Peterson's Picks
Peterson's Picks are Web sites deserving the attention of all Peterson Online site visitors. These praiseworthy links are birding-or nature-oriented sites that stand above the rest in their presentation of information about birds, birders, and the natural world

Web site containing the archives of birding hotlines exchanged by the volunteers of the NBHC
• Birding Hotlines, BirdChat
• BirdEast Archive
• BirdCNTR Archive
• BirdWest Archive

Adopt-a-Bird at Audubon's Center for Birds of Prey! Photos, bios, and educational information on our "raptor residents" (including eagles, hawks, owls, falcons, ospreys, kites and vultures)! Make one of our birds "part of your family" through the Adopt-a-Bird sponsorship program . . . or help promote environmental education with our Bird Buddy classroom kit!

Interested in knowing more about El Niño? If you are wondering how the ENSO (El Niño / Southern Oscillation) will affect the weather this winter, this is the place to turn to for answers to your many questions. Here you can find answers to questions such as: What happens during an El Niño? What are the effects of ENSO on climate? What is the current state of El Niño? What are the forecasts for El Niño? And much more information with animated graphics!

America's foremost birding organization for the active birder finally gets a presence on the Web! The nonprofit ABA has worked in support of the active, traveling birder for more than twenty-five years, providing great bird finding info and a wealth of other resources for North American and world birding. Now they are beginning to bring many of these resources to the Web. Already on-line at this new site is the complete ABA's Directory of Volunteer Opportunities for Birders, listing more than 400 worthy projects that birders, as citizen scientists, can participate in to further the cause of conservation and education. On-line too, the monthly synopsis of rare bird sightings from the ABA's monthly newsletter, Winging It. Of particular note is a page devoted to the ABA's program to encourage young birders, including excerpts for the ABA's youth-oriented newsletter, Birds-Eye View . . . and there is information about the ABA's highly regarded full-bodied bimonthly glossy magazine, Birding. Future enhancements include a searchable library catalog, activities, and fun and challenging quizzes. This is a site to watch!

This site is a hub for Canadian birders on the Web. Most of the features have a northern focus, arranged by province. There is comprehensive list of Canadian birding books, current links, and upcoming events. There is an extensive collection of bird lists, not only covering Canada but extending worldwide. A directory of Canadian birders with e-mail and an active Web-based forum, Canadian Chat Line, warm the site with human links.

At Ed Matthew's site, the Optics for Birding Home Page, the last word on optics can be found, literally If something of value is ever said on the Net about optics, in short order, Ed incorporates it into his Optics Faq. In this persistent manner over the years, little by little, Ed has been collecting and summarizing networked birder's questions, opinions, wisdom, and reviews about birding optics. These gleanings from rec.birds and BirdChat have been cataloged, abstracted, and folded into this valuable faq, making it a unique and wonderful outgrowth of the birding community. The faq is now the foundation block for his Web page. The layout of the site is supurb. Notably, the site can be searched! Ed has also amassed a comprehensive collection of optics-related links and indexes. For example, there is an index to 46 different optics manufacturers, many with links. This site is a good first stop for prospective buyers of optics.

Spring Shorebird Migration
In the birder's year Christmas counts are now over and the new year list is rolling forward all too quickly. Time to get ready for spring shorebird migration! As early as mid-March and through the end of May, all across continental North America, flocks of shorebirds can be seen as they progress north to their summer breeding grounds. Shorebirds breed not just along shorelines, but in the grasses of the North American prairies and lonely expanses of Canadian arctic tundra. This intriguing group, comprised of the birds in the order Charadriiformes, is part of the reason birders can be found frequenting sewage ponds wherever they go, scoping flocks of waders, trying to pick out a Baird's Sandpiper from amongst the Leasts and Westerns, or just enjoying the variation in the northward flow of species within the weeks of the migration window. With The Shorebird Watcher, birders Dick and Jean Hoffman of Ohio have put together a excellent Web presentation on shorebirds, including a Shorebird Bibliography and International Shorebird Gallery. They have links to the expanding network of shorebird researchers and other shorebird devotees. Visit their site, learn a bit, catch some of their enthusiasm, and then head out to your local sewage pond to see one of the more observable migration events — spring shorebird migration.

Is your education on the paleontology and systematics of birds getting a little dated? Time for a refresher? Up for a short course on birds? Don't become a fossil! Let Tthe University of California Museum of Paleontology's pages, Introduction to Aves — The Birds, bring you into the new millenium. You know about Archaeopteryx, but what about Confuciusornis? What's the current scoop on coevolution between angiosperms and birds? How is your Mesozoic life list? Study hard. Quiz next Friday! Features include
• Fossil Record
• Life History and Ecology
• Systematics
• More on Morphology
• Links to the rest of the museum
• Links to Other Ornithological Collections

What do you expect from the web? Useful information? Pictures? Sound? Videos? Fun and games? You'll find all these when you go OnLocation, Virtual Birder's monthly online birding field trips. This month's tour, Hawk Watch!, takes you to the prime hawk-watching sites of Hawk Mountain Pennsylvania and Cape May New Jersey, Two great spots to get a good taste of fall hawk migration. You'll find you can easily spend an hour or more on one of these field trips. After each tour your birding identification skills and avian knowledge will be sharper. Features include
• OnLocation — monthly field trip as well as those of previous months
• Real Birds
• Birding Links
• Prizes

We have choosen the New Jersey Audubon Web site as a Peterson Pick because of how its many features work together to meet the needs of the birds and birders of a region. Balancing recreational birding, conservation, and education, it would serve as an excellent model for future sites by other Audubon organizations. Features include
• New Jersey Birding Site Guides by Season
• Outdoors with Pete Dunne (a weekly column)
• New Jersey Rare Bird Sightings
• Nature Notes
• Discussion Areas
• Information on Chapter Sponsored Research Projects
• Calendar of Meetings and Events
• Membership and Chapter Information.