The Web is for the Birds

My Favorite Web Sites - Winchester Star - 10/3/02
 by Martin Zombeck

This is a bi-weekly column providing an annotated list of Web sites that may be of interest to the community. Each column will list sites that belong to a particular category: search engines, art, online newspapers and magazines, health and medicine, history, business and economics, etc. or sites relevant to a particular season, for example, skiing or gardening. Most sites will be non-commercial. To make it easier to access the sites, each bi-weekly column will be posted on the Town of Winchester's Web site so that the sites can be accessed and bookmarked without having to be typed. Previous columns will be archived at the Winchester site, also.

"I value my garden more for being full of blackbirds than of cherries, and very frankly give them fruit for their songs."
- Joseph Addison

In the beginning of the summer one of my tennis buddies suggested that I write a column on bird watching. I thought that it was a great idea. However, his suggestion immediately made me think of other activities particular to the summer to write about. Now that I have completed columns on golf, tennis, boating, canoeing and kayaking, bicycling, fishing, and hiking, I'm ready to take on bird watching. And just in time, too. Because of seasonal migrations, the fall provides many opportunities to see a large number and variety of birds who are "just passing through". The Web is a splendid source of information on bird watching for the beginner and for the serious birder. I've listed some of the major sites below. Many of them have extensive lists of links that will allow you to delve more deeply into the subject. Don't forget to use a search engine like Google ( to find information on a particular topic or to find a site that has changed its address.

Massachusetts Audubon Society
This official Mass Audubon site lists and describes all 36 Audubon wildlife sanctuaries in the state and programs, classes, camps, and special events throughout the year. Click on "Birds & Beyond" and you will obtain regular updates on birds sighted across the state. Here is an example of the type of detail provided: " .. A second hummingbird, probably an immature male Rufous Hummingbird, is coming to a feeder at 225 Western Avenue in Essex. .The hummingbird is visiting a feeder at the rear of the house, and birders are welcome to discreetly enter the yard to the left of the house in order to look for it."

Audubon Society
The official site of the National Audubon Society. Provides an Audubon Centers and Sanctuaries Locator, description of licensed products, a list of states and chapters, useful links, a link to the Audubon Magazine , and much more.

Mass Bird
This site is provided by Bird Observer (, the bi-monthly birding journal of New England. Recent bird sightings, lists of books and journals, birding clubs, and dozens of local and worldwide links are provided by the Mass Bird Web site.

The Great Outdoors Recreation Page (GORP) is one of the best outdoors site on the Web. Their birding site provides "Expert Answers" to birding questions, regional and state guides, skill builders, photo gallery, and much more.
This site provides a fairly comprehensive section on bird topography, a glossary of terms, many photographs, and many birding tips.

Cornell University Laboratory of Ornithology
This site features sound, bird, and slide of the week, samples of bird sounds from CD's available from the online Cornell Lab Birding Shop, publications, an online bird guide (with sound), and bird FAQs and tips.

Bird Topography
If you've eaten a chicken, you already know a few of the parts of a bird. Learn the rest.

Cornell University Library
From the library's rare books and manuscripts collection - Beautiful Birds, Masterpieces from the Hill Ornithology Collection. The online exhibit features metal engravings and etchings, wood engravings and woodcuts, hand-colored lithographs, and chromolithographs by artists of the 18th and 19th century including John William Hill and John James Audubon.

Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter
Photographs, songs, videos, identification tips, maps, and life history information for North American birds.

Canada Goose
Everyone's favorite bird. The "poop" on Canada Geese from MassWildLife.

Previous columns with live links can be found at

When he is not updating the Town of Winchester Web site (, Martin Zombeck can be found at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, where he is a physicist, or at the tennis courts in Winchester.