watching_birds-photo Watching, Attracting and Feeding Birds in New York
with Sam Crowe

More about water

Birds not only need water for drinking but also for bathing.  Dirty feathers hamper their ability to fly as well as their ability to insulate themselves against cold weather.  Aside from these needs, birds also seem to just plain enjoy a quick "dip in the pool" or a nice, long "soak in the tub." If you've ever had the opportunity to observe an immature bird during one of its first experiences in a birdbath you've most certainly noticed the similarities to a child's first time in a baby pool, as they jump in and out, over and over again, in absolute delight.

Hummingbirds generally prefer to leaf bathe but even hummingbirds will splash around in a birdbath.

Here are a few photographs of a Purple-crowned Fairy (from Costa Rica) enjoying a dip in the pool.

 Purple-crowned Fairy

Purple-crowned Fairy

The photographs were taken by Glenn Bartley, a frequent contributor to the network. Glenn leads many photography trips to Mexico, Central and South America.  Check out his web site for more great photos and information on his products and services.  

We invite you to come back often.  The home page is updated every week. 

Bald-headed Birds

Head feathers on some species often molted at the same time.

Every summer we receive numerous images and questions about bald-headed birds.  The situation is actually fairly common and is nothing to worry about.

The situation occurs when birds molt their feathers at the end of summer.  In some cases the feathers around the head are molted all at once, leaving lots of bare skin and a bald-headed appearance.  Blue Jays and Northern Cardinals seem to have this happen more than other species but they are not alone.  Unless there is some underlying illness (rare) the feathers will grow back quickly.

bald cardinal

Northern Cardinal with molted head feathers.

Birding Quick Hits

The more "chick-a-de de dees" a chickadee makes the more concerned it is.

Learn about the Cedar Waxwing.
cedar waxwing

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Bird Banding

bird bandingBird banding involves placing a small metal band on the leg of the bird. The band is numbered and information about the bird, the date captured and its location is recorded, along with the band number. If the band is later recovered, the number can be traced back to the initial information. This can help scientists learn about bird migration, the age of the bird and more.

Learn more or report a banded bird.

Bird identification

Learning to identify the birds you see is a fun and rewarding experience.  If you are a novice at identifying birds we have several options for you.

50 common New York birdsNifty Fifty Guides:  Our Nifty Fifty Guide to the Birds of New York is available on-line and in print.   It contains 25 common backyard birds and 25 additional common birds found in New York.  Purchase the print version.

The online version is shown below. Click on a corner to turn the page. has multiple resources for identifying a bird you have seen as well as information on improving your identification skills.   You can also send us an image on the web site and we will try to identify it for you.