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Our October issue features American Kestrel, Blackpoll Warbler, and 26 minutes of wow

OctoberThe October 2017 issue of BirdWatching is available now at Barnes & Noble and other newsstands, as well as on digital platforms such as iTunes, Kindle, and Google Play.

Our cover story, “Connecting the Dots,” dives into the half-century-long decline of American Kestrel, North America’s most colorful falcon. Earlier this year, author Ron Zigler attended a symposium about the species organized by the American Kestrel Partnership, and he reports for us on the work scientists are doing to turn around the bird’s fortunes. Read a preview of the article here.

Ornithologist and author John Kricher explains the astonishing fall migration of Blackpoll Warbler — a 1,900-mile flight over the Atlantic Ocean. And in an excerpt from his book Birds of Prey, Contributing Editor Pete Dunne celebrates the California Condor and its ongoing road to recovery.

Read publisher Lee Mergner’s interview with Pete Dunne

Plus, our friend Charles Bergman, a professor of English at Pacific Lutheran University, takes us to the Pacific Northwest for a delightful story titled “26 Minutes of Wow.” It’s about the nondescript Vaux’s Swift and the retired school teacher who has told the world about its breathtaking autumn swarms.

In his “ID Toolkit” column, David Sibley shares notes and pencil drawings from his sketchbooks and explains why it’s worth taking a little extra time to watch birds.


“Over most of North America, cormorant ID used to be easy,” writes Kenn Kaufman in “ID Tips.” Away from coastal areas, it was safe to call any cormorant a Double-crested, he notes, but in recent decades, Neotropic Cormorant has expanded its range significantly. Kenn points out the differences between the birds as only he can, and he reports on a cormorant mystery from the Caribbean.

Also in the issue:

  • Founding Editor Eldon Greij explains the astonishing story of how young songbirds know where to go on their first fall migration.
  • “Attracting Birds” columnist Laura Erickson discusses the pros and cons of feeding birds jelly.
  • We present maps, bird lists, and tips for birding hotspots in California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Texas.
  • Julie Craves of Michigan’s Rouge River Bird Observatory answers readers’ questions about owls hooting in fall, nest-robbing woodpeckers, the cycles of Ruffed Grouse populations, and an intriguing flight behavior of Willets.
  • The American Bird Conservancy reports on the discovery of a seabird’s nesting site in a desert in northern Chile.
  • And more!

You can read the full list of the issue’s contents and see a sneak peek on our Current Issue page. We hope you enjoy the issue. If you have comments about it, please send a letter to us here. — Matt Mendenhall, Editor


P.S., if you take photos of birds and would like us to consider a photo or two for the reader-submitted “Your View” section, please read our Your View Submission Guidelines and send in your best shots!


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