December 2014 From the Editor The state of our birds By Chuck Hagner Why it’s no time to pull the covers over our heads. Features Arctic Snowflake By John Kricher Where and when you can enjoy a mini-blizzard of Snow Buntings this winter. Peregrines in Paris By Mark Hedden An American birder discovers a familiar and history-making species in the City of Light. Important new books By Chuck Hagner and Matt Mendenhall Our year-end roundup of the best new books about birds and birding. Tablet Extras By the editors See the articles from BirdWatching and other online resources that we added to our December issue. Columns Since You Asked Answers to your questions By Julie Craves Why Bald Eagles swim, rust-stained swans, and more. Birder at Large Far and near By Pete Dunne How today’s binoculars got so good. Attracting Birds The geography of my heart By Laura Erickson A reluctant farewell to a favorite birding spot. Amazing Birds Toothless By Eldon Greij Why birds have no teeth and sometimes eat pebbles. ID Tips Rare visitors By Kenn Kaufman Five rare birds to watch for at your feeders this winter. ID Toolkit Streaks and spots By David Sibley What to look for to understand color patterns on birds. Hotspots Near You 197. Lake Tawakoni State Park, Wills Point, Texas This state park located on a huge reservoir east of Dallas is a good winter spot for Rusty Blackbird, Pine Warbler, loons, and other treats. By Gail Morris Published: 10/20/2014 198. Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden, Portland, Oregon This beautifully landscaped botanical garden is where to find an abundance of Wood Ducks in winter. By Michel Hersen Published: 10/20/2014 199. Shark Valley, Everglades National Park, Florida Part of Everglades National Park, Shark Valley offers up-close views of Purple Gallinule, Roseate Spoonbill, and other great birds. By Shirley L. Ruhe Published: 10/20/2014 200. Pinnacles National Park, Soledad, California Our newest national park is where to look for Prairie Falcon and Golden Eagle, and it’s a release site for the spectacular and critically endangered California Condor. By Chuck Graham Published: 10/20/2014 Also in Every Issue Birding Briefs Important news about birds, birdwatching, and conservation. Your View Reader-submitted photographs, including the winner of our regular Photo of the Week contest. Fieldcraft A photo taken by a reader, along with a description of how the photographer got the shot.