Best Places to See the Odd Bird
 

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UNUSUAL BIRDS : current situation and conflicts

FOR PUFFINS, CRANES, Prairie Chicken, Dancing Grouse, Ivory-Billed Woodpecker and More

 

This is a birding guide for non-birders. We include the huge, big, rare or weird birds that fascinate people who just want to see animals. These are birds that might only be seen in a few places around the country, cheated extinction or just act or look funny. We have separate maps and guides for eagles, hawks and feral parrots.

 

Condors: The California Condor is the biggest bird in North America. They're still endangered (from habitat loss, hunting, DDT and lead poisoing) and being reintroduced. The other condor--the Andean Condor--lives in South America. They're a type of vulture.

 

Crane: 15 species of crane live in wetlands worldwide. North America has the rarest, the whooping crane and the most common, the Sandhill Crane. Only 200 whooping cranes survive--after a heroic save from just 16 birds.

 

Grouse and Prairie : Grouse look like flamboyant, wild chickens. Prairie chickens are a kind of grouse that has dramatic mating rituals at leks. They used to be all over, but now are rare, mainly on the plains.

 

Hummingbirds: Avianweb says there are 325 to 340, depending on whether your view of whether some count as sub-species or a distinct species. They all live only in the Americas, but less than 20 species appear in the U.S. The most widespread here is the Ruby-throated, followed by the rufous. More are delighting northerners, expanding their range because of feeders. Hummingbird.net says Texas, Arizona and New Mexico get the most variety.

 

Pelican: 8 species of pelican live worldwide, 2 in North America. The white pelican winters in California and the Gulf of Mexico and breeds up in Canada. The smaller brown brown is the only one to live in the ocean--the Pacific, Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico.

 

Puffins: 3 species of puffins spend most of their life in northern oceans. Your basic puffin, the Atlantic Puffin lives in the north Atlantic. The Horned Puffin breeds off Alaska and migrates down the west coast. The slightly larger and even more flamboyant Tufted Puffin breeds from Alaska to California. US puffins were nearly wiped out, but Audubon brought them back through Project Puffin. They're still hunted and eaten in Iceland.

 

Woodpecker: About 200 species of woodpecker live worldwide, with about 20 commonly seen in the U.S. The most spectacular, even mythical, is the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker, which thought extinct for 50 years, but (proabably) re-discovered in 2005. Some think it may just have been the enormous pileated woodpecker, which is fun to see (or hear hammering) itself. The red-cockaded is endangered.

 

 

 

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BEST PLACES TO SEE FUNNY BIRDS

midwest
Midwest - See other animals in the Midwest
crane
International Crane Center
The International Crane Foundation is the only place in the world where you can see all 15 species of cranes, including the extremely rare Whooping Crane. Since 1976 they've organized the Annual Midwest Sandhill Crane Count.
The center directly helps crane populations with captive breeding and reintroduction programs.
The ICF also supports crane research, promotes education and protects crane ecosystems.
Guided tours are 10, 1, and 3--every day in the summer and on weekends for the two months before and after summer.
E11376 Shady Lane Rd (Just east of Route 12), Baraboo, WI (608) 356-9462
pelican

White Pelicans of Marsh Lake

White pelicans nest at Marsh Lake, which is part of Lac qui Parle State Park. The once common bird was wiped out completely in 1868. A century passed before a new colony was discovered on Chase Lake in 1968. The Big Island colony has seen 10,000 birds at once. They arrive in mid-April, engage in a courtship dance. According to photographer Dominique Braud, "one female and several bachelor males fly in large circles, riding the thermals over the island during the hot hours of the day." Most eggs are layed by early May, but stragglers go on for a month. Pelicans lay two eggs on the ground on nests close to each other.
About 1/2 mile north of Watson on U.S. 59 and Hwy 7, then west on Chippewa County Road 13.
(320) 734-4450

prairie chickens

Bluestem State Park, MN

The Bluestem Prairie Scientific and Natural Area attracts the greater prairie chicken (a Minnesota species of 'special concern') to dance on the prairie in  by the State). You need to make reservations with the Nature Conservancy to use the blinds in April. Sandhill cranes also visit the preserve. 15337 28th Ave S, Glyndon, MN (218) 498-2679

parrot

Chicago Parrots

Monk Parrot nests have been spotted all around the University of Chicago area and Jackson Park.
The parrots living in Harold Washington Park were the ones that convinced the late Mayor Washington, who used to live on the park, to give them a reprieve from state agriculture officials who wanted to exterminate them. Giant nests are easy to spot.
Hyde Park Blvd. and 53rd Street

many animals

Critter Camp

Critter Camp takes in all the small odd-ball pets that people get without thinking it through and gives them a permanent sanctuary. You can set up an appointment for up to 6 people and visit 20 ferrets, a kinkajou, fenec fox, degus, parrots, turtles, sugar gliders and everything else. You can either donate or do some volunteer work to visit.
824 Church St., German Valley (near Rockford), IL815-266-1342

pelican

Illinois Pelicans

Since about the year 2000 white pelicans have been visiting the area around Sugar Grove in the spring for about a month. Up to 300 birds visit, creating a local spectacle. Usually they stay at Nelson Lake in the Dick Young Forest Preserve, but in 2010 they moved to Carson Slough, a few miles to the south.

hummingbird

Sugar Grove Nature Center - Southern IL

The Sugar Grove Nature Center has neat nature events throughout the year, including a hummingbird festival in September and talks on frogs and butterflies. They've gotten a local hummingbird banding expert to give demonstrations and talks.
4532 North 725 East Rd., Mc Lean, IL (near Bloomington) (309) 874-2174

hummingbird

Lake Hope State Park - OH

Lake Hope State Park is the longest hummingbird festival in the country: it goes on for all of July and August. Plus, you get to feed hummingbirds by hand from a tube. It's every Wed-Sun, from 1-4. The event started around 2000 when Dave Sapienza was holding a feeder and a hummingbird didn't mind. Visitors joined in and the event took off.
(740)596-5253
Bonus species: beaver, deer, turkey, turtle

condor

Hinkley Buzzards - OH

Hinckley Preservation is known for its Hinckley Buzzards (turkey vultures). They circle over the park all summer and roost there, too. Part of the Cleveland park system, Hinkley has a big party for the return of the buzzards every March 15. The Ohio Ornithological Society says that everyone thinks you should look for them at Whipps Ledges, but don't be fooled. You want to go to West Drive and try either the Redwing picnic area or the  “Buzzard Roost” parking lot.

northeast
Northeast - See other animals in the Northeast
puffin
Eastern Egg Rock Puffins
Puffins were down to one pair in Maine before conservation efforts, including Stephen Kress' Puffin Project, stepped in to restore the population. Now 800-some birds live on four islands. The biggest population is on Machias Island, but the closest to where most people visit Maine is Eastern Egg Rock, which houses about 150 puffins. Summer boat tours visit the birds, but don't go ashore.
From New Harbor Hardy Boat (800)-2-PUFFIN
From Boothbay Harbor Cap'n Fish (207) 633-3244
puffin
Machias Island Puffins
Puffins were down to one pair in Maine before conservation efforts, including Stephen Kress' Puffin Project, stepped in to restore the population. Now 800-some birds live on four islands. The biggest population is on Machias Island. Others are on Eastern Egg Rock, Seal Island NWR and  Matinicus Rock. Summer boat tours visit the birds, seldom going ashore.
Norton tours the island from, Jonesport, (207) 497-5933
Bold Coast leaves from Cutler, ME (207) 259-4484

eagle

hawk

Berkshire Bird Paradise
Berkshire Bird Paradise is one of the country's biggest bird sanctuaries. More than 2,000 birds (100 species) live here and lots of them are the big ones everyone wants to see: bald and golden eagles; many kinds of large hawks; exotic pheasants; former pet songbirds; barnyard refugees; black swans. Peter Dubacher, Director
43 Red Pond Rd., Petersburgh, NY (518) 279-3801
crow

Auburn, NY

Auburn, NY, has had lots of crows in cold weather since the early 1900s, but in recent decades the town has become notorious for trying to get rid of them with crow shoots. Around 25,000 to 50,000 crows can roost in and around Auburn in fall and winter, though some say that in recent years some have moved to Syracuse. Cornell ornithologists say there are many theories on why these clever birds roost together--from it's just a great spot, to protection in numbers to information sharing. A Light in the Darkness suggests looking around the river. Check out crows.net for more roost locations.

goose

Boston White Geese

A flock of white and grey geese have managed to survive year-round in Boston's Charles River near Cambridge thanks to a group of dedicated friends. The Charles River Urban Wilds Initiative brings them food and protect them from the threat of eviction. No one is exactly clear on how and when they arrived--whether it was 1981 as guard ducks or 1950. Look for them near the Boston University Bridge.

south
Plains -- See other animals on the Plains
prairie chickens
Prairie Chickens Taylor Ranch
The one public "lek" to view prairie chickens is at the Taylor Ranch, near Grand Island, Nebraska. Birders come for the raucous mating displays  in March through May. Nebraska Birding Trails advises: "Active prairie-chicken leks can be located by driving this area around sunrise and stopping every few hundred yards or so to listen for their "booming" from mid-March into May."
To reach Taylor Ranch, take Interstate-80 exit No. 311, drive north on the Highway 281 for 9 1/2 miles then go left (west) on Highway 2 for almost four miles then right (north) on 60th Road until you reach a stop sign (about 2 1/2 miles). Then turn left (west) on One R Road and go one mile. Stop there, pull over to the right side and watch the hills directly north.
+41° 0' 20.16", -98° 28' 5.52"
crane
Rowe Sanctuary Sandhill Crane Migration
Each spring half a million Sandhill Cranes stop over in Nebraska for a month on the Platte River between Kearney and Grand Island. They fatten up on discarded corn on their way up to Canada. The premiere viewing site is Audubon's Rowe Sanctuary outside of Kearney. Reservations (available starting at the beginning of the year) are required for the dawn and dusk viewings  March-April.
The Nebraska Game Commission lists other sites, including the Ft. Kearney Historic Site down the road. Plenty of guides offer tours, including Elderhostel.
44450 Elm Island Rd., Gibbon, NE (308) 468-5282

pelican

crane

Chase Lake NWR - ND

Chase Lake National Wildlife Refuge has one of biggest nesting colonies of white pelicans in the country. In 2007, they counted 22,524 birds, down from 34,604 the year before.
Pelicans were spotted at the lake as early as 1863 and were nearly hunted to extinction. By 1905 there were only 500. In 1908 Teddy Roosevelt made Chase Lake the 15th National Wildlife Refuge.
From April to September you need a permit to enter the refuge to see the pelicans.
5924 19th St SE, Woodworth, ND (701) 752-4218

pelican

Cheyenne Bottoms, KS

Cheyenne Bottoms is a mid-point rest stop for 45% of migrating birds in the Western Hemisphere. Whooping cranes, Sandhill cranes, pelicans, and are among the 320 species spotted here.That's why the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network named Cheyenne Bottoms of an important site for the whole hemisphere, the only one in the midwest. They count 619,047 birds for the spring and 273,308 for the fall. The state keeps an excellent calendar of when to expect each species. The Quivira National Wildlife Refuge is nearby and can be reached on the Wetlands and Wildlife Scenic Byway.
56 NE 40 Road, Great Bend, KS (620) 793-3066

pelican

Sullys Hill NWR

Bison, elk and white-tailed deer were re-introduced to Sullys Hill in 1917 and 1918. The bison herd is kept at under 30, about the same number as the elk. Black-tailed prairie dogs were introduced in 1975. The preserve, which was originally a National Park, has an annual birding and nature festival. White pelicans are common in spring and summer. You may also see tundra swan, avocet or harrier.
Take 57 south 13 miles from Devil's Lake, turn south on BIA-6. (701) 766-4272

south
South - See other aninals Down South
woodpecker
Ivory-Billed Woodpecker
The Ivory-Billed Woodpecker, long thought extinct, may be alive in the Cache River National Wildlife Refuge. Of course, no one knows exactly where it may be living in the refuge--the hunt is still on for stronger proof it exists--so the map placemark is approximate. The wildlife service reports that it is concentrating the search in Rex Hancock Black Swamp Wildlife Management Area, Cache River National Wildlife Refuge, Dagmar Wildlife Management Area, Wattensaw Wildlife Management Area, and White River National Wildlife Refuge.
Ivory-billed Woodpecker recovery: contact Laurie Fenwood at (404)679-4016
Refuge 870-347-2614
The refuge is scattered over a wide area northeast of Little Rock. The main office is in Dixie, AR on Hwy 33, 16 miles south of Augusta, AR.
pelican
Ocracoke Pelicans
Ocracoke Island has brown pelicans. You can see them on the ferry over from Hatteras Island or at the seafood company on Ocracoke sound, where they get extra fish.
out west
The West - See other animals out West
condor

Grand Canyon Condors

About 50 condors now live in Arizona. The best time and place to see them is the south rim of the Grand Canyon in May, Arizona Fish and Game says. Some roost near the Bright Angel Lodge.
The vulture-like bird was down to 27 birds before all were captured for a breeding program. Now about 350 exist, about half in the wild, including some in Arizona, Utah and Wyoming. The birds still have to be captured twice a year to test for lead levels in their blood. They are poisoned by hunter's bullets.

condor

Zion National Park

Zion National Park is more known for scenery but it's got ringtails, condors, eagles and an unusual kind of squirrel.
Ringtails are a raccoon relative. They come out at night on the high cliffs, so few people get to see them.
California condors sometimes appear at Lava Point, Canyon Overlook, and Angels Landing. Audubon found 42 roosting just outside the park, which is an Important Bird Area.
Rock Squirrels live in rocky canyons.
Mexican spotted owls breed here.

owl
Animal Ark Sanctuary
The Animal Ark Sanctuary takes in native and exotic animals that don't have the skills or physical ability to survive in the wild. Residents include black bears, wolves, foxes, owls and many big cats (cheetah, bobcat, tiger, lynx, leopard).
1265 Deerlodge Rd., Reno, NV (775) 970-3111
Alaska
Alaska - See other animals in Alaska
puffin

Glacier Bay National Park

Glacier Bay National Park has black and grizzly bear, stellar sea lion, mountain goats, dall's por
poise (check the entrance to Icy Straight), harbor seal, otters and birds. Guillemots and puffins are in the northern bay. Bald eagles are all over the place. It has a huge population of the rare  murrelet.
Humpbacks eat there in the summer. Killer whales spend the year. Gray whales visit the outer coast in spring and fall.  Dall's porpoises like the open water; harbor porpoises prefer sheltered waters.
eagle

Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve

The Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve near Haines, Alaska, has the biggest concentration of bald eagles in the world--about 4,000 over four miles of river. Every year thousands of eagles catch salmon from fall to February on the Chilkat River "flats" about 20 miles north of Haines on Route 7. The American Bald Eagle Foundation holds the Alaska Bald Eagle Festival in early November with lots of photography seminars, wildlife demonstrations and tours and art events.
The foundation suggests that while you give the eagles and fish plenty of space. Local etiquette: Stay off the flats and watch the eagles from the area between the highway and river. Use public or group transportation. Only use turn-outs to stop.
Haines Visitors Bureau (907) 766-2234
Alaska Bald Eagle Festival  (907) 766-3094

CA
California -- See other animals in California
owl
San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary
The Sea & Sage Audubon Society leads field trips in spring to band owls and hawks at the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary.
crow

Yellow-Beaked Magpie

Yellow-Beaked Magie, the only species of bird found only in California. (There's a black-billed one on the other side of the Sierra Nevadas.) They're only found in the central valley to northern California, like Sacramento's Effie Yeaw Nature Center - American River Parkway or Los Alamos Park. Audubon California told the Lompoc Record that Magpies are found Buellton, the Santa Ynez Valley and the rural areas east of Santa Maria and southern San Luis Obispo County. They like oak woodlands.
Magpies are especially susceptible to climate change and West Nile Virus, which has decimated populations. CA Audubon did a 2009 survey that found them most prevalent in Sacramento, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Yolo counties. They have friends in a group called Magpie Monitor, which is keeping track of nests.

condor

California Condors

Central California's Pinnacles National Monument has 23 reintroduced California condors that mix with about the same number who live at Big Sur.
The last 27 condors were captured by 1987 for a captive breeding program. The current population is about 350, roughly half of which are wild, the Ventana Wildlife Society says. Here's their neat map of where condors live.
Condors are still dying because hunters refuse to stop using lead bullets, denying any link to problems of lead poisoning.
Roughly two dozen condors live around Big Sur.  Birder Don Roberson recommends looking for roosts (where they sleep overnight) along Highway 1 from Andrew Molera State Park down to the pullouts near the Big Sur River. Look for vultures; condors may be flying with them looking for carrion.

Hawaii
Hawaii --- See other animals in Hawaii
parrot

Honolulu Feral Parrots

A flock of Mexican red-headed Amazons is seen in the Newtown Estates section of Honolulu, according to the Honolulu Star Bulletin. The flock of hundreds also flies over Pearl City.

goose

Halaekala National Park

Haleakala National Park is home to the rarest goose in the world, the Nēnē or Hawaiian Goose. There were once only 17 birds; now there's more than 1,000. The park has different habitats and also gets more tropical looking birds, like the honeycreeper.

Florida - See other animals in Florida
parrot
Baptist Hospital Parrots
The trees in the ponds near the Baptist Hospital are home to four species of parrots: Monk and Mitred Parrots and White-winged and Yellow-chevroned Parakeets, according to TropicalAudubon.com.
crane

Lake Kissimmee Whooping Cranes

Kissimmee Lake and the Kissimmee prairie is where 37 endangered Whooping Cranes live in a non-migratory flock.
This flock, started in 1993. By 2004 four cranes fledged in the wild from captive-bred parents.
The whooping crane population dwindled from 1,400 whooping cranes in 1860 to only 15 birds in 1941, all in one flock that migrates between the Arnasas NWR in Texas and the Wood Buffalo National Park in the Northwest Territories of Canada.
Not wanting to put all their crane eggs in that one basket, conservationists tried to create two new flocks. One migrates between Wisconsin and Florida. This flock just stays put in Florida.
Until 1940, there was a non-migratory flock in Louisiana.
The birds are considered rare even in Kissimmee State Park.
Kissimmee Prairie Preserve is 25 miles north Okeechobee. It's 5 miles north of the western end of Okeechobee County Road 724. US Hwy 441 and Okeechobee County Road 700A intersect County Road 724.
The ramp on this map is where one photographer found them. (863) 462-5360

crane

Chassahowitzka NWR Whooping Cranes

The Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge is the winter home to a flock of endangered whooping cranes and a bold experiment in wildlife re-introduction.
Started in 2000, this flock spends summers in Necedah NWR in Wisconsin.
According to the Whooping Crane Conservation Association, this flock has 74 birds and four adult pairs. The goal is 25 pairs by 2020.
Only two other flocks exist in the country. A non-migratory flock in Florida near Kissimee (at an undisclosed location) and a flock that migrates between the Wood Buffalo National Park in the Northwest Territories of Canada and the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge on the Gulf coast of Texas.
Operation Migration raises the birds with crane puppets so they won't imprint on humans, then guides them on the migration route with ultra-light aircraft.
The park is also a good place to see manatees, who cluster in the warm water of spring-fed Crystal River January to March.

1502 SE Kings Bay Dr., Crystal River, FL (352) 563-2088

crane

St. Mark's NWR - FL Panhandle

St. Mark's NWR, on Florida's panhandle, gets manatees in the summer, from April to September.
Bonus Species: Woodstork, Sea Turtles (Loggerhead, Leatherback, Green)
The visitor's center is by the lighthouse. (850) 925-6121
pelican

Florida Roseate Spoonbill

Roseate Spoonbills aren't endangered, but most of them like in Latin America, so in the U.S., they're quite rare. They can only be found in southern Florida and the tip of Texas. eBird shows Estero Bay as a likely place to see these tall, pink birds. Florida Fish and Wildlife says you might also want to try the JN Ding Darling NWR, Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park, Lover's Key State Park and Everglades National Park: Park Headquarters to Flamingo.
The Great Florida Birding Trail recommends:
Cockroach Bay Aquatic Preserve
E. G. Simmons Park
Everglades National Park: Main Entrance and Shark Valley
Fort De Soto County Park
J. N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge
Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge
Ritch Grissom Memorial Wetlands at Viera (Viera Wetlands)
Stormwater Treatment Area 1 West
Stormwater Treatment Area 5
Upper Tampa Bay Park

Texas - See other animals in Texas
crane
Whooping Cranes at the Aransas NWR
The Aransas National Wildlife Refuge is the winter home to the only wild flock of whooping cranes left. About 230 whooping cranes spend their summers in Wood Buffalo National Park in which straddles Alberta and the Northwest Territories, the spend October to May in Texas. Whooping cranes are the rarest crane and about the biggest: five feet tall, with a wingspan of eight feet. Because of hunting, feather and egg collecting and loss of habitat, the species was down to just 20 individuals by the 1940s. The USGS and Fish and Wildlife Service have been breeding the birds in captivity and introducing a second flock that winters in Florida and  summers in Wisconsin. Operation Migration teaches these birds the route that they would normally learn from their parents by leading them with an ultralight aircraft.
You can see one whooping crane family from the Observation Tower near Mustang Lake. To see more you'll need to take a boat tour from Rockport.
The Refuge is between Austwell and and Rockport / Fulton. It's on FM 2040 off FM 774 .
Wildlife Center (361) 286-3559
Boat Tours: Pisces Charters (800) 245-9324; The Skimmer – (877) 892-4737; Wharf Cat – (800) 782-2473
hummingbird

Arahuac NWR

The Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge outside Houston is one of the few places in the U.S. to see the roseate spoonbill--the tall, pink wading bird with the shoveler bill. The refuge and the Bolivar Peninsula are good spots, according to eBird, though they can be found just about anywhere on the Texas coast.
Bonus species: whistling ducks, herons, humminbirds, snow geese, alligator, bobcat.

hummingbird

Rockport Hummingbird Festival

Rockport, TX, had one of the first hummingbird festivals in the country. Hummingbird.net says "this is the big one!" The Rockport-Fulton Chamber says you might see 100 birds in one yard. 361-729-6445

prairie chickens

Attwater Prairie Chicken NWR

Attwater Prairie Chicken NWR was set up to save the Attwater species of prairie chicken, which used to roam Texas and Louisiana, but dwindled to just 1,000.
Bonus species: Bison, sandhill crane, armadillo, alligator
FM 3013 Road, Eagle Lake, TX
(979) 234-3021

parrot

Brownsville Parrots

The southern tip of Texas has a big parrot population. Complicating the usual myth and mystery about how these parrot colonies start, at least some of these birds moved here on their own from Mexico. Trails.com says that three species live here: Green Parakeet and Red-crowned and Yellow-headed. World Birding Center gives precise locations in different towns. Since they moved here on their own, in 1988 they got designated as natives.

Canada
Canada -- See other animals in Canada

Burnaby, BC

Burnaby, BC, which is right next to Vancouver, is known for its big crow roosts. They've celebrated their crows with art projects and fretted when construction of a Costco interfered with their crows, which are found along Still Creek.

crane

Wood Buffalo National Park

Wood Buffalo National Park, Canada's largest park, is the summer home to the largest and only naturally occurring flock of Whooping Cranes. But they are generally off limits to visitors.
They nest in the "remote boggy reaches of Wood Buffalo National Park of Canada, far from human disturbance," the park says.
The Whooping Crane Conservation Association says this flock has 266 birds as of 2008.

The park also has the world's biggest self-regulating wild herd of buffalo: more than half of Canada's population of 10,000.
You can reach the park off Highway 5 (gravel road) near Hay River, NT, from the  MacKenzie Highway.
Visitor, Fort Smith (
867) 872-7960
24 hr hotline:
(867) 872-7962
Fort Chipewyan Office / Visitor Reception Centre (
780) 697-3662

puffin

Nova Scotia Puffins

Whale cruises from West Brier Island out into the Bay of Fundy may get you to see whales, dolphins, seabirds and a colony of seals and Atlantic puffins. July-fall is the peak.
In the fall, shorebirds and raptors often stop at the island. Mariner Cruises Whale & Seabird Tours
(902) 839-2346 LATE SPRING: Finback Whales, Minke Whales and Harbour Porpoises
JUNE: Humpback Whales return along with White-sided Dolphins

puffin

Newfoundland Puffins

Newfoundland's symbol is the puffin and it calls itself the Seabird Capital of the World. The Witless Bay Ecological Reserve has the biggest puffin colony in North America, about a quarter million puffins. The reserve is four islands that you reach by boat. The park has a list of approved guides and boat tours leave from many shore towns. The area is just half an hour from St. John's. During the summer nesting season there are some restrictions. (709) 635-4520

You can also see puffins from the shore of Elliston on Bird Island. There are tours available from a biologist from the company Natural Wonders. He boasts: "This is one of the best places in North America to view puffins!!!" You can also check out the Cape Bonavista Lighthouse Provincial Historic Site. Don't expect to see one, but biologist Jonathan Joy notes that Newfoundland is the giant squid capital of the world.
Bonus: whales, icebergs, guillemots, petrels, eagles, osprey

blue jays, size XL

Monster Blue Jays of Prince Edward Island

Prince Edward Island loves its blue jays, which are practically the size of pigeons and quite bold and friendly. The owner of Forest and Stream Cottages even gets them to eat out of his hand (and teaches guests how, too)
446 Fox River Road, Murray Harbour, PEI (800) 227-9943

Latin America
Latin America -- See other animals in Latin America
condor

Colca Canyon, Peru

Cañón Del Colca in southern Peru near Arequepa is where people make a special trip to see enormous and threatened Andean Condors soar.

Europe
Europe - See other animals in Europe
puffin

Iceland Puffins

You can see puffins swimming if you just go out on a whale watch from Rekjavik. Or you can go to their huge colonies.

Vestmannaeyjar, an island south of Iceland, is a puffin paradise. Every May puffins return here to mate and nest. Then in August the babies often get bedazzled by the city lights and fly into town, where the children of Heimaey make a practice of collecting them in boxes and rescuing them.
About 8-10 million Atlantic puffins live in Iceland, about half the world population.
You can also try cliffs of Látrabjarg on the mainland or the islands of Breiðafjörður and Lundey ( Puffin Island), which is just miles from Reykjavik. Icelanders regularly eat puffins--except those in Hornbjarg and in the Natural Reserve Park of Hornstrandir.

If Iceland itself weren't remote enough, go to its most difficult to reach part that reaches into the Arctic Circle, far away from the road that rings the country.
Hornstrandir Nature Reserve is best reached by boat. The puffins here are friendly because this the only place in Iceland they're not hunted.
Bonus species: eider, arctic fox, seals

 

RSPB Leighton Moss

The RSPB's reserve at Leighton Moss is where a huge colony of bitterns nest. Red deer are seen in fall. You might also see harriers hunting over the wetland.
01524 701601 Carnforth, Lancashire

owl

New Forest Otter, Owl and Wildlife Park

The New Forest Otter Owl & Wildlife Park near Southampton breeds otters, takes in orphaned otters and has vastly more animals that its name suggests.
Bonus animals: pine martens, polecats, minks, stoats, badgers, red foxes, northern lynx, Scottish wildcats, hedgehogs, wallabies, wild boar and deer.
02380 292408

prairie chickens

Loch Garden Nature Preserve

The Loch Garten Nature Reserve is one of the most popular places to see wildlife in the UK. The harriers are the stars and are often followed by webcam.
The very rare and endangered capercaillie (a kind of grouse) nests here, but less than 2,000 are left. They breed at leks in April and May and can sometimes be seen on early morning treks then.
Nethy Bridge, Boat of Garten, 01479 831476

Hamburg Swans

Every year for centuries Hamburg moves its 120-some swans to a nice winter pond where they keep the ice from freezing.You can also rent a duck or swan boat to go out on the pond and river in nice weather. In summer you can see the swans all around Hamburg.

Flying of the Eagles

Flying of the Eagles near Kintzheim was France's first raptor park when it started in 1968. That's when we first started realizing the crisis of reduced populations of raptors everywhere--due to both pollutants like DDT and centuries-old prejudices against hunting birds.
This park lets you see eagles very close up in flying shows and reintroduces raptors to the wild.
They have assembled HUGE collection of eagles, vultures, condors from around the world. Check out the Vautour de Pondichéry or the African Eagle. They have a lot of birds you won't see at U.S. raptor centers.Château de Kintzheim
67600 KINTZHEIM (+33)3 88 92 84 33

Carmague, France Flamingos

Carmague, a French park on the Mediterranean, is one of the best wildlife spots in France. It's one of just a handful of places in Europe to see flamingos and it also has wild horses.

condor

Vulture Look-Out

The Vulture Lookout (Le Belvédère des vautours) gives you a great vantage point to see vultures soar in gorges over a river. If you're lucky you may also see the beavers, otters and herons that live there, too. A museum explains how vultures were almost wiped out and the work to bring them back. There are also plenty of birding tours in the area.
 48150 Saint Pierre des Tripiers, Lozère - France
33 5 65 62 69 69

Pyrennes National Park

The Pyrenees National Park is the last hold-out for many species that otherwise would've been wiped out in Europe. Right on the border with Spain, the park holds the last six Pyrenean bear, the isard. In the summer Egyptian vulture visits.

Center for the Reproduction of Storks and Otters

The gorgeous village of Hunawihr host a center for reintroducing storks, the icon of Alcase. The 12-acre site is also working on otters. It's nextdoor to a botanical garden that has a butterfly garden.Hunawihr is on the Alsace Wine Route

 

 

 

friends of the dolphin
Albatross Project
All About Birds
Audubon Society
Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Crows.net
East Coast Vulture Festival
eBird
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International Crane Foundation
Operation Migration
Pileated Woodpecker Central
Project Puffin
Ruffed Grouse Society
Save the Albatross
World Birding Center (Texas)
wildlife reading

Decline in prairie chickens causes worry

 

 

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