Chipping SparrowMatt Buckingham – A Naturalist’s Journey, Flickr, and Instagram

There are a number of methods and resources that can be used to help you determine which birds are using your land.

Personal Observation

Birdwatching continues to increase in popularity across the country. Experienced birdwatchers (local National Audubon Society chapters, Texas Ornithological Society), professional natural resource agencies, and private consultants can often provide additional expertise for landowners. Of note for Texas, spring and fall are peak migration times for many species of the north, including neotropical migrant birds (songbirds). Both online (Audubon Guide to North American Birds) and smart phone applications (Merlin Bird ID) are available and free to those interested in bird identification.

Online Bird Observation Databases

Two popular databases, eBird and iNaturalist, allow citizens to record their observations of birds. These user-friendly websites can assist landowners in determining birds that have been observed in their area.

National Audubon Society Christmas Bird Counts (CBC)

White-headed NuthatchNeal Lewis, National Park Service

These annual bird counts conducted by volunteers/interested citizens on pre-determined sites have provided a wealth of knowledge for annual winter snapshots of bird species and trends in populations. In Texas, Christmas Bird Counts can encounter many different species since birds are migrating south for the winter months.

National Audubon Society Local Chapters or Other Bird Interest Groups

Your community may have a number of folks who enjoy birdwatching as a hobby and have excellent knowledge of local bird species. Most chapters have membership newsletters that chronicle their observations. Birders may be happy to help work with you to identify the bird species on your property.

Breeding Bird Census

Breeding bird census efforts are completed in the spring to document by call or sight the presence of breeding birds. Check with your local natural resource professionals and bird organizations to see if surveys are being done in your area.