Monday, March 19, 2007

Families And Birdwatching - Perfect Together

Worried about how much time your child spends in front of the computer and TV? Wondering how you can entice them to get outside once in a while? Consider a family birdwatching outing - a great way to get outdoors, learn about nature, share a fun day, and maybe even develop a new shared passion!

Few realize this, but birdwatching is America's number one sport, with over 51.3 MILLION participants, according to the US Fish & Wildlife Service. Many birders are passionate fans, people who get estatic over seeing an unusual specimen, but the majority of birders are regular folks who just love birds and being outside.

If you've never been out birdwatching before, you're in for a treat. Find yourself a wooded park, equip everyone with inexpensive binoculars (sharing is no fun - by the time you switch who has them, the target has often flow away), and get a basic field guide to the birds of your region. Take a notepad along, and start what is known as a "lifelist". This is simply a list of birds you have seen and identified, usually along with the date and location of the sighting. Kids love this - everytime they see a new bird they get to add it to the list, making each new sighting a thrill.

There are a few basic guidelines to follow when birding:
1 - don't take the dog - the noise will scare away most of your chance of seeing anything interesting
2 - do talk quietly, for the same reason
3 - do take binoculars, an essential piece of equipment
4 - do take a field guide so you can identify the birds you spot
5 - do encourage everyone to start and maintain a lifelist - kids will like putting this onto a computer, where they can easily sort to see if a bird is new on their list
6 - if you have a backyard, do put out feeders and birdhouses - you can see some great birds without even leaving the house!
7 - do use your ears - when you listen, you'll be able to spot birds you wouldn't have otherwise noticed
8 - do encourage your kids to learn more about birds online - there are wonderful sites to help identify birds or just play bird games
9 - do read books on bird behaviors together - birds are fascinating creatures, and the more you discover about them the more fun birdwatching becomes
10 - do go out in the winter and early spring - you may have to bundle up, but without leaves on the trees you can see the birds much more easily

Birdwatching is an active, educational, sport that gets more enjoyable as you learn about it. Kids and adults alike get a real thrill out of adding a new sighting to their lifelists. So grab your binoculars, field guide and notebook, take your family, and go spot some birds!

About the Author
Carol Miller is an internet author, entrepreneur and avid birder. You can find great stuff for kids, including young reader field guides bird books, puzzles, facts and games at her website,

How to Buy The Right Binoculars For You

Binoculars are wonderful pieces of equipment that can enhance many of our daily activities including, birding, action sports, hunting, and even astronomy. Essentially binoculars take a distant image, enlarge it through the use of lenses for viewing, all while remaining small and light enough to be mobile.

The actual makeup of most binoculars is fairly straightforward and simple. You have the lenses at the end of the barrel called the objective lens that gathers the light from the distant image and focuses it on the lens closest to your eyes for viewing. Binoculars are really two small telescopes put side by side so that you can view the desired image with both eyes instead of just one. This imparts some measure of depth of field, much more so than with a single scope.

When selecting a pair of binoculars you will immediately find that two numbers are used to describe their capability. These numbers are often expressed as "6 X 30" or something similar. Let's break the code so you will know what these numbers mean.

The first number refers to the magnification power of the binoculars, or in other words how many times the image is magnified. So if the number is 6, that means that the image that you view through the lens is magnified 6 times it's normal siZe.

The second number has to do with the size of the objective lens at the end of the binoculars.It's good to know this number because the larger the diameter of the objective lens, usually the more light will be let in for viewing the distant image.

Now, let's put this information in use in the real world. You may think that it's best to just get the highest magnification that you can get for binoculars, but this is not true. At some point, hand holding the binoculars will affect the clarity of a highly magnified image and the resulting shake will render the magnification benefits useless. Generally speaking, anything above ten times magnification should be mounted on a tripod instead of handheld. So if you are planning to use binoculars for activities that do not allow you to be able to bring along a sturdy tripod, you probably want to stay with a pair of binoculars with 4 -7 times magnification.

As far as light gathering properties are concerned, if you plan on using your binoculars in any kind of low light situation whether indoors, or at times of day when there is low available light outdoors, then you need to have a large objective lens, usually 30 or above, to make as much use of available light as possible.

Finally, consider the weight of the binoculars before buying them. If weight will be a consideration for activities such as hiking, then perhaps plastic lenses will be best that are specially coated to produce a high quality, sharp image. These can be more costly than glass lenses, but they are considerably lighter. Glass lenses usually make for much better optics and clearer images at a lower overall cost, but they can also be more fragile.

Generally speaking, more expensive pairs of binoculars have more atention paid to fit and finish and will stand up to more vigorous use, but if you only plan to occasionally use your binoculars, then a less expensive pair will no doubt work fine. Also, remember that after the purchase you should be sure to protect your investment with a suitable binoculars case.

About the Author

Duane Brown - All About Binoculars provides free information, tips, and resources on binoculars, telescopes, rifle scopes, and spotting scopes, and how to find them at the very best price.


Birding Trails – Florida

If you’re into birding, finding new trails is always an enjoyable task. Here’s a primer on birding trails in Florida.

Birding Trails – Florida

It goes without saying that Florida is a rather large state. The following birding trails represent a mere sample of what is out there, but are proven birding spots. With that being said, let’s get on with it.

1. St. Joseph’s Peninsula Park – Over 247 species of birds can be seen on the trails at St. Joseph’s. The real attraction, however, happens every October and September. During this period, hawks and falcons are all over the park as they migrate from northern areas to the Gulf of Mexico for the winter season. You can expect to see sharp-shinned hawks, broad wing hawks and even a few copper hawks. If you’re lucky, you can sight one of the smaller numbers of red-shoulder hawks, red-tail hawks and the elusive, endangered Peregrine Falcon.

2. Bahia Honda State Park – If shorebirds and wading birds are a delight to you, Bahia Honda offers birding trails with excellent sighting potential. Shorebirds include Plovers, Sanderlings and Willets to mention a few. Wading birds are plentiful and you can expect to glimpse a wide variety. Plentiful species include herons, ibis and egrets. During summer, you may be able to catch a glimpse of the endangered White crowned Pigeon in the local trees along the trail.

3. Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park – Kissimmee Prairie is very popular, so you probably already know about it. Nonetheless, in the recent past the Park has become the home of a new species, the White-Tail Kite.

4. Big Shoals State Park – Big Shoals is an excellent birding park with a wide variety of species. On the birding trails, you can expect to see egrets, hawks, owls, ducks, warblers, wrens and swallows to mention only a few. If your karma is good and you’re having a good day, you may also see bald eagles, northern mockingbirds, scarlet tanagers and indigo buntings. Wild turkeys are plentiful as are wading and shore birds.

Florida is a great state for birding. This list is only a small sample of bird trails, buy should you get started on adding to your life list.

About the Author
Rick Chapo is with - makers of diary and writing journals for bird watching. Visit for more articles on bird watching and the great outdoors.

Bird Watching Journals – Preserve Your Bird Watching Experiences

Bird Watching is a great way to escape the rat race and be one with nature. Alas, your bird watching experiences can fade with time. The best way to prevent this is to keep a bird watching journal for your sightings and trips.

Bird Watching Journals

Take a minute to give some consideration to your most recent bird watching experience. What sticks out in your mind? Now think about the first time you ever went bird watching. Undoubtedly, you remember few things about the geography, people you went with, every bird sighted and so on. The experiences you’ve forgotten are lost to time. If you had kept a bird watching journal, this wouldn’t be the case.

There are famous instances of people keeping journals throughout time. Of course, Anne Frank’s Diary is the best example. In her diary, Anne kept a running commentary of the two years her family spent hiding from the Nazis. While your bird watching experiences better be more lighthearted, keeping a journal will let you remember them as the years pass.

A good bird watching journal combines a number of characteristics. First, it should be compact so you don’t have to take up unnecessary space for other things. Second, it should have a case to protect it from rain, spills and so on. Third, the journal should contain blank areas to write your notes. Fourth, the journal should contain cue spaces to remind you to keep notes on specific things. Cues should include:

1. Who you went birding with,

2. Where you stayed and if you enjoyed it,

3. Who you met and contact information for them,

4. The geographic and weather conditions, and

5. The birds you sighted and added to your life list.

At the end of the trip, you should be able to get the following from your journal:

1. Contact information for other bird watchers and people you met,

2. Enough detail to provide you or a friend with a guide if you travel to the location a second time.

3. Memories to reflect upon years later, and

4. Something to pass on to your children and grandchildren.

To get the most out of your bird watching journal, you should write in it during and immediately after birding. Every sighting brings new experiences even if you’re just sitting in your backyard.

Bird watching is a great way to commune with nature. Make sure to preserve the experience.

About the Author
Rick Chapo is with - makers of diary and writing journals for bird watching. Visit for more articles on bird watching and the great outdoors.


Saturday, March 17, 2007

Zoos in Australia

Emu watercolour by Sarah  Stone c. 1790
Since Captain Cook's exploration of the east coast of Australia in 1770, with the botanist Joseph Banks, Europeans have been fascinated by the strange flora and fauna of Australia. However, the first zoo in Australia, Melbourne Zoo, wasn't established until 1862.

The history of zoos

Human interest in keeping animals dates back to at least 1500 BC when Queen Hatshepsut of Egypt built a zoo. Many zoos were created by rulers in Africa, India and China to demonstrate their wealth and power.

The Greeks established the first zoos to study animal behaviour. They charged admission to view the specimens, and set up an education process. One of the most notable teachers at a Greek zoo was Aristotle. One of his best-known students was Alexander the Great, who collected many animals for the zoos.

British and European exploration of the world in the 18th and 19th centuries led to the discovery of many species of animals that they considered to be unusual. This encouraged the keeping of animals as exotica in Europe and Britain. The idea of zoos as places of entertainment also developed.

The role of the zoo today

Modern zoos undertake environmental education and conservation of endangered species, zoological research, and provide for recreation through exhibiting animals to the public, special events, and 'behind the scenes' tours and overnight stays which include close encounters with the animals:

Zoos now are a place where people can get in touch with the natural world by experiencing a variety of flora and fauna in a close-up real-life situation. There is still no experience quite like seeing the real and unpredictable animal - who knows what it will do next? There are sights, smells, and sounds of a zoo which take people away from their daily surroundings.

Judith Henke, Melbourne Zoo, 1998

Today Australia is prominent in pioneering new practices for zoos, sanctuaries and aquaria. Zoos are one of the institutions charged with trying to counter the threat to species extinction in Australia and throughout the world.

Melbourne Zoo assists in survival programs for animals species under threat and we also run extensive educational programs, both for the general public and for students. Over 100,000 students a year benefit from our program.

Judith Henke, Melbourne Zoo, 1998

Australia's endangered species

The two main threats to the continuation of species in Australia, which have already caused extinctions are:

* loss of habitat - this may result from climate change, activities of humans or natural events; and
* the introduction of alien species which prey on and compete with native species for food and habitat.

Hundreds of Australian species have become extinct since Captain Cook and Joseph Banks explored the east coast of Australia in 1770. These include at least 41 bird and mammal species and more than 100 plant species. It is likely that other species have disappeared too, without our knowledge. Biologists have now listed all those plants and animals that they know are at risk of extinction in Australia - these are called endangered species.

The endangered list includes 10 species of fish, 12 frogs, 13 reptiles, 32 birds, 33 mammals and 209 plants. In addition, there are many more species that are listed as vulnerable and some that are classified as rare. Many zoos focus on the high profile animals in danger, in order to attract paying visitors although there are also less popular species which contribute to biological diversity and which are necessary to keep our ecosystems healthy.

Australian zoos
Koala at Taronga Zoo

Australia has a wealth of public and private zoos. Many include exotic (to us) species such as big cats and elephants, while others focus on Australian animals and birds. Some emphasise their breeding programs for endangered animals.

Public zoos

Taronga Zoo and Western Plains Zoo are jointly administered New South Wales public zoos. Taronga Zoo in Sydney has about 340 species and over 2600 individual animals. Western Plains Zoo is an open range zoo in Dubbo, in the central west of New South Wales. It has over 100 species and 850 individual animals and primarily caters for large, open range animals. Visitors are encouraged to sponsor individual animals, both exotic and Australian native animals.

Melbourne Zoo, Victoria, is Australia's oldest zoo. Significant historic features such as the design of the Main Walk and an early 20th Century menagerie exhibit are preserved in an historic zone so visitors are able to measure the great improvements which have been achieved since the zoo opened in 1862 . The zoo displays a representative sample of the world's fauna and flora in a series of bioclimatic (or habitat) zones and boasts 350 animal species on 22 hectares of grounds and enclosures.

Healesville Sanctuary, Victoria, is an example of a publicly managed zoo which displays Australian animals in their natural environments, even providing a reversed day-night cycle for vistors to see nocturnal animals. All of this visitor activity pays for an extensive research and conservation program. In 2002 the Sanctuary was home to more than 200 species of Australian native fauna.

Minifie Nixon’s design for the Australian Wildlife Health Centre at the Healesville Sanctuary takes a highly experimental approach in creating what is believed to be the first open veterinary hospital in the world. The centre was designed on the basis that it is no longer the humans who are protected from the dangerous creatures behind bars. We, the gawking hordes, are now recognized as the true threat. Visitors are able to view the work of the sanctuary within a doughnut shaped structure.

The Adelaide Zoo, South Australia, focuses on endangered and rare animals from the continents which made up the super continent Gondwana - South America, India, Africa and Australia (also South East Asia). The Zoo is home to over 3,400 animals and almost 300 species of exotic and native mammals, birds, reptiles and fish.
Australian Wildlife Health Centre

Monarto Zoological Park, South Australia, is an open-range sanctuary undertaking a major role nationally and internationally in breeding programs for rare and endangered species. The Park is operated by the Royal Zoological Society of South Australia. Monarto ranges across 1100 hectares designed to let larger species like zebra roam as if in their natural environment.

Cleland Wildlife Park, just outside of Adelaide, is part of the Cleland Conservation Park. The Kaurna Aboriginal people of the Adelaide Plains know the area as Yurridla. The Yurridla Trail offers a chance to hear Aboriginal guides bring to life their Dreaming stories and explain the inseparable relationship between Aboriginal culture and Australian wildlife.

Private zoos
Dingo pups at Cleland Wildlife Park

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane, Queensland, is the world's first and largest koala sanctuary with over 130 koalas. The sanctuary is home to over 130 koalas and a large variety of other Australian wildlife.

Billabong Sanctuary, near Townsville, Queensland, has three habitats of rainforest, eucalypt forest and wetlands in the one location. The native animals are displayed in their own environments in natural surroundings.

Wave Rock Wildlife Park, at Hyden in the south west of Western Australia offers visitors the chance to enjoy and observe hundreds of birds and animals from the area, as well as from around Australia, in the three hectares of Wildlife Park.

Australia Zoo is situated on the Glasshouse Mountains Tourist Drive, Beerwah, Queensland. The zoo features both Australian native species and exotic species of mammals, birds and reptiles.

Werribee Open Range Zoo, Victoria, is an African adventure just 30 minutes out of Melbourne. This zoo enables its animals to live in an environment similar to their natural habitat. The Zoo focuses on research into conservation and biodiversity.

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, on the Queensland Gold Coast, is set in 27 hectares of Australian bushland. It is home to hundreds of native birds and animals, many of them endangered. The Sanctuary caters for over 1400 mammals, birds and reptiles.


Zoo Month or 'Zootober', held each year in October, provides an opportunity for zoos to promote particular features of their animal collections and also to provide the community with access to information about animals, their environments and the challenge of maintaining zoos.
Giraffe at Melbourne Zoo

Zoo Month is used to highlight the gardens as well as our animals - our horticulturists offer courses through the CAE on how to create wildlife-friendly gardens and this is an important issue so we can help native wildlife survive in the suburbs. We also hope Zoo Month will help us achieve increased recognition for many of the projects we support - such as conservation programs for endangered native orchids and the plants of the Western Victorian Basalt Plains. These are often overlooked for the more high profile projects like the conservation of the Western Lowland Gorilla or Sumatran Tiger.

Hawaii Helicopter Tour

You know that Hawaii is so spectacularly beautiful and that is why you intend to have your next vacation in Hawaii. However, with so many interesting places to visit and discover in your short vacation trip, you will have insufficient time to visit all the tourist attractions there.

Well, there is a solution actually. You can have an overview tour of Hawaii without spending too much time traveling from one place to another. Yes, have a bird's eye view of the breathtaking Hawaiian islands by taking a helicopter tour.

The birds in Hawaii are certainly very fortunate to be able to gaze down on one of the most awesome sceneries on Earth such as from the skies of Kauai, they can get to view the Waimea Canyon, Mount Waialeale's majestic waterfalls, hidden reclusive sandy coves and the jagged Na Pall Coast. Now you too can have a bird's eye view by taking a helicopter tour on your vacation holiday Hawaii.

Take a flight over Hawaii's Big Island and view the resplendent volcanic activities of Kilauea, especially when it is erupting can be very exhilarating.

I want to sound word of caution here. Do not be like many tourists who regretted for the rest of their lives because they have forgotten to bring along their cameras. However, do not get too engrossed taking too many photographs and videos because you will miss the scope of your beautiful surroundings.

Many tourists have a tendency to glue their eye to their camera's viewfinder that they forgot that the main purpose for the helicopter tour is to experience the space and the breadth of their surroundings.

Yes, a picture paints a thousand words but no photographs could ever hope to capture the panoramic view as you hurtled across the Hawaiian sky! How can the photographs or the videos capture the feeling of the land suddenly dropping off beneath you as you fly across the edge of cliffs and volcano craters? Your helicopter tour of Hawaii will certainly be wasted if you do not enjoy the experience of your freedom in space.

However, there is a controversy in experiencing your trip over Hawaii in a helicopter. As there is a profusion of companies offering chopper tours there are many such tours everyday and this creates noise pollution which is very jarring for tourists and locals alike who wants to enjoy Hawaii's famed tranquility. There are loud calls for the number of helicopter trips and tours to be cut down.

So if you want to enjoy a memorable holiday vacation in Hawaii, try taking a helicopter tour.

Kenyan animal safari: Animals, Lakes, Rift Valley & Desert Kenya tours

The spellbinding Maasai Mara Wildlife Park

The Maasai Mara offers visitors unparalleled quantity and variety of Kenyan animals. There can be found the smallest antelope in the world-the dik-dik, to the biggest-the Eland. The dik-dik sticks to one partner for life and rarely leaves each other’s side. From the large herbivores like the giraffe and the hippopotamus, the cheetah, which is the fastest land animal in the world, to the largest and heaviest bird, the ostrich, all are found here.

Between June and October each year, three million Kenyan animals make an annual migration from Tanzania’s Serengeti to Maasai Mara in Kenya, in search of fresh grass. If you are fortunate you will be able to see the Mara River crossing, where hundreds upon hundreds of Zebra and wildebeest cross the river simultaneously where crocodile await. The migration has recently been named the seventh new wonder of the world.

If it is within your budget, a hot-air balloon ride is strongly recommended. There are several unpaved air strips in Maasai Mara on which small aero planes can land, although it can also be reached by road via the town of Narok.

Amboseli National Wildlife Park

Amboseli National Wildlife Park is situated just north of Mount Kilimanjaro and is a very popular tourist destination. This is due to its variety of Kenyan tour animals and breathtaking sceneries. Mount Kilimanjaro is situated in Tanzania just south of the border of Kenya.

Lake Naivasha birds’ paradise

Lake Naivasha is the highest of the Rift valley lakes at an altitude of 1880m. It is also the second largest fresh water lake in Kenya and is unusual that it has no known outlet, normally a requirement for a fresh water lake.

The dense vegetation in the edge of the lake supports a thriving bird population-the area has a list of over 350 species. The waters of the lake draw a great range of Kenyan game to these shores; giraffes wander among the acacia, buffalo wallow in the swamps and colobus monkeys swing in the treetops while the lakes large hippos sleep the day out in the shallows. Walking is permitted, making it ideal for hiking, biking and rock climbing. Due to the relative closeness to Nairobi, it is a good place for a one-night stop while traveling north from the capital. Boat trips on the lake are widely available, making it a great way to spend an afternoon or morning. There is also an airstrip in Naivasha with charter flights available. Take the A109 north from Nairobi for a one and a half hour drive; alternatively there are frequent bus services.

Mt. Longonot hiking bluff

Mt. Longonot stands alone over the shores of Lake Naivasha and this massive dormant volcano dominates the landscape for miles around. A climb up Mount.Longonot is an ideal day trip from either Nairobi or Naivasha. Its vast crater is an awesome sight, the jagged edge surrounding a broad expanse of vegetation. Geothermal steam puffs upwards from the walls, while buffalo and other game make their way across the crater floor.

Lake Baringo birds’ congress

Lake Baringo is at the threshold of Northern Kenya, and its fresh waters are an oasis in the dry plains. The 129sq km lake is well stocked with fish, and attracts many pelicans, cormorants and fish eagles- as well as a healthy population of crocodiles. The lake itself is truly beautiful, surrounded by volcanic ranges that stretch as far as the eye can see. Boat trips are available and are ideal for bird and hippo spotting making Lake Baringo an ideal stopover on safari to Northern Kenya. Of the 1200 different species of birds, over 450 of them have been spotted in Lake Baringo. Main road access to Baringo is directly from Nakuru by Bus or private transport to the Kampi ya Samaki, the nearest town to the lake.

Lake Magadi, the natural microwave

Lake Magadi is completely surrounded by vast natural salt flats. These sweltering hot plains prevent any Kenyan animals reaching the alkaline lake at its centre. For this reason, thousands of flamingos descend on the lake each year to nest on the elevated mud mounds at the lake’s edge safe from any potential predators. Fresh water springs at the lake’s shore attract a host of other birds.

Lake Nakuru National Wildlife Park, taking it all.

The national Wildlife Park, North West of Nairobi is home to thousands of flamingos joined into a massive flock fringe on the shores of this soda lake. This provides the visitor with one of Kenya’s best-known images. The landscape includes areas of marsh and grass lands alternating with rocky cliffs and outcrops, stretches of acacia woodland and rocky hillsides covered with Euphorbia forest on the eastern perimeter, and about 550 different plant species including the unique and biggest euphorbia forest in Africa, picturesque landscape and yellow acacia woodlands. Nakuru provides the visitor with one of Kenya’s best known images. A great opportunity for photography. By road, take the main Nairobi Nakuru road. There are also frequent bus services.

Lake Turkana Oasis in Kenyan desert

This is the largest and most Northern of the Rift Valley Lakes and is truly a breath taking sight. Lake Turkana is source to Kenya’s most remote tribes, the main one being the Turkana tribe-a visit to a Turkana tribe village is strongly recommended for all visitors to Lake Turkana. The lake has been described as “the cradle of mankind” due to the fossils found there recently. The East and West Shores of Turkana are reached from different points; the East shore is reached via Mararal and Marsabit; the west shore is accessed from Lodwar. There are airstrips on both shores for chartered aircraft. Turkana should be visited as part of a professionally organised safari.

Article Source: ABC Article Directory

Robert Muhoho is a tour consultant with Landmark Safaris. He is degreed in tourism and hospitality management and author to 500 Kenya tour articles. For free Kenya safari info visit them @

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Choosing A Hat For Birdwatching

If you want your kids to be a part of the process it is very easy to make your birdhouse very simple. It is quite possible to use four or five pieces of wood and construct one with very little in the way of tools. Then there is the posture of a bird. Believe it or not, birds perch differently. For example, a Flycatcher perches vertically (straight up and down) when on a branch while a Vireo perches horizontally (almost lying down) when on the same branch.

Here's one other practical feature that you will fall in love with; stainless steel bowls that are only accessible from outside the cage. This is a must have if your bird is a "biter".

The #1 thing to watch for is a cage that is sturdy, but can be broken down in a matter of 2 minutes or less, without the need for any tools. All of the top brand name bird cages have this feature.

Get to Where the Birds Are! This sounds obvious, but many birders spend the majority of their bird watching time and energy on poor locations.

Choosing a Hat for Birdwatching

Sure, "any old hat" will do. After all, birdwatching is not a fashion event and no birdwatcher has ever won a ‘best in hat' category, but birdwatching is an outdoor activity. One of your most important concerns other than the birds is protection. Exposing yourself to the elements and suffering afterwards will definitely make your birdwatching unforgettable, but in a bad way.

Here are some tips in choosing a good hat for birdwatching.

Consider the climate and the weather.

Think of the location where you will be going birdwatching. If it's just in the vicinity of your neighborhood, then that "any old hat" of yours will do. But if you will be spending a lot of time outdoors under the rays of the sun, then get the appropriate hat.

A good birdwatching hat should be lightweight with a brim for sun protection. It should always be wider than your face. If you are going to a place where there is little covering and where you will be exposed to the sun for some time, consider protection for your ears and the sides of your face. A sunscreen also affords protection, but it cannot keep the feeling of heat off your skin.

For instance, image stabilization will keep your view from shaking-very important when watching from a long distance. Other cool features include anti-fogging, low-light viewing and wide-view characteristics.

If you are buying an actual antique, prepare to pay a hefty price. Be on the lookout, though, at garage sales and flea markets. Sometimes you can find an undiscovered treasure for mere pennies. Think about the ability of your family to care for a pet and then only choose a bird that you could really care for and enjoy.

Just where to hang the feeders? In general, it is good to hang these feeders in any part of the garden where there is no direct exposure to sunlight and where the wind will not be able to shake the feeder.

The top two ways to give your bird stimulation on a daily basis are: toy hooks & playtops. There's no need to explain why toy hooks are stimulating, they just are!

On days when it's really bright, you could have a problem with glare so you'll want to protect your face. A higher crown is good for better ventilation. Waterproof nylons are ideal for tropical conditions.

Color me camouflage.

An outrageous, funny hat would be very tempting for an outdoor activity, but only for humans and not for birds. Birdwatching is strictly that – watching; and when you scare birds off, what else is there to do?

Remember that you will enter the birds' territory, even if you watch them from afar. The best hat color would be the ones that resemble mulch or dried leaves or the ground. So go for the tan, beige and dark greens. Avoid hats that are pure white and those that come in bright colors. The best colors are earth tones. If you look like your surroundings, birds are less likely to be agitated at a sight that is familiar to them.

A hat should reflect your style and personality and birdwatching should not deter you from this goal. When you enter the territory of the birds, you are the guest and certain behavior is required so be sure to choose the appropriate hat that befits a guest in the wild.

How do bird watchers strive to entice birds to their yards? Find out at This is a tricky dilemma when shopping for a bird cage, but here is the general rule of thumb; the bigger the better, as long as the bar spacing isn't too wide. So what is too wide of a bar spacing?

If you're looking at a quality cage it will be constructed of steel (powder-coated ones should have steel underneath the powder-coat and stainless steel cages need to be 100% stainless steel, not plated or hollow) or iron. Buying a pet bird can be quite an investment. After spending money on your bird and its supplies, you might be looking to save a little on the cage. Luckily, discount bird cages are available.

If you are a new bird watcher, we urge you to joing a bird watching forum. We may have the best intentions to let our bird spend most of his time out of the cage. But there will still be times when he needs to be in his cage.

After you have brought your bird bath home, find a place to set up the bath well within sight of your outdoor and indoor spaces.

About the Author: If you are a new bird watcher, we urge you to joing a bird watching forum.

What Kind Of Bird Was That

Building and decorating a bird house is something that parents and kids can do together. It is relatively cheap and can provide hours of entertainment even after the project is completed. Finches fly in a more exaggerated roller coaster pattern while woodpeckers fly in a more moderate rise and fall pattern. Then there are birds like Sharp-shinned Hawks, Cooper's Hawks, and Northern Goshawks that make several wing flaps which are followed by a long glide, whereas a Red Tailed Hawk can usually be seen soaring.

Here is a feature that is often overlooked: bird-proof door locks. You should get a cage that your bird can't escape from. Just think about what would happen if your bird escaped & was free the entire day while you're out!

But on the other hand, a carefully cared for, high quality powder-coated bird cage can last 10+ years. So what makes a cage simple to clean?

You may find that perhaps only a few species actually inhabit that particular area. With a little preparation, you will be able to more readily identify bird species from each other. Keep a list of successfully viewed species – we'll call this tip number two and a half.

What kind of bird was that?

This is what you normally ask yourself or your partner when you see an odd bird perched around in one of those trees.

It is fascinating to see birds around you chirping and enjoying the bounties of nature or even the city life. What is even more fascinating though is when you see a bird you have not seen before.

Have you ever seen a bird that seems different from the rest? Normally we give these unknown birds a name – odd birds. These odd birds are either an un-named breed by the taxonomists or a foreigner to a certain area.

Bird watching is one of the most calming and peaceful hobbies available. Just sit down in a good spot and have your kit in hand. For the novice, you might want to consider taking along a good picture book of the common birds in your area so you will not tag a named bird as odd.

If you suspect that the bird you saw is odd, take a picture of it and research. Look for it in books and bird websites. It just may be that the bird is just visiting your area but is not really going to stay there for long. The top two ways to give your bird stimulation on a daily basis are: toy hooks & playtops. There's no need to explain why toy hooks are stimulating, they just are!

If you desire the look of antiques without the price tag, reproductions are also available. Replica antique bird cages often maintain the look and style of the original, but at a fraction of the cost.

Perhaps many people think that owning a bird is reserved for the wild at heart or certainly for those living in a tropical climate.

Just where to hang the feeders? In general, it is good to hang these feeders in any part of the garden where there is no direct exposure to sunlight and where the wind will not be able to shake the feeder. Additionally, binoculars with built-in digital cameras enable you to identify birds once you get home. These benefits will definitely enhance your bird watching. A great pair of binoculars will turn a mediocre experience into a great one. You can count on it!

If you still have difficulty in looking for that specific bird share the picture to an ornithologist or someone more knowledgeable in that field. It will be a great contribution to science if this bird is still un-named and you found that bird and were able to take note of it.

Another help you can add is if the bird is used as a bio-indicator and might lead scientists to know if there is something new or different in the environment. An example of this are some shrike species that indicate presence of pollution. So share your knowledge and learn from it too. Remember to note where you saw it, the sound of chirps that you heard, the colors, the form of the beak, the feet, feathers, wing span (approximately), length, tail, and its characteristics (like if its moves around from branch to branch or if its very noisy).

No matter how odd or different looking the bird you saw is, just be glad it showed itself to you. Settle down and don't be too excited because you might scare this odd bird away and you may not be able to finish looking at its features.

Enjoy bird watching and be one with nature. How do bird watchers strive to entice birds to their yards? Find out at

This is a tricky dilemma when shopping for a bird cage, but here is the general rule of thumb; the bigger the better, as long as the bar spacing isn't too wide. So what is too wide of a bar spacing? If you're looking at a quality cage it will be constructed of steel (powder-coated ones should have steel underneath the powder-coat and stainless steel cages need to be 100% stainless steel, not plated or hollow) or iron.

One great resource in looking for cheap bird cages is the internet. Amazon often offers bird cages at significant discounts. This website also offers customer reviews of different products. This can be a helpful tool if you are still in the decision-making phase of your cage search.

The birds tail will not touch either the back or the bottom of the cage while sitting on the perch. If you are a new bird watcher, we urge you to joing a bird watching forum.

Just like people, birds get hot and thirsty. Especially during the blistering summer months, your favorite flying friends may be roasting in their feathers. Help out your local birds and provide them with a shady spot to splash, play, bathe, and drink--a bird bath!

About the Author: If you are a new bird watcher, we urge you to joing a bird watching forum.

How To Attract Birds With Window Bird Feeders

One of the great things about having a backyard garden is all the birds that are attracted by the plants. If you don't have enough space to have a garden in your backyard, there are still ways to attract birds. Window bird feeders are a great way to do this, even if you don't have any yard space at all.

There are plenty of different sizes and styles of bird feeders, each designed for a different type of bird. You can also choose different types of food to attract different varieties of birds to your windowsill.

These feeders are usually made with a one-way mirror so you can see through it to watch the birds but they see a reflection so they're not scared by having you watching them.

These feeders can be refilled quite easily from the window, so you don't need to leave the comfort of your home to refill them. This is especially useful if you live in an apartment or townhouse and are on an upper floor.

There are various ways to mount these bird feeders. Some have suction cups and stick to your window, others clip into the window frame. The ones that clip into the window frames are generally a better choice because they are a little more secure, but the suction cups used on birdfeeders are better than most, and it's rare that they lose their grip.

These birdfeeders are made from a number of different materials as well, the most common being cedar and polycarbonate plastic. They are both resistant to the weather, however cedar is nice because it can be painted or decorated however you wish.

Some birds are attracted to certain colors so if you want to attract a specific species, being able to paint your feeder is helpful.

About the Author: Ronnie Booth offers tips for choosing the best window bird feeders on The Birding Guide website. For more helpful information and to sign up for our free mini course on birding, visit

Geese Make Good Watch Dogs

I have a small flock of geese and they are totally alert to any form of danger that might exist around them. They never miss a trick, even when you want them to. Geese tend to bully smaller birds, though normally not in a mean way, so when you are trying to feed all the birds at once, the geese usually get the King's share of the goodies. But when there is danger about, such as predatory birds, weasels, opossums, dogs, raccoons, and big cats, the geese make excellent watch dogs.

This is a service they perform willingly, and with class and grace. They know they are the biggest birds in the flock so they take a natural responsibility for the others. When danger appears, the geese spread their wings, honk loudly and repeatedly in warning, and stomp toward the direction of safety, herding the rest of the flock in front of them. This is how humans herd ducks, with arms outspread like a set of wings, and it works like a charm. The smaller birds and the geese all respect that gesture.

Geese are quite capable of taking care of a flock of fowl, both water and land fowl, due to the fact that their serrated bills are nasty when used to full extent. I have personally witnessed what damage a goose can do with that bill, they can bite clear through a galvanized metal bucket. But these same geese are gentle as lambs when you feed them from your hand. They know exactly how hard they can bite before you will feel pain. Generally speaking, when an angry goose bites you, you will have an instant bruise or blood blister, but they seldom break the skin. They certainly could if they wanted to, but they are not viscious with their human keepers.

Geese are demanding, especially the "mouthy" breeds, like the Chinese. They squeal, scream, bark, make a sound like an air-horn, and just basically raise the roof with their "chatting". Amid a flock of geese you cannot hear yourself think, but to get them to shut up is fairly just raise your "wings" again and scream louder than they do. The former is easy enough, but you have to be pretty loud to be heard above a goose, and even if you are, they will typically only shut up for the barest of seconds. Geese like to be heard and do not take any lip from anyone else, humans included.

I have one female White Chinese goose who makes a sound similar to "what!" If you say "what" to her, she will bark it right back at you, over and over again. This sport seems to distress her mate, who will try to come to her protection. We have a Brown Chinese goose who says, "hoink" instead of "honk". So, certain sounds seem to be characteristic of a breed while others apparently are simply characteristic of the individual. Geese are graceful birds, though a little clumsy on their feet. They tend to walk about with their eyes on the sky, probably alert to danger, so they miss the little details like the tree they are about to walk into.

I have seen geese trip over water buckets, a hole in the ground, other smaller birds, anything that gets in their paths, simply because they seldom look where they are going. This seems to be more of a problem with the "swan-like" geese, because they have very long necks and long legs and the ground just seems to be a nuisance to them, since they would rather be watching the sky. Most of the bigger geese have wingspans that stretch up to about five feet long, and I imagine they do look rather intimidating to the predatory animals and birds that stop by to visit.

So, if you have a flock of ducks, chickens, pheasants, pea-fowl, or whatever, the addition of at least a pair of geese would probably be a good idea. They are strong, loud, overbearing, gentle and alert, just the qualities you need in a good watch dog.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

California Birding

Yosemite National Park and Mono Lake

The majestic Sierra-Nevada Mountains offer birders the most beautiful scenery in California as well as some of it's most exciting birding. From Yosemite Valley across Tioga Pass and down the eastern slope of the Sierra-Nevada to Mono Lake, birders can find a stunning variety of habitats as well as species. Because of weather, road conditions and the variety of birds, you will want to plan a trip to this part of California from late spring through the early fall.

Yosemite National Park, with its' towering peaks, spectacular water falls, vast meadows, unspoiled lakes and streams and thousands of acres of forest, form a pristine wilderness that holds nearly 250 species of birds. While you are visiting the park, bird the conifer-rimmed Tuolumne Meadows and the meadows at Crane Flat for Green-tailed Towhees, Calliope Hummingbirds, Lincoln's Sparrows, Pine Grosbeaks, Evening Grosbeaks, Pine Siskins, Cassin's Finches and Hermit Warblers. A good place to look for Great Gray Owls at dawn or dusk is the meadow directly behind the Chevron service station at Crane Flat. Be sure to walk the trails around White Wolf and Bridalveil Creek campgrounds for elusive Black-backed Woodpeckers and other nesting birds. The famous groves of Giant Sequoias in the park have the usual forest birds like Brown Creepers and Mountain Chickadees, but may also shelter White-headed and Pileated Woodpeckers. The areas surrounding Mirror Lake or along nearby Tenaya Creek are excellent for Black Swifts, Winter Wrens, American Dippers and MacGillivray's Warblers. At the lower elevation riparian areas in Lee Vining Canyon along Highway 120, you can search for nesting Western Wood-Pewees, Lazuli Buntings, Warbling Vireos, Red-breasted Sapsuckers, House Wrens, Mountain Bluebirds and American Robins during summer.

Situated in the Mono Basin, due east of Yosemite National Park, is world-famous Mono Lake. This area has several worthwhile birding locations. The Tufa grove on the south shore of the lake is an excellent place to search for nesting Violet-green Swallows, Mountain Bluebirds, Say's Phoebes and even Great Horned Owls. While you are birding the south side of the lake, be sure to check the adjacent Mono Craters forest for nesting Pinyon Jays and Williamson's Sapsuckers. In spring, drive the dirt roads and walk the trails around Mono Lake County Park to check for Common Snipe, Common Nighthawks, Snowy Plovers and some of the lakes' 50,000 nesting California Gulls. You may also find a few Wilson's Phalaropes which nest here in small numbers as well. By mid-summer however, the lake becomes an important migration staging area for Wilson's and Red-necked Phalaropes and can hold up to 150,000 birds. Even more impressive are the nearly one million Eared Grebes that use the lake as a staging area for their migration by early fall!

Yosemite National Park offers many hotels, tent cabins and a number of campgrounds that are all very popular, so make your reservations as early as possible. The grand old world-famous Ahwahnee Hotel in the Yosemite Valley is highly recommended (209) 252-4848. The number for park information is (209) 372-0200 and for accommodations call (209) 252-4848. To reach Yosemite, take Highway 140 out of Merced and continue about 70 miles east. Your other alternative is to first visit Mono Lake along Highway 395 at the town of Lee Vining, and then follow Highway 120 over Tioga Pass to reach the east entrance of Yosemite. For information on visiting Mono Lake, call the California Department of Parks and Recreation at (619) 647-6331. You should also consider picking up an excellent resource of birding information for this area; David Gaines' book entitled Birds of Yosemite and the East Slope.

The San Bernadino Mountains

Only a 90-minute drive from downtown Los Angeles you can find some of the finest montane birding in all of California. The San Bernadino Mountains, rising to over 11,500 feet, offer visiting birders a wonderful opportunity to find bird species that can be hard to find, especially around the rest of southern California. Birding here can be interesting any time of year, but during the summer breeding season, the action really heats up.

As you begin your trip up the mountains, take highway 18 ("Rim of the World Drive") off Interstate 215, and be sure to check the brushy chaparral foothills for California Quails, California Thrashers, Wrentits and California Towhees. Look in the Canyon Live Oaks for Bushtits, Plain Titmice, Band-tailed Pigeons and Nuttall's Woodpeckers. As you gain elevation, search the groves of Alders, Sycamores and Cottonwoods for Swainson's and Hermit Thrushes, Downey Woodpeckers and Lesser Goldfinches. Around Big Bear Lake, you may find nesting Redheads, Ruddy Ducks, Pied-billed and Eared Grebes and Common Nighthawks. In winter, as many as 25 Bald Eagles have been found, often perched close to the lakeshore.

Bluff Lake, Baldwin Lake, and the road to Round Valley provide birders a wide variety of species to search for within the San Bernadino's. The dirt road to Bluff Lake (closed by snow in winter) is a little rough, but once you are there, you will discover it was well worth the trip. In spring and summer, the meadows and forests around Bluff Lake have an abundance of nesting birds. Look for Williamson's and Red-breasted Sapsuckers, White-headed Woodpeckers, Dusky Flycatchers, Steller's Jays, Mountain Chickadees, Western Tanagers, Pine Siskins, Cassin's Finches and even Townsend's Solitaires among the Lodgepole Pines. Check the edges of the mountain meadows for nesting Lincoln's and Fox Sparrows, Calliope Hummingbirds, Hermit Thrushes, Dark-eyed Juncos, Western Wood-Pewees and Western Bluebirds. At night you should listen for owls such as Northern Saw-whet, Spotted, Northern Pygmy and Flammulated Owls. During fall migration, you may find Hermit and Townsend's Warblers along with Golden-crowned Kinglets.

Baldwin Lake, home to the second largest breeding population of Eared Grebes in southern California, is best for water birds in the years following a wet winter. During drought years the lake can be almost completely dry. There are a number of dirt roads around the lake leading to the shoreline. Be sure to bird the arid sagebrush that lines the area around the lake. This is a great place to test your sparrow identification skills during spring and summer. You may find Savannah, Vesper, Lark, Sage, Song, Brewer's, Chipping, Black-chinned and Lincoln's Sparrows. In spring and fall, scope the lake for Wilson's Phalaropes, Gadwalls, Cinnamon Teals, Mallards, Northern Pintails and American Wigeons. Also, watch for Mountain Bluebirds and keep an eye out for Bald Eagles over the lake in winter.

To reach the Round Valley area, pick-up a detailed map of the area and look for road 2N02 at the south end of Baldwin Lake. This dirt road winds through some of the best Pinyon-Juniper habitat in the state. Stop occasionally and listen for Gray Flycatchers, Green-tailed Towhees and with luck, Gray Vireos. When you reach Arrastre Creek, check around the willows for nesting Calliope Hummingbirds, MacGillivray's and Wilson's Warblers and watch for the occasional Hepatic Tanager. Continue on through the Joshua Tree forest to Round Valley. Here you should find Scott's Orioles, Gray Flycatchers, Pinyon Jays, Black-chinned, Brewer's and Vesper Sparrows, Rock Wrens and Gray Vireos.

The San Bernadino Mountains can be accessed by taking highway 18 off Interstate 215 and following the road towards Big Bear Lake. There are plenty of motels and restaurants in the towns of Running Springs and Big Bear Lake and for information on birding this area call the U.S. Forest Service at (714) 866-3437.

Southern California Desert

The arid deserts of southeastern California are a stark contrast from the rest of the state and hold a mix of birds found nowhere else in California. In this land of sandy washes, barren landscapes, dry vegetation and little water, the desert oasis act as a magnet for attracting birds and birders. Most birders prefer to visit during the cooler months of spring and fall and at this time of year you can find most of the species special to this area. To find the resident species, the summer nesters and the migrants just passing through, you will want to visit Joshua Tree National Park and The Nature Conservancies' Big Morongo Canyon Preserve.

When you reach Joshua Tree National Park, be sure to stop at the headquarters at Twentynine Palms Oasis and pick up a map of the park. The nature trail to this oasis can be good for Roadrunners, Gambel's Quails, Verdins and Phainopeplas. On spring mornings, this is also an excellent place to look for migrating landbirds. Follow the main road through the park and remember that almost anyplace you find water you are likely to find birds. Check the stands of Joshua Trees for desert specialties like Ladder-backed Woodpeckers, Cactus Wrens, Black-throated Sparrows and Scott's Orioles. There are a number of campgrounds, picnic areas and palm oasis' in the park where birders should search for resident and migrant species. When you reach Cottonwood Spring, stop and bird the Fremont Cottonwoods for vireos, warblers, grosbeaks, flycatchers and tanagers during spring and fall migration. From here, you can hike up to the beautiful Lost Palms Oasis and look for Black-tailed Gnatcatchers, Loggerhead Shrikes, Red-tailed Hawks, Cactus and Rock Wrens, LeConte's and Bendire's Thrashers, Costa's Hummingbirds and Ash-throated Flycatchers along the trail. When you reach the oasis, you should find nesting Hooded and Scott's Orioles, Ladder-backed Woodpeckers and numerous migrants. Also, the elusive Desert Bighorn Sheep can be found in Joshua Tree National Park as well.

From the north entrance to Joshua Tree National Park, it is just a 30-minute drive to one of the finest spring "migrant traps" in California. Big Morongo Canyon Preserve is a lush oasis of Fremont Cottonwoods with a permanent stream that has attracted over 200 species of birds. This is the most reliable place in the state to find nesting Vermilion Flycatchers, Brown-crested Flycatchers and Summer Tanagers. Walk the trail through the big stand of Cottonwoods and listen for, endangered "Least" Bell's Vireos, Warbling and Solitary Vireos, Virginia Rails, Bullock's and Hooded Orioles, Western Tanagers, Black-headed Grosbeaks, Hammond's and Pacific-slope Flycatchers, Wilson's and Yellow Warblers, the occasional Yellow-billed Cuckoo and many other western migrants. Check the brushy patches and fields around the parking lot for Yellow-breasted Chats, Lazuli Buntings, Blue Grosbeaks, Lawrence's Goldfinches, Gambel's Quail, Black-throated Sparrows, California Thrashers and Costa's Hummingbirds.

You can reach Big Morongo Canyon Preserve and Joshua Tree National Park by following highway 62 north off of Interstate 10. The town of Twentynine Palms is conveniently located between both areas along highway 62 and has plenty of motels and restaurants. If you are a little more adventurous, there are also some marvelous campgrounds in the national park. For information on Joshua Tree National Park you can call (619) 367-7511 and for Big Morongo Canyon call (619) 363-7190.

The Salton Sea

The Salton Sea, a vast man-made 35-mile long lake in the middle of the California desert, is unlike any other birding location in the United States. Created by accident in 1905 when a canal carrying Colorado River water flooded, the sea and its' surrounding habitats are now home to an unparalleled amount of bird-life. Large numbers of Shorebirds, Gulls, Terns, Herons, Ibis, Cranes, Storks, Geese, Ducks, Grebes, Rails, Pelicans, pelagic birds, landbirds and a few endangered species call the Salton Sea home. Birding here can be productive any time of year for both land and waterbirds but be forewarned, summer at the Salton Sea is like visiting your local steam bath.

The best way to bird the Salton Sea is to start early (sunrise) and make many quick stops on an all-day loop trip around the sea. If you want a more relaxed pace, then spend most of your time birding the south end, starting at the National Wildlife Refuge headquarters. In winter, the ponds and fields behind the offices hold large numbers of White-faced Ibis along with Snow, Ross' and Canada geese. In summer, take the Seaside Trail just west of the headquarters to look for Clark's and Western Grebes, Laughing Gulls, Gull-billed Terns and Black Skimmers. Also be sure to check around the headquarters picnic area for Abert's Towhees, Verdins and Cactus Wrens.

Work your way around the edge of the sea on any of the numerous farm roads, and search the agricultural fields for birds. You are likely to find big flocks of Cattle Egrets, White-faced Ibis, Red-winged, Brewers and Yellow-headed Blackbirds and Great-tailed Grackles as you work your way down to the sea. Make sure you drive down to the end of Vendel Road to look for Burrowing Owls beside the road, and to check the ponds at the end for ducks and shorebirds. In summer, endangered "Yuma" Clapper Rails nest here along with Least Bitterns, Cinnamon Teals, Redheads and Ruddy Ducks.

You also want to stop at Red Hill Marina and Obsidian Butte and check the large ponds in this area. These are good places to scope the sea and to look for shorebirds, Yellow-footed Gulls and even Wood Storks in late summer. As strange as it may sound, when you look out over the sea, keep an eye out for pelagic birds. Magnificent Frigatebirds, Blue-footed and Brown Boobies, Laysan Albatross, and a number of different Shearwaters and Petrels have all been seen at the Salton Sea! If you have decided to work your way completely around the sea, some of the places worth checking are: the end of Johnson Street at the north end, Bombay Beach, Niland Marina, the Wister Unit, Finney and Ramer Lakes and Salton City.

The Salton Sea can be reached by following highway 86 south off Interstate 10 or highway 86 north off Interstate 8. Indio, Niland, Calipatria, Brawley and Salton City are just some of the small towns around the Salton Sea that can provide restaurants and accommodations. For more information contact the Salton Sea State Recreation Headquarters at (619) 393-3052.

The Orange County Coast

The coast of southern California, although highly developed by the real estate market, still has a number of excellent locations for birders. With its' beautiful beaches, rocky shorelines, coastal sage scrub and coastal saltmarsh habitats, it can offer you some unique terrain for birding. California specialty birds like Elegant Terns, Allen's Hummingbirds, Black-vented Shearwaters and endangered California Gnatcatchers can easily be found in this part of the state.

The Bolsa Chica State Ecological Reserve, located along the Pacific Coast Highway in Orange County, is one of the best remaining coastal lagoons in California. It has an outstanding one and one half mile loop trail around the lagoon, from which most of the birds here can be found. Be sure to check the trees on the bluff at the north end for White-tailed Kites, Red-tailed Hawks, Red-shouldered Hawks, American Kestrels and Peregrine Falcons. In spring and summer there is a nesting colony of terns that provides birders with a marvelous chance to study some of these look-alike species. Elegant, Royal, Forster's, Caspian and Least Terns along with Black Skimmers can all be found nesting at Bolsa Chica. The occasional Sooty, Gull-billed, Sandwich or Black Tern can add excitement to the mix as well. In spring and fall, you should find both Brown and White Pelicans, Great and Snowy Egrets, Greater Yellowlegs, Black-necked Stilts, American Avocets, Willets, Least Sandpipers, Long-billed Dowitchers, Black-bellied Plovers, Marbled Godwits and resident "Belding's" Savannah Sparrows. By late fall and winter, you can find Eared, Horned, Pied-Billed, Western and Clark's Grebes, Common Loons, Surf Scoters, Red-breasted Mergansers, Lesser Scaup, Buffleheads, Blue-winged Teals and more. For photographers, there is a wealth of photo opportunities by just standing on the boardwalk that overlooks the lagoon from the main parking area. Most of the waterbirds will eventually make their way past the boardwalk and many of the terns and shorebirds will fly right overhead.

The other place you don't want to miss is just 5 miles down the road from Bolsa Chica. The Upper Newport Bay Ecological Reserve, the largest remaining estuary in southern California, hosts an impressive variety and number of birds and is a must for any visiting birder. From Pacific Coast Highway, take Jamboree Road to Back Bay Drive and follow this one-way road as it skirts the edge of the reserve. There are a number of pullouts and parking areas where birders can scan the marshes or just walk the edge of the road. Upper Newport is famous for its concentration of endangered "Light-footed" Clapper Rails, Virginia Rails and Soras. The rails are most often seen at extreme high or low tides that push them out in the open to feed. When you reach the intersection of Back Bay Drive and San Joaquin Hills Road, park and check the freshwater outfall for wintering ducks. Cinnamon, Green-winged and Blue-winged Teals, Northern Pintails, Northern Shovelers, Mallards, American Wigeon and the occasional Eurasian Wigeon are all seen drinking and bathing within 15 feet of the edge of the road! As you drive through the reserve, be sure to scan the skies for raptors. Northern Harriers, Sharp-shinned and Cooper's Hawks, Turkey Vultures, Ospreys, Red-shouldered and Red-tailed Hawks, American Kestrels, White-tailed Kites, Peregrine Falcons and Golden Eagles are all possible.

Continue to the next main parking area and stop to check the coastal sage scrub habitat on the south side of the road adjacent to a freshwater pond. This is an excellent spot to find Allen's Hummingbirds and California Gnatcatchers. Listen for the Gnatcatchers' "mewing" call that is reminiscent of a cat. Other birds possible in this area are Loggerhead Shrikes, Say's and Black Phoebes, Anna's Hummingbirds, Bushtits, Bewick's Wrens, California Towhees and Mourning and Spotted Doves. During spring and fall migration you could find Nashville, Yellow, Black-throated Gray, Townsend's, Wilson's and MacGillivray's Warblers, Olive-sided, Willow, Pacific-slope, Hammond's and Ash-throated Flycatchers along with Lazuli Buntings, Black-headed Grosbeaks and Western Tanagers. In summer, you may find Black-chinned Hummingbirds, Cassin's and Western Kingbirds and Hooded and Bullock's Orioles. In winter look for Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Yellow-rumped and Orange-crowned Warblers, Hermit Thrushes and Lincoln's, Golden-Crowned, Song, Savannah and White-crowned Sparrows.

To reach coastal Orange County, take the 405 Freeway and exit at Jamboree Road and continue west to the Pacific Coast Highway. There are plenty of hotels, motels and restaurants around Orange County that are close to both Bolsa Chica and Upper Newport. For information on Bolsa Chica call "Los Amigos de Bolsa Chica" at (714) 897-7003 and for Upper Newport call the Department of Fish and Game at (714) 640-6746.

No other state can match California's unique mix and diversity of habitats. Because of California's deserts, mountains, wetlands, seacoasts, forests, riparian woodlands, grasslands, alpine tundra, offshore islands, open ocean, lakes and rivers, chaparral, coastal sage scrub and more, the state has attracted over 600 different species. From Allen's Hummingbird to Xantus¹s' Murrelet, and every bird in between, California offers it's visitors an outstanding variety of birds to find. With a fine system of parks and preserves, beautiful scenery, excellent weather and knowledgeable birders, California truly is the "golden state" for birding.

Additional Information

San Bernadino Mountains:

The San Bernadino Mountains offer a variety of activities at any time of year. The winter months provide opportunities for a myriad of winter sports. There are six different alpine skiing areas (including Snow Summit, Bear Mountain and Snow Forest) along with areas for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snow playgrounds and sledding (phone 909-866-5766 for reservations and information). In summer, Big Bear Lake and Lake Arrowhead offer boating, fishing, water-skiing, jet skiing, kayaking and canoeing. You can rent just about anything you need at Big Bear Marina, Gray's Landing, Holloway's Marina or Pine Knot Landing. Activities on the lakes usually run from March through November, depending on the melting of the lakes.

There are numerous opportunities for hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, jeep tours, camping and backpacking in the San Bernadino Mountains. Check with the San Gorgonio District Ranger Station (909-794-1123) to obtain a wilderness permit for entry into the backcountry for these activities. One excellent self-guided nature walk for birders is at the Baldwin Lake Ecological Reserve. There are lots of waterfowl and up to 25 Bald Eagles here in winter. The trail starts at the visitor center that is open 10am to 4pm (909-585-0717). Two other good nature trails are the Ponderosa Vista and Whispering Pines trails near Barton Flats. Both trails are self-guided and are over easy terrain. Also of interest is the Big Bear Solar Observatory on the north shore of the lake (909-866-5791).

There are about 20 forest service campgrounds in the San Bernadino Mountains that accommodate both tent and trailer camping. Most of the campgrounds are open from May through November and reservations can be made for some by calling MISTIX at (800) 283-2267. Barton Flats, San Gorgonio, South Fork and Hanna Flat campgrounds are some of the best. For more information on recreation in the San Bernadino Mountains contact the Forest Supervisor at (909) 383-5588.

Desert Areas:

Joshua Tree National Park has a number of fine trails you may want to explore. The Barker Dam Trail, 2 miles east of the beautiful Hidden Valley Campground, is an easy 3/4 mile walk ending at a pool of water. This trail takes you through the "Wonderland of Rocks" and provides a good chance to bird along the way. The 35-mile long California Riding and Hiking Trail is a great way to see the park on horseback, foot or mountain bike. This trail winds through the park and provides excellent viewing of the park's varied desert scenery. This trail can be accessed off Joshua Lane near Black Rock Canyon. The Fortynine Palms Oasis Trail begins off Canyon road four miles west of Twentynine Palms off highway 62. This moderately strenuous 1 1/2 mile hike takes you to an oasis where water-loving plants thrive and birds and animals come to drink at the spring.

Rock climbing is a very popular activity in Joshua Tree National Park as well. The park offers more than 300 climbs. Some of the most popular spots are the Wonderland of Rocks, Jumbo Rocks, Indian Cove and Hidden Valley. For campers, there are 8 campgrounds within the park that offer a variety of amenities. They all offer RV as well as tent camping spaces and are very popular in spring and fall. Call MISTIX at (800) 365-2267 for reservations. Black Rock Canyon, Jumbo Rocks and Indian Cove campgrounds are the best. You can get additional information at the Oasis Visitor Center by calling (619) 367-7511.

Orange County Coast:

The best way to see Bolsa Chica State Ecological Reserve is by following the 1.5 mile loop trail that starts on the boardwalk at the south parking lot. Follow this walking-only trail around the east side of the reserve until you reach the tide gate and then turn back south to complete the loop. This trail will also bring you close to the bluffs at the north end that are a favorite place to check for raptors. If you do not want to walk the trail then just spend your time scanning the mudflats, saltmarsh and open water around the boardwalk.

The best way to see Upper Newport Bay Ecological Reserve is to follow Back Bay Drive along the south side of the reserve. This 3-mile road is open to bike, rollerblade, automobile and foot traffic. It can get very busy on weekends so you may want to try visiting mid-week. Canoes and kayaks are also available for rent near the marina at the west end of the reserve. Call 714-640-6746 for more information.

The Salton Sea:

There are five public campgrounds along the east side of Salton Sea State Recreation Area, and another, operated by Imperial County, is located just south of the Red Hill Marina. Mecca Beach, Salt Creek and Bombay Beach campgrounds are three of the best. On the west side of the sea there are private campgrounds at Salton City and Desert Shores.

The staff at the Salton Sea State Recreation Area Visitor Center, located 1 1/2 miles south of North Shore off Highway 111 at State Park Road, can answer questions and provide information on the sea and the surrounding area. The center is closed in summer and you can call them at (619) 393-3052. The Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge headquarters is located 6 miles west of highway 111 at Sinclair and Gentry roads (619) 348-5278. There are a number of trails and roads leading from the refuge headquarters that will head to wetlands and croplands that are managed for birds. Designated trails are open all year and most roads within the refuge are closed to vehicles and are used only as hiking trails. The Wister Unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area, located 4 1/2 miles northwest of Niland off highway 111 on Davis Road is well worth exploring. As many as 40,000 ducks and 20,000 geese use this area in winter and there are over 4200 acres of man-made ponds and marshlands to search. Phone (619) 359-0577 for more information.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Camera Binoculars - an Excellent Gift

If you are a nature lover or involved in birding, camera binoculars would be a great item. Imagine not only seeing objects that are far away, but also possibility to take pictures of them. And if you think that binoculars and camera combo are terribly expensive, you are wrong. They are quite affordable.

When would you use camera binoculars?

As the name suggest a camera binocular is a binocular with a built in digital camera. It is necessary when you want to photograph objects that are far away. Ordinary digital camera doesn't have enough zoom for this kind of job.

Camera binoculars are extremely useful for people who research the lives of birds and animals that live deep in exotic locations. Like Amazon Rainforest, for example. The forest is full of interesting creatures, but they are afraid of people and are impossible to capture on ordinary film.

For this reason digital camera binoculars were invented. Imagine yourself sitting in ambush for hours, hoping to see rare animals and birds. When somebody appears, you can take a picture for later study. Even better, if your camera binoculars have a video feature you can capture the creature on video. It would only be a short video, not longer than a minute, but it is still a great opportunity.

Camera Binoculars for Capturing Sporting Events

Horse races are another place to use camera binoculars. You can capture great moments and take many photos. Since binoculars are equipped with digital cameras, you can take a lot of pictures without worrying about wasting film. How many pictures you can take is determent by how big your flash card in the camera is. The minimum is usually 64 Mg, but you can always have a bigger card or another card to replace the full one.

Binoculars buying tips

When selecting camera binoculars go with reputable brands. Bushnell binoculars are considered the best. Other good brands are Celestron, Meade and Barska. It is best to buy your binoculars at big sport equipment or electronic stores. On a flea market you can find cheaper prices, but nobody can guarantee that a Celestron binoculars you are buying half price is genuine.

If you are thinking about getting camera binoculars, make yourself a gift. They are really fascinating items and the prices went down significantly in the recent years. At about a $200 mark you can get high zoom quality binoculars and enjoy it for many years.

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Bird Watching Binoculars – Critical Bird Watching Equipment

Avid bird watching enthusiasts often look like pack mules hiking to a gold rush in the west. Bird watching binoculars are one of the critical pieces of equipment they carry.


There are a lot of issues when it comes to choosing binoculars for bird watching. Optics and personal preference seem to be the foremost, but here is a list of issues you should consider.


Bashability isn’t really a word in the English language, but it certainly applies to bird watching. The bashability of binoculars refers to how tough they are. For instance, if you drop them on the driveway while loading the car, will they hold up? What if you drop them off a small cliff? I, err…"a friend" once did this on the cliffs above Torrey Pines beach in San Diego. More than a few people have been surprised to learn that binoculars go out of whack when bashed. Now, I realize you would never drop them or subject them to anything but the finest treatment, but just check them for me.


I like wine. I drink wine. Unless I am standing at the cash register, I can’t really tell the difference between a $10 bottle of wine and one selling for $100. Bird watching binoculars seem to run along the same lines.

You can buy bird watching binoculars for as much as $1,000. Heck, Victoria’s Secret or Neiman Marcus probably have diamond encrusted ones for $100,000. Do you need to spend this money? No. My personal experience has revealed binoculars in the $200 to $400 range perform well and I’ve never missed a sighting because of their quality.

Obviously, you can spend whatever you wish, but keep in mind you don’t have to go overboard. Plus, binoculars without diamonds tend to still be on the beach once you make it down from the cliff.


This may sound obvious, but you need to buy binoculars that are comfortable. Ideally, you are going to lug these babies around for 10 or 20 years. Make sure they “fit” your face and spacing of your eyes. Also, make sure they don’t weigh too much. After a few hours of birding, this can become an issue.

If you’re going to be a birder, you’re going to need binoculars. Like wine, you can go overboard on them, but don’t need to.

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Rick Chapo is with Nomad Journals - makers of diary and writing journals. Bird watching journals are great bird watching gifts for bird watching tours and vacations. Visit for more bird watching articles.

Bird House Kits - Bird Watching In Your Own Backyard

Birding enthusiasts find all kinds of ways to attract birds to their gardens and backyards. They often use bird feeders of various sizes and shapes, filled with a variety of food and other things to attract many different species of birds.

A bird bath is another common fixture, providing a place for passing birds to perch and drink in peace.

One of the best ways of attracting birds is to provide them with a place to nest - they will keep returning instead of just stopping on their way past. You can buy pre-made bird houses or kits that you assemble yourself. If you're handy you can even build your own from scratch.

If you're thinking of using a bird house kit the first thing to consider is how it will be used. Is it going to be a permanent fixture in your yard or do you want it to be more portable? And what types of birds are you hoping to attract with it?

Some kits are made for single birds, others for more than one. Some are hung while others can be mounted on a fence or a post of some sort. Taking the time to plan ahead will make your birding experience much more satisfying.

If you're buying a ready-to-assemble kit, the wood will all be pre-measured and cut and all the other hardware will also be included. The entrance holes will be pre-cut and the mounting holes will be prepared for you. These kits are generally made from cedar as it is a good weather-resistant wood.

You may find the surfaces are rough or possibly primed, ready for a finish coat of paint. Painting the bird house is often half the fun. You can go simple, with a color that attracts the type of birds you want or you can go with a fancier paint job, making it a nice addition to your garden.

About the author
Ronnie Booth offers helpful advice about building bird house kits and other related topics for The Birding Guide website. For more helpful information and to sign up for our free newsletter

Friday, March 9, 2007

Bird Watching In Africa - The Ultimate Vacation

Although bird watching is an activity that can be done virtually anywhere on the planet, Africa remains one of the most popular destinations on the planet for a bird watch adventure. Specifically, there is a substantial portion of the tourism industry in Southern Africa that is meeting the needs of bird watching in Africa. Service providers recognize the needs and desires of bird enthusiasts and create safaris and adventures designed with the serious bird watcher in mind. What Region is Best? Bird Watching in Africa is also popular on the Eastern portion of the continent. The bulk of the tourism is in the South, but a larger number of species exist in the Eastern nations of Kenya and Tanzania than anywhere else. Boasting over 1300 species, bird watchers in Eastern Africa have the opportunity to see 15% of the world's bird population in one trip. While the number is not so striking in the South, it is still substantial at 920 species. This equates to about 10% of the world's known species. One of the nations that makes up the Southern area is Botswana. There are several prime destinations within Botswana. One is Chobe National Park. Here bird watchers will find over 450 species of native African birds. Another popular bird watching destination in Botswana is the Okavango Delta. Striking wildlife displays can be seen here seasonally as tiger fish follow the migrating birds up river. A trip to the famous Victoria falls should be planned in when visiting Botswana as well. When considering East Africa for bird watching, Kenya provides a diverse range of opportunities. From the Central Highlands, which are heavily forested, to the lower lying lakes region, Kenya is a haven for many of Eastern Africa's bird species. When considering Kenya, be sure to check out Aberdare National Park, Amboseli National Park, Lake Baringo, Lake Nakuru, Lake Bogoria, Mount Kenya National Park and the Kakamego Forest Reserve. Several of these parks also serve as the home to various species of primates that are sure to attract your attention as you keep your binoculars turned towards the trees searching for birds. Make the Most of this Incredible Bird Watching Destination If you are going to invest the time and money into a trip to go bird watching in Africa, you will want to make sure that you take plenty of time to prepare. Research the species that you may be encountering so that you don't have to spend all of your time leafing through guide books. Read reviews on guides and outfitters to ensure that you have the best possible experience that you can. Some services meet certain needs and interests and you want to make sure that you get the most out of your once in a lifetime investment.

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About the Author

John Edmond writes regularly for a number of websites on on oudoor recreation and pursuits including birdwatching and vacation camping.

Cairo Is Situated In Egypt

The town Cairo is situated in Egypt on the coast of the red sea. It is located on the banks and islands of the Nile River in the north, immediately south of the point where the river leaves its desert bound valley and breaks into two branches into the low lying Nile Delta region. Cairo means the vanquisher or the triumphant. It has a population of eleven million and it is the twenty first metropolitan area in the world. Antiquities are often associated with Egypt, but Egypt offers much more. Certainly it is a prime location to see our great heritage from the ancient world, including pyramids and wonderful temples, but it is also part of the Holy Land and tours to Christian and other religious monuments are popular. There is also nature and desert treks, great scuba diving and even golf, fishing and birding expeditions. One may choose to relax on the wondrous Egypt Red Sea or Sinai coasts, take in the high culture of Cairo, or even leisurely float down the Egyptian Nile on a luxurious river boat. It is a maddening city with its incessant crowds, noise and pollution. A walk down any street in Cairo is a feast for the senses and exploring beyond the popular districts below will not fail to fascinate. The area also boasts numerous museums and contemporary art galleries. The oldest part of the city is somewhat east of the river. There, the city gradually spreads west, engulfing the agricultural lands next to the Nile. The eastern half is filled with hundreds of ancient mosques that act as landmarks. The western Cairo is dominated by the government buildings and modern architecture. The town Cairo has been established as Egypts main centre for medical treatment, as well as a major Health Centre in the Middle East. Some of Cairos most famous hospitals are As Salam International Hospital Corniche El Nile Maadi. Egypts largest private hospital has three hundred and fifty beds. The government offices governing the Egyptian educational system is found in Cairo. It has long been the hub of education and educational services not only for Egypt but also for the whole world. Transportation in Cairo comprises an extensive road network, rail system, subway system and maritime services. It is the centre of almost the entire Egyptian transportation network. Cairo is facing a housing problem. The lack of satisfactory and affordable housing for the rapidly growing population has forced many poor Egyptians to make cemeteries in the city of the Dead as their permanent homes. Among these cemeteries live a community of Egypts urban poor, forming an illegal but tolerated, separate society.

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About the Author

Douglas Scottworks and writes for Car Rentals The Car Hire Specialist. and is a free lance writer for The Holiday Rental Site

Hummingbirds Arrive

I knew it was summer when I was buzzed by a hummingbird, flying low, close to the top of my head. The teensy female hovered close to my face as if to say, "Hello, I just finished my trip from Mexico, and would like you to put up my feeder, please!" She was so close, I could feel a gentle breath of air from her rapidly moving wings touch my cheek. She flew backward, and perched on a tulip tree to keep an eye on me. Seeing no movement from me (because I was so fascinated watching her!} she spied the statuesque hollyhocks along the back brick wall and began to explore them.

I went inside to find my new hummingbird feeder and to set out a fresh batch of sugar water for my smallest guests. The type of hummingbird in my neck of the woods, the Central foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, is the Ruby-throated Hummingbird, or Archilochus colubris.

The ruby-throat weighs 1/10 of an once and is 33/4 inches long. They have a long bill to fit into flowers, a green back with a whitish belly. The male has an iridescent red throat that can look black in some lights. The female has a whitish throat. There are sixteen species of hummingbirds in the United States, with only the ruby-throated in the East, and black-chinned, rufous, and Anna's hummingbirds west of the Mississippi River. Eight species of hummingbirds have been reported in Canada, with three being rare. Some hummingbirds you may find in Canada include the ruby-throated, the black-chinned, Costa's hummingbird, calliope, and the rufous hummingbird.

All hummingbirds can fly like helicopters, which is one of the reasons attracting them to your garden is so exciting. They can fly sixty miles/hour and endure 500 mile migrations. They have a high metabolism and need to eat a huge amount of food to fuel themselves. They love nectar. They can eat half their body weight in sugar every day. They will also eat spiders and small insects for proteins and fats.

How can we help feed our tiny friends and attract them to every year? I have found a combination of flowers and feeders helps bring the them back every summer. For a feeder, I prefer my simple glass bottle screwed into a plastic base with small holes every inch around the parameter or so, with a circular perch and little yellow petal-like shapes surrounding the holes. The plastic base is red.

For food, you can make your own mixture of 1 part sugar to 4 parts water, boil for two minutes the cool and store in the refrigerator. DON'T use commercial mixes with artificial colors and flavors, and don't use honey. Don't put food coloring in the mix. Rely on your feeder having some red to it. You need to clean and change the feeder every one to three days, with a bottle brush and hot water. Put the nice cold fresh water in when done cleaning. Don't use detergents to clean it out.

Plants that attract hummers often have red flowers. These include cardinal flowers, red gladiolus, hollyhocks, coral-bells, lantana, geraniums and begonias. They also like honeysuckle, azaleas, and weigela.

I keep my hummingbird feeder away from my other bird feeders because my little friends are ferocious. They will defend the area around their feeders and even dive bomb big blue jays if they get too close. I like to put the feeder close to plants I know they like, so they will be attracted to both.

My day's work is done. The hummingbirds are happily perched on the feeder, licking the cool, sweet, sugar water. When they are done, they fly past me with little squeaks of thank you. They make me smile to see their antics and beautiful colors. Won't you try to invite these tiny guests to your backyard?

Feeding Birds

With a little know-how and patience you too can make your property a meeting place for cardinals, hummingbirds and mockingbirds, robins, nuthatches and blue jays. A feeder placed within sight of a kitchen or picture window will give you a front row seat to watch the comings and goings of some of nature's most beautiful and lively creatures. And you'll be helping out at the same time as the many thousands of backyard feeders play an increasingly important role in assisting migratory songbirds through their stressful fall and spring migration periods. In most cases, there are only three things you have to provide: a steady food supply, abundant water and an environment secure from animals, not only predators but the birds' chief competitor for food, the resourceful and determined "Pesky the Squirrel".

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Bird Watching Journals - Preserve Your Bird Watching Experiences

Bird Watching is a great way to escape the rat race and be one with nature. Alas, your bird watching experiences can fade with time. The best way to prevent this is to keep a bird watching journal for your sightings and trips.

Bird Watching Journals

Take a minute to give some consideration to your most recent bird watching experience. What sticks out in your mind? Now think about the first time you ever went bird watching. Undoubtedly, you remember few things about the geography, people you went with, every bird sighted and so on. The experiences you’ve forgotten are lost to time. If you had kept a bird watching journal, this wouldn’t be the case.

There are famous instances of people keeping journals throughout time. Of course, Anne Frank’s Diary is the best example. In her diary, Anne kept a running commentary of the two years her family spent hiding from the Nazis. While your bird watching experiences better be more lighthearted, keeping a journal will let you remember them as the years pass.

A good bird watching journal combines a number of characteristics. First, it should be compact so you don’t have to take up unnecessary space for other things. Second, it should have a case to protect it from rain, spills and so on. Third, the journal should contain blank areas to write your notes. Fourth, the journal should contain cue spaces to remind you to keep notes on specific things. Cues should include:

1. Who you went birding with,

2. Where you stayed and if you enjoyed it,

3. Who you met and contact information for them,

4. The geographic and weather conditions, and

5. The birds you sighted and added to your life list.

At the end of the trip, you should be able to get the following from your journal:

1. Contact information for other bird watchers and people you met,

2. Enough detail to provide you or a friend with a guide if you travel to the location a second time.

3. Memories to reflect upon years later, and

4. Something to pass on to your children and grandchildren.

To get the most out of your bird watching journal, you should write in it during and immediately after birding. Every sighting brings new experiences even if you’re just sitting in your backyard.

Bird watching is a great way to commune with nature. Make sure to preserve the experience.

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]Indian Wildlife Tours

The Indian wildlife is noticed because of its vast species and is one of the worlds richest an varied Wildlife. More than 4% of the total Indian land is covered with the forest range and the wildlife. The country is one of the 12 mega diversity areas in the world, in terms of animal. The no. of tiger alone in India ranges from 3600- 4000. This is largely found in sub-alpine Himalayas to down south and across east- west. There are a huge number if Indian wildlife species in different parts of the Indian region and forests. Some are abundant in number and some are in the danger of extinction. It is sad to notice that the tigers are in fear of extinction. In this The Project Tiger came into being to protect Tigers from extinction. Now there are 28 tiger reserves in India. The big mammals. like the elephant, sambar, swamp deer, cheetel, hog deer, barking deer, wild boar,tiger, panther, wild dog, black and sloth bear are found in the foothills of Himalayas. The three species of wild sheep found here are nayan, bharal and oriel. Graze on the grasses of the western Himalayas Among mammals of the Zone is snow-leopard, the most beautiful animal hunted for its attractive skin. Wolf, fox, black and brown bear, palas, cats are other predators. A large number of pheasants, snow partridges, snow cocks, and golden eagle are the birds of this sub-region. In the eastern Himalayas and sub zone bed pandas, badgers, porcupines, ferrests etc. are found.

The beautifully snow clad ranges of Himalayas offers the tourists a feast for the eyes that they are ecstatic and leaves them gaping for more. When this scenic view has a wide range of animals to it, there is nothing more a tourist can ask for. Common fauna, which are seen mostly in the different parts of the Himalayas, are snow leopard, blue sheep, musk deer, tigers, elephants, wild boar, and crocodiles. In extreme cold conditions the animals migrate to lower regions of Himalayas for food and shelter.

Those animals which get adjusted to theextremities of the cold decide to stay in the freezing temperature. Yaks can be found in the cold desert and are abundant in number.

In regions of Ladakh animals like Nyan, the wild and the most largest sheep and urial are found.In the Terai region variety of wildlife can be seen like elephants, tiger, deer python and wild boar, etc.

Whereas in the higher altitudes animals like musk deer, blue sheep and snow leopard can be seen. Different kinds of birds like the Monal Pheasant are also seen in areas of eastern, central, and the western region of the Himalayas.

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