Field Guides By

On Our Website: Video Podcasts!

Richly illustrated with paintings, photographs, and sound recordings of featured birds, these video podcasts are an entertaining and educational supplement to the Peterson Field Guide to Birds of North America. You may view and download three hours of podcasts from our web site. Choose from the cateogries below:

Family Overviews Species Profiles Biography Tutorials

Birding Resources

March, April, May

Whereas many species moved south with the falling temperatures of autumn, they return with the rising temperatures of spring. The return order is in many ways a reverse of that seen in fall migration — waterfowl are among the first to move northward and small passerines are some of the last.

Nebraska ducks
More than 7 million ducks and geese pass through Nebraska every spring. In March, visit places like the wetlands around Clay Center, Hastings, Grand Island, and Kearney, as well as the Platte River.

Sunrise/sunset along the Platte River
The first Sandhill Cranes begin arriving on the Platte River in Nebraska in late February. Throughout the month of March their numbers increase until, by the end of the month, well over one hundred thousand cranes are roosting on the river. Thousands of cranes leaving/entering their roost is one of the most magical moments in birding.

Southern Colorado Sandhill Cranes
In mid- to late March, up to 20,000 Sandhill Cranes can be seen in the areas surrounding the Monte Vista and Alamosa National Wildlife Refuges in Colorado.

Watching waterfowl return to Ontario
Late March and early April witnesses the passage of more than 15,000 ducks and geese of 25 species through Prequ'ile Provincial Park, Ontario.

Migration on the Upper Texas Coast
Mid- to late April marks the peak period for migration on the upper Texas coast. Migrating songbirds arrive on the coast after flying all night over the Gulf of Mexico. Under certain weather conditions these birds are grounded in large numbers all along the coast — birds can almost literally be dripping from the trees. More than thirty species of warblers, plus vireos, flycatchers, thrushes, buntings, tanagers, and grosbeaks can be seen. Some places to look include High Island, Sabine Woods, and Brazoria National Wildlife Refuges.

Birding with the ghost of Dr. Samuel Mudd
Located at the southern end of the United States is Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida — best known among nonbirders as the home of Fort Jefferson. During the Civil War, and continuing until 1874, this never completed fort served as a prison. Its most famous prisoner was Dr. Samuel Mudd, who had the misfortune of setting the broken leg of John Wilkes Booth. Booth broke his leg during his escape after assassinating President Abraham Lincoln. Mudd was convicted as a co-conspirator and sent to Fort Jefferson to serve out his sentence. Birders know about the Dry Tortugas for other reasons. More than 40,000 pairs of Sooty Terns, 2,000 pairs of Brown Noddies, and 100 pairs of Magnificent Frigatebirds nest on nearby Bush and Long Keys 0618219080 both easily seen from the fort. The fort also acts as a magnet for passing migrants and the trees can be alive with warblers, cuckoos, buntings, thrushes, tanagers, and other species. The typical time to visit the Dry Tortugas is in April or early May.

Northbound shorebirds
The late-April massing of Western Sandpipers at Grays Harbor, Washington, is truly an impressive sight. As many as 500,000 individuals have been seen in a single day and sightings of several hundred thousand is not uncommon. The Grays Harbor Shorebird Festival celebrates the migration of Western Sandpiper and 23 other species of shorebird.

peeps, Peeps, PEEPS!
In mid-May, up to 14 million shorebirds pass through the Copper River Delta, Alaska, on the way to their more northerly breeding grounds. The Copper River Delta Shorebird Festival in Cordova, Alaska, celebrates this event.

Also in mid-May is the Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival in Homer, Alaska. More than 100,000 shorebirds of 25 species can be seen migrating through the area.

Warbler weekends at Pt. Pelee, Ontario
Mid-May marks the peak passage of migrating songbirds at Pt. Pelee, Ontario. The number of species and concentrations of birds is weather dependent, but even a slow day can still be good. Large numbers of birders are also here on weekends, so plan on arriving early to get a parking place.

Horseshoe Crabs and shorebirds along Delaware Bay
Primitive-looking Horseshoe Crabs come ashore in Delaware Bay to lay their eggs from early May through July. In late May, shorebirds, primarily Semipalmated Sandpipers, Ruddy Turnstones, and Red Knots, mass in Delaware Bay to feed on the Horseshoe Crab eggs. Places to go include Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge, Little Creek Wildlife Management Area, and Ted Harvey Conservation Area in Delaware and Cape May in New Jersey.

Introducing the founder of our field guide series:
Roger Tory Peterson

Roger Tory Peterson, the artist, the photographer, the writer, the guide who turned the skies into a cathedral for the worship of living things ... [is] one of America's most talented men.

- PETER JENNINGS, ABC World News Tonight, recognizing Roger Tory Peterson as Person of the Week.

Learn More About Roger Tory Peterson