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Birding in an urban area

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Old Thursday 30th December 2010, 00:52   #1
Angnix
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Birding in an urban area

I am mostly used to birding in a rural area in the winter, or for one of my ornithology jobs I did birding in an urban park in spring/summer. I am finding however now that I live in an urban area, I am having a hard time in the winter. My apartment is next to a river and a few hundred ducks live there (mallard and domestic) and I did find one wintering Wood Duck in there, but that's about it. Sometimes there are cardinals and house sparrows and starlings and junk.... and I know there are local parks but they are a bit of a walk and it's really cold...

Suggestions?
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Old Thursday 30th December 2010, 20:56   #2
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I live in the heart of an urban area and I find that other than backyard bird feeding, I have to hop on a bus and go to one of our naturalized parks to see anything. With the river freezing this year even the ducks aren't around.
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Old Friday 31st December 2010, 00:13   #3
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It is difficult when one lives in an apartment.
The usual fix, putting up feeders and a winterized birdbath, is generally not doable.
Could you put up some birdhouses?
The goal would be to make your site a bit more bird friendly. Can you add to what attracts the Cardinals etc?
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Old Friday 31st December 2010, 00:19   #4
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Watch the skies ... (maybe not best in the middle of winter, but it can be surprising what passes by.)

Check out any vacant lots/ random green spaces which could turn up something interesting - look on maps or google earth.

Otherwise I think you'll have to go for your parks ...
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Old Sunday 2nd January 2011, 20:20   #5
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Hello,

I have some ideas for you. Join a birdwatching group. Most urban areas should have one that way you can carpool to somewhere better lol

Use winter to plan for spring, too.

Look for owls. Before everything leafs is the best time and I've found them in large urban parks before.

I am in the same boat, my yard is quite boring so I must travel a few miles to find much of interest but it's worth it. Take the bus if you have to or get a second hand bike.

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Old Monday 3rd January 2011, 09:07   #6
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Parks are good, but a tip is simply to always have a small pair of binos with you everywhere you go and always keep an eye open! You never know what might turn up... raptors seem to come into cities sometimes in winter (at least here) to feed on the pigeons and other birds in the city. We have a Peregrine this year arount the cathedral, and I've seen Goshawk hunt in the city and White-tailed Eagle soar past. None of which I would ever see without keeping an eye on the skies, and they've all been seen when I've been downtown for some shopping or something.
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Old Tuesday 4th January 2011, 17:47   #7
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I live in a fairly urban area and see plenty of birds. and I always get some lovely surprises.
If you don't have much garden space, You could use a window bird feeder or put a bracket on the side of the wall and fix a feeder/birdbath to it.

Rather than going to pond/lakes full of ducks and noisy geese, try and find a little quiet stream near you. Lots of birds will be able to bathe in it without being disturbed by big birds. Herons and kingfishers prefer places like this, too.

thick undergrowth (especially if berry-laden) may not look too appealing but there will be so many birds there (you wouldn't believe it!)

Learn some birdsongs- be aware of what's in the trees-and always keep watch for birds- no matter where you are going.
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Old Friday 7th January 2011, 19:27   #8
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I used to live in Ann Arbor, 20 years ago. Get to know the river trails and greenways, both legal and informal. I once saw a turtle laying eggs in the middle of Ann Arbor's greenway!
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Old Saturday 8th January 2011, 03:54   #9
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Well, I forgot I made this thread, lol.

Anyway, it's not that big of a city. I went to a few parks with an aunt to try to birdwatch, and the most birds we saw were near the parking area, lol!

Also in the beginning of Feb. I found birders to go on a birding trip to the UP of Michigan, which should be cool.
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Old Saturday 29th January 2011, 12:37   #10
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My suggestion is to go somewhere tropical! Hahah!

But I know what it is like to live in an urban area and wish that beautiful birds would be fluttering in your backyard.
My best advice is to set up a few bird feeders, and try a variety! I had suet feeders, seed feeders and peanut butter set up in my backyard in Southern Ontario.
My other advice is to enjoy the little things, but make the most out of your opportunities. I loved when a nuthatch or woodpecker dropped by, but also enjoyed all my chickadee friends!
Also, go to the UP! I have heard so many good things about it! I will have to go there when I am back in the area!
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Old Saturday 29th January 2011, 17:41   #11
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I kind of worry that a bird feeder will attract some kind of an animal with a disease. Can you get a virus like rabies from touching stuff that infected animals ate off of?
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Old Saturday 29th January 2011, 17:50   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by welove2travel View Post
I kind of worry that a bird feeder will attract some kind of an animal with a disease. Can you get a virus like rabies from touching stuff that infected animals ate off of?
Hugely unlikely.
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Old Saturday 29th January 2011, 19:33   #13
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Originally Posted by welove2travel View Post
I kind of worry that a bird feeder will attract some kind of an animal with a disease. Can you get a virus like rabies from touching stuff that infected animals ate off of?
No
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Old Tuesday 22nd February 2011, 16:37   #14
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A good point about disease has been brought up, and one that very important. While you won't catch anything, without proper cleaning diseases can spread between the birds eating at the feeder, and nobody wants that! I clean mine once a week, or every two weeks if I am busy, but proper cleaning is important!
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Old Tuesday 29th March 2011, 00:00   #15
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I enjoy urban birding, even when not out with bins still alert. last year while waiting at traffic lights in Dudley (West Midlands) I saw a goshawk in flight.
I'm a season ticket holder at Wolves and very often have an eye on the gulls that are often seen in flight or hang around the area.
In the winter just gone I watched meadow pipit feeding on the pitch during a game. It was the only grass for miles around, everywhere else was under snow and frozen solid.
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