This is For the Birds


This issue is for the birds – literally! Some of us love to have hobbies that involve our local birds. From feeding to watching them, they can occupy a lot of our time, and that is time well spent. The relaxation benefits can be very good for our mental well being. And there’s nothing that compares to seeing a beautiful red cardinal flying across the yard, in stark contrast to that fluffy white stuff that seems to keep falling from the sky as I’m writing this.

Great blue herons are quite common in the Finger Lakes, especially since there are so many water sources for them in which to hunt for their food. Did you know that there are 11 kinds of herons that are in this region, at least during a portion of the year? (See page 22). The white egrets especially stand out from the crowd when viewed in a local marsh or wetland. It can be quite a challenge to try and spot and record all of the different kinds this year. If you do, we’d love to hear about it!

The peregrine falcon has become quite a success story, especially in the Finger Lakes Region (page 32). Some years ago, we published an article about them inhabiting nesting sites in urban areas like Rochester, Syracuse and Elmira. The tall buildings and deep spaces between them mimic the canyons that these falcons normally call home. This issue brings to light a homecoming of sorts, in the deep ravines and gorges that are near the shores of the Finger Lakes. Taughannock Falls State Park is home to several of them, and writer/photographer Andy Johnson and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology have studied and recorded these particular peregrines over the past few years. I can’t wait to visit the gorge just to possibly get a glimpse of these beautiful birds.

And let’s not forget making birdhouses out of gourds (page 8). This is a DIY project that is fun and also helpful for songbirds looking for a home.

Last but not least, artist Claudia Lambdin features birds sometimes in her beautiful collages (page 16).

We’d love to see your photos and hear any extraordinary bird stories from our readers. Enjoy the early spring!

E-mail Mark with questions or comments at

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