Fall is my favorite season. It’s harvest time in the garden, the leaves are a sea of brilliant colors and crisp mornings get paired with hot coffee and down vests. There are also lots of great opportunities in the fall to get outside and enjoy the natural beauty of Central New York. I love bird watching and hiking and now is the time to get outside as much as physically possible before more snow falls (as you might have heard, winter is coming!).
For a bird watcher like myself, there are lots of additional reasons to love this time of year. Many different types of birds migrate south during the fall, so it’s a good time to see new species that are just traveling through on their way to warmer climates. And birdwatchers have a great advantage now that all the leaves have fallen off the trees. Naked trees make it a lot easier to find birds.
Here in Central New York there are lots of great trails and parks to go birding and hiking. The Beaver Lake Nature Center in Baldwinsville is great for spotting wildlife, as is Highland Forest in Fabius. I saw a nest of Pileated Woodpecker chicks there this past spring calling out of a tree cavity, just off the trail.
The library has lots of great resources to help in your adventures outside. My favorite bird field guide is National Geographic’s Field Guide to the Birds of Eastern North America.
I also like to use the Merlin Bird ID App, which was created by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. This app has lots of information like a field guide but it also generates potential bird IDs based on your answers to some quick and simple questions. The app is free to download. For details visit: http://merlin.allaboutbirds.org/.
If you want to get started with bird watching I’d also recommend this read to get you on your way, Sibley’s Birding Basics.
So grab your binoculars (or bins for short) and get outside! There is lots to see if you just get outside and explore.