Monday, May 7, 2012


Mingo National Wildlife Refuge
Do you have a life list of birds you have seen? I don't, but maybe I should start one.

Recently I was privileged to host a group of Master Naturalists on Mingo National Wildlife Refuge. We started early one morning on the hunt for migratory birds. Serious birders can identify these songbirds by their songs and calls. I have learned to recognize a few by listening to the song.  I heard "ee o lay"  and knew it was the melodic sound of the Wood Thrush.  Later I heard a familiar call, "drink your tee" from the  Eastern Towhee.

During a lunch break one member of the group asked how to improve the skill of birding by ear. It helps if you can begin to recognize a bird you are sure to see in your area. Purchase a field guide and look for the range map of a songbird. Apps are available to help you hear the call and see pictures of birds. Audubon and others make cds that help you become familiar with the calls of songbirds. Going with birders to listen on a early morning walk can be a great way to get started. Don't be overwhelmed, start with a couple birds and add others as you become comfortable in your knowledge.  


  1. Wish I could have been on the trip to Mingo. Did you see any unusual birds?

    1. This season is very different because the weather warmed up so early. We think many of the migrating songbirds have already passed through. We did see the swamp candle or Pronthontary Warbler. He followed us along the boardwalk so we got several views of his yellow feathers.

      We also watched a few interesting shore birds.