Birdwatching Dot Com
Birdwatching Dot Com Newsletter Early Fall Birding
September, 2007


Migration is happening!

There's an immense tide sweeping southward across North America, as birds recede toward their winter homes in Central America and South America. All those thrushes and swallows and swifts and hummingbirds were just visiting.

What fun to glimpse them as they come through!

in this issue
  • Goldenrod for Downies
  • Smoke in Reverse
  • How to Judge Binoculars
  • Dear Diane...

  • Smoke in Reverse

    In September, chimney swifts are making a spectacle of themselves every evening. They swirl around a chimney at dusk, in a growing crowd.

    Just before darkness falls, the birds all pour down the chimney, like smoke in reverse. If you live in eastern and central North America, enjoy watching the swifts now. Soon they'll be gone and won't be back till next spring.

    How to Judge Binoculars

    Sometimes it's hard to tell which binocular is best. If you feel uncertain sometimes, here are some tips on how to evaluate a binocular.

    These tips are from the instructions we we gave to our testers this summer when we were reviewing mid-priced binoculars for Bird Watcher's Digest (to appear November, 2007).

    Dear Diane...
    Hummingbird at Hand

    Dear Diane: When should I take down my hummingbird feeders? I still have three ruby-throats here. I love seeing them, but I don't want to tempt them to stay longer than they should. --Sidney P., Fairfield, Iowa

    Keep your hummingbird feeders up as long as hummingbirds are visting them. And then a week or so longer just in case a straggler comes through.

    You need not be afraid of causing the birds to delay their migration and get caught by winter. That isn't going to happen. It's not declining food that tells a hummingbird when to go south. It's something else that drives them.

    Goldenrod for Downies

    The native wildflowers of each region are plants that have adapted through the centuries to the climate, birds, and insects of the places they make their homes.

    Each flowering plant provides something special to birds or other wildlife. Like nectar for hummingbirds. Or like ripened seeds after the flowers are spent.

    Some wildflowers do even more than offer nectar and seeds. For example, the bright yellow goldenrods provide a protein-rich bonus to downy woodpeckers.

    Goldenrod's bonus...
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