Fall is an active time for migratory birds – and for birdwatchers, too.
There’s plenty of information on the Web for planning a trip anywhere in the country – from the East Coast, where hundreds gather to watch hawks and other birds land on their way south, to the Pacific, where you can see sea birds and also migratory mammals making their annual trek.
For New England wildlife, check out the Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary on the southern coast of Massachusetts. Go to the Massachusetts Audubon Web site and then follow the “jump to a sanctuary” link. Allens Pond is a well-managed salt marsh with a half-mile stretch of beach where more than 300 bird species have been recorded. The Mass Audubon Web site lists a host of upcoming programs and volunteer opportunities for bird-lovers.
Birdwatching comes in all styles. Some birders like organized tours where someone else handles the details and gets them to the birds. But if climbing mountains is your thing, check out the year-round Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in east-central Pennsylvania. Nearly 20,000 hawks, eagles and falcons pass by the sanctuary each fall.
Heading farther south, you come to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, where a local-business-sponsored Web site steers visitors to tours at places such as the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge on Hatteras Island. The site has an updated bird count. And it highlights the group’s annual birding festival in November.
Out West, birds nest in cactuses, not salt marshes. To find them, go to Birding Sites Around the World. This Web site leads visitors to birding Web sites in every state. The Arizona site, for example, lists some birding facts (it says Arizona has 94 of the 246 species endemic to North America) and several birding Web sites from around Arizona. Madera Canyon in southern Arizona is known for its hummingbirds.
Two Monterey Bay sites offer a good introduction for birders who are heading for the Pacific Coast. Check them out to see examples of the wildlife that live around the 6,000-foot-deep underwater canyon under the bay. The site says more than 400 species of shorebirds, ducks, geese, seabirds and songbirds spend the entire winter along the California coast.
To find a wealth of links to information about birding in the Northwest, try Tweeters, which can direct you to the Washington Ornithological Society, regional Audubon groups, national wildlife refuges and many other sites to help find the birds in Washington, Oregon and British Columbia.
Anne Wallace Allen, for the Associated Press