Spring is Prime Bird-Watching Season
February 25th, 2018 by Curtis Condon

Fifteen of the world’s 319 species of hummingbirds are found in the West. They are the smallest and some of the most beautiful birds in the world. They also travel some of the greatest distances, such as this rufous hummingbird, which migrates between southeastern Alaska and Mexico. © iStock/Jimmyhuynh

The American West is famous for its picturesque scenery and wide-open spaces, but it is also one of the best places in the country to view birds—lots of them.

More than three-quarters of the 900-plus species of birds in North America are found here. That means plenty of prime bird-watching opportunities exist throughout the region.

One of the beauties of bird-watching is you don’t have to go far to engage in the activity. Birds are everywhere. Of course, certain areas provide better bird habitat than others.
To find the greatest diversity and concentrations of birds, look for the three essentials birds need: water, cover and food.

Waterways and coastal areas tend to offer some of the best bird-watching opportunities. However, the West’s forests, fields, mountains and deserts also provide excellent bird habitat. That diversity attracts myriad bird species, many of them not found anywhere else in the country.

Another advantage of bird-watching is it does not require a lot of equipment. A good pair of binoculars or spotting scope and a comprehensive birding field guide provide the basics for a gratifying outing.

App of the Month—iBird Pro Guide to Birds
Many of us loathe the idea of paying for apps. Yet sometimes an app comes along that is well worth the splurge.
iBird Pro Guide to Birds costs a relatively hefty $14.99, but is worth every penny for serious birders.

Identify birds by searching the app’s comprehensive database using one or more of 14 different attributes, such as size, color, pattern and call/song. That feature alone makes the app worth the money. In addition, the app has all of the vital features and information you expect to find in a top-notch birding app.

Correct Lure Color Choice Makes Fish See Red
Spring means challenging water conditions for much of the West, due to the bounty of rainfall the region receives this time of the year.

Rivers and streams run fast, deep and muddy. Fish have difficulty seeing bait, making lure color choice crucial to success for anglers. The best murky-water colors tend to be bright, light and solid colors, such as metallics, yellows and dark blues.

What Day is It?

  • March 12, Girl Scouts Day
  • March 12, Learn About Butterflies Day
  • March 20, First Day of Spring
  • March 30, Take a Walk in the Park Day

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Many of Curtis Condon’s fondest memories involve outdoor adventures with friends and family, whether fishing with old school buddies, backpacking in the mountains of the Northwest with his sons, or bird watching along the Gulf Coast with his wife. He feels fortunate having the opportunity to write about the outdoors and other subjects for more than 30 years.