Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, contests and more!
Start Your Free Trial

This is the 1st of your 3 free articles.

Become a member for unlimited website access and more.

FREE TRIAL Available!

Learn More

Already a member? Sign in to continue reading

What’s inside the February 2016 issue of BirdWatching, on newsstands now

BirdWatching, February 2016
BirdWatching Magazine, February 2016, Harlequin Duck by Glenn Bartley, Blue Jay (inset) by Paul Reeves/Shutterstock.

Our February 2016 issue went on sale at Barnes & Noble on Monday, January 5. Look for the Harlequin Duck on the cover. (The photo comes from the camera of talented frequent contributor Glenn Bartley. Details of how he took the photo, and how we created the cover, are here.)

Here’s what you’ll find inside our February issue:

Ecologist and science writer Cheryl Lyn Dybas tells what changing numbers and new winter locations mean for the Harlequin Duck, one of our smallest and most beautiful sea ducks. This is our cover story, and a really good one.

As we enter another election year, Managing Editor Matt Mendenhall relays what John Fitzpatrick, George Archibald, Joel Greenberg, and other leaders of the birding community told him are the issues that birders care about most. This article is well worth your time, too, since they described issues that are critically important but rarely make the national political radar.

And well-known author and Wheaton College professor John Kricher describes how the American Ornithologists’ Union answers a particularly thorny question — Just when does a subspecies deserves recognition as a full species?


Also in the February issue:

• In a special essay, Cary Rideout tells the amazing story of what happened when a hungry Great Gray Owl mistook his furry trapper’s hat for an afternoon snack.

• In “Hotspots Near You,” knowledgeable local birders give driving directions, tell the best times to visit, and list the birds you can see at four hotspots on or near the coasts of Hawaii, Florida, California, and Texas. See every hotspot we’ve written about in “Hotspots Near You.”

• In “Birding Briefs,” we share important news about Hawaiian birds, Black-capped Petrel, Snowy Owl, Kirtland’s Warbler, Peregrine Falcon, and the West Nile virus.

From our contributors:


Pete Dunne tells why no birder ever regrets buying premium binoculars.

Julie Craves answers readers’ questions about an unusual band on a catbird’s tail, plants that make good nesting material, and woodpeckers that peck on stone walls.

Kenn Kaufman tells how to identify Northern Harrier. Only a minority of the harriers we see fall into the “gray ghost” category, he writes. View reader photos of Northern Harrier.

Eldon Greij explains why birds’ feathers come in so many shapes and sizes. See our archive of articles by Eldon Greij.

Laura Erickson writes about the Blue Jays that visit her feeders. Some took peanuts from her hand.


• And David Sibley explains variation and similarity in bill shape. He illustrates the column with wonderful sketches of Ruby-throated Hummingbird, American Robin, Northern Cardinal, Mallard, and Bald Eagle.

Take a look, then don’t hesitate to contact me if you have questions or comments. As always, I’d be happy to hear from you. — Chuck Hagner, Editor

See the contents of the February 2016 issue.

Photo gallery: Five views of dazzling Harlequin Duck, and how to identify it.


Contact us.


New to birdwatching?

Sign up for our free e-newsletter to receive news, photos of birds, attracting and ID tips, descriptions of birding hotspots, and more delivered to your inbox every other week. Sign up now.

See the contents of our current issue.

How to subscribe to BirdWatching.



Originally Published

Read our newsletter!

Sign up for our free e-newsletter to receive news, photos of birds, attracting and ID tips, and more delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up for Free