an interesting piece on telling the difference between male and female Juncos by watching their body posture and behavior while feeding. I really enjoy this kind close look at a bird which is fairly common in Massachusetts in the winter - it's a good reminder that even with species we think we know, there is always something more to learn.

Thanks for reading.

Copyright Daniel E. Levenson 2012.

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